Is it lighting? Use of colour? Or something more personal?
This week Estates East talked to Elena Cooper and Kate Deas, Founders of Cooper Deas Studio, the interior design studio, to find out how they get to the root of what a room, a new home, an office or a development needs to become a place of beauty that people walk into and feel good. And how the stylish home is the one that achieves the most value for the seller.
Elena: We always start with the individuals that live in the house and what they need, everyone is unique and the way they live in their home differs too. We’re focused on practicality as well as beauty, as good design encapsulates both.
Kate: Houses we design need to work now and also grow with their inhabitants in the future whether that’s planning for children or the space to set up a business from home. Once we have a design layout that meets these needs we focus on layering and using colour, texture, pattern, scale and juxtaposing old and new to bring homes to life. We work with our roster of highly skilled makers and craftspeople to ensure everything we design and source is beautifully crafted and has a story to tell.
How did you come to be working in interior design?
Kate: We’re a pair of design obsessives. Elena trained at the Chelsea College of Art and has a specialism in soft furnishings and textiles, and loves using textiles and colour to transform a space. Sometimes to add drama sometimes to give a space warmth.
Elena: Kate has over fifteen years of experience in property refurbishment and development, she is an expert in making sure any design we do also adds to the value of a house and it’s saleability in the future if that’s a focus.
We both have a love of antiques, modernist furniture and art and our hunt for pieces is a full-time vocation. Interior design allows us to use all of these skills and gives us the fulfilment of seeing the impact a well-designed home has on people's lives.
How long have you been doing it?
Kate: We’ve worked independently in property and design for over 15 years and brought our skill sets together to form Cooper Deas Studio three years ago.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job as an interior designer?
Elena: The home is our sanctuary, which became even more apparent during the pandemic. We’ve seen the huge difference a well-designed home that meets the needs of its inhabitants and gives them emotional fulfilment, can make to people's happiness.
What is your design philosophy?
Kate: We love collaborating with clients to make sure we design the best space for them and their needs. Everyone is individual and the design of a home needs to reflect what they need and how they live their lives within the home. And it is so rewarding to see the things we’ve imagined and designed with them become reality.
Elena: We also focus on a more sustainably minded approach and minimising waste—this can mean replacing elements of a kitchen rather than the whole thing if that isn’t needed, or using healthy materials and paints that are better for our clients and the environment.
How do you combine beauty and function?
Kate: We start with the individuals’ needs, how will they live in the space? As homes need to work practically as well as beautifully. Equally important is the feeling people need from a space. For one person that may be a serene environment to escape from the rush of city life, for another, it may be an energetic environment filled with colour. The way we combine beauty and function is unique to every client.
What makes the most significant impact?
Elena: Designing the space to reflect the way you live. We see houses all the time that have rooms that are barely used, and redesigning brings the whole house into use and hugely impacts how people can live within it.
Kate: We also work with lots of period properties, often keeping the period details but bringing them into the modern day in terms of how people live within them and this has a huge impact.
Describe some elements you like to reference: materials and favourite colour palettes.
Kate: At the moment we’re really enjoying designing with natural earthy tones, warm beiges, terracottas, and lots of greenery and natural materials. Letting ourselves be inspired by nature and the positive emotions those colours and textures bring.
What’s your favourite design era and why?
Elena: We’ve always loved the 1970s, which introduced the concept of open-plan living, with an emphasis on maximising internal light and space, through skylights and double-height ceilings. We also love the indoor plants, colours and textures of the 70s and the focus on comfort enveloping you in softness which is something we all need in these times!
What do you love most about east London? What makes this such a good place to live and work?
Kate: East London is at the forefront of design, a dynamic area filled with energy and creative people. Lots of makers and craftspeople we work with are based around east London and new businesses are introducing beautiful products all the time. It also has lots of gorgeous period properties that could hugely benefit from a redesign! We love redesigning Victorian terraces as you can have such a huge impact on them.
Big thanks to Cooper Deas Studio who take on projects big and small, both residential and commercial. For further interior design, inspo go to the Cooper Deas Studio website and Instagram.