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Meet The Designers – A Quickfire Q+A with Emily and Danielle

After six years of continuous hard work, we’re fortunate enough to be in a position where our diaries are consistently booked these days. In fact, truth be told, we’ve pinched ourselves on numerous occasions over the past few months, when we’ve reflected on how far we’ve come since launching Wells and Maguire back in 2018. The pros of a jam-packed diary? We get to design the most beautiful homes day in, day out and call it work! The cons? This blog of ours has been a tad neglected in the process!

With that in mind, after 14 months of radio silence (where has time gone?!) we thought it was about time that we reintroduced ourselves on here, given that we’re determined to document more of our journey and bring this blog back.

We’re hoping that if we type it down here, you’ll hold us accountable!?

With that in mind, we sat down to answer our most frequently asked questions in the hope of giving you an insight into what it’s really like running our interior design studio. Not to mention, a glimpse into our personal interior styles and design favourites, too…

Emily and Danielle, Co-Founders of Wells and Maguire
Emily and Danielle, Co-Founders of Wells and Maguire

How would you describe your personal interior style?

E. I would say mine’s quite timeless. I love blending neutrals (Not white on white or beige on beige!) and adding textures and patterns. I think it’s changed a lot over the years but I always return to timeless neutrals.

D. I actually don’t know! Actually I do know but I feel like I can’t give a strong answer right now because my house doesn’t have a single finished room at present! It’s very unfinished in fact because apparently I can’t make my mind up and implement anything when it comes to my own home! In a dream world, I love Studio McGee’s style – very neutral with lots of lovely textures and linens. That would be ideal but it’s not my current reality..!

What’s your favourite room in a house and why?

E. Probably the master suite – both to design and live in, that is! My bedroom is my haven. I’ll go to bed at 8 o’clock when I can because I just love that you can go in after a long day, shut the door and chill out. There’s so many elements to a bedroom to design too!

D. See I love designing bathrooms. There’s so many amazing suppliers out there so not one bathroom is ever the same. Whether it’s choosing tiles or fittings, you can have so much fun designing them!

What’s your one golden rule for interior design?

E. Flow!! Whether we’re designing houses or apartments, we always make sure that everything flows from room to room. That way you don’t feel so overwhelmed when you move from one area to another!

D. It should always be balanced and connected. I’d also say that if you can order a sample, order the sample! Whether it’s paint, fabrics or tiles, things online are never the same in reality so always try before you buy so that you can see it in different lights, positions etc…

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve had since setting up your interior design company?

E. There’s been so many! I think the biggest one is when we got our first big project five and a half years ago. We had to pitch for it and were up against 3-4 other designers. It was our first foot in the door and I just couldn’t believe that they’d trusted us and liked our designs enough to move forward!

D. When people ask this question, I don’t know why but I always remember the bad ones! Probably because you remember how they felt in the moment but we always come back, we always get through it and some of them have been the catalyst for really positive change. I remember midway through last year, we were having a management meeting and decided that we weren’t going to deal with a certain type of contractor any more and it immediately felt like a massive weight was lifted off our shoulders. Bad moments always lead to growth!

 

Side view of textured sofa in living room and small alcove for chiminea
One of our recent projects in Bristol

What’s your favourite part of the job?

E. Our clients’ reactions! Whether it’s an 8 week project or an 8 month project, it all comes down to how the client feels about our work when they see it. We always tell them to go on holiday or to go out for the day when we’re in the final dressing stage so that it looks amazing when they come back and that is always a lovely moment. We always have the best reactions!

D. I agree! Having happy and grateful clients is amazing. We have WhatsApp groups with our clients and it’s so nice when you get a message through at the end of a project that says, ‘oh my gosh, we’ve just got home and it’s incredible!’ Each project is such a massive process with lots of hard work so it’s always nice to have a happy client at the end of it. It’s a bit of a random one but when you receive lovely, spontaneous feedback from people who are watching from afar, it reminds us that we’re doing something right, too.

What about your least favourite part of the job?!

E. When things go wrong that are out of our control and you’ve got to find a solution. For instance, there have been times when we’ve ordered furniture or fabric and it’s been delayed or discontinued. We’re always transparent with our clients but it’s always stressful in the moments before landing on the solution!

D. Boring things do not excite me and there’s an awful lot of admin!

What’s the biggest misconception about being an interior designer?

E. Everyone always thinks it’s a glamorous job and it’s anything but! I’d say that it’s probably 10% design and 90% admin. We’re constantly doing admin. Costing, procurement, invoices… I could go on! There have also been times where Danielle and I have been on our hands and knees scrubbing the floors, driving somewhere in our dog walking clothes because we’ve had to drop everything to pick up something that’s been delayed… It’s not glamorous! 

D. Lots of people think that it’s quite a bitchy and pretentious industry as well but it’s not. I mean, it might be somewhere but we’ve never experienced that. We know so many other interior designers who would probably be classed as our competition and vice versa but we’re always supporting them and they’re supporting us.

You’d be surprised by how many people think that interior design works like ’60 minute makeover’, too!

Emily and Danielle in hard hats and hi-vis
The not-so-glamorous side of running an interior design company...

What’s the worst interior design trend that you’ve seen?

E. It’s not really a trend but I’m not a fan of dark colours like deep purples and reds being used for an entire room.

D. Mine’s not really a trend either but I’m not a fan of how certain interior design shows encourage certain trends. People often say things like, “I was watching this Interior Design program last night. They used pink wallpaper on the ceiling and paired it with bright yellow panelling on the wall and blue carpets. It looked great…” I’m like, no, no! No, I don’t love that. It’s definitely not how it works in real life anyway…

What’s your favourite paint brand and why?

E. Little Greene Paint Company! Their colours are just amazing and the quality is great.

D. I 100% agree. We use their paints all the time.

What about your favourite shade of paint?

E. So I like shades that are neutral but aren’t white or grey. The best way that I can describe it is a ‘stone palette!’ You can pair so many colours with them but the walls themselves are timeless.

D.Slaked lime’ by Little Greene Paint Company is a really beautiful neutral that we often use. I’m partial to a green at home though. I have a panelled wall in my office that is painted in a dark teal green and have a beautiful sage green in my bedroom.

What’s your favourite ‘on a budget’ home accessories brand?

E. If you’re on a budget and love accessories, I would say H&M and Dunelm.

D. Definitely H&M and Zara, too. We recently did a photo shoot at our Bristol project and sourced so many accessories for the shoot from both.

What about your favourite ‘budget, what budget?!’ home accessories brand?

E. There’s one company called Amara that do beautiful boxes, trinkets and vases so we go there when we’ve got big budgets to play with. It’s expensive but it’s very nice!

D. De Le Cuona do amazing cushions, too. I’d have them in my house if I knew that Steve and the dog wouldn’t ruin them!

What’s your one piece of advice for someone looking to get into interior design?

D. You don’t necessarily have to have a degree in interior design but work experience is essential. You have to be open and willing to learn, too.

E. I agree. Danielle has a degree in ‘Interior Architecture’ and I have one in ‘Interior Design and Decoration’ but all of my experience has come from working at interior design firms or property development firms. Yes, my degree taught me about CAD designs but you can’t ‘teach’ experience. Even if you just shadowed an interior designer over the summer to get an idea of what brands they use because you need to understand the brands that are out there, you need to research popular interior designers in the industry at the moment… it all adds up.

What’s the best project you’ve worked on together and why?

E. All of our projects have been amazing but if I had to pick one, it would have to be the Manor House project which everyone on our Instagram will probably know as the ‘pink bathroom project.’ It was a beautiful, grade II listed building and when it came to the final install, our clients went away so we had the house to ourselves. The surroundings were beautiful, it was such a nice day and the reaction when the clients came back was beyond!

D. It sounds cheesy but every project has been really nice. We play to each others strengths. I think we’re really lucky because we have each other and we can bounce off each other.

Norfolk Manor House interior design bathroom
The famous ‘pink bathroom project!’

Last question! Who is your dream client and why?

D. Someone who wants to work with us. That might sound weird but you really, really need to want to work with your interior designer so they’d definitely be picking Wells & Maguire for a reason as opposed to just selecting an interior design company off of Google at random. It’s not necessarily someone that has an endless budget. Obviously that’s nice (!) but they need to trust us and our decision making.

E. Exactly that. We like to get on with our clients, go for coffee etc… So I think when you’ve followed us for a while, you get a real insight into who we are, you know our style and you’ve seen our previous projects and are happy with them. We love when clients have an idea in mind of what they like and they’re spending a lot of money so we’re always on hand to answer questions throughout the process but the dream client would trust us and say, “I’m putting my home in your hands. I’ll see it when I’m finished” and be happy with the outcome!

Failing that, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively would be quite nice too!

Emily and Danielle sitting on large sofa smiling at each other
That’s all for this month!

Looking for more specific interior design inspiration?

We’ll be back next month with easy ways to add character to new build homes…

Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and we look forward to welcoming you back next month!

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