Home ExperimentsIf you’re looking for tried and tested interior design, Lifestyling may be the answer

Lifestyling Ltd’s work is marked by a vaguely avant-garde, intensely personal and international vibe. Square Foot talks to its Dutch-born, South African-raised creative director Nathalie Edwards.

You have a fashion background. Were interiors was a natural progression from that?
If you have a sense of style or an eye for style in terms of putting the right pieces together I think it can definitely flow from fashion into interior design for sure. It’s the ability to put things together in the right way. It’s easier said than done and that’s why you have good designer and bad designers.

So what makes a good designer?
Attention to detail, follow-through to make sure everything happens at the right place at the right time within a project so there are no extra costs, and then functionality in design as well as finding the beauty of it. I don’t think enough designers do that. I’ve always had a philosophy to practise on my own. That’s why it took me a little time to set up the business. I don’t quite know how to put this, but to practise in my own back yard. Make my mistakes and learn on a project that doesn’t involve clients. Often I see something new and love it, but it can be hard to get clients excited about it if they can’t see it. I’ve always used my own home as the experimental playground.

A lot of designers deny they have a “style” in order to better serve clients. How do you feel about that statement?
I think a good designer can design anything, that’s true. But you inherently have your own style. I think any designer that won’t admit that isn’t being entirely honest. Of course you want to create a home the client wants to live in but at the end of the day you’re designing it and it’s coming from your “guts” in terms of where the feeling and the base design is coming from. I personally base design on what I do in my own home and that’s a clear indication of my personal style. The more you’re exposed to new things, the more excited you get about your style. I love white, I love lots of light, highlights of colour. Obviously I’ve worked with clients that like colour a lot more than I do, and I find that incredibly challenging. Afterwards I look at my own home and think, “Hmm. Could do with a bit more colour.” I’d say my style was evolving.

How did you find transitioning from sprawling South African homes to tiny Hong Kong spaces?
Challenging. Designing in South Africa meant a lot of the time working from the grass roots level. I gained a huge amount of experience dealing with architects and spatial ergonomics and making the most of spaces. It’s really just using the same principles. We’re always trying to maximise the space here and I try to do that here with lighting, moving walls, and so on. What I enjoy most about working here is the diversity of it. You can buy a light in Hong Kong for a $100 or $100,000.

Do you have a wish list?
A beach house. I got to do one in South Africa and I miss that really casual element in a home. That’s what I strive for here. Perhaps there’s a client out there with a beach house that’s looking for a designer. If so I’m the one.