Michele has the rather exciting and unique experience of having being based in the Barbican for the last 20+ years. While working in the corporate world as an Event Coordinator, she spent many years being a passionate home decorator – advising friends, family and neighbours with various design tips and advice. In 2012, Michele retrained as an Interior Designer and launched her own company,Haynes Interiors.
So Michele, was there a “lightbulb moment” that inspired you to change careers into Interior Design?
I bought my first house at 20 and loved decorating it on an extremely tight budget. Much later, working in marketing at Habitat HQ in London, I got to know some of the designers and stylists, and enjoyed immensely the seasonal photoshoots and product launches for the UK stores. At an outside interest I consistently attended design shows to discover current interior design trends. When I moved into my Babrican home a few years later, I redesigned the whole apartment. That was then I realised it was about time I turn my passion into a full-blown career.
Being an Interior Designer and a Property Styler (for sale), can be a lot to juggle. What would you determine as the key skills to managing this process successfully?
Combining my marketing background with my Interior Designer skills makes me a natural fit for a Property Styler. (some might know this is as House Doctoring). I’m well accustomed to being creative on-demand, incredibly organised and am well aware that communication is always key!
What are the benefits of working with a Property Styler?
- I help my clients understand their target market and who they are selling to.
- I provide a fresh pair of independent eyes and act as sounding board
- My clients are also provide a detailed report with practical solutions for the clients to undertake themselves
- Or, they can hire me to oversee the process
What would you say is the major difference between Interior Design projects and Property Styling projects?
Unlike an Interior Design project, in a Property Styling project, the clients have made the decision to part ways with their property. Therefore, there is no emotional connection. (well, most of the time) Clients are also very keen to ensure that the whole process is very cost effective option.
What are the top 4 tips for home-owners, when house-doctoring to sell?
I always suggest the following as a starting point:
- Is the space fresh and up to date to appeal to the widest audience?
- Are there any major drawbacks to the property, that might be a barrier to sale? (can we enhance any areas to divert attention from them?)
- Declutter and depersonalise!
- I consider the lifestyle aspirations of the buyer
Where and how do you work at your best?
If I need to concentrate, then my office is best. But I do get a buzz from visiting design shows and finding new British talent! The touching, collecting and bringing the samples and elements together is probably the most enjoyable for me. I’m a real people person and enjoy meeting and connecting with other like-minded design professionals.
How do you structure and organise your time over a typical working day at Haynes Interiors?
Gosh – my days vary so much. I operate on a clean desk policy and am very organised. I tend to do all my admin and project planning at the start of the week. By the end of the of the week, its time for a treat. I fulfil this by sourcing new and interesting products and British suppliers. On a day-to-day basis, I prioritise the order of work the night before and then get to it the next day.
How do you balance work and family demands?
Like most entrepreneurs, work has taken over a little too much in the past year. As every working parent knows, it’s a constant juggle. Now that Haynes Interiors has taken off and is going in the direction I’m happy with – I plan to enjoy the life balance a little more these days.
Would you have done anything differently if you knew 10 years ago, what you know now?
I’m happy with where I am now, however, there is a part of me that wishes I had started my own business earlier and believed in myself more. Like any business, I feel that there is always room for improvement. I do find with the fast changes in technology, it’s always a challenge and this is an area that certainly keeps me on my toes!
What are the biggest challenges running your own design business, Haynes Interiors?
Juggling the sheer variety of work! As a prime example, I am currently handling about 5 very different project briefs. At times like this I feel like there are not enough hours in the day. This is where communication and organisation are paramount!
Who in the design world, either here in the UK or abroad, are and remain your biggest influences?
I don’t have a major design icon, however I really do like both Alexander Waterworth and Ana Engelhorn Interiors due to their natural and interesting styles. My favourite design quote is by Terence Conran; “Form follows function.” This statement is successful design in its most truthful form. In order to achieve a successful result, a designer must always achieve a practical solution first!
What do you love most about being an Interior Designer?
This is a hard one, as I really love what I do and would struggle to pinpoint just one element. However, I really get a kick out of creating workable schemes for clients and utilising British products and craftsmanship where possible. I relish finding tactile quality products, such as natural wooden products by Tom Raffield and Pinch Designs. I am also strongly influenced by Scandinavian and Italian styling.
Do you have your own style and if so, how would you describe it?
I really enjoy creating elegant and contemporary homes, however for me it’s important that they are warm and inviting, rather than a stereotypical cold minimalist interior. I achieve this by weaving in pops of colour and warmth via interesting textural products.
What skills or elements make you a stand-out designer? Why should your clients choose you to work with?
I enjoy working with people and I genuinely care about creating spaces that work, that suit my clients needs and tastes. It is important that I listen carefully to their requirements to create homes that make my clients feel fantastic. I truly believe “the small details really do matter”.
As a lovely client recently told me, “you are not only helpful Michele, but it’s really fun to work with you and Haynes Interiors!”
If you won the lottery and could purchase your favourite iconic piece of furniture, what would it be and why?
I’m currently hankering after the Carl Hansen CH25 rope chair in oak, it’s just so simple and yet beautiful stylish.
What’s next for you and Haynes Interiors?
Haynes Interiors currently specialises in residential Interiors in the Barbican and the city, however we’re expanding into other areas including commercial design projects, such as reception areas and communal spaces. I also never say no to projects that pique my interest. For instance, I’ve recently completed a project on a converted abbey in Dorset!
Well, we will certainly be keeping an eye out for Michele and her bold contemporary spaces!
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