Designer Profile : Natalie Congdon – Design Director of Congdon Brown

Name: Natalie CongdonFInalCompany: Congdon Brown Interior Design
Position within company: Design Director

Tell us a little about your background in design
Art and design have always been a passion of mine since I was old enough to hold a paintbrush. After A-levels it therefore seemed a natural choice to complete a foundation year in Art and Design to try to work out which area of Art I loved the most. I ended up specialising in photography and went on to complete a degree in film studies, which is now a dying medium. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic career as a freelance Location Manager for 12 years in the world of film and television. I have always had a love for property and during this period I renovated several.

My ambition has always been to be an interior designer and retrained at KLC in 2010. I then set up Congdon Brown in 2011 working from home. We are still a young company but have been very lucky
that our projects have increased in scale and complexity ever since.

How would you describe your personal interior design style?
My style obviously varies to suit the client and the aesthetics of the building, but I would definitely say I am drawn to mixing the old and new and love reinventing the classics.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
It can come from absolutely anything at any time. I take photos of everything to remind me of details that I have seen which have inspired me. I have a huge collection of photos.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Design constantly changes and reinvents itself and where there is a trend there is always a reaction against this and a new style is informed. I would definitely say that the traditional style is more ‘in vogue’ than perhaps it has been before. Then again, minimalism is still hugely popular and as it is so practical it will always have a huge following.

Another popular design trend is the rise of the boutique hotel. As people enjoy staying in these beautiful surroundings, it is only natural that they would want to recreate these aesthetics in their own homes.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2015 and beyond.
• Your client and their budget
• The lifespan the design is expected to provide.
• Aesthetics versus practically
• How eco friendly is the design?
• The environment in which the design will be housed (building era)
• Flexibility of the design and the ability to future proof

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Try to choose a style that you feel you can live and evolve with. Think for the long term not just for the present.

How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
We are a young practice bursting with ideas and creativity. We are very proud to have been acknowledged by the ID &AA and this gives us a very prestigious platform to showcase our designs and gain respect from our industry peers.

What projects are you currently working on?
We are quite a small firm and only take on a few projects at a time. We are currently finishing the Richmond townhouse and a few bathrooms. I have also just had twins so they are a rather large project that I am currently working on!

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
I am looking forward to getting back to work full time after the birth of my twins. If we were to win this award that we have been nominated for it would be a fantastic achievement, which would inspire us to move up to the next level.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself

Your most treasured possession?
My family (if you can call them possessions)

Your favourite holiday destination?
Bora Bora, I went there on my honeymoon and would love to go back one day.

Your favourite hotel/ restaurant/ bar?
Restaurants; it has to be “The Bazaar by Jose Andres Beverly Hills”
Hotel / Bar: it has to be “Hotel Costes”

Your favourite book / film / song?
My favourite song; Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen. It’s a very inspirational song, which I must have listened to about 100 times when I ran the New York Marathon.

Your favourite food and drink?
Champagne and Sushi

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Watching a film or going for a run

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A full time mummy.