An Interview with Carol Maxwell Did you know maximalist art works great in kids' rooms? We did and we've picked Carol's brain to prove it. With colour being the theme of Issue 13, as soon as we saw Max Made Me's wallpaper launch we knew we had to interview Carol...
Room To Bloom Creator
Rooomy meets Ursula Wesselingh,
Kid’s Interior Designer
Rachel Burns speaks to Ursula about her signature style for kid’s interiors
and how Dutch design differs to British.
RB – Ursula, when did your love of interior design begin?
UW – I’ve always been intrigued by people’s homes, and as a child I had strong ideas about what my room should look like. Professionally, I entered interior design about 15 years ago or so. Following a redundancy, I enrolled in an interior design course and before the year was over, I was offered a job at an architectural practice. It felt like coming home and I’ve never looked back.
RB – We share the same view that children’s bedrooms are a huge part of their childhood/world. What was yours like? And how has this affected the work you do today?
UW – My bedroom was hugely important to me. It was located on the top floor of our farm, overlooking the garden. I have fond memories of a blue and white scheme that I created with the help of my mum. We found a “white” (cream) carpet offcut, some blue and white fabric that my mum made into curtains (I still have them), and blue and white wallpaper. We then also painted my bed and drawers blue. Finally, with some tractor paint that I’d found in one of our barns, I painted all my knick-knacks that didn’t fit the scheme blue… matchy-matchy.
I suspect that through my work, I recreate my childhood in some way. Style wise, my work has a modern rustic undertone, which probably goes back to growing up on a farm.
RB – How do children’s interiors in the UK differ compared to the Netherlands?
UW – In the Netherlands, kids’ rooms get quite a lot of attention – parents put a considerable amount of effort into making their children’s rooms look beautiful, and there is a wide choice of stylish and affordable furniture and decor available. To illustrate the point, Dutch interiors magazines always feature a few photos of the children’s rooms alongside the rest of the house – something you still see very little of in the UK, though now there’s Rooomy!
RB – Do you think there are some discernible differences when approaching the design of a kid’s room compared to the rest of the house?
UW – Hmm, “no” is the short answer. I mean, designing a kitchen or bathroom is very different to designing a child’s room from a technical point of view, but all the same elements are there: analysing the opportunities and limitations of a space in relation to the objectives, and coming up with solutions to achieve those – through the use of light, colour, finishes, space planning, etc.
RB – What’s been your favourite project to work on?
UW – Haha, that’s a tricky one to answer – I’ve enjoyed working on so many. I guess generally speaking my favourite projects are for clients who are fans of my signature style – the ones who phone up and say “I love what you do, please come and sort my children’s rooms out!” I really like the collaborative process and it’s just much easier and enjoyable when you are on the same wave length.
RB – Who or what are some of your design inspirations when thinking about kid’s rooms?
UW – I’m generally attracted by Scandinavian and French inspired styles, a mix of simplicity, period details, pretty pattern and subdued colours.
RB – Where are you continuously drawn to for its beautiful interior?
UW – Not one place really… I am very happy to stay in well-designed hotels, and can spend hours analysing why things were done in a certain way – to great amusement of my partner.
RB – Your style is calm, soft and comforting, what has influenced this most?
UW – It’s hard to say really, it’s just what I do. I think calm and comfort are a good base for kids to venture out from, and come back to.
RB – How do you feel about bold vibrant rooms? Do you ever have to turn down projects because clients taste is too different to your approach?
UW – I don’t dig bold and vibrant rooms at all, I just couldn’t handle staying in one myself. Luckily I tend to attract clients who love my style, so I don’t have to turn projects down on that basis.
RB – What is your dream project?
UW – I’ve seen this very small room in a church that is being used for a play group – a beautiful, tall space full of character that is wildly let down by the decor and furniture in there. I’m itching to turn that into a beautiful place to play.
RB – What mistakes do you think parents are regularly making when decorating their kids’ rooms?
UW – Playing it too safe. I think it pays off to do something special, to go out of your way to create something beautiful and memorable. That doesn’t have to cost lots of money – imagination and attention go a long way.
RB – What most excites you about your future?
UW – Continuing to attract clients who love my style, keep growing as a designer, and who knows, develop my own line of children’s décor.
An Interview with Elisha Utley Interiors lover Elisha Utley, Cover Girl for Homestyle Magazine, shares her daughters Number 1 Rainbow Room. As research was taking place for Rooomy's colourful Issue 13, this rainbow room appeared and I needed to know more about...
Introducing New Rooomy Contributor Justine Hodgson-Barker Everything you need to know about Barker Design, where the human experience is at the heart of every design RB – What do you enjoy most about designing kid’s rooms? BD – The fun and creative process of it...