Meet the interior designer: Beth Dadswell

London-based interior designer Beth Dadswell has a mission to transform her clients’ homes into ‘inspiring spaces that are totally unique and full of character’ - because after all, who wants to live in a soulless showhome? Through her interior design agency Imperfect Interiors she has been doing exactly that for the past decade, including a stunning renovation of her own home which featured on Grand Designs. Here’s our Q&A...

How did you get started in interior design?

I studied fashion and worked as a stylist on various magazines and newspapers for the first 15 years of my career, before having my son and realising that I didn’t want to be constantly travelling. Interiors had always my passion, and my partner and I had been buying and renovating flats – and then houses – for several years which had given me invaluable first hand experience. I didn’t want to spend any longer studying, so instead offered my services to a friend when she needed help, and used that as experience working for a client. The learning curve was steep, and the feedback invaluable, and it confirmed to me that changing to a new career that I felt so passionate about was the right decision!

Image: Imperfect Interiors

How would you describe your interior design style?

It’s actually quite hard to be objective about your own style, but I would be very flattered if people thought that it was elegant, understated, comfortable and not overly designed!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

It is a cliche, but I really do love visiting exhibitions, looking at architecture, watching films and seeing how artists use colours and textures. I also get really inspired visiting historic properties and gardens. I love period architecture and design as well as Mid-Century styles, and I think my work often reflects that mix.

Image: Imperfect Interiors
Image: Imperfect Interiors

Image: Imperfect Interiors

What do you most enjoy about your work?

So many things! Initially, the possibilities that the job throws up in terms of transformation. Then the planning element – working with clients and architects to form something concrete out of our collective ideas. I love the way that ideas change over the course of the planning and build, and always try to embrace any changes that come up. There is always something unexpected! Handing the house over to a happy client is a very good feeling after many months of work, as is styling and photographing it right at the end. It is so lovely to have photographs of the project that reflect the owner and how they live in their new home.

Image: Imperfect Interiors

Image: Imperfect Interiors
Image: Imperfect Interiors

How does lighting play a part in your interiors?

Lighting is crucial and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated: bad lighting will ruin an otherwise beautiful room. I always try to limit overhead lighting to one dramatic pendant, and then add in several floor and table lamps where they are required, as these create atmosphere and warmth. I always consider the type of light that the fittings will provide too – directional overhead lighting can be quite unflattering and hard so I encourage clients to have pendants that create a warm glow instead. Brass fittings always add a lovely glow when lit, and the colour, fabric and type of linings in lampshades make a big difference to the light that they emit. It’s always good to see how they look when lit, and Pooky allow you to do this on their website which is such a great idea.

Which recent projects are you particularly proud of?

I have a few favourites! The Barnes Family Home had grand proportions and lots of original features, so it was a joy being able to decorate that in a relaxed but elegant style. I recently finished the Victorian Family Home, which involved transforming a previously tired house with contemporary finishes and lots of bold colour, whilst maintaining the original period details. And I did really enjoy converting our house from a Victorian Dairy into our family home as we had a totally blank canvas (see below). Grand Designs filmed the transformation which added additional pressure, but it did mean that it was finished on time and on budget! You can see all of these projects on my website, and the Pooky lights that were used.

Image: Imperfect Interiors

Do you have a particular favourite corner or room (in your home or anywhere) that you feel is 'all your own'? Or do you have any tips for creating a 'cosy' space?

I have a pair of Drax lights in my bedroom – one on each bedside table – and they cast the perfect glow for reading at night. They sit next to several pieces of art that my son has made, a pile of unread magazines and often a small vase of flowers – and if I am lucky, a cup of tea! This is my favourite spot at the weekend, as I can lie in bed listening to the radio and catching up on reading.

Finally, do you have a favourite Pooky light (and if so, why that one?)

I really love the Trafalgar – it is so elegant and understated but with a touch of glamour. The smaller version is perfect for bedside tables, consoles and sideboards, and the larger floor lamp is great in a living room or a bedroom. I have used them in the Antique Bronze and Brass versions and love them both equally!

You can see more of Beth’s portfolio at the Imperfect Interiors website and follow her on Instagram. Photo credits: Interior shots by Chris Snook. Portait of Beth by Rachael Smith.