A Word With Kris Turnbull
Ulster Tatler Interiors speaks to award winning interior designer, Kris Turnbull.
Describe your typical working day.
I get up, consume my ‘clean greens’ and go straight to the gym every other day to have the brain in the right order for the big day ahead. The truth is, each day is so very different hence the addiction with my job; it’s really a lifestyle. I meet with my right hand, Nicola, in The Vestry to review, implement and discuss works and the company. Then it can be up to the studio to design projects, out on the site to meet contractors or to review presentations for sign off. I work in the middle of the design team with a holistic approach so I am constantly bouncing and reviewing ideas with the architectural and interior team on projects, both large and small.
I typically do my best design work in the evenings, when I have the studio to myself. I am a night owl! I love my job and each day that comes along with it.
How do you keep up with all the latest trends in interior design?
International travel, exploring and research trips to different cultures around the world, international clients and world design fairs.
What is your signature style, what makes something ‘Kris Turnbull’?
The composition of the design work is what contributes to my signature style. Often the balance between different periods of time, style and design makes the interior styling very eclectic in approach and truly most interesting. The influences in all my work vary between classical textiles and modern lifestyle to create the ultimate living environment.
How has the interior design industry changed over the years?
Interior design is now a global market with much more ethnical influences from the Middle East, North Africa and various forms of Asia. People have become more educated with world culture and want to be a part of it. It is a sophisticated environment when cultural influences are brought together.
Is there a particular project of yours that stands out and why?
A beautiful refurbishment of a Victorian townhouse on the beach in County Down. The clients gave me a subtle design brief to give a seaside theme without it being obvious. This was delivered by pushing boundaries using international design houses and fabrics with cutting edge materials filling the house with depth and interest from every angle. The client left it completely to me and didn’t see it until completion. This was even more pressure but encouraged me further to be the best I could. The result was stunning, I would live there myself!
How has your career evolved to where it is now?
I always wanted to create quality, design and lifestyle. Graduating from design and interior architecture, my dream was more than just decorating, but to create the space, the depths and finishes to complete an unrivalled interior lifestyle. My biggest aim was to establish an interior and architectural practice that is first and foremost a Design House to create from the inside outwards.
Is the design flair in you or can you learn it?
You can always learn something and get better at it but I believe you are born with it. I never want to stop learning. My grandparents were
florists and my grandmother made the hats in the days gone by for Robinson & Cleaver. I grew up in the flower glass houses and watched my grandmother pull colour and shape together from a very young age. My dad was also a graphic designer for The Telegraph a long time ago. My mum is musical too, so the arts have been a big part of my life.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement to date?
I completed a 20,000 square foot classical summer residence for The Royal Family…I can say no more.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Managing the administration of all elements that come together to make the project brilliant. Typically on any single job, we could have over 200 suppliers on board to deliver an individual and unique concept. This constant search for new and exciting things is also what makes it so exciting and gives me that buzz!
Kris Turnbull Studios
135 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7AG
Tel: 028 9068 8600