Métier Member Story – Have you met Ursula Wesselingh of Room to Bloom?
This week’s Métier Member story follows Dutch-born Ursula Wesselingh, founder of successful children’s room Interior Design service ‘Room to Bloom’. Ursula’s love of children’s interior design came about whilst working for an architectural firm, when she was asked to design a children’s room as part of a refurbishment. Since then, her love of fun and stylish (yet practical!) décor has evolved into envisaging, designing and creating the surroundings where so many childhood memories will be created.
1. Ursula, How long have you been a Métier Rendezvous member?
I believe it has been five years or even longer – how time flies!
2. What have you been most surprised about being a Métier Member?
How wonderfully cooperative the group is and open to sharing experiences. I try not to miss too many meetings, as I always come away inspired.
3. Who has been your most memorable Métier Rendezvous Guest Speaker to-date?
I wouldn’t want to single anyone out – they’ve all been interesting and I’ve learnt something from all.
4. How different was your life / career before you set up Room to Bloom?
Before setting up Room to Bloom, I worked for a small architectural practice and cycled to our office in central London every day. I worked long hours there as well, but it makes a world of difference if you are doing it for yourself or someone else.
I love the flexibility that having my own business offers – I can take time off when I need to, and make up for it by working earlier, later or on the weekend.
5. Thinking back to long before you began your studies, what would you describe as your earliest memory of interior design and what inspired you to launch your own design firm?
I grew up on a beautiful old farm in the Netherlands, and for as long as I can remember; and was always looking to make my bedroom better and more beautiful. I once painted all the ornaments in my bedroom with blue tractor paint that I’d found in one of the barns, to match my new blue and white wallpaper! Interior design as a profession however did not feature on my horizon at all when I left school to study – I don’t think it was very well known profession at the time. I started off studying theatre design, but left early to study languages. I then embarked on a career in post-production and only several years later did I retrain as an Interior Designer. Following some years at an architectural practice where I learned my craft, I was then inspired to launch my own firm.
6. What do you think has been your biggest business obstacle or hurdle or business fear to date?
My own insecurity…
7. Knowing that sometimes the lines blur between balancing a work life and personal life – What are your own non-negotiables that you stick to in your business and home life?
I do not answer or send emails to clients outside business hours and I don’t answer calls before 9am or after 6pm either – except from my contractors if absolutely necessary.
8. What were the 3 things that happened in your life that made you realise you wanted to run your own business?
I just discovered whilst working for others, it seemed a logical next step. I like being the boss of my own time and space – I would now find it very difficult to go back to working for someone else.
9. How would you describe your own design/signature style?
I specialise in kids’ room design – my signature style is harmonious, modern rustic, and quite eclectic. I like mixing contemporary style with vintage pieces. My grown-up style is similar but more streamlined, veering towards more pure, textural Scandinavian design.
10. When thinking about your favourite projects over the years, how would you describe your favourite clients to work with?
Clients who love my style and take my advice – in other words, those who give me lots of freedom! I do need a clear brief and regular feedback to be at my most creative though.
11. Looking forward into the next 3 years, what do you believe is next for your own business/brand?
I would like to become the go-to Interior Designer for children’s rooms and rebrand my business to reflect this. I’ve also wanted to develop my own children’s furniture & décor line for some time, so stay tuned!
12. If you won the lottery last week, looking at your own home that you have right now – what is the first room you would redesign? And what favourite long-wished-for item of furniture would you purchase first?
If I had to redesign my current property I would rip out all the floors and put down light oak flooring throughout, then redesign the kitchen completely. But I’d much prefer to move to a larger property – a lovely Georgian mansion would do very nicely I think.
13. When you are in creative mode putting together ideas for your client – where do you like to take your inspiration from?
Often a piece of furniture, or a colour, a wallpaper design or artwork is the starting point for a design – I’ll have seen something that is a perfect fit for the brief or the space and work everything around it from there. The Internet is my main research tool when developing designs – I look at lots of kid’s interiors, products and styling from all over the world, as well as “grown-up” interiors. I am drawn to harmonious colours and compositions, which is reflected in my designs.
Finally Ursula shares with Métier Rendezvous an insight into her typical day as an Interior Designer…
A Day In The Life Of Ursula Wesselingh:
As the work on my projects varies, every day is different, though there is a certain amount of routine:
7am – I get up around 7am, feed the cat and have breakfast, fit in some household chores, and then get ready for the day. I’ll either spend it in my studio to work on projects, and/or go out and meet clients, inspect site progress or go sourcing/shopping.
1pm – I break for lunch sometime during the day – sometimes quickly between tasks or meetings, sometimes going for an hours’ walk, to recharge.
6pm – I try to finish work around 6pm, but if I started late or have an urgent deadline, you’ll find me back in the studio after dinner. I really try to avoid it unless I have to, in order to protect my work-life balance.
The Metier Rendezvous members are a friendly bunch of Interior Designers, so feel free to get in touch should you have any questions that you would like to ask about breaking into the industry – we have all been there and got the T-shirt, so would be delighted to share our words of wisdom.
Watch this space for more insights into the Interior Design industry.
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