Natalie Tredgett is best known for creating poetic spaces with her inimitable use of colour used in combination with distinctive memorable arts. Her work is immersive and playful with a layered elegance to its boldness.
At the core of Natalie Tredgett Design is a dedication to the client relationship. A Natalie Tredgett designed space is a clear representation of the client with her unique perspective running through it. Natalie encourages her clients to find joy and freedom in the creativity of self-expression, placing memorable objects as representations of her clients’ story. She understands the versatility of objects and is able to execute the design brief in a variety of ways that all hang together seamlessly. Natalie has a wealth of interiors knowledge and a vast and diverse directory of creatives she calls upon for every project.
Natalie founded her studio in 2012 having established herself under design guru Nicky Haslam. She trained in Interior Design at KLC, has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh, holds a Bachelor of Art from the University of Western Ontario and has a background in management consultancy. Natalie Tredgett Design has recently moved to a new studio in the heart of Notting Hill.
In conversation with
Natalie Tredgett September 2021
‘There’s no place like home.’
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My mother. Growing up my mother was the most extraordinary creator. She was able to make string look effortlessly beautiful! She managed so much at once. She had twice the energy of everyone around her and the determination. To think of what she created with the resources she had is amazing! I never got a sense that she was copying anything. My mum was an original thinker. She understood that our connection to place is fundamental to being human. As the years have gone on I have of course found other inspirational people in my life, but I have my upbringing to thank for establishing a deep-rooted sense of ‘Living well,’ the basis for my principle of living now and the desire to go that little bit further with our creativity in order to live joyfully and fully.
When you were a child did you imagine a life in design?
Actually, my earliest memory is of wanting to be a performer. Dance specifically. I loved contemporary dance. It was grounded, strong and wildly unpredictable in its movement. As I got older, I knew I wanted to be modern, free and artistic in my career pursuits wherever they took me. I have tried to bring the passion and surprise that dance communicates to my own collection. The pieces in ‘In Between Lines’ tell a story through the seen and the unseen, through form and function and by way of movement and stillness.
Where is Home?
Originally I am from Canada, which is still such an important part of my life and we go back there yearly to see family but also for its beautiful and restorative nature. It is the opposite of my life in London. There aren’t that many people and the land is vast and expansive. Fresh, clean, earthy, water and air are the buzzwords there. The silence is one of the greatest luxuries in the world. I cherish it with all my heart. It centres me. But like so many of us I need both to tick, the buzz of a city and the tranquility of an escape that mainly involves family and down time.
London is where I live and predominantly work and am raising my three kids with my husband Jon. It’s a completely different vibe. I am mostly attracted to the anything goes attitude – An opportunity to be left alone to find oneself. I love the multicultural reality of London. No conversation is the same. It’s a place to springboard into and absorb world cultures. I suppose my aesthetic is definitely driven by my two bases of Canada and London but I travel too for further inspiration. I particularly like cities that have their own unique vibe. I return to Paris to source because I love its modernity, NYC for its opportunity, Miami for its estate sales, LA for its relaxed luxury and Istanbul for the oriental flavour. There is so much beauty in the world, I love to melt it together and create my own distinct narrative.
Describe yourself in a way that is unique to you
I’m a Mixologist (and not the cocktail kind!) I am from Montreal, which is in the French speaking province of Canada. Growing up we generally socialised along language lines – the English with the English and French with the French, (albeit that was not the only limitation but general practice for school days mostly). So whatever religion, racial or other background you were, what we had in common was language first. This made Montreal truly cosmopolitan.
We mixed with every one who spoke the same first language as I did. I only realised this when I moved outside of Quebec. Common language transformed my life into a heavily mixed metropolis. When language is in common, other groupings come into play like religion or ethnic background mostly. It was normal to spend your time surrounded by differences. The mixing of religious and ethnic cultures was the norm. This was my early life experience, my normal and has had a profound impact on my personality and design aesthetic. I am a mixer in life and design. I have embraced ‘other’ with celebration and positive curiosity in my life. I mix today and will mix forever.
What is the best advice you could give someone about their home?
It’s a mix of the following which incidentally is at the heart of my Principle of Living Well. We need to fuss more about our cherished memories and objects of beauty. They bring us pleasure. If you don’t make a fuss it will pass you by like any other day. Pleasure is important in life. Always celebrate the little things, the little things are really the big things in the end. The decoration of one’s home and how one lives is not a contest or something that should be constrained by social convention. It’s about you and who you and your family are. When I look at the results of a design project I ask myself, have I successfully shown who that person is and reflected the way they wish to live? That is a success for me and for my clients wellbeing and life at home.
Does exercise play a role in your wellbeing and day to day routine?
Since the lockdown in March 2020 I am back in the game thanks to Nathalie Ballout at Body By Bunny! I just love her. I think lockdown helped in so many ways to focus in on areas in our lives that needed more attention. Exercise does wonders for my head and I like to look and feel physically fit.
What drives you in your work life?
Creativity. I love the meandering process of discovery. I love connecting disparate ideas. I take great pleasure in acquiring a mass of knowledge that allows fundamental principles to be revealed. Being on a perpetual journey of learning my craft is a joy. I will always consider myself a student and continually learning propels me forward. On projects I particularly enjoy uncovering the fundamental aesthetics of my clients and selecting interior objects that are modern, timeless, versatile and memorable to them specifically. I would say the latter is something quite integral and specific to Natalie Tredgett Design.
Which room would you describe as your sanctuary?
My bedroom. I love my bed. My most cherished time is when my family are in bed with me. We snuggle and giggle. Time stands still. The sheets are pure white. I buy them in the US from Home Treasures in cotton percale. So crisp and clean. From my bed I have a view of Nando Hernandez embroidered portrait of my children. The room is so gentle like being wrapped in cotton wool. When we are all together I have meaningful objects around me and some of the people who have the most meaning and give me the most meaning in life. There is a beautiful and comforting fluidity to that.
What are you most proud of?
My children. I always knew having children would be life-changing and wonderful but I didn’t know how inspiring it would be! I love hearing their opinion on things it’s truly expanding.
What are you most passionate about?
I would say the culture of generosity and collaboration. In fact I love to describe Mrs and Mr Bateman as my passion project. It really is the most wonderful collaborative, expanding and joyous work to do. It blurs the boundaries between art, fashion and interiors, something that I am passionate about in life and in my work. It also provides a platform for myself and my Co Founders Selena Beaudry and Clemmie Myers to discover, collaborate with and exhibit artists, creatives and makers that we love and wish to celebrate. Nurturing the passions of artisans you admire, established, emerging and undiscovered, creates an inspiring mix with wonderful results.
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would she think?
She would be thrilled that I found the path to creativity I so craved. She would be delighted that I was living in London and having this adventure. She would have been happy to see 3 children in my life. Lately she may well be impressed by my desire to develop and share my Principle of Living Well, as she would have been happy to see me working in a way that cultivates the culture of generosity, embraces collaboration as a philosophy and promotes and encourages joy and freedom over convention and stagnation. It’s important to check in with your 20 year old self from time to time! I hope I am doing her proud.
Which object have you lost that you most regret?
My Kermit the frog’s eye from my stuffed toy. I love Kermit. Everything about him – his colour, his personality – so caring, inclusive, forgiving, he always makes such an effort to want everyone to have a good time. His eye went missing when my sister used him as a prop at my high school. I looked for the eye. Found it. But lost it again so it never made it home with me. He is still treasured today. I love his little velcro hands.
How would you describe your personal style
I have a passion for colour and how it behaves. I wear it, I design with it, I love it. It expresses how I feel. I mix patterns and styles. I mix old and new. The mix of soft and edgy is a go to. I love creating tension – the contrast in shape, material and period excites me. I’d say I’m drawn to statement pieces but I often end up styling them in a more understated way.
The last thing you bought that transported you into a new zone.
An amazing vintage velvet leopard smoking jacket from Lime Green Bow. I love leopard print. Although I am late to the game in wearing it. Not sure why? Maybe it has to do with a new interest in wearing red lipstick? What is better with red lips than leopard print. Perfection. My philosophy of changing things up and being versatile depending on how you’re feeling runs across the board. I love being drawn to new things and going with the flow of how I feel day to day.
How can your space better reflect you?
I have always felt that artistic-led homes are happy ones. In my work I like to really understand my client and their history and I place objects and art works within the home as representations of memories and feelings that resonate with them and enrich their living experience. Your home tells the story of who you are, past, present and future. If we think of our homes in this way they become poetic spaces to get lost and found in. Essentially our homes are our memories and our hopes, dreams and desires. To truly reflect this we must accept that we grow and change and that we need to be in tune with that and adapt within the home mixing things up and turning our back on things when necessary.
A big tip is not to be afraid of an empty space. Empty spaces are essential in a home. Empty isn’t a negative, it’s hopeful and invigorating. Space is good – space is for more memories to be made or for stillness, reflection and breathing space. These days there are so many wonderful and affordable ways for people to engage in art and become collectors and owners of beautiful things that promote joyful living.
What was the last artwork you connected with?
On a tour a few years ago I saw Santori Tuori’s work at the wonderful Purdi Hicks Gallery. I was instantly taken home to Canada – the scent, sound and warmth comes through so vividly in his pieces. They make me feel a sense of contentment I associate with Canada. I look at it and I feel like I have space to breathe.
Do you collect anything?
Rugs. I adore rugs. They are artwork for the floor. They also act as a frame of reference for a room. A rug can really set the mood and can dictate how people behave in a room. Depending on the colour, shape and length of pile, it can tip the room in one way or another. There is a theatricality to rugs and an escapist quality that I really enjoy. They are very powerful decorative tools. I love mixing a variety of rugs in one space. My favourites are often Anatolian, Caucasian, Oushaks, Yatak, Swedish mid Century and I do love a white shag rug or leopard print. I like to mix them up. I also design my own.
What music do you have on repeat and why?
Sunset from Nitin Sawhney. He represents how I feel in London. Essentially he creates world music. I love the mix of artists he works with. Although the outcome is different and it takes on the personality of the artist, you see a thread of Nitin’s Indian heritage run throughout his work. His music has the power to transport you and hold you. I love his collaborative mentality, it’s inspiring. I empathise with the way he is able to collaborate so deeply but still retain his identity in his work. I also connect with the tension between his contemporary approach that has a nod to the past. My favourite song of his is Nadia. It is beautiful. I once heard Jeff Beck play the vocals of Nadia on his guitar. The singer’s voice is out of this world. Another dimension.
Do you have a style icon?
Tilda Swinton. She is so avant-garde and uniquely her. I also love Kelly Wearstler. She reminds me that it’s awesome to feel sexy.
Can you give away any go-tos for shopping in London?
Yes! Lillie Road Antiques, which is in my neighbourhood, has amazing finds and a personal favourite. I was introduced to it when I worked with Nicky Haslam. Church street for the best in large scale mid century, Pimlico Road because it is just so beautiful and established. Lime Green Bow Vintage curated by Clemmie Myers is a treasure trove of super edited unusual vintage clothing sourced globally. Connaught Village the shops are owned and run by its proprietors. It is edited and interesting. There are a few places in the area that are by appointment and a real treasure trove. I love The Place who were the former owners of Browns, Kokoro for vintage inspired dresses and embroidered coats, Lucy Choi for kick ass shoes, Pebble world class beads and jewels (think Iris Apfel) and Solange Azagury Partridge for the best off beat fine jewellery.
When did you last feel far away from home?
My trip to the Middle East. I had the opportunity to see Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city. The Dead Sea on the Jordan side. Petra and Wadi Rum desert.
I always thought of myself as a water person, but the sand blew my mind. The scale of these places were larger than I have ever seen and yet they seemed effortless in design and although complex somehow simple. It was humbling to appreciate the understated nature of these bold spaces.The palate was limited to earth tones there was such a harmony to it. It was amazingly peaceful. These were the end destinations of the silk route before going to Europe. A true melting pot of east and west, a heady mix that resonated and took my breath away.
When do you know that a room is ‘done’?
A home is made over a lifetime. I believe you need to have space to fill it with meaningful objects along the journey of time. One changes and grows. Life is not static. Neither is a home. You may want to move things around when more guests arrive or when you tire of a space and need a different perspective. Or you may want to bring something home found on a magical adventure. You need space for this. You need time too.
Me time equals…
A Blow Dry. It’s an indulgence just for me. But more than that, when it’s done, I can forget about how I look and move on to more important things.
How would you describe your studio space?
It’s a home from home! It exudes colour and creativity and is welcoming to clients and collaborators. The boardroom style table is a colourful twist on a conventional desk. It sits in the middle of my space and is where everyone works. It is open, sharing and collaborative by nature. Just like at home I wanted the studio to be a place I could really be myself. It’s from this state of personal clarity that my creativity and focus flows.
What do you think is an underrated quality in a person?
Range. An amazing life skill is when someone can happily sleep under the stars and can also eat with the queen. I equally value someone who can have a conversation with anyone and find it interesting. I love that about design too. When there is too much of anything it will be flat. The magic is in the range and movement that exists between old and new, collectible and kitch, large and small, soft and rough, high and low. It’s a balancing act, a dance. Maybe I did end up as a dancer after all…
I believe if you love it, anything goes. Things don’t necessarily have to match. A little contrast creates lasting interest, pleasure and beauty.