April 6, 2018

London Interior Designers: An Interview with Kia Stanford

We love to catch up with London interior designers to find out what makes them tick and where they find inspiration. This month we chatted to Kia Stanford of Kia Designs, whose Spitalfields-based interior design service aims to help people live better through interior architecture.

How did you get into interior design?


I got into it through my part-time job when I was at university. I was studying history, so completely unrelated, but I worked in an interior design store in Islington and I adored it. I finished my degree and was about to do a masters, but then I realised I didn’t want to. I really enjoyed what I did at the weekend, which was helping people with their houses. I went on to study interior design through the store and never looked back. I started my current business on New Year’s Eve – I always say that’s the only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever kept. We’re now in our tenth year. It’s slowly moved from me working from home to having an office in Spitalfields and three members of staff.


What’s been your favourite project you’ve worked on recently, and why?


We’ve just done a basement in Fulham and it’s been great fun. This is the third time we’ve worked with these clients so we know them well and they’re happy with our work. It’s been a wonderful evolution to see the client start as a bachelor, and his girlfriend having one pair of shoes in the flat, to them buying a family home and having two little ones. We did a playroom for the children and a utility room, and it’s changed the way they live. It was so rewarding to see the space transform. We dug out the entire basement, and the kids are so happy to have their own space to be messy and have fun in. It’s a lovely evolution of the family unit, and great to see how the design has continued to grow with them over the years.


What does a typical day look like for you?


I wish there was such thing! We don’t tend to answer emails before 11 a.m. so that we can get on with anything that needs to be finished up. We’ll have a quick catch-up first thing, going over what definitely needs to get done that day and setting any intentions for what we’d like to see by the end of the day. Then it could be anything from site visits, to finishing design pieces, to client meetings.


How would you describe your signature style?


To be honest, I describe it as the client’s. They inspire every design we do. Every home is different and we like to create something very unique for our clients. If you look through our portfolio you’ll see how different everything is, from mid-century modern to extremely high-end luxury in Knightsbridge. So I’m quite proud to say we don’t have a signature style.


What’s new for your practice?


We’ve been getting involved in larger building projects – extensions, basements, complete change of use buildings. It’s an evolution with the clients, they come back as they need more space in their home. That’s been a new and fantastic world, viewing a property not just as what’s standing there but what we can create out of the dirt.


Where do you find interior design inspiration?


I do a lot of travelling. I’ve just come back from Rio, which was gorgeous. Seeing how people do things in different areas with different means makes our designs a little bit more innovative, because we’re willing to look for something different. I travel to Oslo a lot. Lots of our upcoming projects have a Scandinavian vibe. It’s been great to actually go and see how varied Scandinavian design can be – it’s not just the stereotypical view of Scandi that we see on Pinterest. It’s been fantastic to go over there and gather first-hand knowledge, and we’ve also met lots of brilliant Scandinavian suppliers.


What’s your favourite room in your own home?


Definitely the living room. It’s just so comfy and warm. It’s where I like to do different things like yoga and meditation, not just sit plonked in front of the TV. For me, that room is fantastic – plus it’s got absolutely nothing to do with work in it. It’s an escape from everything.


What are your favourite interior design trends at the moment?


I’m not a big trend person, but I love how people are playing with different patterned tiles. We’ve been doing it for a while, and it’s been nice to see people building up the courage to do that in their own home with DIY projects and not just leaving it to the designers.


What are your top DIY interior design tips?


Do your research. There are tonnes of blogs and videos out there. Give yourself enough time – don’t put too much pressure on yourself to finish in time for a particular event, like a  dinner party. Go easy on yourself.


Watch this space for more features on London interior designers, tips and ideas.


Check out our other blogs on The Insider for more home improvement advice and interior design ideas.


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