Q&A with Wellington interior designer with Libby Beattie

How did you end up in interiors?

I love old and new architecture, fashion, beautiful textiles and gardens. After nursing for nine years here, in Australia and London, I travelled to European destinations and embraced design and architecture, then studied interior design at the Inchbald school of Design in London. I worked in London then moved to France to undertake a massve chateau conversion into holiday homes and apartments. When I came home, I worked in the Wellington film industry and I also set up and taught a private interior design course, before starting out on my own almost 20 years ago.


What do you wish your clients knew about interior design?

To be open-minded, as there are so many ways to look at things and so many choices. I see myself as a guide to help manoeuvre them through this complex process and to help them achieve the best possible result for their home or business.

 

An eclectic mix of pieces adds character and truly makes a house a home.

What’s your interior style?

I don’t think I have a look, as I like to keep moving with my choices. However, I am a great fan of mixing styles and always have – mid-century with a Victorian chair or  a Georgian Mirror or a very modern Kartell chair, like the Louis Ghost paired with a French provincial dining table. Maybe it’s elegance with a touch of wicked.


Can you share one of your style secrets?

When choosing a sofa or chair, choose one as large as you can for the space, but don’t clutter the room with lots of different items, a few large things in a small space will make the space seem bigger. And keep the arms compact on these pieces of furniture so you get the maximum seating allowance on the sofa or chair.


If money was no object, what would you include in every job?

Contemporary art, photography and sculpture. I believe art feeds the soul.


Anything you can save on?

Good lighting. Plan lighting for the interior and exterior. Its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. I save my clients’ costs on their electricity and in time by not constantly replacing bulbs, by replacing halogen downlights with LED downlights. Also in heating. As well as good heating systems, I am a great advocate for retro fitting of double-glazed windows on older homes. I like to add interlined curtains and blinds as these reduce draughts and heat loss, but also add an X-factor to how the curtains/blinds drape/sit.


What is the next big thing interiors wise?

From a colour point of view bright green or the greening effect seems to be quite a thing. A green shade is the 2017 Pantone colour of the year apparently. I’ve always liked green, so I’m very happy with its recognition. I think that green is a symbol of renewal and refreshment.


Easiest way to transform a home

Hands-down this would be paint. Not only is this the most cost effective, but it is readily available and you can do it yourself. Painting an interior with new colours inside and out is like a full face lift.


Your dream house

This would be one I would design with my husband and an architect. It would need firstly the stunning view - probably a coastal site - probably one level and with some Japanese and New Zealand influences. I like the idea of using timber and metal of some description and concrete. It would have eco elements in terms of electricity and water gathering. There would be a garden that is integral to the design, but dependent on location. I love large architectural plants and trees -  these would form the basis of my garden or setting. Sounds like paradise!

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