A Petersfield interior designer shares advice and inspiration with Charlotte Pearson.
You would think being an interior designer would mean working on your own home would be a piece of cake.
“It is actually quite difficult,” Tara Wake reveals. “I am doing my house up at the moment and it is so much easier doing someone else’s.
“You go in and know what they want but with my own it has been really difficult having to make all those decisions for myself.”
With 20 years experience it seems Tara’s passion started on the property ladder.
“I have always loved doing up houses. In my early twenties I was buying them, doing them up and selling them,” she recalls.
“But when I had kids I was looking for something just for me so I did an interior design course in London, which gave me the confidence to do it myself.
“My first client went really well and it just went from there really.”
Despite being a fan of neutral tones with a splash of colour, Tara admits: “I like to push people out of their comfort zone.
“I have a client at the moment who loves a particular fabric and I’m trying to get her to get it as she loves it so much but she is a little scared,” she says.
“I like it when people make bold choices they never thought about before.”
Alongside her interior design business, Tara owns Tara Interior Design, in Dragon Street, Petersfield, which is a treasure trove of eclectic furnishings, lighting and homeware, with stylish one-offs.
“I love the unique and unusual, things that add a little character,” she says.
“80 per cent of the people I do work for come through the shop, whereas 20 per cent is word of mouth and people who come back again and again.
“I have one client who I have worked for a number of times and she just lets me get on with it as I know her tastes and she knows how I work.”
And the projects can range from someone needing help dressing a window, to a whole room or house.
“Sometimes they just need my help with fitting one item into the room’s scheme,” Tara reveals. “It is so varied and no two days are the same.”
It seems she made the right choice when she enrolled on the course.
“I absolutely love it,” she enthuses. “I love the social side of it as well, especially with having the shop.
“People used to say ‘why don’t you work from home’ but I love the shop and having people come in and chat to me.”
So as an interior designer does Tara have any tips for people thinking of tackling their own rooms?
“Measure, measure, measure,” she repeats. “It is really important to get the right measurements.
“My bathroom is quite small so I have had to measure everything as I wanted storage in there and I managed to find a cabinet that fits perfectly in between the bath and the door frame, but if the measurements had been slightly out it wouldn’t have worked.
“It is about getting it all right so it can all go in perfectly.”
An average design project can take between four to eight weeks depending on what it is and how involved it is.
“I went on holiday in May and when I came back a client needed a room done for a party in about four weeks,” she says. “I did it. Surprisingly it went really smoothly.
“We dressed the room on the Thursday and the party was the Saturday.”
But has she ever had to say no to a client’s request?
“I don’t think so. I have maybe made suggestions as to changes that will work better,” she replies. “I had one once with a painting and the client wanted a particular shade of green in it.
“It was an old fashion green and it took forever to find it. I would see something on screen and get it in and it wouldn’t look right. I got there in the end but it took a while.”
If only it were so easy for her own house.
For more information, please visit www.tarawake.com, call 01730 269421 or go to the shop 9 Dragon Street, Petersfield, GU31 4JN
September 17, 2014 Interiors and Property