Home Tour | Inside an Interior Designer's Modern Home
Updated: Apr 21, 2020
First up in my series of home tours is the Scandinavian inspired home of Interior Designer and Stylist, Zoë' Conroy. Scrolling through Zoë's Instagram feed, her covetable sense of style is clear. Her light filled home is the perfect balance between neutral tones, thoughtfully arranged accessories and interesting textures; all of which add a sense of personality and warmth in just the right amount. Step inside Zoë's inviting home and draw some inspiration for your own space...
Hi Zoë, I'm so pleased to be featuring your home. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I am the owner of ZoëID which is an interior design business based in Hertfordshire. It's also where I live with my husband and son. I originally trained as a Graphic Designer and later went on to become a Visual Planner for a packaging design company in London - a job I absolutely loved! For those who don't know, a Visual Planner interprets a written brief in moodboard format for both designer and client to sign off. The skills I learned in this job have been invaluable for my interiors business; I start every project with a moodboard.
Unfortunately when I had my son, he was born with Hemiplegia which is a form of Cerebral Palsy. I soon realised that with all the physio and occupational therapy he needed, I wouldn’t be able to work to anybody else's clock. Working for myself was the only way forward. I'd always had a passion for interiors so it was a natural progression for me to make interior design my day to day work. I think that if you love your job, it's the ultimate win. I haven't dreaded a single work day since I started doing this!
It's all in the details. Zoë keeps her items organised in the Ferm Living Plant Box.
Can you share with us what you're currently working on?
I am currently working with a property developer who is building two new houses. My job is to visualise what the spaces could be and how best to utilise that space. I find this part of a project fascinating because you are making decisions about how people will live in their homes and that really needs to be carefully considered.
I am also working with two lovely clients who are time poor and don’t know where to start in regards to putting a home together - this issue is more common than you think! I try not to take on clients that don’t buy into my style, so if you are looking for ‘country farmhouse chic,’ as much as I can appreciate that look, I am not your girl! I think it's really important to hire an interior designer that works in your style. I wouldn’t want to talk a client into a look that they weren’t 100% happy with.
A new side to my business (and one that I didn't even considered), is creating content for brands to promote their products on Instagram. I love doing this because you get to work with people who have contacted you because they have already bought into your vision.
What inspires your work as an interior designer?
Gosh, so much!! If something is well designed then it inspires me. I really appreciate how good design can make you feel, how a designer has thought about the end user, the impression the product will leave behind once experienced or used. I find inspiration in restaurants, museums, fashion, cinema, literally just walking down the street. There is always something that you take in and can use another time. I photograph everything because you never know when you might need that idea. Instagram is also a great platform for inspiration as it gives you instant access to amazing creative people. I can get lost in Instagram for days.
How would you describe your interior style?
I would say it is modern minimalism with a Scandi influence - I have always loved Scandinavian design. I remember when I was young I would go to art galleries and think “I would love to live here.” Sometimes I was more inspired by the space around me than the artwork. I have really softened over the years since having my son though. I used to want to live with only the bare minimum around me, concrete cube sort of stuff but since having him I feel that I need to create a place where he feels comfortable and at home. Don't get me wrong, I still have a place for everything and if it's not beautiful then it goes in a cupboard. I drive my husband mental at times but I think he secretly quite likes the order.
The bedroom plays on masculine versus feminine energy. The mid century modern furniture and darker tones are offset by tactile fabrics and home decor details such as dried flowers and artwork. The space feels warm and inviting.
What has influenced your color scheme?
I have never really been into colour on a massive scale, it just doesn’t do anything to my heart and I listen to my heart a lot in this job. I like a neutral backdrop, that way trends are so much easier to dip in and out of without having to get a decorator in all the time. It's easier to create a new look if you’re a bit tired with your old one with accessories like cushions, rugs and throws etc. If your backdrop is a colour that can go with anything, then a change can be pretty immediate.
Do you have a favourite room in your home?
At the moment it's my newly converted basement that my husband and I use as an office space. I was really nervous about having my husband as a client because I didn’t want to disappoint him in any way. The room was previously a damp, dark room before we renovated. I could never have envisaged how lovely it would turn out - The light in there is so amazing, something I didn’t think was achievable. It's a real oasis of calm but also functional. I didn’t want the room to feel cluttered but I had to fit quite a bit in there like a desk, a sofa for clients to sit on and a TV for presentations etc. I achieved all aspects of the brief without anything dominating the room which I'm pretty chuffed about. My husband now lives down there most of the time so I think I hit the brief spot on! We also use this space to watch films as a family and I feel really proud that we get so much joy out of it.
Where do you like to shop for furniture and home decor?
I like a mix of designer and high street. I get a lot of work because I can achieve a high end look without it costing my clients a fortune. I think when you study interior design all day, you learn who is 'paying homage' to the big guys for a fraction of the cost. Companies like Wayfair & H&M home do this so well. H&M homes' new store in London is fab. A lot of people give them stick about how close to designer products they go but some people cannot afford the high end stuff ,so why should they miss out? I really don’t think style should be just for people with money. It's about bringing good design to the masses in my opinion.
What's on your current wishlist?
Currently on my wish list are the sculptures of Somée Studios collaboration with Lisette Lee. They are hand crafted from galastone and are the most beautiful organic shapes. I really want one so much! Also the Kristina Dam ‘curved pouf’ It's an absolute beauty.
What are your top interior design tips?
Style doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are always solutions for your budget. My advice is to spend money where it is needed. For example, I would invest in the taps and worktop in a kitchen if the budget was limited elsewhere because these are the things your eye is naturally drawn to. It's about being clever with where you spend your money. Again, for bulk items that can be pricey, like a sofa for example - go with a neutral colour so that you won’t get bored of it too quickly. You can always change the mood and the visual as often as you like with accessories.
And finally, what are your tips for incorporating art in the home?
If you are investing a substantial amount of money on a piece then it needs to be able to speak to your heart for years and years to come. Some of the art in my home has been there for about 15 years and I love it just as much today as I did when I bought it. Another tip is think about why you buy a piece of art. My running theme is that I love artwork that takes a painstaking amount of time. As an impatient person, it’s what speaks to me the most. I really appreciate the time it has taken an artist to create the artwork. So, buy artwork that means something to you, a lot of artists take on commissions and that's a great way for you to have a sentimental attachment with it from the off.
Thank you Zoë!