Have you met Beryl O’Shea?
Beryl O’Shea is the founder and owner of Colour Palette Interior Design; based in Buckinghamshire, this Interior Design consultancy serves London and the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. With a range of styles and design solutions up her sleeve, Beryl offers inspirational interior design ideas to meet individual tastes, budgets and aspirations. Colour Palette Interior Design provides a bespoke design service from full project management to room-by-room design services, interior styling and decoration.
Who or what inspired you to forge a career into Interior Design? Was there a “lightbulb moment” and what initial first steps did you take?
I was always interested in interior design from a very early age and was also crazy about fashion, so it seemed a natural fit for a career. I enrolled on a three-year evening course to pursue my dream – hard work but well worth it.
I love the name of your company, Colour Palette Interior Design! How did you come up with it?
After completing the three year evening City and Guilds course on Interior Design at Weald College in 1996, I came up with the name The Colour Palette as I love colour, often use mood boards to develop my designs and felt it reflected my approach to interior design. I later changed it to Colour Palette Interior Design.
What do you love most about being an Interior Designer?
The joy of turning clients dreams into a reality – such a privilege – and the compliments and fantastic reviews I get afterwards.
If a client is working to a tight budget, what are your Top 3 design elements to concentrate on to a achieve a successful result?
- Upcycle existing pieces of furniture – breathe new life into old favourites.
- Choose interesting accessories, throws, cushions, and a statement light.
- Spend on wallpaper from Designers Guild or Osbourne and Little for a feature wall.
What office tools do you find indispensable for accomplishing your day-today typical tasks? (software, advice, physical thing, whatever)
The internet for sourcing inspiration, furniture, accessories etc; like so many of us, I rely on What’sApp, email and my phone for communicating.
Who, either in the design world, both here in the UK and abroad, are and remain your biggest influences?
Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Nina Campbell. I should say Kelly Hoppen as I’ve just done Mood Boards for someone who is going to work for her as an accountant!
Where and how do you work at your best?
Surrounded by home comforts and with my dog.
How do you structure your time over a typical day?
No two days are the same, which is something I love about this job, so I don’t really have a ‘typical day.’ Structuring my time will depend on my workload and the nature of the design project I am working on.
Where in the world would you LOVE to take on a project and why?
It would have to be in France in a chateau because of the size of the rooms, with their incredible high ceilings and beautiful fireplaces. I could use strong bold colours and mix French antique furniture and contemporary pieces together – and it would look fab. What an opportunity!
Would you have done anything differently if you knew 10 years ago, what you know now? What’s the best advice you ever received?
There are inevitably things that I would have done differently as there is no formal training on running your own business – you definitely learn as you go along – and you learn so much. And the best bit of advice I received was that sometimes things seem impossible until they are done, so persevere. Things are often perceived so differently when we look back on them.
What are you finding is still your biggest challenge within your own design business?
Sometimes it’s frustrating when clients have unreasonable or unrealistic timescales; for example, once you have completed the mood boards they think you can start the week after! How does the saying go: Rome wasn’t built in a day! The best things take time.
How would you define your own style as an Interior Designer?
Do you get to achieve your own style within your home or do you find it is a compromise with family?
I’m lucky that I can have my own style at home, as my husband likes what I do!
What skills / elements make you a stand-out designer? Why should your clients choose you to work with?
I always listen to my clients’ brief and do what they want in their home – reflect their unique tastes, aspirations and in some cases idiosyncrasies – make it personal to them, not to me. I don’t see my role as telling them what they should or shouldn’t have – instead I see my job as guiding and advising about which elements will work well together, and to provide choices, and solutions, to achieve the clients’ vision and dream.
What’s your best advice for handling a tricky situation or client?
During a project, just be patient, hear them out, and take time before reacting…but if it’s before you start the work and you get a feeling that this may not be the right project, always trust your instinct and don’t be afraid to walk away.
If you won the lottery and could purchase your favourite iconic piece of furniture, what would it be and why?
Ha ha! This is such a tricky question….I genuinely don’t know the answer to this one…. it would all depend on the property I’d bought first!
What’s next for you and Colour Palette Interior Design?
I have never learned to use CAD or Sketch Up as I tend to do my drawings by hand, so this is on ‘to do’ my list – the difficulty at the moment is finding some time to make this happen, especially as I’m currently working on two projects.
Many thanks to the lovely Beryl for her time and for sharing her thoughts and inspirations and giving an insight into how she works. If you would like find out more about how Beryl translates dreams into workable, thought-provoking spaces, follow this link to her website.
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