Award-Winning Interior Designer's Passion Project.
St Kilda, EAST VIC
At Turner Hastings we believe interior design can both be beautiful and approachable. If you’re taking this new found extra time spent at home as an opportunity to start planning a home makeover or future renovation we have asked Interior Designer Nicole Chapman, founder of Empire Interiors to share with us where she finds inspiration and advice when planning a renovation.
We first met with Nicole at her St Kilda East project, to discuss her inspiration behind the design of this home in St Kilda East, VIC. This stunning home has also been featured on Open Homes Australia episode 9.
What inspires you? Where do you find inspiration going into a project?
I love authentic materiality so I often derive inspiration from nature. I think in some part, an interior should mimic the natural environment from which we came. Nature was our original home and I think deep inside us all is that ancient memory of being so connected to the natural world. For me it is important to reflect that in modern design.
Who have been some of your most pivotal interior design influences?
My design instinct comes from my childhood spent in the country and my English heritage for the most part, so I love British designers such as Humphrey Munson.
What do you think the next big trend is for interior design?
Quality over quantity. At least I hope so. In these unique times of COVID19 the importance of home as our sanctuary, our sacred space of retreat has never been more apparent. I think having a home that is small yet beautiful is better than having a 50 square monster home with no real soul.
What are some common misconception clients may have about hiring an interior designer before they first book your services? How do you overcome that?
I think people often think that hiring a designer means everything on the project will cost more when in some case, with our studio definitely, we try and find solutions that meeting the design needs and that also reflect a client’s budget. I always say it’s like having a great pair of designer shoes and a cheap white t-shirt”. You choose those hero items to splurge and then get creative on the rest. It’s part of the fun for us at Empire.
Do you have any tips or helpful advice on the planning process of a renovation or a new build?
Double your timeline and triple your budget to avoid being disappointed. I’m kidding. For me, the most important thing is to have all of the details and selections documented before the project even begins. Making decisions along the way and leaving grey areas for trades to interpret is a recipe for cost blow outs and delays.
What is an essential statement piece we should all have in our kitchen?
You have to have that one star of the show. That can be anything from a natural stone benchtop, a unique tile or a statement sink like a butler sink. We often use farmhouse sinks or butlers sinks to create that moment in our designs.
Which Turner Hastings products have you found most valuable in your projects so far?
For me it’s the Novi butlers sink. I think we have used them in over 10 projects alone in the last 6 months. They meet the balance between function and form so perfectly.
What is your favourite project to date and why?
I often get asked this and the answer is always the same. My favorite project is the project I am working on at the time. It means it is a reflection of my design style, inspirations, focus and passion in the here and now. Being an interior designer means your art doesn’t make it to the canvas for years sometimes. In that time between concept and built, you evolve and grow as an artist so it is the current design that takes the stage of favourite.
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