‘I like a neutral, easy on the eye colour palette using base materials and finishes that are beautiful, hardy and that stand the test of time.’ Sydney interior designer Victoria Waters has a classic design aesthetic which she loves to share with her clients.
Victoria, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the kinds of projects you work on.
I work on mid to high end residential projects. I do full interior design in consultation with architects and builders. I would describe my style as very practical, classic and timeless.
Why did you choose interior design as a career path?
I actually started out in the airline industry for Ansett and Qantas. For Qantas I worked on A380 launch project. While doing that I was also working on my own home renovation. That led to friends asking me to help with their renovations. I then did a bit of a ‘sea change’ and opened a homewares store on the northern NSW coast. When I came back to the city I studied interior design full time then started my own business in 2008.
Are you happy with your career choice?
I love what I’m doing! The beauty of the job for me is that I have a creative outlet every day. I’m a fairly artistic person and I get easily bored so sitting at a desk 9-5 is not for me. I also love people! I love working with clients and creating beautiful spaces for them. I love the smile on their faces at the end of a project when they have their dream home. It’s a great job.
Have you got a career highlight?
Last year I finished a family home. The little girl called me when she got home from school, in tears, and said ‘I’m so happy with my room, thank you so much!’. That was a highlight of my career! To bring joy to people is what I love about my job.
What are the challenges of being an interior designer?
I work on 4-5 projects at a time, so every day is different. A project runs for anything from 12 to 24 months. It’s constantly challenging to have different clients with different styles. It makes me step out of my comfort zone and design spaces that are a bit different to what I might do in my own home.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is my own home which I am about to start building! I have a separate Instagram page to follow the journey @sthcoogeebeachhouse. This home is a real consolidation of my style. It’s me to a T!
How would you describe your style?
I do classic interiors. For me it’s a style that doesn’t ever date. My style is definitely not contemporary, pared back, clean and tucked away. I’m not driven by trends. I want to design spaces that look great in 10 years’ time.
I like a neutral, easy on the eye colour palette using base materials and finishes that are beautiful, hardy and that stand the test of time. Furniture and decorative elements can then change over time if you want them to.
Does your style change?
Each client has different needs and different design styles so I have to adapt to design the space that the client wants. My job is about creating a vision for how my clients see their home at the end and being able to implement that. But, my innate style hasn’t changed. It’s never changed. It’s always been the same and all of my homes have that same signature classic style.
Anyone who’s renovated a house know it’s not a simple process. How do you build trust with clients?
It builds along the way and if it’s not there you might want to question if it’s the right client /designer relationship.
My experience is that, over time, clients shift from telling me what they want to asking me what I think. It’s a nice feeling to gain that trust. As a designer you need to work on the balance between design possibilities and delivering to the client what they want. It’s a very personal process for both client and designer.
Why should people work with an interior designer?
Because we’re doing it every single day, we’re constantly being exposed to innovations, new products and so on. A designer can visualise the end result as a whole. A designer can also work through the complexities. We’ve done a bathroom a hundred times before so we can see what elements need to be thought through and how to make it work. I think my clients appreciate my experience, contacts and ability to source quality furniture, fittings and finishes for them.
How do you help clients create a home that reflects their personality & lifestyle?
I start with visuals and a consultation. I ask clients to put together a scrap book to bring along to our first meeting so I can get an idea of their style. We talk through how they will live in the space, do they have kids, pets and so on. We do site visits and mood boards. All the practical elements of living in the space need to be considered so that at the end, it won’t only look good but they’ll also love living there.
How do you combine older furniture pieces with new design elements?
I pare back all the structural background elements (floor coverings and colours, wall finishes etc) to neutral light tones so that the key furniture pieces can become heroes. Older pieces are immediately brought up to date when sitting amongst subtle contemporary rugs, artworks, lighting and lamps.
Sometimes we can’t work older pieces into the new design and, while they agree, it can be a struggle for some clients to part with things. The opportunity to sell these special pieces on Two Design Lovers is great.
Where do you go to look for art?
Art is the biggest stamp of personality on your home and I think you never get tired of looking at art that you love!
I love to go to a few galleries that support local Australian artists: Art2Muse in Double Bay, Graphis in Woollahra, and Galleria Mondiale.
Where do you go to look at great design?
I’m a big fan of the MCA! I take my children along too. I also go to a lot of industry events – new products, fabric launches, furniture launches, trade fairs and events that help keep me educated and keep current.
What are you loving on Two Design Lovers?
What stood out for me is the beautiful marble table. That’s me! Classic marble with a little contemporary edge in the dark base. Beautiful.
Images have been printed with the permission of Victoria Waters.