Interview | Ten minutes With Violet & George
Nicky Mudie established Violet & George in West London in 2009. Nicky’s passion for creative, original textiles has led her to great successes supplying cleverly designed soft furnishings in London and internationally. You can see their new and exciting textile designs in their North Kensington showroom. In addition to their bespoke textiles services, Violet and George offer a fully comprehensive service incorporating all aspects of interior decoration for residential and commercial projects.
Q: How would you describe your signature style?
Violet & George are client led so you won’t see a signature style when browsing through their portfolio however, given creative free reign they create homes that reflect the client’s personality, are full of colour, vibrancy, pattern and texture. Fabrics, wallpapers and bespoke finishes play an important role and the end result is one that is playful, youthful and animated. Their favourite room to have fun in is always the smallest room in the house – the guest loo. From graffiti to wallpaper to mirrored tiles, they like to create a space that will start a conversation when guests come to visit.
Q: Who is/are your favourite designer(s)?
We are heavily influenced by fashion so always keep a keen eye on the catwalks, we love Alexander McQueen, Preen, Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang amongst others. In interiors we love Godrich Interiors, Rupert Bevan and the David Collins studio. In lighting we love Baroncelli, CTO Lighting, Buster & Punch and Curiousa & Curiousa. For textiles and wallpaper we love Fromental, Timorous Beasties, Imogen Heath, Eskayel, Cole & Son, 009 Textiles.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
I love the psychology of the projects we work on. Of getting to know my clients and what will make their houses more comfortable, playful, usable and enjoyable for them. I hate to waste time and money unnecessarily so love finding ways to reinvent tired pieces of furniture so that they feel entirely new or finding a few select pieces to mix with their existing furniture that will give them a new lease of life. A bit of clever juxtaposition mixed with some reupholstery and clever accessorising will reignite a client’s love for their home. I love making my clients happy.
Q: What’s the hardest part?
Often we are called in when a project has run out of steam; either the property has been developed by an architect or developer or the client has lost their motivation and the property doesn’t yet express their personality. We have to work hard to motivate the client again but once we do we often find ourselves guiding our clients on a journey of discovery regarding their own tastes and influences. Many of our clients also come to us when they purchase a property, here the focus is less on motivation and more on helping them to refine the conflicting ideas and schemes that they have collected over the years when thinking of their dream home. They need to realise the potential and also the limitations of the actual property they own, not their dream and this has to be managed cautiously.
Q: If you were to own just one design classic piece what would you choose?
If I had the confidence to follow it through it would be a tattoo by Guy le Tatooer, failing that a piece of furniture by Fornasetti.
A beach front art deco building in Miami in it’s original condition with it’s original fixture and fittings.
Q: What inspires you the most?
As a designer I am constantly inspired by the world around me and it is usually colour and pattern that inspires me the most – the autumnal colours of trees, slate roofs on stone houses, most recently the colours of the houses in a small hillside village in Provence, the warm orangey glow of the lighting in bars in Prague in the winter. I love to travel and to see the world through fresh eyes. I went to Miami earlier this year and was blown away by the design there. The intricate details the Art Deco buildings are inspirational and act as a perfect background to the modern design being created in hipster areas such as Wynwood.
Q: Where’s your favourite place to be?
On the road travelling. I love watching the world pass by, listening to new music, having some quiet time to be creative and think about the various projects we have on the go, solve any problems and finalise some designs with space away from the studio.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
If there was a fire in my home and I had to save one thing it would be a print by Joan Miro that was given to me. It has no value as it has been bleached by years of hanging in direct sunlight but I love that is it a Hors De Commerce prints and would have only been available through the artist directly.
Q: If you had a time machine, what period of design would you like to live in?
I’d love to go back to the early 1900’s to the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and onto the Art Deco movement in America in the 20’s. Violet & George are passionate about working with traditional artisans and keeping their skills alive. Working with techniques such as hand pleating, passementerie-making, printing, upholstery and lampshade making amongst other specialist skills we hope to continue to see these trades thriving in much the same way that people such as William Morris championed the decorative arts at a time when production methods were dramatically changing.
Q: Complete this sentence – home is…
Where you should be able to express yourself freely and with most abandon
Q: Tell us about one of your bathroom design projects that you’ve worked on?
I am currently designing a bathroom around the brass Drummonds Chessleton tap range that a client has fallen in love with at their showroom in Chelsea. The client purchased a house that had been decorated by a developer with white walls and mirrors everywhere. The expansive bathroom is fitted out with mirrors and pale travertine and we have been engaged to give it some warmth and character. The floors will be replaced with reclaimed oak herringbone flooring in a warm, dark tone. The walls will be painted darker with a freestanding copper Tay bath in the centre of the large room. A very modern, simple shower enclosure will house an exposed Dalby shower in brass and a Brora high level cistern and loo. The very traditional fixtures and fittings will be perfectly balanced by a huge painting by an urban artist which is being commissioned to sit behind the copper bath and which can be viewed through the door from the master bedroom.
Q: What is one key bathroom essential that you couldn’t live without?
Lavender oil to ensure a good night’s sleep after a busy day in the office followed by a game of squash.
Q: Where in the world have you stayed where a bathroom design has really stood out, and why?
I love to take time out from a busy schedule with a long bath or shower and it’s made even more special when outside or with a great view of the world outside. The Tsavo Safari Camp in Kenya is a great place for this. You can look off into the bush and hear the birds and animals all around you.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice when designing a bathroom, what would it be?
Storage is key. It is important that when designing a bathroom you give ample space for a client to hide their toiletries away or to display them in an attractive way otherwise your beautifully considered design will be overwhelmed by clutter. Lighting is also important. There should be several options available from bright lighting for the functional requirements of the bathroom (such as shaving) to dimmed lighting for having a long, relaxing soak in the bath at the end of a long, hard day’s work.
To Find out more or get in touch, visit Violet & George’s website at www.violetandgeorge.com