Everything You Need To Know About Barker Design

by | Mar 11, 2021

 

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

Justine Hodgson-Barker of Barker Design Rooomy Magazine contributor

RB – What do you enjoy most about designing kid’s rooms?

BD – The fun and creative process of it all. But mostly seeing their little faces when you’ve given them a space of their very own, a sanctuary for them to escape that totally different from the rest of the house. 

RB – What is your number 1 must when it comes to kid’s rooms?

BD – Other than storage? Zones for work, rest and play!  Something that’s been even more essential during lockdown.

RB – Our readers are always stressing over storage in their kid’s rooms.  What are your top tips?

BD – Give them a room to grow into. Give them a dedicated space for their collections for instance, as this will change. Then, in terms of where to splurge and save, splurge on lighting, hard-wearing flooring and furniture but save on the accessories as these are usually trend led or age specific.    

Barker Design
Everything you need to know about barker design

RB – What do you enjoy most about designing kid’s rooms?

BD – The fun and creative process of it all. But mostly seeing their little faces when you’ve given them a space of their very own, a sanctuary for them to escape that totally different from the rest of the house. 

RB – What is your number 1 must when it comes to kid’s rooms?

BD – Other than storage? Zone for work, rest and play! Something that’s been even more essential during lockdown.

RB – Our readers are always stressing over storage in their kid’s rooms.  What are your top tips?

BD – Give them a room to grow into. Give them a dedicated space for their collections for instance, as this will change. Then, in terms of where to splurge and save, splurge on lighting, hard-wearing flooring and furniture but save on the accessories as these are usually trend led or age specific.    

Moodboard by Barker Design

RB – Do you interview your small clients?  How do you involve them in the process? Any key questions you ask them?

BD – Yes absolutely. I mainly keep it visual based as it’s more fun – so I get them to do their own Pinterest page. Then the kind of questions I do ask are all about them and their hobbies.

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?

BD – Yes definitely. Don’t treat the kids rooms with the same design direction as the rest of the house. Whist there should be some cohesiveness –  these rooms should be just as individual as the grown up room. So dial up the fun!

RB – Do you have any rules when it comes to design?

BD – Subject to lockdown, always meeting the client and seeing the property in person. I know there’s a lot of e-design around and I think there’s a big market for that. But we spend so much time in our homes nothing beats the empathy you gain from truly understanding your client and studying the bones of the property, it’s period and it’s location. Makes for a much more fitting and unique design. After all, our homes are an extension and expression of ourselves!

RB – What have been some of your favourite projects.

BD – The huge Decimus Burton Villa that landed me in Living etc (personal career goal!). But mainly the free reign I had with working with that client as she such a real risk taker! And my current project (where we’re just starting phase two of their project) when they declared “just go for it, you know us better than we know ourselves!”. That’s when you know you’re doing your job right.

Moodboard by Barker Design for Wilf
Wilf's Room by Barker Design

RB – What has been your biggest challenge when designing a kid’s room/nursery?  Apart from storage, that doesn’t count as it is everyone’s biggest bug-bear.

BD – Probably ensuring that you provide a design that keep them happy now and in the future. A room they can grow into. But also if the child has any special needs directly related to their well-being, such as sensory disorders that effect their co-ordination and movement. A lot of research and problem solving goes on behind the scenes on these type of designs.

RB – Who or what are some of your design inspirations when thinking about kid’s rooms?

BD – I do look at blogs and Pinterest but I especially love looking at commercial design as those spaces are  generally more aspirational, innovative and creative. So you can take elements of this combined with practical needs. Great examples come from my design hero’s such as Ilse Crawford and radical architects like Zaha Hadid and Thomas Heatherwick.

RB – What do you think makes you stand out among other designers?

BD – It has to be more than just providing client led designs. You have to dig deeper than that. Our interiors are directly linked to our well-being, so you have to understand what makes your client tick and then design around their unique set of aesthetic and practical needs. Throw in a little black book that includes the ‘little known’ coolest of suppliers, both vintage, new & emerging artisans near and far. Along with a keen eye on leading edge interiors around the world to keep ideas fresh and hopefully the recipe of all the above makes you stand out from the crowd!  

 

RB – Where are you continuously drawn to in the UK because of the beautiful interior?

BD – I love Beaverbrook hotel for it’s cool take on period Luxury! Also Ace Hotels and Soho House hotels.

RB – What exciting new projects do you have on the horizon?

BD – Couple of big family homes and second phases of existing client homes. Especially one where I get to design a girl’s bedroom/dressing room and later on in the year design their annex where they’re happy for me to get really creative! Thinking of bringing in my experience with commercial interiors mixed with lots of new and exciting organic and sustainable products on the market. And really bringing the outside in to the max!  

RB – Can you describe your interior design signature or style and what is unique about it?

BD – I’d like to think I don’t have one per se. But I often hear from new clients that they like the way I mix up different eras which creates that uncontrived look. I think the biggest compliment I could get from a client on completion of a project, is that their family and friends think ‘it’s so them’ rather than ‘which Interior Designer did you hire!’

Graffiti Wallpaper, room by Barker Design
Wilf's Room by Barker Design

RB – What is your dream project?

BD – Previously, I would have said something like a boutique hotel. But I think now it would have to be the good ‘ol family home. I think the relationship we have with our homes has changed forever. It has to provide so much more than before – and as a designer looking at how a space can be re-structured, zoned, screened off or creating that essential 5th room in the garden for you to escape and work has become really interesting.

RB – What mistakes are your clients regularly making with their interiors?

BD – Under-utilising space. Even a room can be zoned in clever ways to get much more usage out of it. Also, impulse buying which can lead to costly mistakes when you don’t have a style direction to follow. Then, understanding lighting as a major game changer.

RB – How do you stay up to date on kid’s trends? Do trends come in to play as much with kid’s as they might with adults and the rest of the house?

BD – Obviously, Pinterest, Instagram are a good resource. But you usually find that kids can be influenced by what their friends have or my girls have been influenced by Tik-tok trend videos. The key is to understand their needs for work, rest and play then introduce them to a scheme that really resonates them with them, then, I find trends don’t matter so much. They definitely know what they like and don’t like, I’ve find them some of my most decisive clients!

 

JUSTINE HODGSON-BARKER

Over the last twelve years Justine has worked on a range of homes and businesses implementing her own signature style of laid-back interiors. Mixing up pieces from different eras and creating that uncontrived effortless look has become key to all her designs. Achieving that ‘thrown together’ look comes from years of savvy sourcing and constantly being on the hunt for new materials and local artisans who are willing to create bespoke pieces that won’t break the bank. Believing that the place in which you live or work should inspire, harmonise and ultimately make you happier, she strives to push the boundaries in every design and create spaces that are every bit as individual as her clients.

Justine worked in Project Management for fifteen years before gaining an Interior Design qualification from ‘Chelsea College of Art & Design’. Her business background has been instrumental in successfully completing many projects on time and within realistic budgets!

Her recent work has been featured in Living Etc and 25 Beautiful Home. Please browse Press section here.

Based in Tunbridge Wells, Barkerdesign covers the Kent area. Please browse the portfolio of work for home and commercial.

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