Name: Anastasia Nicholas
Company: Harvard Knight
Position within company: In-house Interior Designer
Tell us a little about your background in design
I was fortunate being exposed to the world of design from a young age as my father was an international contractor. As a result, I spent many days as a child on building sites across the world. I first studied interior design at the Inchbald School of Design. However, I soon realised coming into a project after the actual design of the building had been completed made my job harder, with the restrictions placed on me and my work. Therefore, I decide soon afterwards to study Architecture in London and became a fully accredited RIBA Architect. My first role was in the design team of esteemed architectural firm R. Seifert and Partners, with the development of the Docklands being my first major project. However, soon after I created my own practice with most of my projects were private luxury residential projects. However, I worked on many other types of design including hotels, restaurants and one of my all-time favourite projects, a renovation of a derelict Anglian Church into a Greek Orthodox Church
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
If there were one word to describe my own personal interior design style, it would be eclectic. This is because there are four factors I consider when creating my own personal interior design which are:
• In the moment styles – I personally feel working in interior design it is important in keeping up-to-date with the current trends. I therefore, pick up on any trends I like and feel I could implement to its fullest in my own home.
• Familiarity – A possible contradiction to the first point, however having classic items in the home is critical to carry off an excellent, timeless interior design.
• Functional – There is no use in creating a wonderful space if it lacks any functionality or ease to enjoy it.
• Homely – any interior design needs to make a home actually feel like a home.
• Flexibility – I often move things around in my home just to change atmosphere and energy levels.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
At the start of any project, I am very open to getting inspiration from a variety of sources. Overall it is just a natural occurrence (one could call it fate). In the past, it has been as simple as an advert or a picture in a magazine which I have just completely taken to. However, I have also been inspired by the material of clothing I own (especially linings of jackets), and cut out small pieces to act as a key cornerstone in my early workings on a project.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
In my opinion, a major direction that design is moving towards is the ethos of ‘smarter homes’. The sudden increase in the use of new technology in some of the most basic objects found in the home in recent years, has greatly changed the way in designing interior spaces on the projects I have been working on. Alongside this, new products entering the marketplace that use artificial intelligence within the home, will also mean in-the-future, more changes in how we as people will live and operate things in our homes will occur.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2018 and beyond.
1. Remembering what the market/client wants: when working on developments, it is vital to consider the potential markets we are going to be selling to and what they generally prefer in design and living space.
2. Timeless design: Try and avoid implementing likely fads and short-term trends in your design work.
3. Work with the architecture: If you are working in an impressive architectural space, it is so important to show it off to its fullest.
4. Quality not quantity: While it is tempting to fill a vast space with as much stuff as possible. It is important to remember, that a few good quality well-designed pieces could have as much of an impact on space.
5. Mix-it-up with suppliers: While it is, of course, important to source materials from quality, independent suppliers. Now, several large ‘names’ found on the high streets and retail parks across the UK are producing quality products as well. Therefore, do not be afraid to use them for your work!
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
My one piece of advice I would give is have an excellent working relationship with your trades workers. Work as hard as them, do not be afraid to get your hands dirty. Doing this will make life far easier working on a project and will achieve a better quality finished product at the end.
How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
I value the work The Design Society and the awards to a high regard, as they work to promote high quality, inspirational design. Which something that is very close to my heart. As a small developing company, the recognition is simply great and will hopefully help the business grow; but also it is a great way in recognising all the work that has been done by everyone working on our projects.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a variety of different projects currently across North London. While they are in the same geographical area, each project has a very different interior design ‘outlook’.
The first project I am working on is Knightwood Court in Hadley Wood is a development of nine high-end residential apartments, with ‘luxury’ being the core theme running through the interior design of the development.
Secondly, I am working on four duplex maisonettes right in the very heart of Camden. They are currently being constructed at this very moment. With a ‘retro’ being the core theme of the interior design.
Another development I am working on in London is 22 apartments in a ten-storey building along Finchley Road, designed by an award-winning architect. I am currently finalising the final floor plans for each apartment, to ensure space is used to its full potential, alongside showing some impressive views, the apartments have across North-East London.
Alongside these three developments, other areas of work I am working on include, a redevelopment of a house into two flats, a private residence in Hadley Wood, a health food restaurant and being an advisor on a new hotel development.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
My aims and goals are simple for the next year. Simply to ensure all projects I am working on run smoothly and result in a high-quality finish product. Luckily as Harvard Knight is a developing company, it is great to see continued expansion and new projects getting underway. Therefore, meaning, my aims and goals are never truly set in stone.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
Two antique books I found during architectural student days: Architecture and Continuity and The Story of Art.
Your favourite holiday destination?
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Hotel: Hilton Park Lane
Restaurant: The Arts Club, London
Bar: Galvin at Windows, London
Your favourite book, film & song?
Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Film: A Room With A View
Song: ‘What Difference A Day Makes’ by Dinah Washington
Your favourite food and drink?
Fresh seafood with a glass of chilled white wine is perfection for me.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Visiting art galleries.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
As someone who loves to learn, I probably would have enjoyed working as an Academic.
Anything else interesting?
I designed and built my own house next to a Grade II Listed Arch (which I also own).