Designed by Woulfe is an interior design studio, founded by Brian Woulfe in 2008. The studio specialises in the seamless delivery of bespoke interior design solutions. The studio has undertaken projects in the UK, US and Asia Pacific regions and takes a ‘Ground Up’ design approach.
Woulfe and his team are skilled at bringing a fresh eye to design, achieved through relationships with skilled artisans, craftsmen and a vital understanding of the international property markets. Woulfe, himself, is committed to full project management and takes a hands-on approach, working closely with each client to aid with property sourcing, project management, bespoke commissions and beyond. We caught up with Brian to find out…
What is your background and why did you decide to set up your own interior design practice?
I started my career as a concert pianist but in the end, I ditched Handel for houses! In many ways, the skills I learned from my previous profession have stuck with me today as an interior designer. The discipline, focus and patience required for both careers overlap significantly. I noticed that there was a niche to fill overseas. Western ex-pats were looking to employ an interior designer that could understand and execute their British or European style in places like the US, Australia and South-East Asia. I was prepared to travel and spend lots of time abroad – this wanderlust worked in my favour and I was hired by some great clients who I still keep in touch with.
Can you describe a typical day in the life of what you do?
I like to be up and ready to go by 7am before the emails start coming in from suppliers and clients all over the world. I love the rush it gives me, but it’s necessary to factor in some down time too. I’ll take my Chow Chow for a walk before sitting down in my home office to start planning and organising. From sourcing a counter top from Italy for a project in the States to putting together a new client pitch, I’ll always have a cappuccino close by. I’ll visit showrooms to specify the latest designs and get inspiration, and meet with my lovely PR team to discuss new strategies. When I’m not at home in London, I travel a lot for site visits and supplier meetings. It’s an exciting time for me, and I’m rarely in the same country for a fortnight!
What’s your dream project/ client?
My dream project would be to work on the White House. I watch so many political box sets which portray this iconic building through endless dreary, muted and dated interiors. I am just dying to get my hands on those rooms and liven them up. That said, I think there may be a creative clash between myself and the current occupant…
We understand you take a ‘Ground Up’ approach to a new project, what does this involve?
It’s a literal phrase, which means a huge amount of project management, procurement, and finishing for turn-key projects. Lots of detailed planning takes place before I focus on fabrics or finishes. I work closely with all my clients to understand their goals, objectives and wish lists. Then begins the planning stage – how to use the space and sorting out tendering contracts. There is much more paperwork involved in the life of an interior designer than we usually care to mention.
What is your favourite part of the design process?
I love continuously building relationships with clients and suppliers whose work I love and respect. Each project is different, meaning that I get to meet a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds. Hearing their stories and getting inspiration from their skills, ideas and knowledge is something that I relish.
Aside from the skilled manufacturers and craftspeople I have connected with over the years, I now count most of my clients as good friends too and I love that.
What would you say is most on trend in interior design right now?
Colour, and lots of it. Gone are the days of monochrome monotony. Instead, patterns and splashes of bold primary colours and palettes based on complementary colours are everywhere!
That said, I do not always go with what’s on trend. After all, trend is in itself an ephemeral thing, I want my projects to stand the test of time. These spaces need to be lived in for years, not months!
What are your most loved interior design brands? What’s your favourite interiors store either in the UK or worldwide?
I do not have a favourite store but I think any of the flagship Restoration Hardware stores in the US are fantastic. They are not only architecturally stunning but impeccably presented and awash with treasures for me to take home and incorporate into our projects!
What’s next for Designed by Woulfe?
Since being listed as one of the top 100 interior designers in the most recent annual Andrew Martin Interior Design Review, my year has been an exciting one. I have lots in the pipeline regarding my international portfolio, but I am currently enjoying developing my list of projects in prime residential locations across London. The London property market is fascinating, ever-changing and a brilliant space in which to work. There are so many challenges to consider and the competition ensures that any project in London will keep me on my toes!
For more information and to see the rest of the Designed by Woulfe portfolio please click here.