Interior designer, vintage-lover and ‘magpie’ – London-based interior designer Adrienne Chinn champions the words of Madonna when she tells us to ‘Express Yourself’ in the home.
Having grown up with an antiques dealer for a grandfather, Adrienne has always had an appreciation for retro and reflects this in her own living space – combining Art Deco and Mid Century Modern influences with special finds from trips abroad – Moroccan rugs, Chinese and Japanese art and silk embroideries.
Here Adrienne tells us why she stays away from a signature design look and instead prefers to showcase her client’s personality in their interiors…
Where do you find your design inspiration?
I find design inspiration everywhere! I’ve always got my radar on – walking down city streets or in the countryside, noticing what people are wearing, noticing interesting colour combinations, in nature, in interiors, on a movie screen. I once designed a 1950s style kitchen based on the colours I’d been inspired by in a Tom & Jerry cartoon! And whenever I travel, I buy the local design magazines because they show different ways of seeing things, using colours and textures, playing with balance and symmetry, and using local designs and materials. The fashion designer Paul Smith has a great book called “You Can Find Inspiration in Everything – (And If You Can’t, Look Again)” which is, well, inspirational.
What would be your top interior design tip?
Be yourself. I’ve had clients who’ve asked for their homes to look look like a “5-star hotel”. Why? Anonymous, neutral, safe. I always encourage clients to express themselves in their interiors – that’s why I don’t have a signature design look. Like Madonna said, “Express yourself.”
What do you think is the next big interiors trend and why?
More eclecticism. A return to appreciating Georgian. Victorian and Art Deco antiques and mixing them into modern interiors. Everything has been so Mid Century Modern for a while (a style I love by the way – I have a 1970s smoked glass dining table and swivel chairs, and a rosewood sideboard), and the prices of well-made antique “brown furniture” has plummeted. I mix up all the eras in my own home – Art Deco, Mid Century Modern, Arts & Crafts with textiles and art I drag home from my trips abroad – Moroccan rugs, Chinese and Japanese art and silk embroideries (which I make into cushions). I love to fossick through flea markets and eBay.
What does home mean to you?
Home is me. It’s my nest. I’m a magpie (a cheap magpie) and I can’t resist a pretty thing. I have a lot of art, from large contemporary paintings that I’ve saved up for over months, to vintage posters, Oriental woodblocks and watercolours, framed embroideries, thrifted etchings and sketches, and black and white photography. I have forty-two pictures on my bedroom walls – just counted (and room for more). If it stands still long enough, I’ll probably frame it and hang it on the wall!
What is your most treasured piece?
Impossible to pick only one treasured item. I’d say that if I had to I could get rid of everything except my art and my books. My English grandfather was an antiques dealer and when he moved to Canada in 1922 all he brought over (other than his wife and children) were his books and art. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Where is your happy place in the home?
My bedroom is my happy place. It’s large, with all that art, my old Victorian brass bed, an Art Deco mirror, an Arts & Crafts desk and chair, a Quebec pine dresser, vintage Art Deco mirrored bedside tables, a pirate’s chest, a Lloyd Loom chair and laundry hamper, Chinese silk cushions and Moroccan rugs. I love curling up on the bed and reading.
If you could have any piece from our website, what would it be and why? Where would it be placed?
I love your 1950s French drinks trolley. Have been coveting one for a while now and this one is so stylish and shiny. Just what a magpie like me loves!
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