Tom Faulkner Interviews Alice Leigh

We came across Alice’s beautiful images featuring TF pieces on Instagram and decided it was high time we got in touch for an interview. We love her use of the Sienna range, particularly her clever colour combinations and unusual choice of bespoke finishes. Read on to discover how Alice describes her signature style, how she discovered Tom Faulkner design and what advice she would give to someone interested in working in interiors.

How long have you been working in the interior design industry? I have been working in the design industry for 17 years. I set up my own practice in 2010. Before that I spent 10 years with Dargie Lewis Designs. Since day one, I’ve been passionate about good design and great relationships with clients.

What interior style are you best known for? So much of how I work is about understanding the way people live, interpreting their own style and personality. Most of my clients are already incredibly stylish and just want some hand-holding and confidence with decision making. We then work together to create something that is not only elegant but practical and comfortable. Each project is approached with a fresh perspective which I feel is half the fun. My clients describe my style as elegant and chic. I like to introduce layers and fun with texture and subtle pops of colour. The end result has to be stylish, and has to be comfortable.

What’s been your most challenging project to date? It is one of the great things about what we do that every project comes with fresh challenges and new perspectives. Occasionally convincing a client to enjoy the process rather than fear it, or step out of their comfort zone is often the biggest challenge. I would have to say that the project that made me most nervous was my first solo project, a lateral apartment in South Kensington. As well as having a couple of awkward spaces to work with, my client readily admitted that interiors weren’t their thing. It ended up being brilliant fun and a fabulous flat.

What’s your dream project? I have been so lucky; I’ve already worked on a handful of dream projects. Ranging from one of the prettiest country houses I have ever seen, through a Georgian gem of a townhouse, to a modern minimalist pre-fab house which took me on a fascinating tour to the German factory. To be honest, the dream project is usually not the building but the right combination of building, client, and brief – a good balance of all these is fantastic. I would love to be approached by a client with an incredible art or furniture collection that we could build a beautiful home around. If it happened to be a skiing chalet that would be fun!

When were you first introduced to Tom Faulkner designs? About 11 years ago; I had been looking to fill a slightly complicated corner for a client for ages, and walked into the showroom on Lots Road and saw exactly what I needed. I was immediately drawn to the classic unfussy designs, quality of craftsmanship and the adaptability to both modern and traditional homes – there’s always a place for a Tom Faulkner piece! Recently I’ve also enjoyed working on some bespoke pieces with you and its always been an easy and enjoyable collaboration.

What’s your favourite Tom Faulkner piece? Is there a piece you use often in projects? My current favourite TF piece is the Ava dining table in a patinated bronze finish, I love the sculptural feel it has. I also find it difficult to get through a project without incorporating a Sienna side table or a Sienna console table. I love the clean lines, classic finish and stone/glass/mirror options that are available throughout your collections, always so adaptable to every budget and look. The pieces are often so beautiful in situ that they are more like a work of art but without the fuss.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to work in interiors? Firstly, do it! It is an industry all about good design and great people. It is easy to work really hard at something if you are passionate about it, so make sure you are before you start. Remember that your clients will want amazing fun spaces to live in, not an artificial film set that lasts a moment. Be ready to get good at maths, its not just about choosing lovely furniture and fabrics, as much as we wish it was! And don’t panic if something goes wrong, there’s always a solution, focus on finding it.

What’s next for Alice Leigh Design?I’ve got some really exciting private client projects coming up, both in London and in the country. I have also got a bedroom at home that need a refresh if I have time: I’ve got my eye on a Lily mirror which will be perfect!

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