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09 Jun

Q&A with Philippa Devas | Interior Design Interview

Posted by David Gavin
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In our next Interior Design Q&A Series, we're excited to have spoken with Philippa Devas, a talented interior designer known for blending vintage and modern styles.

Philippa is a member of the British Institute of Interior Design and has also been included in the House & Garden 100 Leading Interior Designers on several occasions, and by viewing her work, it's easy to see why!

We were lucky enough to speak with Philippa and discover more about her career so far, her future projects and predictions for the future of interior design.

To start, tell us about how it all began for your interior design career.

"It was my love of houses and architecture that inspired me to become an interior designer and I find it incredibly fulfilling being able to plan a project around stunning existing architectural elements and enhancing them. I am also passionate about furniture and works of art and the ability to combine these interests naturally drew me to interior design.

Early in my career I worked for Percy Bass, then became an assistant to Chester Jones at Colefax & Fowler. It was working with Chester that helped me to hone my natural talent and eye for space, proportion, light and texture. In 1998 I established Devas Designs and have since worked on a diverse range of projects from large country houses to modern flats in London, the UK and abroad."

Talk us through your creative process, how do you approach each project?

"It doesn’t take long to realise that no one project is the same; each project has its own ambitions, quirks and hurdles. I work very closely with clients so my first step is to meet them, see their space and discover exactly what they are looking for - often this is something we work out together.

I then create mood boards, which will focus on colour schemes, furnishings, possible items of furniture and make sure this stays within budget. We often source works of art and antiques for clients so we may make trips to London’s auction houses to check their stock for upcoming sales. I also work with a trusted team, which includes architectural illustrators, builders, painters and fabric designers who I will commission with the client to produce bespoke items."

How would you describe your style, to those who aren't familiar?

"Devas Designs has a very distinctive style that comes from blending the old with the new. While we work on both traditional and modern projects, for many of our clients we source items of antique furniture or works of art.

The best thing about incorporating antique or classic pieces into a modern interior is that they can become timeless if chosen well. One of our key principles is to closely incorporate and be sympathetic to the existing architecture and landscape of a space, so many of our projects will be inspired by their surroundings.

When we worked on a fishing lodge in Ireland, for example, we kept the colour scheme to blues, grey and greens to reflect the seaside setting. Shells were used as detail throughout, including a wonderful shell encrusted chandelier, which added elegance while retaining a seaside charm."

If you could only pick one project from the last 5 years that you're most proud of, which would it be?

"It would be the townhouse in Kensington that I finished in 2013. The clients were adventurous and we did some wonderful polished plaster finishes in the house, especially the dining room as those walls had some copper added which together with the green/gold fortuny fabric on the curtains made for a spectacular room in the evening for dinner parties.

We also made several trips to Paris to buy French furniture and the house has a slightly continental feel, and is full of interesting pieces and works of art."

How often do you incorporate industrial or vintage elements in to your designs?

"Since setting up Devas Designs in 1998 I have always enjoyed incorporating and blending traditional, antique pieces with modern styles and this is becoming an increasingly popular trend in interior design.

These are objects or works of art that you can live with forever, and this sense of legacy is something I have found to be incredibly appealing to my clients. Since I work closely with clients, tailoring interiors to their taste as well as incorporating their existing collections, I am always on the lookout for a wide variety of styles.

I do however find myself drawn time and again to antique French pieces. There is a level of craftsmanship in French furniture that I am always enticed by, and an elegance of design that retains a beautifully harmonious mixture of luxury and simplicity."

What's your take on the introduction of metallic tones within interior design?

"I think they bring another dimension and depth to an interior, especially when a room is used in the evening and the room is candlelit."

Name (any) three things that you think will shape the future of interior design.

"We have seen an increase in clients wanting to incorporate antique pieces, particularly into interiors that are otherwise very contemporary in style. There are aesthetic reasons for this as well as a desire to have timeless pieces that can be passed on.

Another trend we have noticed is the emergence of eco-friendly and sustainable materials being used within the high-end market. More and more homeowners want the look and feel of luxury but with an environmental consideration. The most common approach is to use recycled and reclaimed materials for tiling, flooring and decking.

I think simplicity is key in design; it is important that rooms are not over-designed or over decorated in terms of pattern and colour. When choosing specific pieces of furniture, fabrics, patterns and colour my moto is always keep it simple. "

What's to come for you in the coming 2016, anything exciting you can share with us?

"Just today we visited a new project on the Isle of Wight. We are particularly excited by this home as it gives us the opportunity to take inspiration from the natural surroundings of the island and sea. Our client is keen to blend contemporary furniture and styles with more industrial pieces for a modern but characterful feel."

In our next interior design Q&A, we'll be speaking with Juliette Byrne.

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