Meet the interior designer – Verity Coleman of Rascal & Roses

Our interview with rising interior design star Verity Coleman...

Based in London and Herefordshire, Rascal & Roses is an interior design studio led by rising star Verity Coleman (you may have recently caught her on the BBC show Interior Design Masters). We talked to Verity about inspiration, using Pooky lights and what it’s like to style a room in front of the TV cameras…

How did you get started in interior design?

My business began in 2013 while I was on maternity leave, as an incredibly small venture of painting, upcycling furniture and a blog. My offering soon expanded to hand-made lampshades and soft furnishings and incoming queries began to stretch to other areas of interior design. My first interior design project came eight months after I started and my business has grown organically ever since. Growing up in a creative family, coupled with my 11 years as an Army Officer, has culminated in my being a solution-orientated designer with a passion for colour, pattern and statement interiors.

How would you describe your interior design style?

I have a natural lean towards traditional country style to which I add an elegant, contemporary and rich mix. I am passionate about colour, pattern and statement pieces and I thrive in quirky, period properties with loads of character, stunning original features and tricky spaces.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I really admire the work of British interior designers. I love the current cohort of designers who bring traditional interior styles bang up to date. I love the work of so many talents but my top few must be: Ben Pentreath, Rita Konig, Todhunter Earl, Emma Sims Hildich, Martin Brudnizki, Robert Kime, Turner Pocock and and my all-time favourite interior designer is Kit Kemp. It sounds a cliché, but I really do find inspiration in everyday life. Living in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside is definitely good for the soul and being able to bring the joy of the outside in, is a major part of Interior Design. I also find myself taking ideas from the most random things, like old paint work on the side of a client’s building or tiles from the underground station or street art on disused rail hoardings. I think when you design, you can’t help but notice everything around you.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

I love to give my clients the confidence to explore colour and texture, be it in their homes or their commercial ventures. From a client’s first idea or vision to finishing their project and the journey in between is always such a rewarding experience. I find working collaboratively with the clients from start to finish really does yield the best results and creates the most beautiful spaces both in look and feel.

We’ve enjoyed watching you work your magic on the BBC’s Interior Design Masters. How did that happen - and what was it like to be on the show?

We were filming within four weeks of the production company asking me, out of the blue, to participate and it was without a doubt the craziest experience of my life. The filming days were very long and we filmed one week on, one week off, from May through to September last year. It was great travelling around the country for the different challenges and I met some wonderful people – not just the other contestants - but some brilliant people behind the cameras as well. The editing only shows very small snippets of each challenge (every hour of filming generally ends up being one minute of the show), but it really was a great experience. As a TV show there is much more to it than the interior design aspect of the programme so I am glad that ‘in the real world’ I have more than a few days to create a design, realistic budgets, site surveys and of course I get to meet our clients and work with them throughout their projects!

How does lighting play a part in your interiors?

Lighting is a really crucial part of interiors. It has a huge effect on how different colours and textures will play out in a room and is therefore integral to the design. Being able to use interesting and exciting pieces within our designs really helps add extra depth to a room. A tip we have always followed is to use lighting at different heights throughout a room (table lamps, standard lamps, down lighters and ceiling lighting) to create a different feel depending on the time of day. Having a variety of options is therefore key and I think typically people don’t add enough lighting variety to their home and it really is so important to how a room feels.

Which recent projects are you particularly proud of?

I really enjoy working with clients and bringing life to their homes. For me, the closer I can work with the homeowners to turn their dreams into reality, the better the project is. Last year I worked on a family home in Surrey which had a tight turnaround time. Being involved from the start meant we could add real value and we delivered a home to our clients that is not only unique and beautiful, but one where the interior truly reflects the family. I also thoroughly enjoyed working on our school boarding house project (see pictures below). This was the dream job for me – a contemporary country style brief for a period property. We drew on our residential design experience, with the added rigour of a commercial brief and all of the nuances that come with working on a large project such as working with lots of trades, a contractor and architect. Seeing the finished boarding house full of pupils enjoying their new surroundings was definitely a career highlight for me.

Do you have a particular favourite corner that you feel is 'all your own'? Or do you have any tips for creating a 'cosy' space?

Our house needed to have a good space for hosting as we always have lots of people visiting, so flexibility and comfort was a priority within the stylish space I wanted to design. To do this, I had to find a way to incorporate the many different pieces we have collected over the last decade, each of which has meaning to us, while maintaining some semblance of togetherness within our large downstairs space. Nothing matches so the trick to making them work together is to try and thread some continuity in points of reference into the room which I have done through accessories and more crucially colour. As we are currently renting, I haven’t been able to fully decorate but I have painted a couple of the walls and have ensured that new lighting, accessories and newly upholstered pieces fitted into the mix match approach. My aim was to create a very warm, welcoming and relaxing space that people can sit down in, enjoy a cup of tea, without worrying if their children or dogs will spoil the décor. We are also lucky to have oak floorboards throughout the downstairs with lots of antique rugs, which really do allow for a multitude of sins!

Finally, do you have a favourite Pooky light?

The best thing about sourcing Pooky lighting for clients is the range of colours available in the different styles – it really is my go-to place when looking for something to really lift a room. Table lamps, for me, are always a winner and I found it impossible to narrow down one favourite, so have chosen two: The Crescent table lamp in white – a hugely versatile and stunning piece in its own right that really adds a touch of unstated glamour to any space. I personally style them as a pair on a console table. And my other is the large Artur (any of the colourways but my current favourite is the leaf). This is lovely and adds a bit of fun to a scheme and because of the size you don’t have to pair them which can make them really great for using in a sitting room to add colour and interest without restricting the layout of the room.

Artur with Ikat shade as styled by Verity

Check out Pooky's range of Ikat linen lampshades - as styled by Verity in many of the pictures above - here. You can see more of Verity’s work on the Rascal & Roses website here, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And you can browse more Q&As with the UK’s top interior designers on our blog. Images copyright Verity Coleman.