I loved meeting Interior designer Catherine Ashbridge. She shares a studio with Kerri Ainsworth of Art Travel Adventures, and delighted when she agreed to an interview and shoot, here we talk about her Interior Design work with images from her beautiful home in Clovelly … helped by dog Speedo, next week we look at her personal style.
LG: I’m talking to Catherine Ashbridge who is an interior designer and we are at her beautiful Clovelly home.
So when did you start interior design, was it the thing you did straight out of school?
CA: Not at all, far from it in fact. I went back after a mixed career and a bit of jumping around! It felt right when two of the kids were at high school. It’s now been six years.
LG: So how was that?
CA: It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s been lots of small steps since then and there has been periods of great traction. It is a fairly small business and I like it that way. It means you keep across all aspects and are personable for clients.
LG: Women seem to have more career shifts. More so than men.
CA: For me I wanted to be around when the kids were young. They are now 19, 17, and 14 so I did take a 10 year break out of work really. I always worked part-time …but you know part-time really is part-time, and the career progression does take a massive dip.
LG: Was design always an interest of yours before you decided to do it?
CA: It really was. Way back I did Textiles and Design at University. I did a very broad degree called Consumer and Applied Science. I’ve always been absorbed with architecture, design and interiors. Give me a home design magazine or book and you loose me!
LG It an incredibly interesting area, particularly if you travel. It’s seems to be a wonderful excuse to dig deeper into places you visit.
CA: It is, so well said. Last year, I luckily took myself off to Milan Design Week. That was just a dream come true to tell you the truth. It was just the most amazing week, and then onto Spain and France to complete the travels. You are so right, I couldn’t get enough of any of it. It was such a lovely thing to be travelling with my mind engaged the whole time… I was obsessed. It didn’t help that I hadn’t stepped foot in Europe for 20 years!
I’m lucky that my husband shares similar interests. He is creative as well, and loves galleries, museums, design, architecture. If I suggest to visit a museum a fair trek away…he’s always up for it.
LG: So in the last 6 years you’ve been doing homes?
CA: Yes residential. There have been moments touching on hospitality, and a small amount of commercial, but mainly residential.
LG Are there people who are inspirations in the design area?
CA: There definitely are. Australian designers like David Flack, Carol Whiting and Fiona Lynch. Architect Clare Cousins immensely inspires. Further afield Ilse Crawford and Bjarke Ingels.
CA: Design needs to be well-considered with all options thought through and one happy client at the end of the day. Delivering the project from start to finish, and taking the stress out of the equation. Listening well to the brief and the clients needs and wants, but steering the direction and adding valauable design input. It’s very exciting have my eldest daughter currently undertaking a Bachelor of Interior Design.
LG: You could become Catmint Interior Design and Daughter.
CA: I know, we could. Her software skills are already excelling mine!
LG: How is it being your own boss?
CA: Yes, I love it. There are peaks and troughs though. One minute you are employing contractors, and the next you’re like, “I need another project once this one completes”. So I tend to add a few things to the mix. I write on architecture projects for a few industry blogs and online magazines, and I teach a subject at the Whitehouse School of Design. It’s all design related, and I love each and every component to tell you the truth. It’s a great place to be.
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