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Designer Interview | Anne Haimes

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Designer Interview | Anne Haimes

Here at the British Style Society we love sharing our insights to the creative industry incorporating all aspects of design and innovation. Recently Editor Natasha had the pleasure to talk to interior designer Anne Haimes on her love of creating a unique space and experimenting with texture and fabric.

Anne is an entrepreneur and runs her own interior design business in Henley-on-Thames. She has worked in the industry for over twenty-six years on a variety of impressive and challenging projects, across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Anne’s business mantra is ‘not to overcomplicate things’ and with her passion stemming from a young age, Anne has shared her love of interiors and inspires her creations.

Anne, please give us a little insight into your creative background.

I’ve been working in the industry ever since leaving college and have been working on interior design projects for over twenty-six years. I now run my own business and retail shop based in Henley-on-Thames and manage projects across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.  I love what I do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Who was your influence when you discovered interior design?

I’m the daughter of an architect and some of my earliest memories are of when my family and I lived on a massive project when I was very young. I think living in such a creative environment is what influenced me the most initially. My mother talks about putting me to bed and coming upstairs to wake me in the morning and finding I had moved all my bedroom furniture around! Looking back, in some ways it was probably the only destiny for me.

What have been your key inspirations for your design and concepts?

I moved to Madrid for two years when my husband was posted there for his job. My clients there were very open to using colour in their homes, but on moving back to Henley I found I’d arrived in the midst of a beige and cream trend. My experiences abroad enabled me to consult clients in the UK more confidently about using more colour across their homes and I love it when I see more people willing to experiment with these less conventional ideas because they trust my consultation and expertise. In terms of industry influences, Kit Kemp (co-founder and design director of boutique hotel brand Firmdale Hotels) is probably one of the designers I most admire. She is a fantastic ambassador for bringing colour back into design and has shown people through her hotels how colour can really lift an interior.

Describe your ideal space and interiors that have really impressed you.

I don’t have a particular favourite room when it comes to interior design, but I do enjoy working on flowing areas and I love doing conversions and bringing an old property back to life.

Are there enough opportunities for emerging designers to showcase their designs and enter this competitive industry?

Universities hold excellent degree shows and send invites to companies within the industry allowing heads of companies to see the work of talented young designers. This is an excellent way for junior designers to connect with the industry and find employment.  Also with the internet and social media, especially Instagram I think there are lots of opportunities for young designers to get their work out there.

anne haimes interior designer

What has been your most memorable success to date?

It’s hard to pin-point one main moment, as every project, once completed, feels like such a huge achievement that it’s difficult to pick a favourite! I do however, always feel proud when the team excels against the odds when it comes to tight deadlines. I recently worked on a project, where I had just under two weeks to strip and fit out a project right down to the dressing. This was made more complicated as it was a long-distance project as well. It was a complete whirlwind, but I made sure I worked closely with all the parties involved and it was a fantastic success! On a more personal note, getting a particularly cautious client to trust your advice and consultation is also highly rewarding.

On a personal note, how would you describe your style?

I would say my style is quite transitional, as I love to experiment by using traditional fabrics and design concepts in a contemporary way. This is also becoming more popular amongst clients, as it enables someone to incorporate key colours into their homes in a way that will bring in a much softer look. My business mantra is ‘not to overcomplicate things’ and I think this translates across into my design style as well.  I am a big believer in working with the fabric of a building and making the most of an existing foundation. I always explain this to my clients and try to breakdown their projects to make them as simple and as manageable as possible.

Do you have any advice for designers entering this industry?

anne haimes interior designer
Anne Haimes

Enjoy your work, be prepared to work hard and have fun. Don’t be afraid to break some boundaries, as design is ever changing and evolving, but make sure to listen to the brief and understand your client as well.

Do you recommend any key resources for budding interior designers (websites, magazines, books etc.)

Inspiration is everywhere, whether it be in architecture, the city or countryside, film or theatre, keep your eyes open.  Also look to the past, as there are some amazing designers in history. I particularly like some of the French design publications – I love the way the French add humour to their designs.

In your opinion is design an art or a science?

In my heart I want to say it’s an art, but in reality I have to admit it is a combination of the two.  The initial ideas, the concept is where the art comes in, but good interior design also involves functionality as well and this would be where the science comes in.

We’d like to thank Anne for sharing her love of interior design and helpful insights into the creative industry.

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