Designer Contracts – meet the designer

Here Julie Gotts, interior design expert at UK-leading supplier of floorcoverings to the new-build sector, Designer Contracts, talks to Inex about inspirations, challenges and the latest show home trends.

How did you get into interior design?
I have always been interested in art and creative activity since attending a weekly art class as a child. During a technical drawing lesson at secondary school, we did an interior design project, and that’s when I knew I wanted to learn more about the subject. I went to college to study interior design and followed on to do a BSc (Hons) at university.

Where do you look for inspiration?
My home city of Glasgow has some amazing architecture, both old and new – particular favourites being by Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid. I was inspired by their style and have since visited many buildings designed by them and their fellow architects. In addition, I enjoy going to art galleries, craft fairs, theatre and exploring architecture at home and abroad. Ideas are all around us.

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How does the design process begin?
The process begins with a client brief. This encompasses the desired style and expectations of the budget. We establish the client’s likes and dislikes, and projected ideas of the target client.

What has been the most challenging project thus far?
We are adding luxury retirement living projects to our portfolio. Some aspects of the projects have been quite large-scale. The main zones have to be very practical and usable for the clientele as the space is not just for show. There has been quite a lot of preliminary design work completed, but everyone is really excited about the final output.

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What is the most frustrating aspect of your job?
There can be a frustration when you complete a design that you feel meets the brief and looks fantastic, but the client has some reservations. Sometimes there is an element of change within projects, but the main objective is to create a design that satisfies the client. We work with them to create a solution.

And the most rewarding one?
The most rewarding part of my job is being on site and seeing the ideas I have created come to fruition. It’s great fun making designs, but collecting all the pieces for it and physically being in it is the best.

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What tips can you recommend to update a home this season?
Wallcoverings with industrial or natural material designs, plaster or wood moulding patterns, jungle prints, geometric shapes in furniture, large indoor plants, groupings or cacti, cork placemats, copper cutlery, metal and glass floating picture frames.

If there is one trend we should invest in for 2017, what should it be?
Rich, dark greens are back in fashion. I love green. It can be paired with the young, modern look of natural materials (wood, cork and marble) or with metallics (golds and copper) for a more expensive luxurious interior style. It also looks amazing with black and white.

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What advice would you give to new homebuyers on how to start choosing interiors?
I would recommend having fun, express yourself and don’t be afraid to DIY. Try a bit of upcycling with pieces from charity shops and car boot sales. Even if you just use emulsion and accessorise with word pictures, colourful cushions and rugs.

Does your home have a signature style and feel?
My home has a modern interior in a period property. It is quite neutral in wall colour and pattern. I prefer to bring out the colour in artwork and a few key pieces of furniture. I like interesting structures to furniture and light fittings. I am a very tactile person, hence the importance of texture in the fabrics in my home.

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