What urged you to become an interior designer?
It was by complete accident. I took a year off when I was 22, to do some free lance work during which time my mother encouraged me to apply for this interior design course she saw advertised. After the interview at the college, I was amazed that this was even considered a career (remember this is 1986 in South Africa). Anyway I enrolled and had a fantastic two years which saw me come 2nd in my final year. I really understood architectural drawing and was asked by the principal to stay on and become the first year course director and continued for another couple of years teaching design and history of architecture before venturing off to Start René Dekker Design.
What encouraged you to start your own company?
I am naturally self-motivated and to be honest, struggle with authority a little so it was a natural progression after I left the college.
How has your experience been of working so far in London?
London is unique in the world, both geographically as well as historically. Everyone wants to be here which means property prices are high attracting investment from around the world. Interior design is taken seriously here because people don’t have the time to do it themselves and so there is plenty of work for everyone from the designers to the artisans who create the special finishes. Budgets are realistic which nurtures creativity.
How would you describe your studio in 5 words?
Tailor made with uncompromising style
Which is your favourite hang out destination in London?
It has to be the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. It is a good fusion of classical and contemporary architecture and design. The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz is also stunning, the verre de eglomise styled mirrors are absolutely gorgeous. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but one can at least appreciate the effort behind such artworks!
Why do you think people should focus on interior design?
People who are not aware of the technicalities and intricacies that make up interior design will make mistakes and mistakes cost money. Ideally the client should not pay more for the design of their house,than they can save by engaging the services of an interior designer. For example, we charge around 35% of the total soft furnishings budget to take on a (no- architectural) project. We get between 20-50% discount on procurement which we pass on to the client and this usually amounts to the same figure so they have not paid over the odds for the service. Our price to carry out the architectural design on a project is usually around 3-5% of the building cost and forms part of the original 12-15% which the architect is charging so again, the client shouldn’t be paying more than expected.
Whats your advice to a newcomer to London?
Ensure you do your research before hand to make the most of your time to have a quality experience. If you want to do something lively, go to the West end, visit the theater or maybe the bars and clubs in Soho. If you prefer something a little quieter or refined there are endless museums for every taste, river cruises or guided evening tours.
For more information please visit Rene Dekker Design Limited