Self-professed colour lover and cushion addict Sophie Robinson is a judge on BBC2's Great Interior Design Challenge, an Interior Stylist and Journalist. We had the pleasure of meeting Sophie at our latest warehouse sale, and spent 10 Mins getting to know the force behind all that colour and creativity!
1. At what point in your life did you know you wanted to pursue a career in design?
My earliest recollection was around 7 years old my Mum and dad let me have full creative control over designing my bedroom. I remember it as clear as day, poring over the wallpaper books. It was the eighties so I went for a graph paper style wallpaper, rainbow border with matching curtains and duvet. My love for rainbow bright colours was born from the get go! But what the experience really taught me was the utter thrill of designing a room and instilled the confidence in me that I could do it!
2. You have seen so many incredible interior transformations as a judge on GIDC, but what's been your highlight on the show so far?
That has to be the hardest question as I’m frequently bowled over by the sheer talent of the designers. I’ve been in this industry for 20 years and yet I still get amazed by seeing something new. I think the room that impressed me the most from the last series for sheer ‘thinking out of the box’ was Sarah’s attic bedroom in Marlow where she played with shapes and forms. It was new and exciting and yet looked really professional. Amateur designers aren’t meant to be that good.
3. A lot of people live in houses that don't match up to the interior style they truly want. Can you give one key piece of advice to someone who is struggling to get the look they love?
With so much house porn about, not only in magazines but also on sites like Pinterest, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of not feeling satisfied with what you have. But my advice is to resist trying to emulate and instead innovate. Focus in on your own sense of style. Tune into colours you are naturally drawn to rather than what’s ‘on trend’ in order to create a home that’s true to you and makes your heart sing.
4. What is your favourite room of the house to style?
I love the living room the most, as there are so many aspects to play with. Anyone who reads my blog will know that I love cushions! So I get to play with pattern and scale on an epic scale in the living room. I also love creating displays and styling up my artwork into a gallery wall or mixing up my shelves into a pleasing display. It's something I can have endless joy with.
5. Do you ever find yourself taking tips and inspiration from the GIDC contestants?
Totally! Both Daniel and I have been completely inspired by what we see on the show. For example Sarah from series 1 covered a sofa in vintage linen fabric then piped it in velvet. I immediately stole that idea. Velvet piping all the way!
6. What three top tips can you give to people who haven't had professional training but want to make it big in the interiors world?
I think if your goal is to be an interior designer then you have to get trained. It's tough and expensive but in the professional world there is so much more to interior design than picking paint and soft furnishings. Designers now have such high skill levels in computer aided design and budgeting software. Few interior design studios will employ you without these necessary skills and qualifications. If you want to bypass this, then consider a career in retail or interior styling which can be just as fulfilling. Some of the people who are making waves in interior design are doing so with their blog or Instagram account which I think is great as this is the true sign of the design democracy which I’m all for. I strongly believe Good design shouldn’t just be the privilege of the very wealthy.
7. As you probably know, we are huge fans of a dark wall, but have recently begun experimenting with gorgeous inky blues. Do you have a go-to colour that you love to use?
Just like you, I have been wed to deep grey walls for the past 10 years but having just moved house I’m looking to switch it up and have a tester pot of dark blue, Smalt by Little Greene, waiting to be experimented with! Rob from Design Challenge used it in his living room in Bath, and I immediately fell in love with the electric blue undertones. I love dark colours for the sheer drama and sense of bohemian luxury they infuse a space with. But as I have a magpie eye for all things rainbow bright, dark colours are the perfect foil for my eclectic Brights. Otherwise I fear my home might look like a playschool!
8. We love looking at your blog and YouTube channel! Can you recommend any other interior inspirations online?
I have a girl crush on American stylist and blogger Emily Henderson right now. She’s seriously dedicated to her blog and her instagram feed as they are epic. I love her jovial approach to design, it’s loose and carefree and she has a wonderfully witty writing style. Based in LA her colour schemes are a little pale for my personal taste but I like her styling ideas and the way she twists vintage and modern together is very much in line with my own aesthetic.
9. Have you got any more filming in the pipeline for 2016?
2016 looks like a busy year for me. I continue to contribute regularly to ITV’s This Morning, bringing the latest trends in interiors to the daytime show on a fortnightly basis. I’ve also been invited to design for BBC1’s DIY SOS, which I’m hugely excited about. And series 4 of The Great Interior Design Challenge is going into production later this summer.
10. We've spotted you using quite a few RSG items! What's your favourite product of ours at the moment?
I’ve had a long-term love affair with your brand and you’ll spot quite a few of your products in my own home. I particularly like the way you’ve been ahead of the curve with all things brass. So I’d say my fave pick of your website right now would be this Round Marble and Brass Coffee Table.
Finally, a few quickfire questions!
I’m happiest when I’m: in bed on the weekend, with a cup of tea, cuddling my son Arthur in our jammies.
My biggest guilty pleasure is: Lionel Ritchie
My favourite magazine is: Can’t make me choose! I buy World of Interiors, Living Etc, Country Living and Home and Gardens for the broad selection of styles.
If money was no object I would: Put a glass extension on the back of my house right now, complete with state of the art kitchen, put underfloor heating in all the rooms and convert the whole house to renewable solar powered energy. Then make my son a treehouse and build myself a yoga barn and my husband a wood workshop in the field. And then put up lots of yurts and invite all my friends over for a boutique festival (and then probably move house so I could do it all again!)
My best skill is: Making a house a home
My personal motto is: Be nice and do the right thing
My latest obsession: Clean eating. After three years of punishing filming schedules my adrenals are knackered so I’m on the road to recovery by following a very clean diet (no gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol or caffeine) and I’m coming back to life! Having optimum energy and vitality is crucial to me in order to do all the things I want to do with complete joy!
My favourite film is: American hustle
My go to track: Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Three things I can’t live without: Spa days, tea in bed, box sets.
Follow Sophie on Instagram and Twitter, and don't forget to keep up to date with her fabulous Youtube channel. You can also book in for an Interior Design Masterclass with Sophie and GIDC colleague Daniel Hopwood to create your dream decor!