Meet Sarah Mitchenall and Alexa De Castilho – the creative and dynamic duo behind Black Parrots Studio, who have been supporters of Layer since our launch. (You might also recognise Sarah from the BBC’s Great Interior Design Challenge, which she won in 2016.)
With a passion for layering their designs to create a story and bring a space to life, these ladies are always busy sprinkling their Black Parrot magic on hotels and residential properties.
Sarah and Alexa kindly let us have a sneak peek at their latest project based in Barnes – we were lucky enough to be part of the process and couldn’t wait to see the stunning finished product…
Is there a signature Black Parrots look? If so, how would you describe it?
We like to have fun with our interiors. We love dark and moody, we love colour, pattern, simplicity…We like to go places we have never been before. We love the familiar – imagine shiny with shaggy, antiques with neon. We are maximalists, layer upon layer to create a story.
We love putting things together that shouldn’t make sense but look beautiful, its all about the relationship things have. It’s all about the joy of designing and bringing places to life.
In terms of furniture, what design classics standout for you?
We are completely open to so many eras, but anything from the 1970s is a winner for us…. as long as its not brown or chrome! We are slightly crushing on whicker and bamboo at the moment, so if we had to say one piece it would be the classic peacock chair.
What would be your top design tip?
Commit to an idea and follow it through – the whole way! If you get scared and dilute and idea then the result will be half hearted too.
We absolutely love what you’ve achieved with the Barnes project, can you tell us about the design process and if there were any particular challenges you faced?
Thank you, we really wanted to work on this one as we felt it would be great to be able to show a more classic side to what we do. The brief was very restrained, so we kept having to reign ourselves back in but still find ways to get character into the rooms. This was a big home to furnish and a huge percentage of it was vintage, so resourcing that was tricky – thankfully you guys were massively helpful!!
We are now very ready for our next project that is full of pattern and colour!
What does home mean to you both personally?
We love our homes, they are places to not only live with our families and socialise with our friends, but places we experiment with ideas without boundaries, where we can try things out and have fun. We are both finders, beautiful things that make our hearts skip a beat, treasures that we add to our homes, and so the story grows of places we have visited, people we have spent time with….memories.
If you could choose one piece from Layer, what would it be and where would it live?
This would be Sarah’s piece, she loves a light! And quite frankly it wold live everywhere in her house! It would look amazing in a dark room..
As for Alexa, a cocktail bar…… this is the one!
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