Wellington/Wairarapa Q & A with Bridget Foley

Wellington interior designer.

How did you become interested in interiors?

I’ve been interested in interiors since I was a small child. I was always wanting to redecorate my bedroom and interested in how a space could be changed to be more usable and comfortable. After a stint nursing I enrolled in the new Interior Architecture course that had just started in Wellington. I then went on to study at the Inchbald School of Design in London, which was definitely a turning point as it opened so many doors. That was more than 20 years ago. I worked for some amazing people before starting out on my own when I returned to New Zealand.

Do you use your home to trial your ideas?

Definitely. I recently added 60sqm to my own home, incorporating a new kitchen/living, a larger bathroom and an extra bedroom. This was a great testing ground – getting the flow right, making the kitchen work in terms of storage, aesthetics, family friendliness and so on. And not going crazy with the budget! The aim was to keep it timeless, rather than follow current trends that may date.

Resene ‘Tuna’ and Resene ‘Bakora Grey'.

Describe your interior style.

It’s relaxed and welcoming. I don’t want it to be a show home – it’s a home to three children and a cat so it can’t be too precious.

What’s your favourite recent design by another designer?

I love The Rock at Wellington Airport by Nick Barratt-Boyes of Studio Pacific Architecture. It’s comforting and womb-like and makes travel feel special. The attention to detail is incredible.

The Rock by Nick Barratt-Boyes.

What else inspires you?

Travel, being out and about, art and fashion, particularly New Zealand label Zambesi. I also get inspiration from talking to other designers, suppliers and my clients.

Zambesi winter 2016.

Describe your dream home.

It would be by a lake or the sea, big enough for extended family and friends to visit. Lake Como would be perfect!

Which living designer do you most admire and why?

I love Australian interior designer Pamela Makin’s work. I was lucky enough to recently stay in an apartment and beach house designed by her – her attention to detail is immaculate.

Is there a New Zealand brand that you admire?

There are too many to mention! There are so many amazing creative people here – we are very lucky. Resene stands out as a New Zealand-owned company that really knows what it’s talking about and keeps progressing with the times.

Resene ‘Bianca’ and Resene ‘Concrete'.

Do you have any tips for arranging spaces?

Keep it simple and clutter-free. Get the bones right before you even think about filling it up with furniture, art, rugs etc. If the bones are not right you will never feel comfortable in a room – there will always be something missing.

What’s your favourite time of day?

Sitting down having dinner with my children, having a good catch up, and a lovely meal.

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