‘Only choose items that really spark joy’. A girl after our own heart, we couldn’t agree more with this sentiment from interior designer and vintage-enthusiast Nina Maklin who passionately believes that you should follow your intuition when it comes to design.
The images speak for themselves. Nina shares her stunning latest project in Clapham (*swoon*) and an insight into her collaborative approach to the design process…
Is there a signature Nina Maklin look? If so, how would you describe it?
No, I always let the client’s personality guide the style of the project, but since this is asked a lot I have distilled it into the words ‘effortless style’. I believe that interiors are a back drop for living, and instead of shouting for a specific style it is more important that they support you to live the life that you want. I always prefer understated over contrived. This however doesn’t mean that your interiors can’t have personality. They should definitely feel warm and human. Not cold and sterile.
The photos from your latest Clapham project look stunning. Can you tell us about the design process?
First and foremost, I always start by finding out how the client wants to live their life and what they aspire. We started the process by having discussions about how they would like to live in the house and what they found enjoyable. For example, they were keen on entertaining at home so we decided that the front room became an adult library for after dinner drinks. Also we wanted to have a hidden bar for dinners with friends.
Once the wishes and practicalities were outlined, we then moved into getting the style right. In collaboration with the client we created a mood board that summarised the style which at the end boiled down to word ‘drama’. The client felt confident with the direction so the design process was able to start with a bang. First we made decisions with the key items like the kitchen and bespoke joinery and then finished the scheme with furniture and other decorative items. Once that was finished and completed we moved into project management which in this case took 8 months. I was on site almost weekly to make sure that all the details were executed correctly. This is also a very critical part for the project success since if you are planning to use all these beautiful materials you want to ensure that they are also installed with care.
In terms of furniture, what design classics standout for you?
There are so many! However, I’m originally from Finland so I always value items by Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto and Ilmari Tapiovaara. There is that timelessness in these minimalistic designs. For my own home I would probably like to get one of the Flemming Lassen ‘The Tired Man’ chair in sheepskin.
What would be your top design tip?
Don’t compromise. Only choose items that really spark joy. If you can’t afford to buy all the items at the same time then wait until the time is right. This way you will enjoy your home much longer. Also, be brave and follow your intuition. Don’t let your fear stop you from making bold decisions. Playing safe is always a compromise. This is why having a designer by your side is also very useful.
What does home mean to you?
Home is very sacred to me. It is a place where we exist as a family. It doesn’t matter how my day has been, I always feel a sense of peace when I’m at home.
What is your most treasured vintage piece?
A Pair of Pierre Paulin Orange slice chairs. However, they still need to be reupholstered which I’m putting off until my son is slightly older.
A perfect Sunday is…
Meditation and yoga in the morning followed by brunch and a stroll to our local farmers market with my family.
If you could choose one piece from Layer, what would it be and where would it live?
Gianfranco Frattini “Sesann” sofa for Cassina. I would like to see it in a classic parisian apartment with high ceiling and french windows. I think that would be a perfect juxtaposition.
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