Meet The Designer: Phoebe Oldrey of Smartstyle Interiors
Photo by Kate Sims
“I love that sense of Hollywood glamour with brass and velvets galore and stunning sculptural shapes to the furniture.”
When we stumbled upon Smartstyle Interiors, a Tunbridge Wells based interior design company, we couldn’t wait to meet the visionary behind the brand.
Meet Phoebe Oldrey – a lover of preloved pieces and a firm believer that a home should be a haven, one that celebrates an individual’s heritage.
Here Phoebe tells us why the ‘slick sophistication’ of Art Deco is the making a return and why the layout of a space is integral to creating beautiful design…
Where do you find your design inspiration?
Everywhere! As a designer I am always looking and being inspired. From art, buildings even detail in friends’ homes get my design brain buzzing. Most importantly when designing for my clients I am inspired by them and the architecture of their home. It is a real privilege to be asked to design someone’s home for them and create a space that they love – so I am inspired by who they are and what they love. No two clients are the same which means that I keep my work fresh for each design.
What would be your top interior design tip?
Whatever your style or taste, getting the layout right is key to having an amazing design. Everything else builds up from there. The funny thing about great design is that you don’t notice layout when it works, you just enjoy the space. However, a badly laid out space can drive you nuts as you squeeze round sofas and fall over coffee tables. People always curse bad design!
Photo by Daniela Exley
What do you think is the next big interiors trend and why?
I think we are in an interesting phase right now as a few trends are bubbling away waiting to be big. It will be fascinating to see which one really takes off. I’m personally loving two very different vibes coming up. One I have christened “The Palm House Look” with house plants and Rattan pieces blending for a leafy green colonial look. The other is the slick sophistication of Art Deco. This has been bouncing around for a while but hasn’t quite gone mainstream yet. I love that sense of Hollywood glamour with brass and velvets galore and stunning sculptural shapes to the furniture.
What does home mean to you?
Haven! A home should be a place to celebrate everything that is you. Where else can you do that! I am quite a home bug and love that my home is a reflection of mine and my family’s life. This ethos is also at the heart of my designs for my clients. Their homes should reflect their personality, lifestyle and history. It’s what makes everyone’s home unique.
Photo by Paul Wince Furness
What is your most treasured vintage piece?
To be honest I find it hard to pick one so I’m greedily picking two.
Back in the 80s my mother was an antique dealer and the furniture in our homes would often escalate out of control, then suddenly she would sell it leaving hardly anything to sit on! Once as a kid, while she was visiting a friend’s antique shop I found a Victorian metal clothes trunk with the original labels inside and I really wanted it. I sold my mother’s friend some of my bedroom furniture and bought it. Like mother like daughter. I was 10 and it cost £100. I still have it in my bedroom and will never let it go!
Photo by David Merewether
The other is the big Chinese Wedding cabinet I bought when I first moved to Tunbridge Wells. I needed to buy so much practical furniture and went into a great shop in Tunbridge Wells to buy a unit to put the TV on. I fell in love with the wedding cabinet and bought that instead. The T.V. still doesn’t have anywhere decent to live but that’s okay because the cabinet puts a smile on my face every single day!
Photo by Daniela Exley
Where is your happy place in the home?
The whole house except the kid’s bathroom – they’re animals! I feel very lucky to have a great house. By being a little clever with the design and decoration. I have given it an open plan feeling to with spaces that flow together.
A perfect Sunday is….
A cup of tea in bed and adventures with my crazy family!
If you could have any piece from our website, what would it be and why? Where would it be placed?
There is so much great stuff on your website site I could go mad and buy so much! However, if it is just one, then it would have to be the “Pair of Light blue German 1950s Chairs”. They have such a great sculptural shape and I love their metal tipped legs. I would put them in my bedroom so I can keep them all to myself!
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