With a love of Gio Ponti, a soft spot for Sundays spent in the countryside with a glass of red wine and a self-described ‘urban bohemian’ style, Clare Morton is our kind of designer. As the founder of Dalston-based Studio Morton, Clare’s signature style is fresh and fun, and blends old with new seamlessly.
Here we chat to Clare about being bold and tour some of her stunning projects…
Is there a signature Studio Morton look? If so, how would you describe it?
Every project is different and my priority as a designer is to help my clients to express themselves in their homes and create spaces that are meaningful to them. I am, however, in the fortunate position that clients come to Studio Morton because they like the “signature look” and would like to see some of that in their home. I would describe this look as colourful, eclectic and kind of ‘urban bohemian’ which I guess would describe me too!
In terms of furniture, what design classics standout for you?
I am completely obsessed by the work of Gio Ponti at the moment. Beyond obsessed!
I have a fondness for all mid-century modern design but what I like about is work is his bold use of colour in his ceramics and also the elegance in the design of furniture that is equally functional. I like the use of brass / metal in the chair legs for example which looks so much more delicate and elegant than wood. His curved sofas are the ultimate in 50s elegance. Gio Ponti used a lot of teals, blues and greens which I am always very attracted to and use a lot in my work.
Other classics that I particular love are Anglepoise Lamps, I use them all the time in my work. I try to mix things up and try different options but I always come back to Anglepoise lamps are they have a real beauty about them as well as appearing sturdy. My clients all love them so why not keep using them? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
I also really like Ercol furniture because it’s simple and well made, this explains why vintage Ercol is so popular, pieces from the 60s have stood the test of time.
What would be your top interior design tip for our readers?
Be bold! This is what I say to everyone, I spend my life gently persuading clients that we must be bold! What I mean by this is, if you have an idea, however crazy it may seem, be confident and commit to it. Most of the time, a bold idea followed through fully will work. A compromised version of a bold idea rarely will!
What does home mean to you?
Home is my sanctuary, my retreat and the place where I go to re-energise. Everything in my home has a special meaning to me, I had a big clear out and got rid of anything that didn’t have meaning. I have lots of collections – art and posters from my travels which remind me every day of the amazing places that I’ve been to that have inspired me. Vintage furniture that I’ve found in all kind of places from charity shops to Moroccan bazaars. I have lots of West German pottery that has a chunky style that I like. The pieces I have, I chose for their colours and if I see one I like I can’t let it go. This has led to me wandering Europe with carrier bags full of items that wouldn’t fit in my suitcase!
What are your three most treasured pieces?
I try not to get too attached to “things” but I do believe that those “things” we have in our homes can really change the way we feel in our homes, make us happy for example! I have a vintage, hand carved Moroccan door that I bought for a client when I was sourcing for them out in Morocco. The client converted the room it was in into an office so they very kindly gave it to me. It reminds me of a successful project and an amazing experience. It is a one-off and something I would never be able to get again.
I love the Ercol rocker that I found in a charity shop too. I am such a bargain hunter which is great for my job so if I see a treasure in a charity shop it drives me wild with excitement. I’ve moved a few times since I bought it and that chair has been everywhere with me!
My art collection is my other most treasured possession. Although the individual pieces do not have much monetary value, the collections includes pieces by friends, vintage posters that I sourced in the central market of Pnom Penh in Cambodia, pieces bought from an art cooperative in Berlin that I’m sure does not exist any more, paintings by a hippy lady in Ibiza. It is unlikely that I would ever be able to put this collection together again!
A perfect Sunday is…
A perfect Sunday is about fresh air, antique shops and food!
I work in London all week, Studio Morton is based in Dalston and when I’m not in the Studio I’m running around town to my clients homes, to building sites, meetings with suppliers and to industry events. At the weekends I like to get out of town, I used to live in Dalston too but luckily I now live in a semi-rural area on the border of Hertfordshire. This means on Sundays I can go for long walks in the countryside with friends or by myself. Walking on a Sunday gives me time to rest my mind and gather my thoughts. There are loads of antique shops near where I live so I can’t resist rifling through these while I’m out and about. Then it’s food and wine time, there’s nothing better than a roast and glass of red to feel those Sunday vibes!
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