We often talk about the fantastic products we sell here at Juliettes Interiors, and the stunning Interior Design projects we undertake. But what about the people behind what we do? Who is it that takes these designs from nothing to a fabulous, finished interior? This is the first of our features celebrating our talented design team and the incredible job they do. Today we speak to Design Director Micaela Rossi.
Hi Micaela. Tell us a bit about your background
I am from a lovely part of Northern Italy, near Genoa, where I grew up with a beautiful view of the sea, and long, hot summers in the Italian countryside. I always loved anything creative and, as a child, spent most of my time drawing – not difficult when everything around you is so inspiring. As I grew older, I became very interested in Art and Architecture. In fact, my first job was as a junior architect at an architects’ office in Seville, Spain.
How did you get into Interior Design?
It was by accident, really. As I said, I was originally an architect and was working on a project for a marina on a tiny Caribbean island in the Grenadines. The interior designer left unexpectedly and the company needed a replacement urgently, so they asked me to help out while they found someone new. I absolutely loved it and realised I had found my true vocation. They never did look for anyone else – and I have never looked back.
What do you do at Juliettes?
I am the Design Director so I take care of every part of an interior design project from start to finish, whilst overseeing the work of our other designers. I am always searching for new ideas for our customers. I like to draw my interior design influences from all around the world. Of course, all interior designers take into account all that is happening at interior design fairs. We keep an eye on industry developments as well as the fashion world, always on the lookout for new colours, shapes and ideas. But true inspiration is more than that. It means taking an interest in everything you see around you, which is something I have done all my life.
I keep in close contact with our fantastic manufacturers and craftsmen so that we can be ready to innovate and customise any piece of luxury furniture to include new innovations, colours and ideas, either from our own interior design team or from the client themselves. Only then can we really meet the customer’s brief.
How do you approach an Interior Design project?
Firstly, I ask a lot of questions to get a better idea of the client, their personality, their tastes, likes and dislikes and what they want to achieve. I do like to meet clients face to face but, with clients all over the world, this isn’t always possible. Luckily, modern technology means we can talk, share ideas and get to know each other without anyone leaving their desk.
I start by sending images – a mood board, if you like – to make sure I have interpreted their style correctly. There is no point dashing off with full designs at this stage if you haven’t completely understood your client. This is often the trickiest part of the project, with many tweaks to make sure the style is perfect.
Once this first stage of a project is agreed, the rest is quite easy. I start with drawings and mood boards giving the client an overall look for each room – and then the fun begins. The thing I love most on every project is searching materials, fabrics and finishes to create bespoke pieces that are unique to this client and this project. I like to do this with the client because I want them to be part of the design process. Of course, if a customer doesn’t have the time to be involved, I am happy to take on the responsibility myself, working with the whole team here, and presenting the finished look to the client.
When finishes, colours and fabrics have been chosen and agreed with the client, I start to work on the size of each piece of furniture to make sure it fits and is in proportion with the space. The customer may well ask for two grand, oversized sofas and half a dozen equally large armchairs, but this is no good if it is going to overcrowd the room. It is my job to take their ideas and make them work in the space we have.
After this, we get to the more technical bit. I organise everything in a spreadsheet showing every single part of the project: images, description, size, finish, fabric, where each product will go, production time, price and status of the order. The customer can then keep track of everything as we go along. We also organise any necessary building works, plumbing, electrics and decoration, all of which go onto the spreadsheet.
This takes us through to installation day where I am on hand to make sure everything is delivered, positioned in the correct location and is in perfect condition. The final stage is then snagging. I check everything. If something is not quite right, I get it sorted and most of the time, the customer doesn’t even need to be bothered by it. This final phase can be challenging, and exhausting, but is always worth it when we see the customer’s reaction. We started with a few pictures and have created a magnificent home, perfect down to the last detail.
Do tastes differ around the world?
Indeed. Every country has very different design tastes and styles. Some countries love classical design or very ornate carvings and opulent gold details. Other countries seem to prefer a more contemporary look with clean lines and high gloss finishes. We Italians love a touch of grandeur, for instance. I love the fact that this gives me the chance to work with a whole range of styles. I never feel constrained and I never get bored.
What are your ambitions for the future?
To never stop learning and always look for new inspiration. To keep improving and growing my role at Juliettes Interiors. I am talking to architects and designers in the South of France at the moment with a view to opening a second Juliettes Interiors showroom over there in the future. Watch this space!
What is your favourite trend in 2018?
There have been so many innovations in interior design this year but I think my favourite has to be the use of so much natural stone in the luxury furniture market. I also love some of the richly coloured, highly patterned marble that is up and coming. It is so striking and dramatic, it’s never going to sit quietly in the corner. A bit like me really.
Which 3 people (living or dead) would you invite to your Perfect Party?
If it is a party, I would want all my really good friends to be there, and people I know well (is it just me?). So I think I would probably invite someone to entertain my friends, such as 3 artists from the Cirque du Soleil or Momix. The evening would then be friendly, relaxed and entertaining. That’s my idea of a perfect party.
What are your favourite pieces from our collections?
There are so many to choose from so I’ve really had to pare down my choices. This really is a tiny selection of my favourites.
Thanks to Micaela for taking time out of her hectic day. Hopefully, her enthusiasm and flair will inspire you to start thinking about your next interior design project. Remember, we offer a range of award-winning interior design services to our customers and are always available for help, advice and inspiration. Micaela and her talented team are just a phone call away. Give them a call on +44 (0) 207 870 7415, or click on contact at the top of this page, and find out how we could transform your home.