As part of our Interviews series, we took a few minutes to chat to interior designer and tastemaker Diana Baker. With over 25 years of experience working in beautiful homes all over the world, Diana’s Somerset showroom is a treasure trove of the best in British design. We’re delighted to be showcased there as well as being featured in Diana’s recent project – a complete renovation of an 18th century farmhouse.
How long have you been working in the interior design industry?I started in 1989 when we moved to Dubai. It was the time when the country was going through incredible expansion and a residential building boom. The perfect place to start my business.I had always loved interior design but my parents thought it was not a ‘serious’ subject and encouraged me to do accountancy at university. I had weekend and holiday jobs with local design businesses in Bristol and took as many courses as I could in various aspects of design and art. I did qualify as an accountant but ending up pursuing a career in design.
What interior style are you best known for? What do clients come to Diana Baker Designs for? My style can probably be best described as ‘classic’ with a twist. I’d like to think approachability plays a key part as getting a client to relax and is one of the best ways of understanding the brief and how you will be able to achieve their wishes.
What’s been your most challenging project to date and why? A villa in Cairo, partly because I don’t speak fluent Arabic and partly because the design/building process works slightly differently there!
What’s your dream project? I love being asked to convert commercial period buildings back into private residences. They are often beautiful buildings and it is lovely to feel that you’re bringing them back to life, whilst preserving their heritage.
When were you first introduced to Tom Faulkner designs? Oh difficult to say, must be 10+ years ago and I think it was through a magazine article. I’ve met Tom a couple of times at various trade events and have always admired his work. I think his furniture is beautiful, classic and timeless – the antiques of tomorrow. I have also found that every member of the Tom Faulkner team is always very helpful, knowledgeable and charming.
In your opinion, what makes Tom Faulkner designs different? The lines, elegance and quality of the materials. Also I think he’s a master at keeping up to date with tastes.
How did you choose the TF pieces now displayed in your showroom?Simply my favourites.
How do they fit in with the other designers in your showroom? How important is it for you to support British design?They are classics with beautiful lines and finishes. I like to think that I support some of the best British designers who are making tomorrow’s antiques.
Tell us about your recent project involved Tom Faulkner designs. What was the brief and why did you choose these Tom Faulkner pieces?A Lexington mirror because it could be made in the size and finish required and the quality is obvious. The client completely renovated her family farmhouse after living in it for 20 years with inherited pieces so wanted to make it her own.
What’s next for Diana Baker Designs?Off to Verbier tomorrow where I’m working on a chalet. It’s been completely gutted since I last saw it!