Jess Blake founded Happybeams Interiors in 2018, after qualifying at KLC in 2016 and two years working for a kitchen design company in the Midlands. She is currently living in South West London with her partner, James and their cocker spaniel puppy, Oti. Jess studied Psychology at university and tries to use this passion & knowledge to help bring a sense of calm and well-being into her designs.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into interiors?
I think like a lot of designers I remember as a young girl always wanting to redecorate or rearrange my bedroom and be involved in any design decisions at home. When I was older, because I didn’t do Art at GCSE I thought I’d struggle to study Interior Design at university, so with my interest in Psychology, I decided that would at least leave my options open after I graduated.
After university, I went into the Charity Sector for a few years working in Fundraising & Events, which I absolutely loved but at the end of 2015, I still felt a real desire to pursue my love of Interiors so I enrolled on a course at KLC. I remember sitting in my interview thinking I didn’t have the right skills or experience but luckily I had a lovely interviewer who pointed out how useful people skills and psychology are in the world of design (and she wasn’t wrong!). My time at KLC was incredible, I learnt so much and it gave me a real boost to start my next chapter. And so, almost two years later Happybeams was born.
I have been fortunate enough to work with some wonderful clients on a wide range of projects from single room schemes, to full homes, two renovations and my first commercial office design. James and I took our flat completely back to brick last summer, creating a second bedroom but unfortunately, we are still waiting on some replacement windows so we are living with plastered walls for the time being until we can get it all decorated. To say I am excited to get our place finished would be an understatement.
What’s the biggest interior design lesson you’ve learned?
Plan. As tempting as it is to order an item that you’ve totally fallen in love with, it’s always a good idea to decide if it will fit well in the space (I can’t live without my scale ruler!), and if it will look right with the rest of the room & your personal style.
I find it really helps to always create a style board to refer back to, otherwise, a scroll on Pinterest or Instagram can often lead to going off on a tangent if not careful.
How do you describe your style?
I’d probably describe my style as ‘Cosy-Minimalist’ with a touch of Contemporary, Scandi and Industrial. I love simplistic, calming, homely spaces, so I’m often drawn to warm, neutral palettes, with lots of texture, greenery and light.
Decorating as a couple means our overall style has to factor in James’ taste, which sometimes isn’t exactly what I’d choose but luckily we do often agree. I always find working with couples fun because you have to find that sweet spot that both parties really like. I’ve found that sometimes meeting in the middle isn’t actually the best option, as often neither person likes the end result so usually, someone has to compromise.
Do you have any favourite pieces in your home?
I think I’d have to say my bathroom floor tiles. When I designed my en-suite, I chose the vanity unit before anything else which is a smokey blue colour, and this led the rest of the scheme. I knew I wanted a floor tile that had a hint of the same colour, in a Victorian style so when I found these I was over the moon! All of the bathroom furniture is wall hung, as it is a fairly small bathroom, so having the tiles go right to the edges of the room makes it feels so much more spacious.
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
I have a few Instagram accounts & YouTubers I like to check frequently for inspiration (perhaps more frequently at the moment because I’m so desperate to get our flat finished!) and of course Pinterest when I’m looking for a particular style. I also love being in nature for beautifully calming palettes or taking a city stroll looking at the architecture really inspires me too. Thanks to the Marie Kondo movement I absolutely love learning about new organisation tips & ideas to keep spaces practical as well.
What are some of your best styling tips?
To pick up a good variety of neutral styling pieces in different textures such as wicker, marble, metal and wood, so that you can then ‘Shop Your Stash’ and immediately create a really pulled together look in any room in your home without having to keep buying new. House plants, mirrors and a good range of lighting options are always a great starting point to giving a room an instant lift.
What trends are you excited about this year?
I always love seeing what trends are coming in each year, and this year I am especially pleased about the warmer neutrals making a comeback. Of course, I’m still a huge fan of grey but tones like beige, camel and stone can create such an inviting and peaceful backdrop to any room. You can then easily bring in different textures and patterns to add interest, such as the current ‘Global Monochrome’ trend. I love how this mix can create quite a Nordic vibe, which is so popular, especially now with more of a focus on ‘Hygge’ and wellbeing in the home that we’re still seeing.
What are your five favourite OFL pieces and how would you style them?
- I absolutely love the Brooklyn Bookcase. I could see this in a home office with dark walls, styled with some gorgeous marble & glass ornaments, some coffee table books and a succulent terrarium for good measure.
- The Blue Evie Storage Footstool would be a great addition to most living rooms. I love the Scandi shape feet and the fact you can keep your cosy throws inside ready for a night in.
- I adore skeletal oversized wall clocks and they don’t get any better than the Tosca Wall Clock. For that awkward bit of wall space, you’re not sure what to do with, this would work perfectly.
- The Provence Oak Dining Table would be great in a small dining area or open plan space. I love the unique base, giving a slight twist on a classic design.
- And finally, the Durban Lamp would make such a gorgeous statement on a side table, with its sculpted ceramic base and simple ivory shade. Because of its neutral colour, this lamp would work beautifully in any room.
What question would you love to ask another interior stylist?
I think I’d ask where they think Interior Design will be in ten years. We are already seeing a lot more e-design and online packages, which is making designers far more accessible and affordable, but with so many amazing blogs, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube content to look to for inspiration, I wonder where the industry is heading. I personally love face to face consultations and attending workshops with like-minded individuals so perhaps that’s something we will crave more of when so much of our lives are already online.