Originally from Canada, Sean Symington combines tutoring at the British Academy of Interior Design with creating stunning interiors for clients through his boutique practice in Bath, which offers everything from home staging to full architectural redesigns.
We chat to Sean about his background in design, his inspirations and his love for interiors that ‘don’t take themselves too seriously’...
Tell us about your background … How did you get started in interior design?
I am quite fortunate in that I always knew that I wanted to pursue interior design. As a child I spent my time on activities like rearranging furniture, stapling fabric to the ceiling and scouring flea markets (a stark contrast from sports and video games like my peers!).
I am originally from Canada and went to Ryerson University School of Interior Design in Toronto. After a couple of years dabbling in the design scene in Toronto, I moved to the UK where I worked for a London-based interior designer before starting my own firm. We now work on a multitude of projects with an emphasis on fun residential work.
How would you describe your interior design style or ethos?
I strongly believe that you can make anything work if you truly love it. I think a home should be a reflection of the people who live within it. This may sound cliché, but I think it is so true! In my opinion, the chicest interiors are the ones that don’t take themselves too seriously and are collected and eclectic.
In addition to this, we love using colour and pattern in every interior we do. This could be a muted palette of pale blues and earthy greens or it could be punchy jewel tones with an infusion of leopard print! It doesn’t matter as long as there are patterns and colours at play creating visual interest and whimsy.
What inspires you when it comes to interiors?
I think the greatest source of inspiration for our work comes from things like art and fashion. We absolutely love textiles and a lot of our design direction is derived from the fabrics we use. For example, we may build a whole scheme around a gorgeous print by incorporating all of the colours in the fabric within our interior. The same can be said for a piece of art. There is so much inspiration that can come from a fabulous oil painting.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
I love that every client and project brief is different. This means that no day is the same and we get to express ourselves through different schemes. Dark and moody one day, light and fresh the next!
How does lighting play a part in your interiors?
Lighting plays an integral role in our interiors. We always use multiple levels of lighting in every space we design. In my opinion, it is important that every room has its own lighting identity in order to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Any top lighting tips you’d like to share?
Ditch the downlight! Our favourite way to light a room is with a lot of low level lighting in the form of table lamps. I feel that table lamps give off the most flattering light and there is nothing cosier than turning off downlights and relying on the glow from low level lighting with pretty gathered shades in the evening.
Finally, do you have a favourite Pooky light (and if so, why that one?)
It is so hard to choose our favourite Pooky light. As much as we love the lighting, we also love to incorporate a Pooky shade into our interiors as they bring in another fun print and often add the needed layer of whimsy to our schemes. Choosing a specific light would be challenging as we have used so many… I am a big fan of the Nellie table lamp for its scale, gloss and pop of colour!