Meet fashionista turned interior designer Samantha Watkins McRae, who acts as the driving force behind a range of wonderfully stylish residential and commercial interiors.
It was love at first sight for us when we laid eyes on these beautiful examples of Samantha’s work. Each room is unique and defined in its own right, yet all of Samantha’s designs are tied together with a sense of effortless character, charm and class.
When it comes to design, Samantha champions timeless, vintage classics within her schemes and acknowledges their roles as investment pieces. As a huge fan of Eero Saarinen and Gio Ponti, Samantha shares her ethos and inspirations when it comes to bringing a client’s vision to life…
Do you have a signature look? If so, how would you describe it?
My background was built in fashion before I re-trained in interior design, and although I am not drawn into bringing a trend into every client scheme, I do embrace colour and textiles as the basis for the initial concept design. My main objective is to extract the clients vision and bring it into form, but if I had to describe a signature Sam Watkins McRae look it would be: distinct and elegant with a lived in luxury. Although each scheme is bespoke by client, part of the finished result is an interior that I would be happy to live in myself.
In terms of furniture, what design classics standout for you?
The furniture design classics that standout for me are the pieces that blend easily into any style of interior, not dictated by period. I am a huge fan of the Eero Saarinen marble tables with structural lines that never date, a complete investment piece. If money were no object a pair of Gio Ponti Via Dezza armchairs, such devotion to his work no detail was ever untouched. The jewellery of a space: lighting, is one of my passions, it totally transforms a scheme, so a pair of Italian 1950s Luca wall lights would provide years of enjoyment.
What would be your top design tip?
My top interior design tip would be to always consider the period of the property and space when you begin any renovation, remain authentic to the building and true to your own style. Vast sums of money are spent on personal renovations and refurbishments so always go with your gut instinct on design, as you have to love the result. Most clients I have had the pleasure of working with, have a strong sense of personal style and it’s important to invest in this.
What does home mean to you?
We live in a rapidly changing world with many stresses, so home should be the space that provides you with a sanctuary of peace and calm, where you can switch off from daily demands.
What are your three most treasured vintage pieces?
My 3 most treasured personal pieces are a 1950s Walnut Italian wall panel, a pair of 1930s Italian red velvet armchairs with brass legs and an Eero Saarinen Arabescato marble tulip dining table (very lucky as this was a wedding present).
A perfect Sunday is…
A perfect Sunday would be spent seeking the ultimate gift of a lie in with the Sunday papers ( the holy grail with a busy 5 year old), so instead a brunch at Caravan in Kings Cross would be perfect with friends, followed by a long and chilled walk over Hampstead Heath. As long as there is plenty of coffee and it’s super social, that is a great Sunday!
If you could choose one piece from Layer, what would it be and where would it live?
If I could choose one piece from Layer Home, it would be these Hans Kogl palm lamps. They would look amazing on a black marble hallway console, a complete statement as you enter a space and very uplifting!
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