Interior Designer of The Year, Nicky Haslam, Paints The Town Green – launching his first colour collection.
By Debbie Blott for Time & Leisure Magazine.
I was more than just a little excited when I stepped through the doorway of The Paint The Town Green showroom in Allfarthing Lane. The opportunity to interview interior design icon, Nicky Haslam is not part of my usual Thursday morning routine. Trying to be nonchalant, I ask him what his thoughts are on being awarded Interior Designer of the Year? “About time!” he says. “Quite” I agree.
The Interior Designer of the Year is the design industry equivalent of winning the Oscar’s and, in Nicky’s case it’s an award that was long overdue. Nicky’s career influenced the development of interior design in a way that few could claim. Interior Designer of the Year didn’t exist when he got started. There weren’t any interior design courses, “you just worked for ladies with mauve cushions in Sloane street!”, and Nicky led the way. His charismatic personality and intuitive talent attracted a long-list of celebrity clients from rock stars to Russian oligarchs (Mick Jagger and Roman Abramovich to name just two) and inspired the rest of us to want to do the same.
“The only point of decoration is to make people look prettier” he says. “You want to create a room that makes people feel prettier when they walk in.” But how do you achieve this? Nicky immerses himself in every project almost merging with the house he is decorating. Listening, I remember that “cowboy” is on his long and varied cv and I can see the horse, or rather house, whisperer within.
“I believe that rooms have eyes and ears. They tell you things. Even a new build will say “do this” or “don’t do that to me” or “put something here or there to balance things out”. You can hear it talking. The house tells you what the style has got to be. Decorating is a melting pot and you have got to think about the whole thing – the house, the room, the feeling, the light, the people. It is far more complicated than people think.”
But what hope is there for someone who wants to create something lovely but doesn’t have a clue where to begin? “Be brave! Don’t limit yourself to the bland. Make something amazing in each room, something which stands out and draws you in. Decorating is about creating atmosphere and atmosphere comes from colour. You can improve a room enormously with a painted effect, just drawing a shape and colouring it in. I do it quite often. A Baroque outline on a door frame immediately makes the door seem higher and more interesting.”
Colour is the reason we are here. Nicky has launched fabrics and furniture but until now never a colour range. Why not? Why now? “I was so enthused by the fact that the paint is eco. I am sure that all paints will become like this one day, they will stop using oil and everything that is toxic, but for now this is a rare and original range”. Nicky’s involvement went beyond just choosing the colour range, named “The Stones”, getting involved with the formulation and adding ingredients to create colours with more body and life, that work with the other colours in the Paint The Town Green range. “You can’t reinvent a colour but you can recast them and we created a range of colours that work alone or together and, importantly, anchor the room”.
Here’s hoping every tin also includes a touch of Nicky’s talent for beautiful, timeless schemes that make you look and feel pretty.
Meet Nicky Haslam and see “The Stones” colour range at The DecorCafe Home & Garden Festival
“The Stones” photography by interior photographer Paul Craig
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