Ian Thompson Interior Design - accent magazine, December 04

Ian Thompson began his career as an Interior Designer in 1983. Working in California inspired him to open "The Mews Gallery" in Comber, Co Down and now the established business is situated at his studio on the Lisburn Road, BT9.

Ian constantly searches for new ideas globally and his knowledge and credibility is a source of reference for the Belfast Telegraph column "House Couture", numberous articles in Northern Woman, and previously the TV programme UTV Live presented by Andrea Catherwood.

Ian's Interior Design takes on a wide variety of projects, including this year a French Chateau, a Portuguese Restaurant, a Horse Lorry's living quarters, many homes and a stately home near Belfast. His philosophy is to provide simple yet innovative designs with global inspiration mixing new trends with vintage and using distinctive colours and textures.

The BT9 studio, once a Memoral Hall steeped in history and charm, is now a treasure trove of Buddha, mirrors, Gustavian furniture, rich fabrics, lamps, chandeliers and Orchids.... where friendly assistance, soulful music and cold glasses of Chablis are offered to all clients.

  • Do you think homeowners do need an interior decorator to identify their tastes for them more often than they realise? How do you read clients' design-personalities, as such, and where do you go from there?

    Clients use my services as an interior designer to save time. I can research and source the best design, fabric, furniture and lighting quickly and easily. Every client is different, which is the great joy of the job - translating their ideas, combining them with mine and making their home, restaurant, nightclub, shop or boat as stylish as possible. In my opinion, anything that isn't comfortable is a total disaster.

  • What are the design principles by which you swear? And how do you work with such a differing variety of spaces - French Chateau, Portugese Restaurant, stately homes - and manage to avoid repetition ?

    Every project differs greatly so what works well for one cannot work for the other. It keeps your creativity stretched on a daily basis. Designers are creative problem solvers, and great interiors are those spaces that don't overtly look as if a decorator has been there.

  • Do you enjoy the creative process? Even when liasing with indecisive clients? Or do they generally trust and defer to your expertise?

    Clients do communicate their wishes and expectations to me, which constantly pushes the style boundaries. I enjoy every part of my job. My Forté is to bring glamour and elegance to the home without making it feel overdone. I get inside the clients' heads with lots of questions to see, first of all, what they hate... then we move forward! I see trust between designer and client as the most important aspect of great and good design. I love the whole process.

  • Can you tell us about your studio?

    My design studio is in a converted memorial hall, filled with furniture, lamps, mirrors... the list could go on and on. As I was recently at the Paris Interiors Show and went a bit mad, shipments are arriving twice a week from all over the world.

  • Do you advocate the periodic rotation of décor? Some people thing changing wall colour every couple of years, or moving furniture around, is a good way to refresh a space without a total overhaul. How do you achieve a space that's both timeless and flexible?

    I aim for all interiors to be timeless. Most people seem to be leaning towards a casual elegance and comfort, picking classic colours which age gracefully so their scheme will last a lot longer than a couple of years. A good rule of thumb is to keep things classic, not trendy. Classic never goes out of style.

  • Three rules you follow steadfastly?
    • Every project is equally prestigous
    • Rooms should never be unstimulating. I want a room to become more interesting the longer you remain in it
    • Input and chart the needs, wants and budget for each and every client.


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