Q&A with Lucy Clark

Studio Clark & Co

We love following the interior design work by Studio Clark & Co on instagram which was founded by the very talented Lucy Clark so we are thrilled to share this insight into her company, design inspiration and interiors project here on the H|M blog…

Where did your love of art and design begin and what led you to become an interior designer?

As a child, I was always drawn to colour, texture and light which led me to spending many hours in the art studio during my GSCE and A-levels. I then went on to study History of Art at Leeds University and was lucky enough to gain work experience placements with Guy Oliver at Oliver Laws Ltd, London W1 and with the Editorial Team at Homes and Gardens magazine.

After finishing my degree, I was offered a Design Assistant role at Oliver Laws working on prestigious projects including the renovation and refurbishment of The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. This proved invaluable but I felt that in order to progress my career, I needed to take a year out to gain my professional interior design qualifications so I studied at the Interior Design School in Queens Park (where I now lecture occasionally) and subsequently was able to bag my dream job working for Todhunter Earl Interiors.

Can you describe what a typical week at work would entail for you?

Goodness… where do I start! On a Monday, I like to get a head start on the week checking emails, my teams’ work and sending out ‘to do’ lists.

This Tuesday morning, I met my new clients at their house in Pimlico and introduced the builder and AV specialist while walking round the site, going through the clients’ brief to ensure we are prepped and ready to start the concept design next month. Alongside this, I was setting up meetings with building control, party wall surveyor and M&E consultant. I then called in to De Gournay to collect a sample wallpaper panel for a client meeting at my West Sussex project. I love driving in between meetings as it gives me time to think or just to blast terrible music without my children asking for baby shark to be played on repeat! At my West Sussex project we met with the client, project manager, architect and M&E consultant, went through the tender return and fine-tuned any outstanding interior architecture elements to the project. I then showed my client the De Gournay sample which she loved alongside the schemes.

Then it was time to collect my children, read stories and put them to bed. Afterwards, I briefly switched my computer on to follow up the meetings from the day.

Wednesday I headed to the airport to fly to Cyprus to check out a new project for a repeat client and worked on the plane (with a cheeky glass of wine).

Thursday I met with the client’s representative, property manager and builder, walked round the house and then called the client to go through her brief and discuss initial ideas. Heading back to my hotel room, I took a conference call with my West Sussex client finalising the kitchen, utility and FF & E designs.

Friday involved time spent writing up notes before catching a plane home.

Designing a client’s home is an individual process, how do you interpret their ideas and turn them into reality?

Essentially, my clients are my inspiration; together with, of course, the internal and external architecture and history of the property itself. As you can see from the select projects on our website, we intentionally do not have a ‘house’ style because we very much design to our client’s brief, advising what is/isn’t feasible alongside a team of consultants. I am currently working for some delightful clients including on a beautiful house in West Sussex. They have a wonderful art and antiques collection, are super organised with Pinterest boards which have definitely been my starting point as well as understanding their cultural backgrounds. They have challenged me with budgets and differing design styles which we have successfully fused together and we are nearing completion of the detailed design stage.

We love the perfect balance of materials, colours and textures in your projects – each one is so individual. Can you tell us more about the process at Studio Clark & Co to create this flawless interior design?

That is so lovely to hear. Thank you. We have a very structured design process whereby it is crucial to have attention to detail at all times and be super organised. Fundamentally you have to understand and relate to your clients and truly understand what they are hoping to achieve. We begin with a face to face meeting, present our portfolio and the design process and then take a brief walk around the property. It is always useful to have a starting point whether it be artwork, antiques, period details to the property or an inspirational image the client has found. Being a people person, I love involving my clients in the design process so there are no hidden surprises at the end. During the concept design development, we put together concept images, sketches, indicative FF&E ideas and finishes alongside interior architecture and furniture layouts. Once this is signed off, we develop the designs into more detailed sketches, plans and elevations alongside detailed schedules and scope of works ready to go to tender.

For the FF&E, we put together ‘loose’ fabric trays and furniture presentations which we finalise into an itemised estimate. Once everything is signed off the build commences. We are very hands on with site monitoring building works alongside ordering all the FF&E items. A lot of my clients live abroad so it is important they get monthly updates on site. Whilst joinery and furniture are in production we check production to ensure there are no surprises during the installation.

We know from experience how complicated installations can be, how do you manage that part of the process for your clients?

We tend to put all furniture into storage now. We use a specialist company who provide an ‘I-live’ inventory and check in all furniture. This then enables us to visit storage, meticulously check all pieces and if there are any problems return them to the supplier for replacement in good time before the installation.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of embarking on a re-design of a home?

Good communication with everyone involved is essential, backed by a good team and excellent builder.

What can we expect to see from Studio Clark & Co later into 2019 – any exciting projects completing soon?

I have been working on the interior styling of Chris Beardshaw’s Morgan Stanley Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 which debuts on May 20th. It is the second year I have helped Chris and feel so incredibly honoured.

In June, we complete a 2-year renovation of a family home in Wimbledon Village and August will see my West Sussex project finished.

To see more of Studio Clark & Co’s work or to find out more visit the website here.

Images: Studio Clark & Co