Guest Blog - Elizabeth Rose
At D&C we are interested in how interior designers are inspired, how they develop and pursue their talents. How they make their work both harmonious and visually arresting, How they balance this by collaborating with clients, to create timeless interiors. We are about to find out.
Atelier Elizabeth Rose is owned by a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice encompasses interior design, fine art, the creation of bespoke pieces for the home, cleverly mixed with a distinctive dash of French flair.
Laura: Libby Rose Interior Designer, welcome to the Guest Blog. Do tell us a little bit about yourself.
E: My name is Elizabeth and my business is called Atelier Elizabeth Rose. Friends call me Libby. I’m based in Dorset, in amongst the rolling hills of the English countryside, a few miles from where I grew up. As children, my brother and I were constantly roped into holding the bin bags and moving rubble because my parents were renovating the house. Consequently I learnt a lot about renovation and building work!
I studied Fine Art in London and also gained a Distinction Certificate in Interior Design and Decoration from Inchbald, the pre-eminent school for interior and garden design. I now also lecture there.
L: What has influenced your creativity?
E: From a very young age I was always drawing and painting. My grandfather was a prolific painter and he used to take me to the seaside to sketch the ocean and boats. He also had a caravan he used as a studio and I just loved spending every minute in there, using his watercolours and paint brushes, some of which I still have today.
Both my parents are very creative. My mother studied textiles and art. She is now an accomplished botanical artist. My father is currently selling his own artwork. I won an art scholarship to Bryanston School and went on to study Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School. I worked as a full-time artist for a number of years, opening my own gallery at one point but I wanted to broaden my creativity. I have always been interested in interiors, so enrolled in a course at the Inchbald. Since then I have combined interior design with fine art and love how the two overlap.
L: What else where you doing whilst planning to set up Atelier Elizabeth Rose?
E: Luckily since graduating from the Inchbald School of Design I always worked in interior design. Prior to that I worked in Soho for a tailor and learnt a lot about fabrics. When I moved back to Dorset, after my studies in London, I started a company providing beautiful tableware to weddings and parties. I was also constantly sketching. I did all this whilst growing my interior design business. Once the interiors took over I sold my tableware company and set up my design practice.
L: Your determination to be an interior designer didn’t stop there because you are also an Esti Educator. What is Esti? Please explain.
E: Esti is software for interior designers and I have contributed to its development. It allows a designer to estimate, invoice, purchase and create 100s of different reports all from one place. My very first interior design job was with a wonderful designer called Ina Lindemann. In her company we used this software and I got to know the inventor of Esti really well. He asked me to help out at Decorex one year. The next thing I knew I was lecturing to 40 students at the KLC School of Design and training designers in how to use the software! I use Esti for all my projects. Its a great way to stay on top of things, not only from a project management perspective but importantly from a financial standpoint.
L: Having decided to do more creative work for yourself and not only for clients, what do you love most about this decision?
E: The freedom! I love that I can now use my creativity to design pieces for the home. I am very much a believer that the art work doesn’t have to stop at the canvas. It can translate across different surfaces and media. That’s what I find most interesting, my landscape paintings can also work on a lampshade. Or my line drawings can create an embroidered cushion. Pushing those limits is what I love and find rewarding.
L: You say that you can see your particular style from way back to when you were a child. Tell us about this.
E: I still have my portfolio of artwork from when I was 10 years old. I also have pieces that my mother has lovingly kept from when I was 3 or 4! As a subject flowers have been a constant and I have always loved to sketch people. But colour is the main thread throughout my work. A fluidity of line, a certain spontaneity, although that has taken years to perfect. Spontaneity takes many hours to create!
L: What and who influences you?
E: France! Its simple, I adore French art, culture, food and people. From a very young age, each year my parents would take us to the Loire Valley. We’d visit every chateau in the region and I am sure this is where my love for interiors originates.
I was fortunate enough to read History of Art as part of my degree and I am fascinated by Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Velazquez and Hockney. I lap up their work in particular. Growing up in Dorset it goes without saying that the landscape also plays an important role in my work.
L: I refer to you as Creative rather than an artist or a designer because I feel you are a combination of all of those things, do you agree?
E: Yes, completely. As a creative I don’t feel I am bound to one thing. I see myself first and foremost as an artist. I am an artist who just happens to be able to design interiors, soft furnishing, furniture and other pieces. I feel that the canvas can often be restrictive. I like to take my work beyond a flat surface. My chief influences, (Matisse Picasso Hockney), didn't stop at paintings. They also designed theatre sets, furniture, ceramics and interiors. (For example do look up La Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence designed by Matisse),
L: We agree that you are an all-round creative but where do your ideas start?
E: My ideas originate from what is immediately around me but they are firmly based in my love for the landscape, nature and of course France.
I love tulips so have a garden full of them in the spring. These will end up in vases all over the house so I can sketch them. I would also like to impart a sense of hope and beauty in my work. I say, La Vie en Rose!
L: You’ve been renovating your own home. Did you have a clear creative vision right from the start?
E: On buying the Little Dorset Cottage I knew I also wanted to bring a little bit of Provence to Dorset. With limited travel because we renovated during the first lockdown, it was especially important for me to create this Provencal feel in my own home. That said, I had no idea what we would find beneath the crumbling plaster and layers of ancient wallpaper. There are no level floors in the house so where I would have tiled we left the original floorboards. It was a very organic process and has gone on to enhance the character of the house. It was not the usual way I would work with a client. I had paint colours in mind for each room however when my builder started applying the lime plaster it was clear that it would have been a mistake to paint over it. So this is where the colourful joinery came in. We found original Georgian paintwork and I matched some of these colours. For example in the entrance hallway, which is bright green and wonderfully welcoming.
L: What do you like to do when you're not creating?
E: I am always creating! If I don't have a pencil or paintbrush in my hand it will be a wooden spoon and a spatula. I love to create delicious dishes and bake cakes, usually with a French feel for my friends and family, pissaladière and clafoutis being firm favourites. I also love to scour antiques shops and walk in the beautiful countryside where I live to gather inspiration for my next creation. I am a novice gardener and am cultivating my raised beds full of beans, courgettes, onions and cabbages. Additionally, I am currently on the development team for the next iteration of Esti. I have found this a particularly interesting process.
L: You clearly juggle a lot of plates so what's your next project?
E: I have two large interior design projects coming up. Additionally, there are some exciting things happening on the textiles side.
Laura: Thank you Libby, it’s been such a pleasure and exciting to talk to you. I can’t wait to see more from Atelier Elizabeth Rose.
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