Words: Jess Scutt
We have alI spent more time at home lately, which has prompted many of us to update, improve and in some cases totally replan our living spaces. I sat down with Katrina Brownhill, of KB Living, for a socially-distanced, true “summer 2020” interview, in a swinging pod on her patio, a water feature trickling in the background really finishing off the tranquil atmosphere.
Katrina is a hugely creative interior designer, whose eye for detail and aesthetics as well as her ability to really maximise the potential of every space, mean she is highly sought after. Katrina specialises in working on a project right from its inception, and taking it through to the final enhancing details of cushions and accessories. How you live, the type of person or family you are, and how you want to enjoy your space is always the starting point for Katrina. If you’re sociable and want to be able to relax and entertain at home with friends, you need a layout that will make social interaction as effortless as possible - creating intimate seating for everyday such as cosy banquettes in unused areas of the kitchen, and sheltered, outdoor spots easily accessible from the main rooms of the house, all contribute to this.
Katrina, first and foremost, why should we use an interior designer? Can we not achieve the same effect ourselves with a bit of imagination?
It’s a great question because, now more than ever, there are many wonderful sources of inspiration and even more access to great products. However, this in itself can be confusing and overwhelming. Most of my clients come to me because they are taking on a large project and are investing a significant amount of time and money into a property they will be living in for years to come. An interior designer brings a wealth of experience and ensures you are achieving everything you can from your space.
One thing I have found time and again is that when you live in a house or have spent months staring at architectural plans, you can become blinded to its full potential and lose sight of whether you are achieving everything you can from a space.
Where do you find design inspiration?
I love the design stage of any project, and can really let my creative spirit flow. The interiors industry is constantly on the move with new collections launched every spring and autumn. It’s always exciting to include some of these latest trends but I often find myself returning to some trusty favourites, not just because many are timeless classics but because they offer great value or performance. I always ask my clients to collate as many images as they can to demonstrate what they have in their mind’s eye, and to ensure that we are on exactly the same page before I start pulling together samples and design suggestions. People can use words such as “contemporary” and “relaxing” but each person’s interpretation of what that looks like in real life can be very different. Pinterest and Instagram offer a wealth of inspiration.
Finally, what would be your top 3 tips for anyone about to embark on a project?
My number one tip is to allocate enough of a budget for accessorising. Accessories are the icing on the cake and they are often what transforms a house into the home of your dreams.
Secondly, consider the lighting - it’s one of the most important elements for any scheme. In my projects, I like to layer the lighting with a complement of table, floor and ceiling lights and encourage my clients to consider the benefits of a digital system to control multiple rooms at the touch of a button.
My third tip would be to consider the garden as an extension of the home. Even before lockdown I always considered how to maximise an outside space of any project by connecting it and making it flow from the inside. My approach to planning outdoor rooms is exactly the same as for interiors and incorporates lighting, power points, wow factors and of course, plenty of finishing-touch accessories.
Thank you to Katrina Brownhill for her time.
Interview given in July 2020
Katrina Brownhill of KB Living can be contacted on 07747481407/ email@example.com