In conversation with stylist and tastemaker, Lucy Williams
We caught up with stylist and tastemaker Lucy Williams on her recent house renovation and how she has created a timeless, warm and vibrant space with the use of vintage and antique furniture.
How do you describe your personal interior style and how has this evolved over the years since you started renovating your house?
Hmmm I really have no idea, something akin to restrained maximalism or cosy eclectic?! I’m always thinking practically because I know myself well enough to know I’m not very tidy and love stuff and food too much to live in a serene, cream-filled house. I’m hugely inspired by Frances Merrill of Reath Design and love her way of creating beautiful, colour-led spaces that feel very liveable and relaxed too. I’m not a formal person so I would never want to create a home where people are scared to put a drink down or touch anything.
Renovating this house from top to bottom has taught me so much. I started by really knuckling down on how I wanted each room to feel, how we realistically live day to day and thinking really practically in terms of function and storage before marrying that up with how I wanted it to all look. I think so much of design and style, whether that’s interiors or fashion, is getting to know yourself really well (rather than imagining who you want to be!) and being realistic with how you function on a day to day basis.
How do you incorporate vintage / antique shopping when you are choosing furniture for a space?
I’d say 70% of the lighting and furniture in my home is antique or vintage. I love how it instantly adds character and personality to a space and just feels like far more of a ‘find’. There are so many amazing pieces already out there in the world and the hunt is part of the joy of it all to me. I also really like adding a new lease of life to upholstered pieces. I have a great upholsterer who has recovered a hearth stool I bought in auction and a slipper chair bought on Vinterior for me. It’s a great way of breathing new life into a piece that otherwise might not work for you. I think it’s really important to mix styles and eras too to save it from becoming a bit movie-set like and I don’t think you need to be scared to mix tones of wood or eras. I think things like 1930s Heals furniture and more post-modern pieces work really well together for example.
Your home is beautiful, from what we can see each room has a strong identity and yet there is synergy throughout. Do you have any advice on how to choose bold pieces of furniture without it overpowering a space?
Thank you! I’ve never had any rules in mind as I think it really comes down to personal preference. My idea of overwhelming is probably very different from someone else’s so it’s just about making the balance right for you. Have fun with it and if something’s jarring for you, take one thing away until you can figure out what it is that’s throwing it off for you. I think balancing out textures and materials and not going for too many ‘trending’ pieces in one room really helps avoid anything feeling themed too.
Do you have a favourite vintage or antique find?
My Henning Kjaernulf razor blade dining chairs have ended up being some of my favourite bits of furniture in the whole house. I got four via Vinterior and have since found four more that I just need to reupholster the seat pads on. They’re fun, quirky and very ski chalet in the alps but also timeless to me.
One piece of advice when buying vintage and antique?
Measure, measure, measure. I bought a mini tape measure to keep on my key ring while renovating and it honestly became my favourite thing. Always think about pinch points too. It might fit length wise but what about depth? Give it a pass if you’re going to have to be turning sideways to squeeze past it.
What is on your vintage shopping list?
I’d love to own an original piece of Guillerme et Chambrom furniture, preferably a lovely cabinet or sideboard. I’m also on the hunt for a lovely tall ladderback chair for an annoying spot in our sitting room I just can’t fill.
Do you have a favourite design era?
I have a real weak spot for proper mid-century living that was truly innovative for the time. I dream about having a sunken living room one day and teak cladding everywhere.
What are you currently reading and what is your favourite reading chair?
I designed our whole kitchen around the idea of having a deep window seat as it’s always been a bit of a fantasy of mine. Well, the window seat has ended up the same size as a single bed pretty much so that’s definitely my favourite reading spot, although I do dream of owning an original Philip Arctander clam chair one day. Right now I’m reading Stephen King The Art of Fiction which is so funny and insightful and I’m hoping something of a lucky mascot for my own writing one day.