Meet the interior designer: Alex Gardner

Alex Gardner has over 15 years experience creating stunning residential homes. Her London-based agency Interiordesigned has built up a seriously impressive portfolio of projects (often including a Pooky light or two), so we thought we’d pick her brains about all things interior design - from industrial warehouses to cosy corners. Here’s our Q&A…

How did you get started in interior design?

My early career was in graphic design for an international toy company. The work was demanding with crazy deadlines, but I found time to work on our own houses creating the space we wanted to live in, always looking for the ‘inventive’ way to do it ourselves to keep costs down. I realised I had a passion for interiors and once we had children I decided I wanted to do something that would give me a better work/life balance and allow me to work in an area I loved. There was an art college in Clapham offering Interior Design training, so I spent two years learning the key elements and then started working freelance, initially for friends and gradually building up my business by word-of-mouth referral.

How would you describe your interior design style?

I’ve always loved vintage style but not too cluttered. I love contemporary, minimal spaces contrasted with antique furniture. I rarely buy new furniture for us: I’ll always try to paint, repurpose or reposition something to give it a new lease of life, or buy from an antiques market. For clients it’s a different matter. It is important to understand what style appeals to them, their likes and dislikes, understand their lifestyle and of course their budget. This means spending time at the beginning of a project asking lots of questions and really listening to the answers!

Image: Interiordesigned

Image: Woodstock Furniture


Where do you get your inspiration from?

Can be anywhere – a vintage market, a stately home garden, bars, hotels and restaurants, other interior designers and just generally keeping my eyes open wherever I am and my iphone at the ready!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The initial phase of any project can be a challenge: taking a client’s ideas (usually there are many and often conflicting) and interpreting them. The best bit is at the end when the project is completed – transforming someone’s space to enhance their life is brilliant! Most of the design process is good fun, from client briefings, to meetings with external suppliers, to working with a team on a building site.

Image: Interiordesigned
Repurposed vintage - Image: Interiordesigned


How does lighting play a part in your interiors?

Absolutely key of course! You can have a room with lovely architectural details, beautiful furniture and décor and it can seem drab with the wrong lighting. We always do a very detailed lighting plan once we’ve considered how the room will be used and decided the furniture layout. Like most interior designers I have an intense dislike of downlights in a grid pattern across the whole ceiling. Obviously downlights are needed in certain task areas,but discreet architectural lighting combined with beautiful decorative lighting is what we aim for. I love a big, usually central, chandelier combined with lots of other decorative light sources, floor lamps or a table lamp in every corner and if possible a lamp on every surface.

Which recent projects are you particularly proud of?

We recently worked on transforming an enormous apartment in an iconic Victorian brewery warehouse next to Tower Bridge. The apartment had not had a major update since its original conversion over twenty years ago: the steel balustrades and white walls creating a cold and uninviting environment. We reconfigured the spaces, going all out for glamour and luxury in the décor and furniture. The end result is unrecognisable from the original apartment. The steel balustrades were replaced with curved glass walls to allow views over the Thames, the industrial metal windows were replaced with a curved wall of beautiful, colourful stained glass and the white painted walls covered with luxurious warm toned wallpapers. The whole apartment (below) is now so much more welcoming.

Image: Simon Fowler Photography

Image: Simon Fowler Photography

Image: Simon Fowler Photography


Do you have a particular favourite corner or room in your own home?

My favourite cosy space at the moment is my office, it’s dark and moody and pretty cluttered for me. It’s a very personal space, full of furniture I’ve owned for years, photos of family, paintings by my daughter and lots of plants.

And finally, what’s your favourite Pooky light?

...My favourite Pooky light is in this room too, the Orb Chandelier, it has a ‘70s vintage vibe, casts a beautiful light through the glass discs – I leave it on sometimes even when I’m not in the room at night because I love walking past it so much.

Alex's study, complete with Orb chandelier

See more of Alex's stunning projects on the Interiordesigned website, and follow her on Instagram here.