Designer Profile: Lesley Zaal – Etcetera Living

Name: Lesley Zaal

Company: Etcetera Living Interior Design LLC

Position within company: Managing Partner


. Tell us a little about your background in design 

– I came to design relatively late in life as I was busy raising 4 children. Once my youngest went off to

boarding school I decided to do a short course in Interior Design with Kelly Hoppen in London. I was

very lucky as this was her first course so she was incredibly ‘Hands – On’ and I learnt a lot from her.

Afterwards I employed a young Interior Designer from South Africa and Etcetera Living was born.

– My background is in hotel management, so it was a big career change! Once we opened up for

business in 2003 there was no looking back. From a team of 3, Etcetera Living has grown into a full

team of 50 including Designer, Architect, AutoCAD operator, support Staff plus a full maintenance


. How would you describe your personal interior design style?

– I would say that my style is modern, relaxed with a simple basic colour scheme and highlights of

colour in accessories.

. Where does your design inspiration come from?

– Many Places! Obviously Kelly Hoppen has made a huge influence on my design but I also draw

inspiration from all the wonderful places I visit on my travels. The Far East has so many amazing

artisans and it is wonderful to support up and coming artists and designers

. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

– Most People are looking for something that is instantly appealing to the eye but is also functional and

that is noticeable in the Interior Design today. More and more designers are trying to optimise the

space for their clients whilst retaining their design integrity.

. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design

A.Spatial Planning is key

B. Natural Light

C. The Lighting, (whether it be for an office or a home!)

D. Keep the design simple yet elegant

E. The use of greenery in the interior to bring life to the design.

. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it


– Keep it simple and the colour scheme neutral and add colour in accessories, cushions and throws, etc.

. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent

and achievement?

– From the point of view of International Recognition it offers great exposure for our company.


. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself

Your favourite holiday destination? Phuket, Thailand

Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?

Trisara Hotel in Phuket

Restaurant – Zuma, Dubai

Bar – Ferdi in Paris

Your favourite book / film / song?

Book – anything by Patricia Cornwell

Song – Happy by Pharrell Williams

Your favourite food and drink?

A long leisurely lunch of Seafood by the sea.

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? 

Spending a couple of hours walking on the Moors of Yorkshire (Providing it isn’t raining!)

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? A Chef

Anything else interesting?

I have learnt through life experience to take every challenge thrown at you and turn it into

something positive!

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