05 Nov Friday Files – Designer Discovery: Sophie Davies
Sophie Davies Interior Design Studio specialises in Interior Design and Decoration for both the residential and commercial market and is fast becoming a known name in the Sydney and Melbourne markets. During lockdown, Sophie agreed to talk to us about her work and experience and greatest influences:
1. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WORK IN THE INDUSTRY?
I come from a really creative family. My parents, my mum was an art teacher and my father is a builder/developer (carpenter by trade). We moved houses a lot growing up and I would always get really excited when dad would bring home the architect’s plans. I would sit with mum and dad and tell them what had to be changed. I’ve always loved the creative process. From a young age my mother encouraged us to paint/draw and make things. My grandmother is also a very gifted botanical artist. I can remember going to her house regularly during junior school and she would teach my cousin and I how to look at form, proportion, colour etc. I loved it. I don’t think Interior Design as a profession was really something I thought about until I was about 15. My high school boyfriend’s house was so beautiful, I was really inspired by his house. It wasn’t until around this time that I started to think it might be an industry I would like to work in one day.
2. BACKGROUND – HOW DID YOU START IN THE INDUSTRY? WHAT QUALIFICATIONS? DESIGNERS WHO SUPPORTED YOUR START?
I studied a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University. I actually thought I was going to be a singer back then. My sister is a talented composer and songwriter, we sang and wrote songs together growing up. I did well at school and my parents encouraged me to go to University even though I wanted to pursue music so I went to Melbourne University.
Whilst I was studying my undergraduate degree, I worked for Rose Street Trading Company for three years (a lifestyle and homewares company). I loved working there and on Sundays when the shop was a little quieter I’d read the Beta Plus books they sold and dream about designing beautiful homes!
Adelaide Bragg was a regular custom, I was introduced to her and really inspired by her. Once I finished my Arts Degree at Melbourne University, the music career wasn’t taking off as we had hoped, my sister was the real talent (she composed and wrote the songs I just sung them), I realised that perhaps I needed to look at other career avenues.
Interior Design was my only other real passion. I met a boy in London on a family holiday who swept me away! (Now my husband). When I was 22 I moved to London and caught up with Adelaide Bragg prior, she told me if I was interested in Interior Design, London was the best place to be and that I should look at studying at Inchbald.
After a year of working in property in Knightsbridge, I enrolled at Inchbald and studied their Honours Degree of Interior Architecture. I absolutely loved it and never looked back! After graduating at Inchbald I worked for Helen Green design in Chelsea before moving back to Melbourne (due to Visa issues).
My English boyfriend followed me out to Australia but got a job in Sydney so we moved to Sydney instead. An employer at Adelaide Bragg connected me to Tamsin Johnson who I had noticed and admired from London. I worked for her for a couple of months before being offered a job with Thomas Hamel & Associates.
I loved my time at Thomas Hamel, learning about all the amazing American brands and understanding how a large interior design office ticks. The projects I worked on were incredible and I met some lifelong friends. I was there for a year and a half before I noticed Tamsin was advertising for a full time assistant. Whilst working for Thomas was amazing, there was quite a hierarchy of levels in the office, I could see it would be at least 5 years before I was given full control of a project.
I had ants in my pants and wanted more responsibility so I reached out to Tam and she gave me the job. I had worked for Tamsin before, so I knew how she worked, she was really inspiring. I have never met anyone who can design as quickly as she can! I was thrown in and given so much responsibility but I loved it. I got to work on some amazing projects. Aesthetically it was really easy working for her as I felt like our taste was very aligned.
3. DESCRIBE YOUR INTERIOR STYLE/AESTHETIC?
Relaxed, enduring, playful and soft. My time in the UK had a profound impact on me and my style. I love how good English interiors don’t look too contrived and styled. There are hidden unexpected layers. There is something so romantic about old houses and mixing furniture from different eras which I love. I appreciate a lot of different styles/ aesthetics, whilst I have a strong personal style and aesthetic I aim for all my interiors to be unique and take you to a different place.
4. WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR PROJECTS?
I always assess the location of the house, its context, the architecture and the client. Once I have a good understanding of these aspects I can get started on the design process. I look at books, movies, hotels and restaurants for inspiration. Instagram is also amazing, however I like to avoid it when possible as it is easy to go down a rabbit hole and spend hours on it and not get anywhere.
5. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT TWISTER COLLECTION?
Twister lamp. Images courtesy of Vogue magazine.
Sure. I designed my Twister Lamp one weekend, struggling to find nice lamps for a project. I thought the chunky twist could be an eye-catching statement. It wasn’t easy having the prototype made, there weren’t many fabricators that could create the profile. It required a special CNC machine that was pretty expensive so not many woodturners had the right equipment. It took about a year to get the design off the ground!
6. ARE THERE ANY DESIGN STYLES AND FABRIC STYLES YOU FAVOUR MORE THAN OTHERS?
I definitely prefer natural earthy textures to man-made, I love a good linen, checks and stripes. I also love old worldly patterns, and wallpapers that transport you to another place.
7. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOYAC SUPPLIER?
Probably de le Cuona. However I also love Colony and Antoine d’Albiousse for their rich velvets and prints and Iksel for their incredible wallpapers.