Caroline Riddell Interiors is known for her charming and relaxed interior design style. After studying fine art at City and Guilds, Caroline began a career in interior design that has been recently named as one of House & Garden’s top 100 leading designers of 2018. Working on a range of different projects both in the UK and overseas, we recently caught up with Caroline to discover what inspires her designs.
After studying fine arts at City and Guilds why did you decide to set up Caroline Riddell Interiors?
I didn’t go into it straight away, my formal training was in Millinery where I discovered my love of textiles. After doing up my first home I was approached by House & Garden who wanted to feature it and I was then contacted by future clients that way.
What would you describe as a typical day in the life of what you do?
Due to my personal approach to my work with my clients, I spend a lot of time with them. There is no ‘typical day’ as all projects and clients vary, but the day is always busy. Currently I spend a day a week down in Berkshire on site at a huge Manor House project. This can involve liaising with architects and contractors and of course lots of decision making with the client so that the team can be getting on with the sourcing and ordering. I may also find myself flying out to Geneva where we are working on a client’s Lake Side House.
One of your defining characteristics is that you use a combination of old and new in your designs. What tips do you have for someone trying to achieve this is in their project?
Don’t be afraid to try everything and put things together. I have a love of antiques, but I do like to mix things up.
What would you say is your favourite part of the design process? Has this changed over the years?
I love sourcing unusual objects and textiles. Recently while visiting Maison d’objet in Paris, I was also sourcing lights. We found some wonderful things. Unique, but perfect for one of our clients projects.
Your husband James has a building company – Labatt Construction – has / do your two companies ever work on projects together?
Yes we have occasionally. We worked together on a Grade II listed Belgravia townhouse. It worked very well as the brief required us to re install many of the original features which had been removed by the previous owners.
As no two projects are the same, how do you and your team begin the design process with a new client? Does it differ in the UK to projects abroad?
In the UK I will have an initial meeting with the client to get a clear understanding of their brief, how they live and to whether they prefer a formal or informal look. I also try to understand their family requirements.
The most important aspects of the process is unlocking their personal style, we endeavour to make homes aesthetically pleasing but also warm, comfortable and familiar. We schedule sufficient meetings to determine the functionality of the property i.e. how the client envisages themselves living within the space, how they intend to use the space, their goals and overall budget. Abroad, it is pretty much the same!
Your stunning portfolio is full of spaces that are full colour and character but retain a soft, uncluttered and welcoming feel. How do you achieve this specific design aesthetic?
I enjoy working closely with the client to create a space that is charming and warm, elegant but not too precious. I have an open and honest approach to design, creating homes for my clients that are both comfortable and familiar.
It must have been exciting to be named as one of House & Garden’s top 100 leading designers for 2018. What’s next on the horizon for Caroline Riddell Interiors?
Yes, it’s fantastic to be included along so many other great designers. We have some exciting projects in the pipeline and I’m hoping to work on some collaborations in the future, a range of furniture or a collection of pieces that I have found and love perhaps.
To find out more about Caroline Riddell Interiors and view the full portfolio visit the website here.
Images kindly supplied by Caroline Riddell interiors – credited to Landers Photography.