Welcome to the November edition of our monthly Designer Spotlight Series! This month, we had the pleasure of interviewing Lucy Furniss from Lucy Furniss Design.
With a lifelong passion for interior design, Lucy's journey in the industry has been nothing short of inspiring. In this exclusive interview, she shares her experiences, insights, and tips for planning a cohesive interior style. Whether you're embarking on a home improvement project or building a new house, Lucy's expertise is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration. So, let's delve into the world of interiors with Lucy Furniss!
Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to become an interior designer?
I was essentially born into a world of interiors, furniture and design and knew no different from day dot. My parents established Contemporary Classics (a furniture company) when I was four years old, and that became the life I knew. I was surrounded by creative and inspiring people growing up.
Contemporary Classics was very much a family-run business. My parents always allowed us to be part of the conversations with clients, suppliers, designers and merchants. One of my most favourite memories was meeting with the fabric merchants and helping Dad select fabrics with the likes of James Dunlop and Warwick. Artisans would come and stay with us from all over the world and I learnt everything there is to know about furniture design and manufacturing. Dad took me on business trips to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur where we went to international furniture fairs to connect with suppliers and purchase new products.
We went to hundreds of beautiful homes where I would help Dad install furniture. I really loved seeing how everything was designed, created and then all put together. I would spend all of my spare time redesigning my bedroom or rearranging all of our furniture in our house from quite a young age. Seeing how passionate my dad was for creating his own business and then being so successful at what he does, as well as his passion for completing beautiful homes, really has inspired me my whole life and given me the drive to pursue my own dreams in a similar industry.
I have been out on my own since I established Lucy Furniss Design in 2016, and my love for interiors has never stopped. My passion grows more and more with every client I get to meet and work with along the way. No two clients are the same, and the world of interior is constantly changing, which allows me to explore all sorts of creative ideas along the way.
Can you share your journey in the interior design industry, from when you started to where you are now?
During my last two years of high school, I worked part-time for my parents at Contemporary Classics. When I was 17, I was given the opportunity to enter the New Zealand Interior Design Awards. I managed to win these awards and was the youngest person to have ever won them. I then backed it up the following year, also winning again.
From here, the doors began to open. I relocated to Australia and worked for OZ Design in the Sunshine Coast. Here I pursued some of my interior design dreams and completed fit-outs for resorts and hotels. I also assisted in-store with furniture and design.
After living there for a year, I returned to New Zealand and then began working for Resene as the Waikato & Coromandel Colour Consultant. I was the designer for all of their commercial and residential projects, working alongside architects, builders and clients. I was there for eight years, and throughout this time, I also completed several other award-winning projects.
In 2016, I went out on my own and established Lucy Furniss Design & Interiors, a Waikato-based interior design studio. Since then, I have worked with hundreds of different clients and from all sorts of places such as Samoa, Fiji, Australia and all throughout NZ. Lucy Furniss Design & Interiors is a Waikato-based interior design studio. I offer both in-person and remote services throughout New Zealand.
Alongside my own clients, I also contract to Classic Builders and provide interior design for all of their Waikato and South Auckland clients. I work alongside builders, architects and other trades to provide clients with schedules, plans and processes that ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently. I can assist with all selections of fixtures and fittings for new builds, renovations, paint schemes, flooring, kitchens, bathrooms, laundries, window furnishings, exterior selections, feature lighting, furniture, decor & styling.
I have a strong belief that interior design runs deeper than a finished aesthetic. It is so much more than that. It is about understanding how that space is going to function, what emotions it evokes in you as a client and what future memories can be created.
What is your favourite design style? How does it influence your work?
My own personal favourite style is what I would call Classic Modern Rustic, and if I’m given free rein on a project, such as a show home, you will see that I lean towards this. However, I wouldn’t say I have a particular favourite design style as I appreciate all styles and don’t believe one size fits all. It is more about the home, its surroundings and most importantly, who is going to be living in it and what their own dream is.
I have a love for textures, natural finishes and raw materials; however, matched with that is my appreciation for a tasteful splash of colour.
As we look into the the beginning of 2024, what current trends do you see emerging in interior design?
As a trend, I see a lot of eclectic styling coming through. I think there is going to be a shift from the minimalistic look that we’ve seen a lot of in recent years. There will be a mix of old and new, combining styles from different eras and creating homes that are going to be more personal with pops of colour. I don’t feel as though it will be something long-term, just something trendsetters may want to experiment with. I wouldn’t say I’m a trend follower, as I prefer something timeless, but I can see there is going to be a lot of fun to be had, and I would love to create some projects along these lines.
We’ve seen the use of textured surfaces coming through, and I think this will continue. Fluted panelling, Venetian plaster finishes and textured wallpapers. Anything to add character and warmth to the space. I believe bright whites are going to be out, and we are already seeing a move to more warm, earthy tones as we are still seeing a huge trend towards bringing nature inside. Nature is here to stay.
Could you provide us with your top 5 tips for planning a cohesive interior style?
Figure out your style for your home at the beginning and stick to it. Research different styles you like, cut out magazines, create some Pinterest boards and look at what you love overall. Avoid having a bohemian living room mixed with a traditional kitchen. Once you have chosen your style, work with it throughout your home.
Create a colour palette that you love and focus on working with the tones of this palette in each space of the home. Think of it like a canvas, your base range. From here, you are able to add points of difference to each room, but by having your initial colour palette with you from the beginning, you will help create a cohesive flow.
If you are working with timbers or timber looks such as your flooring, kitchen finishes or furniture, then I always suggest staying within the same tones of stains. For example, if you have selected a warm-toned timber floor, then I wouldn’t recommend pairing that with a grey-toned timber kitchen. Work with the same tones, just adjust the shade depths.
When selecting your feature light fittings, be mindful of the style of the lights. These can really define the cohesive style of a home. For example, if you selected a rattan shade for your dining room, I wouldn’t then do industrial-style pendants over the kitchen island. Be consistent with your selections.
When it comes to selecting flooring options, focus on the flow of a space. Avoid as many changes in flooring as possible. For example, if you’re going to have laminate flooring in the dining area, don’t then do tiles in the kitchen if it is an open plan space, keep it all as one or the other. The less changes in flooring, the bigger the space will feel. Not only does this help visually when it comes to spaciousness, it also creates a cohesive flow as you are incorporating the same flooring throughout the rooms
Reflecting on your career, could you share your most memorable project and explain why it stands out to you?
There are many projects that stand out for me, but I guess one in particular would have to be one of my more recent ones, which was a show home I designed for BDC Homes. They were the most amazing clients to work with, and they put their full trust in me. I selected all of the materials, finishes and colours for the exterior and interior. I also designed and curated everything for the furniture and decor, a full fit-out. This project really allowed me to express my own design style without much influence, and it was to the level of what I would do for my own home.
This project won multiple Master Builders Awards and is now a finalist in the Top 100 National Master Builders Awards for 2023. I also won the Interior Design Award for the Waikato region for this home. It is a home I am very proud of and one I like to call a passion project. Bryce Cowley, who was the builder, is absolutely immaculate, and it was amazing to work alongside someone who cared about detail as much as myself. A little goes a long way.
Lastly, which flooring product would you be most excited to work with in your future projects?
I have actually just specified the new Pergo Drammen laminate flooring for a couple of projects I am working on, so I am excited to see those installed, as there are some beautiful colours within the range.
We want to thank Lucy Furniss for taking the time to share her incredible journey and expertise with us. If you're ready to transform your space and create a home that reflects your style and personality, we highly recommend connecting with Lucy. To learn more about her services and view her impressive portfolio, visit her website or social channels. Thank you again, Lucy, for being a part of our Designer Spotlight Series!
Lucy Furniss Design
Phone: 0274 511 338