We spoke to two women designers that will be at this year’s Port Elizabeth HOMEMAKERS Expo about interior designs and their thoughts on industry trends. Andrea Fischer-Heckroodt specializes in bringing experiences to life through functional design solutions. Kirsten van Bochove creates sophisticated bespoke furniture pieces in addition to her interior design consulting.

What is the leading interior trend of the moment?

Andrea: There has been a huge movement towards sustainable lifestyles and this is evident with the demand for 2nd hand goods mainly quality solid timber pieces.

Kirsten: There is a strong trend towards using clean lines and rich fabrics. The blend of textures such as wood, metal, fabric and glass. I feel that many tastes and styles can be encompassed within these parameters. There is no hard and fast rule, old and new items can blend seamlessly.

What do you think sets your design style apart?

Andrea: My personal style leans towards nostalgia, I tend to be drawn to items that evoke old memories. But the golden rule for my personal space is white (you can choose any colour as long as it’s white) Nothing calms the senses quite like a crisp white interior warmed up with raw timber detailing.

Kirsten: I am not afraid of colour, I love colour!! I do however understand that the current economic climate almost forces people to make “safe” choices as they cannot redo their furniture whenever the trends change. One can, however, always use safer, more neutral colours for the larger items in the home and then use the colours one loves in the soft furnishings such as scatters, throws, ottomans and lamp shades.

What made you decide to pursue a career in interior design?

Andrea: When I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming an artist but as I grew up, I realized that I was too attached to my paintings, so selling them was out of the question. I was later introduced to a design lecturer who guided me towards interior design, only to realize it had always formed part of my life.

Kirsten: I have no formal training and my business as a manufacturer and an upholsterer will always take precedence. My love of interiors and homes has always been strong and in my business I am required to understand trends. It is also vital that I understand people and their requirements and that I don’t try and push my style on somebody that isn’t asking for my advice other than helping them choose the right fabric at the right price for their home.

Is there any particular interior design style that you dislike?

Andrea: I don’t have a particular dislike of any design styles rather of poor execution and of spaces which lack function.

Kirsten: I am not a fan of designs that look fabulous but are uncomfortable. The furniture must be comfortable and easy to live with. I am also not crazy about rooms that look very dark. I like dark furniture and like walls and finishes that are light with good lighting or I love a dark feature wall with lighter furniture.

What is the best thing about being an interior designer?

Andrea: My main passion is branding, when a retail space or restaurant requires brand spanking new conceptual design development incorporated into their space.

Kirsten: The result! It is so satisfying to see the end result!! To see everything put together and a smiley client is the best feeling.

Catch Kirsten van Bochove and Andrea Fischer-Heckroodt at the Port Elizabeth HOMEMAKERS Expo.