James Woodham started St James Design Interiors Ltd 12 years ago.
His team work closely with their clients on all sorts of interior projects, from design to delivery. Together, they have a reputation for delivering high-quality commercial and domestic interiors, including stunning kitchens, across London.
James started solo on domestic projects, but recently his reputation for funky, classic and contemporary design has been spreading among fashion designers. In fact, one of their clients was none other than hip-hop royalty, Kanye West himself.
Interior designer, James Woodham, talks about space-saving solutions, design challenges and how to make sure your kitchen project goes to plan. Oh, and Kanye, of course.
A few years ago, James’s team were asked to help a very special client. Their challenge was to prepare hip-hop star Kanye West’s Fashion Studio in Farringdon.
"We were lucky enough to work with Kanye for a whole year during the recession. At one point we had to paint a huge studio the size of a small cathedral, and we had to turn it around very quickly because he was going off to a gig in Europe and needed it to be done when he got back. We worked 72 hours non-stop, with 15 painters, and got the whole thing done."
James and his team have installed stunning kitchens in homes across London, and they’ve noticed people are trying to build on the space they have available.
“We’ve done a lot of minimalistic projects, using bigger work surfaces and maximum storage. We’ve noticed that people are opting for higher wall units. You can get high wall units that provide a lot more storage and give that minimalistic feel as well. Kitchen islands are quite a big thing too, and breakfast bars are very popular.”
The most common problem when designing a kitchen is space. With so many fantastic kitchen goods and gadgets available, James’s clients often overlook space restrictions – which where his creative design skills come in.
"Space is always an issue. People sometimes have a tight budget and don’t realise how much things cost, which can be a problem too. Often they want too much and trying to get all these things in the property and have it all work practically and visually is tricky."
"We do a lot of apartments and when you’re trying to do quite a lot in a room the size of a bird box, there are always big challenges involved."
James uses a few tricks of the trade to make the designs work for his clients.
"We’ve done a lot of pop-up sockets, which are built within the worktop. They’re really handy because you can just click them into place and you’ve got four plug sockets for your kettle, toaster and so on."
"People are also choosing coloured glass splashbacks above work surfaces instead of tiles because they’re a lot easier to clean. They give the impression of space – even if you’ve got a small kitchen you can make it look quite big by taking out the tiling."
There are lots of ways to save space in small kitchens, according to James.
"Utilise the area underneath your base units. You can now fit drawers within the plinths, with handles that are hidden away so you wouldn’t even know they’re there. You can just pull it out and you’ve got another drawer under your unit."
James used all the design skills at his disposal for a project he worked on recently.
"The apartment we were working in was very, very, very small. It was almost the width of a garage. It was a weird environment to work in, there was a mezzanine built within it where you sleep, a little kitchenette, a little lounge area and a bath. Creating a living space within it was quite a challenge, but very enjoyable."
"We installed solid oak flooring and changed the paintwork from grey to white, which opened everything up. In the kitchen we used a glass effect worktop that reflected a lot of light. All the handles were integrated so nothing was sticking out and you couldn’t catch yourself on anything. The entire kitchen was painted white too."
The cooker is one of the most important appliances in a kitchen.
"It has to be right. It has to be big enough or small enough, and fit the right function.
Range cookers can make a great statement piece but like everything else, you’ve got to find one that suits the character of your house. Certain models are great for traditional Victorian style houses, for example, whereas others are better suited to trendy modern flats.
Choosing the right range cooker all comes down to getting the image and functionality right for your kitchen."
Viewing appliances up close is great way to find out if they’re right for your kitchen.
"I always encourage my clients to go out and spend a day at showrooms having a look. I also encourage them to go to exhibitions and shows as well, to get ideas for big projects," says James.
"We find it’s very beneficial for clients to go and have a look themselves, rather than just relying on the internet. You get a better feel for what they’re like when you experience them up close.
When you’re looking at an appliance online, it’s normally on a white background. Taking time to see them really helps people make their minds up."
This interview is sponsored by Range Cooker Showroom. If you’re redesigning your kitchen, come and view our stunning collection of top-brand range cookers in Rayners Lane, West London. For advice about finding the perfect cooker for your home, call us on 0208 866 8000.
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