Over the last few weeks I’ve featured an array of homes and designers from all over the world. Today I’m bringing it back home with East Dulwich based designer Beth Dadswell of Imperfect Interiors. She’s been renovating and redesigning properties in London for the last decade and relishes the opportunity of turning an uninspiring and badly designed room into a light-filled, calm space. She skilfully mixes mid-century furniture with traditional pieces, and the inexpensive with the unusual. Having previously worked as a stylist for fashion and interior shoots, she has an acute attention to detail and an eye for colour.
While Beth’s design scope spans from sixties townhouses to ski chalets, I completely fell in love with her portfolio of victorian conversions. I was particularly drawn to this south London flat where small space doesn’t compromise aesthetic. One of the major adjustments for me when moving to the UK was the considerable lack of space. We all cram ourselves into tiny period conversions, where architectural character comes in bucket loads, but space is another story. I’m always after inspiration on how to use lack of space to my advantage. I love how Beth has transformed this flat into a unique and contemporary home, without losing any of the architectural character. She was kind enough to answer a few questions elaborating on her design process.
How would you describe your signature style and where do you get your inspiration?
My goal is always to make my clients a comfortable but stylish home that reflects their taste as well as mine! I love to highlight traditional period details, but in a contemporary rather than a stuffy way. And I think that mixing different periods and styles with inherited and vintage pieces adds character and a sense of history to a space. I am not a fan of new, white & shiny…
How did you evolve from fashion stylist to interior designer?
I studied and worked in the Fashion industry for almost 20 years, but Interiors have always been my big passion. My partner and I renovated several homes over the last decade, which gave me a lot of experience in dealing with tradesmen, understanding how buildings are constructed and inexpensive ways of improving layouts and flow. After having my son, I decided to commit myself to working on Interiors full time, and I haven’t regretted it for a second. I see many similarities in styling clothes to interiors; ultimately, I am always looking to create a sense of harmony within my choice of colours, materials and designs, and a feeling of cohesion and calm.
What is the biggest challenge about renovating and decorating London period properties?
Lack of space usually, although awkward neighbours come a very close second! Finding a decent builder that turns up on time can also be tricky…
Has there been a project you’ve particularly loved working on?
I have been lucky enough to work on a ski chalet in Switzerland, a seafront house in Southwold and a stunning villa in Hastings this year, as well as many lovely Victorian & Edwardian houses in London. I have also just started working on a Huf House in Dulwich Village which is really exciting.
Do you have any tips for working with small spaces?
Build in as much storage as possible and utilise every available inch. A really thorough floor plan is essential before any work starts, so that you can see exactly how much space you have, and avoid expensive furniture purchases that don’t fit…
Do you have a favourite interiors store in London?
I like stores that sell unique or hand crafted pieces, and find myself drawn to the imperfect, hence the name! I generally prefer a good rummage in an antiques market or brocante as these are the places that you find ‘wow’ pieces at reasonable prices. However, I do also like Designers Guild, Toast & Liberty.
What do you love most about being an interior designer?
The process of transformation. My favourite parts are putting together the mood boards at the very beginning, and styling & photographing the projects at the end. It is so satisfying to see how different the rooms have become, and how happy the homeowners are. A lot of my job is about transforming ideas and desires into liveable spaces, so having a great working relationship with my clients is very important.
For more information about Beths’ work you can visit her website Imperfect Interiors.
All photographs by Rachael Smith and shared with kind permission from Imperfect Interiors.