Name: Monique Halloran and Anna Halloran
Company: Spiering & Co Ltd
Position within company: Co – Directors
. Tell us a little about your background
As a mother and daughter team we naturally have very different experiences, and yet seem to have arrived at a similar belief that by focusing on and listening to our clients, we will deliver the best designs to suit their needs and the business will naturally flourish. We both seek to enhance the feeling of space and light in a room, and feel the ergonomics of a floor plan play a vital role in the success of the design.
I have combined my art studies, both in London and Paris, with my training at the Oxford College of Garden Design, and followed my dual passions of gardens and design to practice as a garden designer, based in Oxford and London, since I graduated 25 years ago. Over 10 years ago I designed the garden for Michael Holmes, a renowned property developer, editor in chief of 3 property magazines and TV personality. His experience inspired me to branch out into property development and though I continue every year designing gardens for wonderful clients, we now have a wonderful property development portfolio as well.
Anna graduated with Distinction from one of the best interior design schools in the world, The KLC School of Interior Design. She has designed interiors for penthouses in Knightsbridge, to new build developments of multiple flats and houses in the suburbs. The kitchen she designed for a disabled client of hers is a testament to her skill in managing the ergonomics of space. The client was thrilled with the result, particularly as her key criteria that the kitchen should in no way look like it was designed to adapt to her disability had been achieved, whilst still being a totally practical space for a wheelchair user. Her years in property search and sales add to her depth of knowledge to draw on, having seen countless properties and therefore design solutions both in London and the country.
. How would you describe your own personal style?
The light and space of Africa and the classic grandeur of Europe are all entwined in my background, and those are still the components to my style. Less is more, but not all in the same style which to my mind can make a room look empty and soulless. Anna has an incredible eye for detail and her understanding of the ergonomics of space and how people will move around the space is excellent. She is more daring in trying out new designs and so has the ability to surprise the client with something beautiful they may never have seen before
. Where does your inspiration come from?
When designing the floor plans we are both very keen on creating the feeling of space and light, so the inspiration will come from the question ‘How can we make this look more spacious and inviting?’ We naturally draw on designs or layouts we know work well, whilst changing the detailing of materials and lighting. It is also inspirational to look at trade shows and interiors illustrated in magazines both in the UK and worldwide.
. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
If you are looking worldwide, architectural design is becoming more daring in the shapes and materials they are using and the corresponding interiors are echoing this trend. In Britain we have a strong heritage of classical architecture as well as plenty of innovative new builds, so the design trends are both to conserve and to innovate. Energy conservation and technology will play a leading role, and fun elements will be introduced such as video cameras feeding an image of your garden onto a wall in your basement, to bring some sunlight into the room.
. Name five key themes to consider when approaching property development in 2015 and beyond.
Improved energy conservation using structural materials and the monitoring of occupancy to automatically change settings.
Energy conservation using planting that will clean the air e.g. living walls, green roofs.
Improved sound insulation as more dwellings are squeezed into smaller spaces.
Greater use of technology to create effects in interior design such as video streaming for higher end property development.
More design innovations of materials used, such as glass building blocks in walls.
. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to development projects, what would it be?
Design every detailed element of the interior design and not just the floor plan layout prior to commencing the build, or you will end up having to compromise on design details, such as where a light switch is placed.
. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
They are massively important, as they are well recognised and rely on both the public and the judgement of your professional peers.
. What projects are you currently working on?
We have the interior design of a new development of 21 flats and 7 houses, a renovation project of a 3 bed house and garden in Oxford, 4 private client’s gardens to design, and our own development project of a 5 bed house and garden in Oxford on behalf of an international client, which is completing in early April 2015.
. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To move some of our development work to Oxford and the surrounding area as well as maintaining our client base in London.
To arrange a visit to an inspirational European city (yet to be decided), in order to take in new ideas and styles.
To continue to enjoy every day!
. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
An oil painting of my two children playing in the front garden of the old vicarage where they grew up, which I commissioned a friend to paint
Your favourite holiday destination?
The pink sandy beaches of Bermuda
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
The Black Boy in Old Headington, Oxford where the chef trained at Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons, a Michelin starred restaurant
Your favourite book / film / song?
The Power of Now by E. Tolle / book The Imitation Game / film
Your favourite food and drink?
Earl Grey tea with an array of gluten free cakes
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Designing with my daughter when the inspiration is truly flowing and we are both ‘in the zone’.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Anything else interesting?
I was born in the Far East, brought up in East and West Africa and my schooling was in England, Switzerland and Paris, so for me the wide open spaces and natural light of Africa are entwined with the classical grandeur and elegance of Europe, and this mixture of light and elegance informs my designs. I once designed a handbag that was on the Wish List of Vogue.
Anna is artistic, very practical and pays great attention to detail. These are the qualities that inform her designs, so that they not only look amazing but are a joy to live in. In her late teens she represented GB on the Young Rider Dressage Team – I think that is where her attention to detail and excellence spring from.