We caught up with London-based
Tara Craig about her use of
pattern and texture in this Paris apartment
'I love the challenge of a brief,' says Tara Craig. 'I am a
guide, not a dictator.' This fabulously well-informed young
designer has a passion for textiles and a real flair for
colour, both of which can be seen in this recently completed
project in Paris. Tara was commissioned by a British client
asked her to redecorate the two-bedroom apartment in a
nineteenth-century hôtel particulier. It was a project that
required multiple trips to Paris and follow-up meetings via
to thrash out the finer details.
The original layout of the flat was retained: a small entrance
hall leading into the kitchen, and from there directly into
sitting room and mezzanine. A small hall, two bedrooms and
bathroom sit beneath. Excellent features include the
four-metre-high windows and a washed-oak sitting-room
installed by the previous owner. Tara's aim was to
personal canvas for my client to layer up'.
blue of the British Standard kitchen is reflected in
Earth wall tiles, while the reclaimed stone floor
adds a neutral
She has a gimlet eye, creating interiors that are cool and
intelligent, and made a big impact in this apartment by
new kitchen and bathroom. Her client loves to
cook, and the kitchen
has been designed to maximise the
available space. The brief for a
inspired Tara to combine petrol-blue
painted units with a
Rangemaster cooker in cranberry.
Although the bathroom is compact, it is elegant and feels
spacious. The classical overtones provided by Catchpole &
fittings sit well with the rest of the apartment and feel
appropriate for a building of this period. Metro-style tiles
it a crisp finish.
'My client is an adventurous traveller,' Tara explains. 'Her
exotic finds were a real springboard for the design.' While
sitting room and kitchen walls are white, the flat sings
of colour and abstract patterns. The palette for
each room was
inspired by particular references: the ocean
hues of the furniture
and fabrics in the sitting room, for
example, were inspired by some
woven Zulu bowls and a navy
diary and green purse, both from
Smythson, belonging to the
Tara works closely with several British upholstery workshops,
this case commissioning a Howard-style sofa and a
ottoman for the sitting room. The latter has
upholstered in a graphic print because, as she
says, 'people put
their feet up and pattern is a good tool for
hiding marks and
She mixed these new pieces with a pair of
nineteenth-century armchairs reupholstered with
detailing to give a visual lift to otherwise
Detail is an obsession of Tara's. 'If I
like a chair, I'll prod it
and ask, "How is this done?" '
Equally, she is generous with
sources and happy to accompany a
client to a workshop.
It's texture that seems to excite this designer most: she rubs
finger and thumb together when speaking, as if feeling a
textile. 'I focus on materials that last,' she
hand-dyed fabrics and mohair are all better
The apartment is the perfect canvas for the client's finds: a
kimono from Japan, a suzani from Uzbekistan and framed
slippers. 'In the end, I want my clients to feel
they've been on a
journey,' Tara says. 'It's important that
they feel as though
they've made a home.'
created a decorative feature wall. 'Willow' from de
Gournay is printed on Indian tea paper for an aged
finish and complements the natural fabrics on the seating. The
French armchairs (ironically sourced in England
from The One Off Chair Company) are upholstered in
hand-dyed indigo antique linen from Howe.
Ecotextiles, sourced from M M Design
Textiles - drape down almost the full length of the
four-metre-high sitting-room windows. The green shade was
inspired by the Zulu bowls on the wall.
Q. Sum up your style?
A. Elegant, diverse, collaborative.
Q. Describe the ideal client.
A. Someone who wants to be involved.
a bonus if they can provide interesting visual or
references that they like.
Q. What's your passion?
A. Antiques and art, whether
pieces or eighteenth-century brown
furniture. I work with a lot
of art dealers and love
to help clients with buying
Q. Share a contact from your interior-design address book.
A. Howe for the best-made furniture and
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