Natalie Tredgett is a London based interior designer best known for her colourful interiors, comfortable living and modern twist on tradition.
Natalie got her start at the forefront of the international design industry working under the celebrated designer Nicky Haslam at NH Design. She trained in Interior Design at KLC, has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a background in management consultancy. In 2010 she opened her design firm in central London.
Interview with Natalie:
1. What is your motto for life and how is this reflected in your work
“A goal doesn’t just happen, it’s a beautiful process that lives and breathes.”
My path is one of a curious can-do person. An open person. For me life is essentially about people, the relationships you make and the bonds you build. This core belief extends to my work. I like to surround myself with people who are passionate about their craft and what they do, it emanates from their work. It is a pleasure to hear their opinion. To collaborate. To challenge each other in new and exciting ways. To always be moving forward whilst respecting the past. I’m on a quest for the Avant Garde. In return I want the spaces I create to enable people to think. You are always learning in this field and I love that.
In truth, life and work are intertwined when you’re passionate about what you do. Everything becomes an exploration, inspiration, research and process. Recently I went to the Tim Walker exhibition at the V & A. He was extraordinary at creating a feeling about the fashion he photographed. My favourite moment was seeing his sketchbook. To see the process he went through to create his photographs. To get into his thinking. A goal doesn’t just happen, it’s a beautiful process that lives and breathes.
2. What do you think is the most valuable part of what you offer at Natalie Tredgett Design
“We’re not simply dressing a home – we are building on the back of individuals’ personalities and life stories and working with the fabric and structure of the home itself.”
My clients are looking for my eye, they are interested in my unique point of view. Each project is different, collaboration to a greater or lesser degree depends on the client’s needs. It’s important to be flexible. Beyond this, my clients trust the service provided by my vetted team of suppliers to make their vision a reality. We are dedicated to enabling our busy clients to have the freedom and time to focus on their lives and careers. Efficiency and sticking to budgets as well as good project management are paramount. Trust is also a key element to our service. My clients can be themselves and feel confident that we will deliver great results finished to a high standard. Collaboration is also central to how I work, I have a team of like-minded individuals who are at the top of their game (even if they are best kept secrets!) They are as passionate as I am about what they do.
Another valuable element to note is really understanding who my clients are and aligning them with their vision. You’ve got to remember we’re not simply dressing a home – we are building on the back of individuals’ personalities and life stories and working with the fabric and structure of the home itself. Initially the space has a vibe – it speaks to you. That initial gut feeling reveals something about the design direction and how a client might want to live in the space and why they chose to live there. Beyond that, research is key to my design studio’s approach. Research could be about the architectural features, or the style the client is after. It is only after understanding more that we can present a more sophisticated design. Training one’s eye to hone in on the pieces that will speak to the client’s vision, but also to be able to present the unexpected.
Finally, I’d say I really listen, that is a really important part of my service. Then I apply my professional training, my personal point of view, my developed eye, what I learnt working for Nicky Haslam, my time as a management consultant, collaboration with makers who are experts in their craft and I navigate a path forward. I think one of life’s best skills is having range. It takes time and dedication to investigate and develop the skill.
3. Tell us a bit about yourself and what makes you tick
“Place is fundamental to being human. It’s a healthy forms of consumption.”
Originally I am from Canada, which is still such an important part of my life. It is the opposite of my life in London. There aren’t that many people and the land is vast and expansive. The silence is one of the greatest luxuries in the world. It centres me.
London is where I live and predominantly work and am raising my three kids with my husband John. 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 multiculturalism. 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. Place is fundamental to being human. It’s a healthy form of consumption.
My down time is taking pleasure in chatting numbers with my husband, behaviour economics and philosophy at the Kit Cat Club, my book club, exploring the London art scene and of course my kids who keep me balanced and are the best thing ever. I learn so much from their passions, music, anime, drama and drawing.
Clothing and dressing in a way that feels aligned to who I am has always been a big passion. I have always loved the clothes themselves let alone putting them on! I love the theatricality of it. The behavioural economic research about buying items that communicate how we want others to see us has always been of interest to me. To wear something as an armour. To communicate without words. I am a visual person so I love expressing myself this way. I often post, when matching the interiors….I am one of those!
4. Why do you love colour?
“You are the environment you invest in.”
Colour stirs emotion. It is brave. To live with it requires some reflection. To dig deep in oneself to discover what emotion you want to surround yourself with. Why you love a colour so much is quite simply because it brings you pleasure. Once found, the colour reveals an honest feeling or pleasure. When making decisions about home decor you have to commit to what you are prepared to live with for a while if not forever. It is too expensive to go with a fad and the best design in my opinion never dates. So decisions take courage. When a client decides to live with colour they know they love it because they have taken the time to find it. It’s brave. It’s honest. It’s uniquely theirs. I often hear my clients say, I know it’s mad but I love it! It makes them smile as if they are revealing a secret. It’s a commitment.
5. How would you describe your design aesthetic and your dedication to your Craft?
“Space evokes emotion and makes the senses come to life.”
I think an important part of being an interior designer is being in touch with what’s been and gone but also what’s new and fresh. I observe how it was done in the past and how we can make it more modern now. I like to see myself as a progressive but I love the museums for inspiration. I assess the objects/exhibit and ask myself why are they important, why is it significant, what was going on at the time, what new skills were being learned, material used, problems being solved, what was the context at the time. In looking at objects, sometimes you come up with the very question you need to determine whether something will fit the narrative/space you are creating. I pay attention and love working with the makers. Their process reveals a lot about fundamental thoughts they are investigating. It is a process driven by instinct and love. Let us not forget that space evokes emotion and makes the senses come to life.
6. You mentioned collaboration earlier, it’s clearly very important to you and your vision. Can you talk to us about a recent collaborative project that you feel particularly celebratory about?
‘Collaboration is a key component of deep and diverse design. Harvesting the passions of artisans can create wonders.’
A few years ago I united with artist Selena Beaudry and vintage fashion dealer Clemmie Myers, creative friends and colleagues and created an arts fashion and interiors project called Mrs and Mr Bateman. Bateman was born out of a desire to bring forward the work of amazing makers and artists and present an aesthetic – Bateman. I wanted to show how one could live among these amazing pieces, to create characters and draw meaning to objects. To connect the viewer, not only to the story of the object but to evoke an instinct that attracts the viewer to the pieces. Something that may have been forgotten or triggers a connection from one’s past or reconnects a memory or a lost moment. The result was a story led retail experience which I am thrilled to say is now in its 3rd year (LINK TO BATEMAN PICS OR PRESS)
Bateman also allows me to collaborate in the absolute fullest sense and discover and give a platform to artists I admire and wish to raise up. Collaboration is a key component of deep and diverse design. Harvesting the passions of artisans can create wonders.
This particular collaboration dives into the world of the commercial. I am lucky to be able to work on commercial as well as residential projects as they bring out different sides of me and ask for different things. In one’s home, clients generally wish to bypass the public representation of themselves and bring forward a more personal and intimate setting – giving way and giving in to the way one really lives. In the main, aside from entertaining parts of the home, it is their own private space. In commercial spaces it is about creating a world you are inviting a guest in to. To connect with and be immersed in. You try to dazzle and inspire.
7. It’s a new decade, what’s 2020 looking like for for Natalie Tredgett Design?
I am excited for 2020! My new studio opens in Notting Hill which, in keeping with my passion for collaboration, will be designed as a co-space with vintage dealer and creative consultant Clemmie Myers. It has been wonderful to design a creative workspace, a real example of curation with purpose. I look forward to welcoming clients and collaborators there. The studio will be where my team and I prep for new clients with our customary mood boards and curation questionnaires that have visuals to support the questions. Not all interior designers provide both – but I feel it’s important to offer the client as much food for thought throughout the process so that they feel connected and of course so we can learn from them as the project develops.
We are starting the year with developing a new tech relevant digital library which gives us access to all our best talent at the touch of a button. Spring 2020 sees the launch of my new website introducing our Natalie Tredgett Design products (LINK TO PRODUCTS PAGE)
The studio is also where we shoot our latest Bateman offering – monthly curated vignettes for instagram – you will be able to drop in to view products to buy from the vignette by appointment. We also have plans for Salon evenings at the studio too so do sign up to our mailing list to stay informed with what’s going on!
Also in 2020 I will be participating on a panel communicating the benefit of artistic led design, working specifically with makers and providing online video programmes to support the talks.
I am also launching my “Living with colour” tutorials which will be a room by room guide of how to breathe life back in to your space and dive deep in to colour.
8. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
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 like any other day. Pleasure is important to life. Always celebrate the little things, the little things are really the big things in the end.
9. You’ve spoken in articles about how you believe a home is meant to be lived in, with the people and animals you care about. What has having a family of your own taught you about interior design?
Life is short, give in to the way you live! If the cat, the dog and the kids are all on the sofa, great! Love, laugh and enjoy. Be creative and throw it all together. Your guests are likely to enjoy themselves more if it is real! I’m an interior designer obviously one side of me wants spaces I design to always be shoot ready. But with a big family and pets and life whirring around me I know that’s not always possible so I design with the reality of the situation in mind, a space that’s always one tidy up away from perfection!
I believe if you love it, anything goes. Things don’t necessarily have to match. A little contrast creates lasting interest, pleasure and beauty.