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[INTERVIEW] Rachel Stevens: Junior Design Awards 2014 Judge

We spoke to our expert panel at this year's Junior Design Awards to find out what floats their design boat and what they love the most about being a judge...

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Rachel Stevens

What’s your favourite room in the house?

It has to be our kitchen/diner, it’s the hub of our home. It’s a large open plan space so it’s very versatile - great for entertaining and when Amelie has her friends over they can run around and play safely but at the same time it’s a place where we all relax and the bifolding doors onto the garden make it perfect for Summer indoor/outdoor living too.

Why is good design important to you?

In the past few years I’ve become really passionate about interiors. I love the creativity of planing a room from scratch. In terms of design, it’s important for me to have things around me which I love and fit in with our lifestyle so a mix of functional and stylish design works well in our home, which is very modern with clean lines. I like to experiment with colour, fabrics and styling but most of all the overall aesthetic has reflect us. Some of my favourite pieces in terms of their design are our Roche Bobois Mah Jong sofa which is modular so you build it yourself choosing different colours and fabrics for each piece - or you can leave it as one colour. We chose to mix it up, focussing on good quality fabrics which were durable. As there are no hard edges and it’s a low sofa, it’s super comfortable and easy for the girls and has a relaxed but colourful vide.

I also love our Brother Max high chair which is very modern, with no hard corners and fits within an adult environment but is perfect for the girls in it’s functionality and easy to wipe down so very practical too. Lighting is important to me too for setting a mood at different times of day. Our lounge has a real evening feel, I took a risk painting the walls and ceiling in a deep, petrol blue and used mirrors to create a feeling of space with lighting set into them - it’s paid off and we love it as a space to use in the evenings or to add a bit of glamour.  

What quality do you look for when buying well design products for your home?

Durability is key. If it’s good quality it will last and stand the test of time, something you definitely need with little people running around. Practicality is important to me too, as is style.

Has having children changed the way you shop?

Yes, I think more about how we use the space in the house and about what’s comfortable and how we live more. I’m in the process of putting together a photo wall at the moment, which is really fun as it chronicles lots of memories so it makes me nostalgic and reminds us of happy times. Amelie loves talking through the photos. I think it adds a sense of fun too and of who we are, and it’s good talking point when people come over.

What or who is your favourite family home wear designer and why?

I don’t really have one favourite label, I’m inspired buy lots of different things, your taste and style are always evolving. I love flicking through interiors magazines, going to design shows and looking through art and photography books. We have a mix of high street and designer homewear, from Ikea to Missoni

What’s your favourite fashion design label for kids?

I love the British high street for the girls. For more boutique brands, you can’t go far wrong with I Love Gorgeous. I especially love their head bands and accessories and dressing them in matching outfits - it’s so cute.  Amelie loves her clothes and now decides what she’ll wear which can go to either end of the scale good or bad! 

Do you have any treasured family heirlooms?

My Grandma gave me her diaries from when she was a teenager - they are amazing, and a real piece of history. She’d cut out newspaper articles, talk about what movies she went to, what she was doing at school and also about the war - it’s such an insight into her life and of that time and I’m fascinated by it. I’ll always treasure them. When Amelie was one, we bought her a gold identity bracelet - maybe that will be passed down through the family one day.

What piece of great design do you wish you had invented?

I wish I had created the muslin. My girls love them and I don’t know what I’d do without them. They’re used for literally everything. I love the Aden and Anais ones - so pretty and soft. I don’t go anywhere without them.

What were you most looking forward to about being a Junior Design Awards judge for the day?

This was my third year doing it and I enjoy giving my thoughts and opinions. It’s fun and exciting to see all the new products and innovations, new up and coming designers and to have a preview of what I can be find on in the high street for the new season. I pick up great ideas, shops to visit and designers to research which I’d never otherwise have known about, so it’s as nourishing as it is fun and inspiring.


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