"The showhome vibe doesn't deliver in lockdown. Homes need to be comfortable and real so you can properly enjoy them." We chat to the powerful duo behind Turner Pocock, the renowned London-based interior design company.
Q: Where do you start when you take on a new project?
A: We really drill down into the brief in order to understand our client's lifestyle and requirements. We passionately believe that a house can only ever be great if it services the needs of its owners. We also spend time considering the architecture and setting to make sure our designs respond appropriately to both. Only once we understand the practical requirements and the architectural context do we move onto the more creative side of our job which is scheming and planning furniture layouts etc.
Q: You recently collaborated with our sister company, Lorfords Contemporary, on a new range. What does bespoke upholstered furniture bring to an interior?
A: Our early projects focussed on London houses, which is when we started to appreciate the benefits of bespoke furniture. London houses are generally tight on space and playing with scale is crucial to getting the best out of a room. Being able to enlarge or reduce upholstered pieces enables you to scale up/ down as required to furnish a space appropriately. Having cut our teeth on smaller spaces, we now have the confidence to play with proportion in large volumes. This results in comfortable and intimate environments- even when the floor plate is vast. We really enjoy the journey of creating bespoke pieces that will stand the test of time. We have an extensive library of design monographs in the studio and we use these as a source of inspiration for one-off pieces. Creating something unique for our projects that isn't available on the retail market is really satisfying.
Q: You are a powerful duo, where do your personal tastes differ? Is one of you more of a maximalist than the other?
A: I think we both have very conflicted tastes. We love everything from neutral, natural Vincent Van Duysen style interiors right through to Anna Spiro and have to make decisions when it comes to our own homes on what route to take. I think Emma probably finds it harder to live without colour than I (Bunny) do.
In fact, our aim with any project is to create timeless interiors. They should feel like spaces which have been legitimately curated over the course of a lifetime.
Q: Turner Pocock's interior projects blend contemporary and traditional themes. Do you think the idea of distinct 'town' and 'country' styles is blurring?
A: More recently I think we have seen a general trend towards traditional country aesthetics in the city. We are always very keen to avoid trends and haven’t changed our approach. We would rather consider the context of a project and sense check materials to make sure they are suitable for the project and setting. In fact, our aim with any project is to create timeless interiors. They should feel like spaces that have been legitimately curated over the course of a lifetime. The last thing we want is for a client to be left with a house that has obviously been ‘Turner Pococked’! Any interior should reflect the lifestyle and personalities of its owners, so there is a huge variety in our output. We actively encourage our clients to be eclectic and combine furniture and art from different periods.
Q: What has been your favourite lockdown purchase?
A: Bunny- We moved to the country in lockdown one and have ended up deciding to stay put, so I have invested in an amazing emperor four-poster bed! I've always dreamt of having a bed that’s big enough for all the family (and dogs) to pile in, and this delivers in spades! But I have to say I'm torn on this because, along with the rest of the country, we’ve succumbed to another puppy. Linford- a beautiful brindle whippet pup- is about to join the family, and he should really go down as the best purchase!
Emma- We bought a couple of early edition David Shrigley prints which turned out to be a really enjoyable investment. I have also moved and bought a house in Switzerland so I have been doing that up over the last nine months which has been a welcome distraction from lockdown.
Q: We've spent more time at home than ever before lately... what has this taught you about interiors?
A: I think creating real spaces that really deliver practically has paid off. The showhome vibe doesn't deliver in lockdown. Homes need to be comfortable and real so you can properly enjoy them.
Q: How do you get started sourcing pieces for a client's home? Do you have a list of tried and tested destinations?
A: Initially, we collect a selection of concept pictures that guide the aesthetic route we take on the project. We then produce furniture layouts and at that point turn our minds to specific pieces. This is all whilst trying to balance scale/period/style/texture across a room so that there is enough interest. We are lucky enough to have an amazing little black book of suppliers who all bring something unique to the table.
Q: Interiors is an all-consuming industry. How do you switch off from work?
A: Emma- Haha, we don't! Children are probably the best distraction- we can't work all weekend anymore which is a good thing!
A: Bunny- I love a long walk to clear my head and switch off. Preferably with a friend to natter with!
We are lucky enough to have an amazing little black book of suppliers who all bring something unique to the table.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give someone looking to set up a home office?
A: Spend money on joinery. A well-thought-through storage solution is indispensable to a tidy and organised home office.
Q: Lots of people are wishing they could get away at the moment. How can they bring a sense of overseas into their home?
A: Framed/ hanging textiles are something we often use to fill walls in projects. These come from all over the world and include anything from African mud cloths to Chinese marriage skirts. This helps to bring an eclectic feel to a house, as well as a sense of layering and other cultures.
Read about the Lorfords Contemporary X Turner Pocock collaboration here.