Designer in Profile: Iona Newton, Founder/Director of Oakeve

Name: Iona NewtonIona Newton 2
Company: Oakeve
Position / Title: Founder/Director

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
Oakeve is a high-end, luxury property development company and Oakeve Interiors, its sister company, is an award-winning Interior Architectural practice. My passion for design and creativity is long-standing, but being able to realise it through establishing my own company 13 years ago, rather than working in a large corporate environment, has enabled me to be bold and inspirational with private clients and developers. Our schemes are holistic and elegant, derived from my corporate background, but luxurious, tactile and opulent as I exert my own creative preferences.

How would you describe your personal interior design style?
My style, in essence, is contemporary elegance with a touch of glamour. I love to use calming colours and tactile, natural materials, such as Murano and sand casted glass to add that touch of luxury to the scheme, providing an overall sophisticated and timeless design. I also love symmetry, where schemes are balanced and holistic.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
Everywhere ! I take inspiration from reading professional articles, literature and magazines, visiting historical buildings and travelling to foreign climes, but really my inspiration just comes from living life and working alongside a truly passionate and creative team.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Working within the high-end, luxury property sector, I continually see a trend for personalised finishes with the inclusion of quality, bespoke key pieces of tactile and comfortable furniture, as well as intelligent and innovative home technological solutions. All of these elements, presented within an elegant and timeless design scheme, combine to create a truly personal, unique interiors scheme tailored to the client’s personality.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in the future:
– Integration of innovative technological solutions, such as home automation, lighting design, multi-room AV, home cinema and entertainment rooms, intelligent heating and ventilation and future proofing a home
– Connectivity and integrated spatial design of interior spaces for future occupants
– Employing an exemplary design scheme with budgetary and deadline responsibility
– Functionality and longevity of the interior and architectural design
– Sustainability and environmentally conscious design

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to product design, what would it be?
Whilst developing furniture and bespoke cabinetry, we always ensure that form and functionality are considered in equal measure.

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
Our team at Oakeve, were absolutely delighted to be presented with the International Design & Architectural Award for the category of Residential Property £2.5M to £5M in 2016, as we believe it is a very prestigious and revered accolade. It acknowledges the passion, commitment and hard work of our creative team, attaining recognition and respect from our peers and within the interior and architectural industry as a whole.

What projects are you currently working on?
We have some incredible projects that we are working on at present: Hurlingham, which is a 9,850 sq ft ‘Manor House’, Heathcote, which is a 10,250 sq ft ‘Lutyen’s’ style Arts & Crafts country mansion and Ellwood Grange, which is a 8,750 sq ft Georgian style country home alongside various other private client projects including a contemporary lakeside country retreat, a commuter townhouse in the Home Counties and a stylish, very modern family home in Sandbanks.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Our goals and ambitions for this coming year are to grow our interior design business, to continue to exceed ours and our client’s expectations and to develop further our own branded furniture collection and bespoke cabinetry under our MacKenzie Sinclair brand.

I am also keen to give something back to an industry that has given me so much and recently have accepted the role of Design Mentor and Assessor at the BIID, taking an active role within the SBID, as well as providing work experience for Interior Design students.

Final thoughts – tell us a little more about yourself…
Your most treasured possession?
An Orthoceras fossil assemblage
Your favourite holiday destination?
Mull in the Inner Hebrides for its seclusion and tranquillity and Mallorca for its warmth and beauty
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar? 
Hotel Bendinat, Calvia, Mallorca and the Artichoke, Old Amersham
Your favourite book / film / song?
My favourite book would be Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, my favourite film is The Holiday and my favourite song is Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
Your favourite food and drink?
Lobster paella with a glass of bubbles
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Going for a walk in our woods with my husband, three children and Hamish, our golden retriever!
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Petrophysics was my first passion and career for 12 years prior to establishing the construction company, Oakeve and its sister interior architectural company, Oakeve Interiors in 2004. So, I would probably still be a Geo-Petrophysicist!
Anything else interesting?
I was the first female Geo-Petrophysicist to work offshore!