Introducing In Bed With Swyft, a new series of interviews with incredibly talented creatives across various industries. Over the course of six episodes (broadcast on IGTV), we talk with journalists, CEOs, beauty specialists and fashion experts about their creative journeys.
In this second episode, Naomi Bonafoux sits down with Fleur Ward, an award winning Interior Designer who helps provide creative solutions for her clients. In this interview, Fleur chats about her interior style, gives invaluable advice on how to get into the industry for aspiring interior designers, and talks interior trends.
For the full interview, click here, or read the highlights below:
Q: How did you get into interior design?
F: I got into interior design straight out of high school. I knew very early on what I wanted to do, so I took courses after graduating. I was then very lucky to get a position with an interior designer as her assistant. I learnt more with her then I did on any course; it’s practical, hands-on, you had to think quickly and it was really fun. I learnt things that you don’t get taught in a classroom, for example, commanding respect onsite with ten builders, as a woman, that’s difficult.
Watching her navigate all of those situations, I still draw on those experiences now. I often still have her on my shoulder because she was five foot one as well, and she taught me that you are only as tall as you carry yourself. It was such an important lesson to learn at such a young age.
I really think if you want to get into interior design you should work for somebody first, or even a showroom in Chelsea Harbour and learn the industry. By all means educate yourself, but practical experience is really essential.
Q: Very empowering. What’s your advice for getting it right when it comes to clashing colours and patterns?
F: I love clashing colours. I think you can clash colours and patterns successfully if you keep the palette similar. You can start going off grid a bit when you're clashing different colours and patterns, it can look a bit too busy. So, I think as a general rule, stick to a palette and then bring different patterns and textures in. Equally, for clashing colours, if the pattern is a similar aesthetic, it can work.
Q: You now have your own range of cushions, fabrics and wallpaper – how would you describe the range?
F: Oh wow, they’re all quite busy, very colourful, fun and have a strong message or theme.
The wallpapers have strong graphics, which came as a result of feeling that there was something missing in the industry. I was designing a project and couldn't find what I wanted for that project. So, overtime I would make notes and build up a collection of ideas and when a commercial project fell through, I then had the time to retrain.
I’ve always wanted my own brand, so, I started with wallpapers and then a year later I put those designs on fabric and then during lockdown I had some time….
N: Like the whole world.
F: Exactly. I’ve now put my designs on oven mitts, tea towels, cushions, trays… there’s nothing I won’t put my print on.
N: That’s so much fun.
F: I have 152 products. I’ve now got deck chairs, that’s my new thing. I’ve put my country collection on deck chairs so that you can decorate your outdoor rooms, your gardens and pimp up your patio.
Q: Fluer, how would you sum up your interior style in three words?
F: Three words to sum up my interior style would be: personality, colour and eclectic.
Q: Perfect, what’s your all time favourite interior trend?
F: I don’t tend to follow trends, but I am known for wallpaper, I love using wallpaper. So, if that’s considered a trend it would be my go-to.
I do think trends can look gimmicky. I’ve never had a client say “repaint the house ultraviolet because that’s the colour of the year”. I don’t think my clients are trend-led, they’re doing their forever homes, so it’s not something I’m often asked. I think it’s fun to have trends that come and go, but I rarely follow them.
Q: How have you injected parts of your personality into your home?
F: I think it’s very obvious when anyone comes to visit that I live there… because there’s photos of me everywhere. No, I’m joking!
…because there’s a lot of colour, there’s wallpaper in every room, there’s photographs in every room and I think that’s key to have in a home, it helps identify who lives there and gives it personality.
I’m not a huge fan of the gallery wall, those purpose walls where someone buys a whole load of typography. But, a wall with your kid’s art and their photographs, or special moments and certificates, I think gives the house soul, purpose and personality. So, throughout the hallways, I have gallery walls of our photos, the kid’s art, etc.
I love going to the antique market at Kempton Park to buy special pieces – mixing antiques with new items helps to give the space personality as well. I also love to paint, so I have a lot of paintings around the house.
N: Wow, it sounds like you do everything?
F: Yeah, I love abstract painting. I’m not very good at realism.
I started out using leftover sample pots from projects because I don’t like waste and it just went from there.
Q: So, favourite Swyft Model?
F: Ooo, this one. Can I say this one? 04. I love it, it’s very comfortable. And it’s a sofa bed. The company is incredible. A sofa in a box! Why hasn’t this been done before? It’s such an incredible idea – affordable, great range of fabrics, styles etc, and now that they’ve launched a sofa bed, it’s amazing.
Q: On that note Fleur, if you were a cocktail which would you be?
F: I’d be a flirtini.
N: A flirtini? What’s that?
F: A flirtini is usually vodka or gin based and then you add any fruit juice you have in the fridge. It’s very easy to make and super fun.
N: There you have it, Fleur Ward, ladies and gentleman.
For the full interview, head over to our IGTV.