Design Life with Laura Vaughan: Interior and textile designer

Designer Laura Vaughan.

Interior and textile designer Laura Vaughan lighting the way for vibrant design.

What’s your background?

I studied interior architecture in Cardiff Metropolitan University, after which I worked in commercial design for a number of years. I came back to Ireland and worked for a design practice in Dublin and Cork.

I completed a really good skills-based textile course in Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork.

From there I developed my own homeware range and launched it as part of Creative Island at Showcase 2016.

My mum had a children’s clothes boutique for 20 years called ‘Humpty Dumpty’. I grew up helping in the shop.

As a result, I always wanted to have my own independent shop, so I left my day job and opened my own studio and shop in Ennis in November 2017. It’s been the best risk I have ever taken, it’s stressful sometimes but I wouldn’t change it. Self-employment suits me.

What’s a typical work day like for you?

It varies from dealing with customers to developing new artwork and patterns, making lampshades, or sourcing fabric for clients and bespoke shades.

I also need to keep on top of my books and social media, and source new makers for the shop. I run workshops two to three times a month.

They are becoming more popular, so I am beginning to offer them more frequently. I spend a lot of my day preparing and developing the workshops, which include making and painting a lampshade, tote bag printing and jewellery making.

I am in the process of developing a series of short interior workshops on how to use colour, texture and pattern in the home.

It’s great to see people becoming totally immersed in making, forgetting about their phones and just connecting with other people.

When I tell them that it’s nearly time to pack up, they are really surprised.

It’s a really enjoyable experience for people who have maybe never had any exposure to art design or craft.

Tell us about a recent project or design/ favourite project or design you have worked on?

I have been developing a new range of homeware patterns based on boats along the Wild Atlantic Way.

I love getting inspiration from my surroundings and developing a concept into a finished versatile pattern that will blend into people’s interiors. I work with either existing or new interiors whether it is in people’s home or in a commercial interior.

My latest project is a guest house where the client is looking to keep the interior quite neutral and use the shades and matching cushions to introduce colour and vibrancy.

What’s your design style?

I don’t really have a specific style, but I love when designers successfully merge old pieces, whether that’s furniture, fabrics or wallcoverings, with new pieces and create really interesting compositions that all work in a space.

What/who inspires your work?

I love architecture, interesting chairs and objects. I also love the colours and textures of our coast line whether it’s the various colours or stonewalls everywhere in the Burren.

I love using strong vibrant contrasting colours which are everywhere in nature.

What’s your favourite trend at the moment (if you have any)?

I like the abstract/marble effect patterns in textiles and soft furnishings at the moment, as they are so versatile and easy to use.

What’s your most treasured possession?

My Russian Doll collection: people take them back to me as gifts and I always buy them if I see them. I am hoping to get a giant one at some point.

Who would be your favourite designer, or style inspiration?

I have always been inspired by multi-disciplinary designers and sculptors like Thomas Heatherwick, Gordan Matta-Clarke and Rachel Whiteread. I love print-based designers like Timorous Beasties and Marimekko.

What would be a dream project for you to work on?

A homeware range for Liberty London. Liberty’s selection of luxurious products, their textiles and displays are always so inspiring and a complete visual treat for me.

What are your top design tips?

Buy quality classic pieces that don’t tend to date. It’s easy and relativity cheap to change cushions, soft furnishings, shades and paint colours, when you feel an interior needs to be updated.

Facebook: Laura Vaughan Design Studio

Instagram: @lauravaughandesignstudio

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