Fiona is a Surrey based interior designer with a focus on creating family homes which are beautiful but also practical for every day living. The first time I saw Fiona’s designs on Instagram I knew we had a lot in common with our outlook on design. Fiona keeps it super calm, minimal and practical whilst also achieving a beautiful finish. Read on for her unique outlook on design and pro tips.
1. Introduce yourself! What is your background?
I’m Fiona Brass, founder and owner of Fiona Brass Interiors.
I started the business in 2015, after enrolling on a diploma course at KLC School of Design. Previous to starting this business, I worked in project management for over 10 years.
2. What inspired you to become an interior designer? Can you tell us a bit about the journey to becoming a self-employed business owner?
My love of interior spaces and how they make people feel has always been fundamental to me.
My business is based on the ethos “love how you live” and I was determined to help others create that feeling with their home. And so, Fiona Brass Interiors was founded in 2015 and every year continues to grow and develop.
Becoming a self-employed business owner was crucial to me. I wanted to have complete control for my business, which I loved dearly from day 1. It was mine to shape and build and I never considered any other option.
3. We know you as a go to person for creating contemporary but functional family homes. What is your advice for a family living in a small space but who still want a stylish home?
- Stay away from detailed or ornate furniture choosing natural materials like oiled oak , creating a calming effect in the room.
- Keep material choices to the bare minimum, less really is more.
- Use the same paint colour throughout the room, keeping it light and fresh. Ideally, use the same tones on your furniture if possible.
- Most paint companies offer families of paint so you can use the darker tone in the family to highlight and add interest, all the while maintaining balance in your overall scheme.
- If you want to add colour considering doing this through soft furnishings or artwork.
- If using wallpaper, try to avoid too much detail instead opting for simple and clean patterns.
- Create more floor space by wall mounting storage furniture.
4. As you know we are all about small spaces over here at Urbansize. We feel like your focus on clever storage really fits with our overall design ethos. It has to be tidy before you can make it pretty! What are your top tips for storage in a small space?
- Consider what storage you actually need. For example, a letter rack might be a tiny storage solution that clears your dining table of a lot of clutter on a daily basis.
- Make your storage accessible. There is no point in having lots of storage in a place that you can’t easily access because you won’t use it!
- When I work with small spaces I usually design bespoke built in pieces for any awkward nooks in the room. This then balances the rest of the room and creates a cleaner space to work with.
- Wall mounted storage is brilliant to maintain the feeling of space
- Keep your storage the same colour as your walls where possible
- Explore the option of furniture with hidden storage for larger items, which you don’t need access to on a daily basis. Think ottoman beds, footstools with a hidden lid, built in seating with storage within.
5. Designing a room from scratch can be really overwhelming, do you have any advice for our readers on where to start with planning a room?
First plan your space, so draw the room to scale and plot your big items on the drawing. Make sure there is enough space between your furniture to move about freely.
Then choose your base colours and materials (flooring, paint, wood)
Finally add your accent detail
Pinterest is great for ideas but keep in mind that a lot of the time it is impossible to recreate something exactly like the image.
Avoid costly mistakes by employing an expert for advice where necessary.
6. If we had to splurge on one key item for our homes, what would it be and why?
It depends on the room you’re talking about.
If looking at the kitchen, I would always recommend spending on your worktop and a good quality fitter to fit your kitchen.
Bathroom, it would be fittings like taps and shower heads
In small or unusual shaped rooms, it would be bespoke, built in furniture.
7. We try to stick with our core style here and avoid trends but sometimes we just can’t help ourselves! We are currently loving the natural wood and plywood trend. What are some trends you can’t live without and what are your predictions for 2020 trends?
It’s not really a trend but sustainability and buying quality is something that I’m passionate about.
The impact we have on our environment is overwhelming and I feel it is our responsibility to ensure we try respect it.
Leading on from this, I think plastics and the repurpose of plastics is a big trend for 2020. Companies like smileplastics are doing a great job of making this accessible to the mass market
8. What’s next for Fiona Brass interiors?
We are currently going through a brand and website update at Fiona Brass Interiors.
We are introducing hourly consultations as a service, which will make interior design accessible to more people.
9. What is your favourite Urbansize product?
I love the oak floating double drawer bedside. The wood has a wonderful tactile feeling and the double drawers make this item practical. I also love that there is a larger dressing table in the same design.
Fiona, thank you so much for bringing us so much value. These tips are amazing and can't wait to implement some myself. Look forward to seeing your new projects on instagram!
All photography by Clare Murthy