Our interview with interior designer Susie Atkinson…
Based in London, Susie Atkinson and her team have a built a reputation for creating stunning, bespoke interiors for residential and commercial clients at home and abroad.
Here’s our Q&A...
How did you get started in interior design?
I have always been interested in interiors. From the age of five I was always changing my bedroom around. In my twenties I did the Inchbald Interior Design course which I really enjoyed and after that got a job with the talented Chester Jones for a couple of years until I decided to start doing interior design on my own in 1998. I started setting up my own company from my kitchen table and from there, over time, it has grown organically into what it is today.
How would you describe your interior design style?
I want to create environments that people want to spend time in and feel comfortable in. Understanding the client’s dreams and aspirations, and collaborating with them to create interiors that are individual and bespoke, is at the heart of my design philosophy. I love mixing colours, patterns and textures together and try to use as many up-and-coming designers and talents as possible.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspiration from being out and about - sourcing and looking for inspiration from antiques dealers, galleries, exhibitions, students, fairs and travels. This summer I spent some time in Greece and Spain where I found some beautiful ceramics and woven linens – there is nothing more exciting than discovering a new craftsmaker or designer that you didn’t previously know about.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
I most enjoy discovering new craftsmen and furniture or lighting designers. Instagram is a great place to find this, but also fairs and student exhibitions. I also like that no two days are the same in my job. I can be on site, at the upholsterers, in an artist studio, or in the office with my team – it is a very diverse job in that sense.
How does lighting play a part in your interiors?
Lighting is a significant part in any interiors. To have the correct lighting is very important when it comes to high-lighting a particular object in a room. It is also very important from a decorative perspective. I particularly like wall lights and swing arm wall lights to light up a shady corner, a nice piece of furniture or sculpture.
Which recent projects are you particularly proud of?
I am proud of all projects that I do but to choose from a few recent ones I would probably say the Pavilion Suite at Lime Wood Hotel, for which we won the Homes & Gardens Design Awards for Best Commercial Project. I’m also proud of a 1930s motor yacht that we recently finished as it was my first ever interior design project I have done on a boat. This summer we finished a contemporary, lateral apartment in central London with lots of sculptural furniture to compliment the client's wonderful art collection. Finally we have been working on a project in the Caribbean which has been very exciting.
Do you have a particular favourite corner or room that you feel is 'all your own'? Or do you have any tips for creating a 'cosy' space?
I have a cosy room in my house, it’s a snug with tongue and grove panelling and a recess sofa in an alcove with a pair of swing arm wall lights either side. A tips that I would give to anyone wanting to create a little tranquil corner would be to use warm tones, layer different textures and use some interesting lighting, and ideally a fireplace.
Finally, do you have a favourite Pooky light?
We use Pooky lights quite a lot in different projects. I particularly like the Mcatty and the Mcmegan pendants because they have a cool and contemporary look and would be perfect to use over an island unit or in the corner of a room, above an armchair. The Hania pendants are also very useful lights as they are timeless in their design. For table lamps I really like the large Wisteria table lamp base in clear glass.