Inspire Me – with Interior Designer Sophie Robinson

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Have you ever wondered how an interior designer balances an interior design career and home life … along with tv presenting, interior styling and running colour courses.

Well, I have a little interview here with Sophie Robinson whom you may well know as a judge on BBC2s Great Interior Design Challenge and home expert on ITV’s This Morning –  who can fill you in on just how she achieves all of the above.

I’m a fan of Sophie’s work so it is a real pleasure to be featuring her here today on ‘ Inspire Me’ … 

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Was it always your plan to become an interior designer ?

I was always passionate about doing up my bedrooms as a young kid and that quickly spread to other rooms in the house. My mum is hugely creative and that really had a positive impact on me. She was also really encouraging and gave me free reign to design my bedroom and help with other areas too. She really nurtured my creativity and gave me confidence. She did such a good job that my brother Edward Robinson is an interior stylist too !

You’ve just moved in to a lovely new house. What made you fall in love with it and is this your forever home ? 

Yes I think it will be our forever home. We’ve been working hard and saving like mad to get here. It’s a four-bedroom farmhouse in the Sussex country and we have 5 acres of paddock and garden, then surrounded by 100acres of ancient woodland so yes- it’s pretty dreamy ! The house however is a bit charmless so my husband, who’s conveniently a builder, and myself are going to really relish the design. The house isn’t listed so we’re hoping we can really release our creativity on it. We’re up for a big remodel !

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There are some fabulous colour trends this year – are you working with them a lot ?

Colour trends come and go and I’m always fascinated to know what they are but as a devout colour lover I’m never greatly swayed. Over years I’ve developed my own colour palette and I like to work with that. However I love the way trends can shake me out of a style rut and encourage me to try something new.

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The ultimate question – what is your favourite colour ?

Neon pink. That was hard.

When working with clients on their home designs – do you help people develop their style or do most people already know what they are looking for?  

Some people have a very strong idea of what they like and others don’t have a clue. The true skill of an interior designer is to draw out the individual’s style and taste and then make it work in their home. 

How did you get in to television presenting ?

It’s pure luck ! My first job was on ITV’s 60 minute makeover and one of the researchers went to Art College with my brother and invited me to screen test. I find in this industry it’s really important to make good connections with everyone you meet, and do a good job. Being self employed you’re only ever as good as your reputation. One of the directors on 60 MM was, almost 10 years later, casting for judges on GIDC and put my name in the pot.

Can you pick a favourite room from the many you have judged on the Great Interior Design Challenge ? 

No !
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Do you find it easy to balance work and home life? If so, please do tell us how … ? :)

No I do not. It’s a nightmare. After filming three series with loads of time away from home and moving house and having an incredibly busy first 6 months of this year I’ve decided to take a break. My health was suffering and it’s not worth it. So I’m taking the school summer holidays off to spend with my son and nest in my new home. Sometime you have to honour the power of No and get some control back. I think watching your children grow up has to be the most important thing. Although I love my career so don’t panic, I’m not going anywhere, just dialling it down for a bit.

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You’re currently working with This Morning and Good Morning Britain on ITV, offering ideas for home makeovers. 

Yes that has been great fun. Live TV is very different to pre-recorded stuff. The amount of work and organizing that goes into 5 minutes of live broadcast is insane ! But the This Morning crew are just so delightful as are Holly and Phil.

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As well as working with clients and presenting (and of course being a Mum), you also run courses. Who would you recommend them for ?

I run Interior Design Master classes with Daniel Hopwood, which are a great day for anyone who’s passionate about interiors. Our guests include people who’d like to go into it as a career or maybe currently studying. Then there are plenty of people who are doing up their own home and are looking for ideas and knowledge and also people who want a lovely day out and a nice lunch ! I also run courses on Colour, which is a more hands on, and creative workshop with ideas to update your home or your wardrobe. There are more dates coming up in the autumn and you can book on our Eventbrite page.

What is the best bit of advice you can give to any budding interior designers or presenters ? 

If you want to become an interior designer you need training. In today’s professional market interior designers have high levels of qualifications and computer skills. If you want to set up your own company rather than work for someone else, you’ll need not only interior design but also business training. It’s a very competitive industry and you need grit to make it ! As for becoming a TV presenter, that’s much harder to orchestrate. I’d aim to becoming the best in your field, make sure you are visible on social media so that when casting directors are looking for new talent, your profile sticks out. It probably would be a good idea to do YouTube videos too. Then make sure you have another career to fall back on, as TV is notoriously fickle !

We’re already in August (wow !) – what do you have planned for the rest of 2016 ? 

I’ve been flat out for the first part of this year so I’m going to take it easy over the summer. I’ve just started working with a business coach and my focus is growing my brand and my social media platforms so I can have the enviable life of flexible working hours, where and when I like ! While continuing to inspire people to get creative in their own spaces by sharing all the know-how I’ve accrued over the years. Watch this space !

Thanks, Sophie. Fantastic advice regarding the world of television  – and your love of colour is truly inspiring. 

If you’re interested in Sophie and Daniel’s courses – then do click on that link. I rather fancy it myself.  You can also follow her Youtube channel here and her lovely colourful instagram page here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this interview with Sophie – do leave a comment or tweet me @lucylovesyablog with your thoughts and also what colour combinations work for you in your home ? 

Have a good one.

Lucy x

Image credits: 1. Luca Sage. 2,3,4, 5 & 7 by Alan Callender. 6 by Sophie Robinson.

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