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Curated By... Emma Stevenson

Interior Designer Emma Stevenson, of Emma Stevenson Studio, joins us for the latest instalment of Curated By…

Stevenson’s aesthetic has been described as: “timeless”, “bespoke”, “liveable”, “loveable”… the superlative list goes on. For her, it’s all in the details – and designing outside the proverbial box is all par for the course.

Here, Stevenson shows us how to mix and match like a pro, and talks special projects too.

How did you first get into design?

My journey into interior design was a very unexpected one. I initially trained and worked as a doctor and although I loved my work, it was never a vocational choice for me, and I craved something more creative. I discovered interior design whilst taking on solo the refurbishment of our own family house in Notting Hill. Although it was a painful, and not very enjoyable, experience, the result was a truly unique house, and it opened my eyes to the world of design. As a trained scientist and compulsive achiever, I went back to school and got a post graduate diploma from KLC and then started my own business just over six months ago.

What was the catalyst that led to the creation of Emma Stevenson Studio?

I had been working solo for a few months on small projects, advising friends and still trying to find my voice and place in this vast industry, when suddenly during COVID the work became more substantial. Projects piled on, my creative juices were flowing, and I started developing many ideas for collaborations. I realised I just could not do it all on my own anymore, so I set up the studio and started hiring some much-needed help.

What is your design philosophy?

I believe in creating spaces that resonate with the client. I am known for taking a deep dive into my clients lives and we talk a lot, about their lives, their journey, and what they really want and need out of their space. It is a little bit like therapy, we laugh, we cry, but the result as it has been described is often “beyond expectations”. I love to see the smile on a client’s face once they have really started to live and use their home and get so much joy from it.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

Timeless. Bespoke. Liveable. I am definitely drawn to patterns and colour and have a knack for mixing and matching, upcycling and merging existing items with a few new purchases.

Talk us through some of your favourite projects to date…

I really enjoyed working on a flat in Cadogan Gardens. My clients come from India but had travelled all over the world and had settled in London. The flat had been re-done but they needed help to put their print on it. We used a lot of inspiration from India, the warm sun-drenched colours and some traditional furniture, which we reupholstered to give it a fresh new life. This was all tied together with a strong sense of identity for them. The result is astonishing, and the clients were so happy that it really validated all the process of what I do at the studio.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Firstly, and most importantly from the client. It’s their story, I simply use my knowledge of space, colours, and materials to paint it with. I do also like to dive outside the box, and I have a multi-sensorial approach to design tapping into smells, sound, touch, and sight to create a full experience. It is ALL in the details.

List some designers, artists, and makers you really admire and tell us why you admire them…

My close friend and designer extraordinaire Laura Gonzales has been such an inspiration to me, her house outside of Paris is a true gem, every corner, every detail is pure heaven, yet it feels like a family home as I love them. The kitchen is the heart of the house and you can tell how much love has gone into this project.

Some of your favourite places to shop for homewares…

I try to order from small businesses. Instagram has been such an important tool for me to connect with smaller brands and artisans, especially during COVID-19 when all the fairs were cancelled. I love antiques and markets and way prefer finding unique pieces or having things made bespoke instead of buying from shops.

How does travelling influence your tastes? 

I travel a lot and it forces you out of your comfort zone which often wakes up the creative gremlins. The experience of new culture, the sound of a new language, and the taste of a new cuisine creates thousands of new connections in the brain, keeping our minds plastic is so important in a creative profession. And of course, travelling out of our over-privileged lives provides us with some much need perspective, a pinch of humility, and the ever-sought-after gratitude that ensues.

What are some tips you have on how our readers can bring a touch of Emma Stevenson Studio magic into their homes?

Don’t follow any “rules”, follow your heart. If you love it, it cannot be wrong. And remember to have fun! If you get lost, we are here to help.


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