Interior designer Phoebe Oldrey, of Smartstyle Interiors, creates aesthetically beautiful and balanced interiors. More than just being styled to perfection, they are designed to work to perfection. Phoebe Oldrey’s approach considers interiors on physical, emotional and visual levels, ensuring that all the different parts of a home and lifestyle are connected. Her ethos is ‘holistic interior design for human happiness’.
“By understanding this connection between the physical, emotional and visual triggers in your daily life, we can create spaces in your home that embrace your family and your lifestyle, and feed your soul” Phoebe Oldrey, Smartstyle Interiors.
We asked Phoebe to tell us more about her holistic philosophy, an approach that we believe brings together all that design is about.
Can you tell us a bit about your philosophy ‘holistic interior design for human happiness’?
“I would love to! I became fascinated a few years ago by looking at what made some interiors work and others not. Bit of an occupational hazard, I guess. I could walk into one restaurant and just love being in there and then could go to another that had a similar look but it would feel weird to be in and uncomfortable. Often the second one would struggle to make the business work so it wasn’t just me who felt unsettled. I saw how we are very connected to the spaces that we use, physically and emotionally. Though we as designers are often looking to meet the physical side of interiors, I started to ask about meeting the other more important side; could I create spaces that were just happier to be in? The word Holistic means that everything is connected. When designing, I’m looking to create interiors that function really well, feel great to be in and visually make my clients really happy. We live in an instagram age where the balance has tipped entirely to the visual side of interiors but if a space doesn’t function well it can become really hard work to live in and frustrating to be in. A kitchen might look great but if it has a layout that isn’t related to how you cook it will take you twice as long to put a meal together. That not only sucks the pleasure out of the task at hand but means you are working more and playing less. The “feeling” side of it is the hard one to put a finger on. After all, how can you “CREATE” happy spaces? Surely spaces are made happy by the life that is led in them? Of course, that is true but there are lots of very interesting studies, like colour psychology, sleep studies, Biophilic design and wellness design, that look at what presses our human happy and wellness buttons. By understanding this broader aspect and adopting elements of it in our work, by adding that to a deep understanding of our clients’ lifestyles, the architecture we are working with and finally what makes them tick style-wise, we can create interiors that feel amazing and are a perfect fit for them.” Phoebe Oldrey
What is your starting point when creating a colour palette for clients?
“It really is about my clients. I work with some people who are fearless in the way they embrace colour and it makes them so happy and others who only feel comfortable in a muted room. When I take client briefs they often use very emotive language to describe what they want from a room. Cosy, comfortable, welcoming, fresh etc. It’s hard to know how to turn language into a colour scheme. I always start with a mood board. It’s a great way of trying to capture the atmosphere you want to give a home and also gives you a fresh perspective to start designing from. I deliberately stay away from having any interiors images on my mood boards. It’s all too easy to start rolling out a take on someone else’s work. Once I have finished the board, I can see how the colours and shapes are working and I use that to build my design. It’s also really important to refer back to the mood board during the project. It really is the foundation of everything.” Phoebe Oldrey
We asked Phoebe what or who her key influences are, and Phoebe sites a wonderfully eclectic mix, from Jo Berryman to Wonder Woman.
“Design-wise I have such a mix of people I love. Jo Berryman’s work is so beautiful but also really fun. I am also girl crushing on Sophie Ashby from Studio Ashby. My sophisticated high-end UK influencers are David Collins Studio and Staffan Tollgard. And finally, on the list of designers I can’t get enough of are my US girls, Studio McGee and the always bright and bubbly Emily Henderson (love her stuff so much). On another note, I love Katharine Hepburn and Wonder Woman. Both strong independent women. Any issue in life can be sorted by asking, ‘What would Wonder Woman do?’” Phoebe Oldrey