From the ground up – Inex meets Trindade & Bird

After both starting out in visual merchandising for international household names in the homeware sector, Sam Trindade and Louise Bird’s shared passion for creating beautifully styled displays, led them to accepting opportunities to begin their careers in earnest as interior designers. It wasn’t long before the pair decided to take the plunge and pursue their dream to start their own company, Trindade & Bird. Eight years on and now one of the leading interior design firms in Kent, Louise talks to Inex about creating stunning interiors for homes both here in the UK and internationally.

What inspired you to become interior designers?
We both spent much of our childhood visiting stately homes up and down the country – I for one had a fascination with Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill. I think it was the grandeur that I fell in love with, or maybe it was just the idea of walking around someone else’s home that fascinated me – either way, it sparked my interest in interiors.

Who has been your greatest source of inspiration throughout your career?
My granddad always told me to “look up” at buildings when you walk through a town to see its history, and he wasn’t wrong – a whole world of inspiration is above us if you only take a minute to look up. I’ve always taken the opportunity to take in my surroundings to draw upon this as inspiration which has spurred my passion to be creative, and transform the spaces we live in.

How do you approach your projects?
Being super organised, we approach our projects very methodically, our initial concepts are key to refine our clients’ brief, and are instrumental in forming the basis of our schemes, providing a clear style direction which can then evolve through consultations and design development.

Who is your favourite interior designer and why?
Right now it would have to be Abigail Ahurn – the dramatically dark backdrops to her schemes challenge the common misconceptions regarding use of colour and blur the boundaries between right and wrong.

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Would you say that you have a design style? If so, how would you describe this style?
We definitely have a style thread, that’s for sure, although we don’t like to be put in a box in that respect as have always enjoyed variation in our work. Our style thread reflects the undertones and core principles that are consistent throughout our work. We would describe ourselves as ‘fusion’ designers and love mixing traditional with contemporary, silk with leather, rustic with chic, throwing out the rule-book and pushing boundaries.

What do you believe is the biggest challenge for today’s interior designers?
Many of us purchase goods from the continent for our projects, however, the current uncertainty surrounding pending European trade agreements has consequently driven up prices, which of course impacts clients’ budgets who are already cost-conscious. Designers can often be regarded as a luxury commodity, therefore the biggest challenge currently facing the industry is how to effectively communicate added value, and find new and innovative ways to help make budgets go further for our clients.

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What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
Building a business from the ground up to where we are today is a massive accomplishment for us personally. Like most small businesses, we started from humble beginnings, on a laptop in the spare room, armed with a plan and the drive to succeed in our ventures, we waited for the phone to ring. Thankfully it did, and our first clients will always have a special place in our hearts, many of which we now call friends. Our mantra is to make people’s lives just that little bit better through our designs, and so feel our biggest accomplishment to date has to be each and every time we make someone’s house feel like their home.

What has been your most notable project?
Being involved with the restoration of a stunning chateau near Biaritz in the South of France. Our brief was to keep the essence of the chateau intact, but to give it a relaxed contemporary feel with French overtones to create a rustic yet chic interior. The property itself has magnificent presence in the landscape, and the intricacy of the architectural detailing throughout is fascinating and steeped in history.

Can you talk us through your concept for the East Malling living room?
We based our concept for this scheme on the Pantone Colour of the Year – Marsala – which became a stunning backdrop for the luxurious furnishings.

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How do you personally feel that you fulfilled the brief for the East Malling living room?
We were tasked to transform this space into an elegant, glamourous, warm Living Room. We asked our client not to peek whilst we were setting out all the furniture and final flourishes, when we showed her the end result she was brought to tears (thankfully tears of joy!).

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Have you witnessed any recurring requests from your clients?
We have noticed a trend occurring amongst our clients seeking more ‘artfully curated’ than designed schemes. By this, I refer to the desire to incorporate individual pieces and mismatch in a way that feels more comfortable as opposed to anything too staged or overstyled.

Do you have a preferred colour palette that you enjoy working with?
Our signature colour is a chalky grey/green, and has always remained a solid base for many of our schemes, although I refer to this more as a range of hues, as over the years this has strengthened in depth as we evolve.

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Can you please talk us through the brief that you received for the Kings Hill master bedroom project?
Our client had been inspired by Las Vegas hotels they had stayed in, and wanted to capture an essence of hotel chic styling for their master bedroom suite.

How do you personally feel that you fulfilled this brief?
We blended luxurious textures with bold accents of gold with a green-based teal. The bed became the centrepiece and the quilted bedspread dressed to impress.

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What do you believe is of utmost importance when it comes to the interior design?
It’s all in the planning. Understanding the vision, exploring the practicalities and scrutinising the details.

What advice would you offer to those considering a career in interior design?
Immerse yourself in any way you can. Effective communication is key to being a successful interior designer, so hone those skills and gain experience through taking any opportunity where you can listen to someone’s needs, and show them a tangible solution.

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What do you believe is the biggest challenge for newly qualified interior designers?
Finding a pathway into the industry is the biggest hurdle, so it’s about strategically working from the ground up, aiming for opportunities that might be more easily accessible, and where relevant experience can be gained.

Do you have any favourite suppliers for your interior schemes?
I couldn’t possibly name a favourite, as we work with so many fantastic suppliers, each are specialists in their field, but we certainly have our ‘go-to’ suppliers that we have built strong working relationships with over the years.

What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
We design much of our furniture in-house, and have been creating bespoke pieces for our clients for many years. Off the back of this we are planning to launch a collection of our own unique ranges which will be reflective of our individual brand styling, so we’re really excited about this and are looking forward this next development.

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trindadeandbird.co.uk

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