Having had a passion for design all my life, I went to study at Edinburgh College of Art as soon as I left school. I qualified with a BA (Hons) in Printed Textiles for Interior Furnishings in 2005. During my degree holidays, I worked for companies such as Fox Linton, Cole and Son and Colefax and Fowler, which gave me a wide insight into the Interior design, furnishings and business world.
I then worked in sales at de Gournay in London. Working with such a luxurious product, I gained experience of the specific high-end demands for interior decoration on a global scale. After being promoted to sales manager, the position enabled me to work extensively with world-class designers and architects on both commercial and residential projects across Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East. After working there for over three years, I got the itch and I was just desperate to get back into design and launch a wallpaper company of my own.
What inspires you and your designs?
I adore wildlife, colour and texture. As a new and young designer/company, I had to produce a unique and striking product in order to be noticed in the industry. I carried out extensive research for 3-4 months before I left de Gournay, talking to clients about what they were looking for in the market, what colours were in trend and what type of imagery people wanted to see in the industry. The current market is saturated with flowers and birds so I wanted to focus on a strong theme which would take my designs away from what has already been done.
My debut collection ‘Safari’ is inspired by all the beautiful wildlife found in East Africa. My husband is from Zimbabwe and his family lived on a beautiful game park called Imire , however, they were sadly kicked off their farm in 2001 due to the political situation against white framers out there. Even so, we have been back a few times to see the animals and his relatives who still live there. My sister and her boyfriend also work on a beautiful tented camp in Kenya called Mara Plains , so I have quite a few family connections with Africa and I have been fortunate enough to draw a lot of the animals from life.
African wildlife has not yet been used in the wallpaper industry so I thought it was now the perfect time to launch this collection and create something totally new and fresh. My main ethos for design is to create wallpapers that appear hand painted and a really important factor was the use of colour. With so much detail involved with each design, the colours had to be soft, balanced and ambient so they do not appear too over powering on the wall. I therefore used the Farrow and Ball paint colours as a reference for this collection which creates the perfect balance of colour, tone and detail throughout the collection.
The theme behind the whole company is to focus each collection on a different part of the world, so I really look forward to the coming months when I can start to design the next collection which focuses on another stunning area of the world.
What is your favorite piece?
My favourite has to be the mother elephant and her baby from the ‘The Waterhole’. Attached is the original drawing and the finished design. It was the very first drawing and ‘The Waterhole’ was the very first design I created for Juliet Travers Ltd so it will always be very special to me.
What is your favorite restaurant in London?
I love Maggie Jones‘ which is situated just of High Street Kensington in the heart of London. As you can see from the picture gallery on their site, the place has so much character and everyone gets their own little booth which makes your dining experience very personal and romantic. There are three floors, all of which have walls covered in collectable items such as old riding saddles, watering cans, broom sticks, lanterns and flower pots. The food is classically british and it is a gorgeous, cosy, informal and rustic place to eat and I love it!
I work from home so this is really important for me. We have recently got a gorgeous black cocker spaniel puppy who keeps us very busy! During all the stress of launching the company, our puppy really taught me the true values in life and we have fun walks in the park every day to get some air and spend some time together. I also have a rule to stop working as soon as my husband walks through the door at 6.30pm every night so we get time on our own too.
I would adore to visit Borneo to see the Gorillas. They are the most incredible creatures and I would so love to see them in the wild.
My dream commission is actually what is happening right now. I have just launched my debut collection exactly how I want it and imagined it to be and the response has been in incredible. As a result, clients have already ordered and I will soon be seeing my designs in people homes and commercial spaces. This has been my dream for so long and it is now happening and it is an incredible feeling. I am incredibly luckily.
Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?
I try to personalise it for each host but one that never fails is a really great olive oil infused with herbs and spices. A good olive oil is essential for the kitchen and so far, it has been a great gift to give as it looks gorgeous on the shelf and also tasted gorgeous too!
and for Interiors, I love the work of Katharine Pooley. Her projects are both classic and contemporary, chic and really beautiful and I hope that one day, she will use a Juliet Travers Ltd wallpaper for one of her projects!
Your favorite up and coming artist?
My sister, Lorna Buchanan-Jardine, is my favourite up and coming artist. She is a photographer and is my sibling who works at Mara Plains tented camp in Kenya. She is so talented and has taken some of the most incredible shots. She has no idea how good she is and I hope one day she makes the break and gets her talent out and into the world.
What is your most treasured possession?
(not actual key)
My husband and I met 10 years ago this month and for my 21st Birthday, he gave me a Theo Fennel Key necklace which has four tanzanite stones in to symbolise the 4 years we had been together at that point. I wear it every day!
What are you reading?
I haven’t been able to read much lately as it has been pretty busy and I also tend to draw in my spare time rather than read, but I do love books which get you thinking. I was gripped to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.
That and Shantaram by Gregory Roberts are my two favourites. The mixture of crime and fact on a country fascinates me. I love learning about cultures, countries and people and these books cover all that.
What are you listening to?
I love all sorts of music, it just depends on my mood. I probably listen to bands like Avalanche City, Bastille
and Mumford and sons the most as they are easy to work to, drive to, have fun to and their lyrics are really interesting.
Favorite Blogs / Publications?
I love Little Miss Homes. Laura, the blog writer has a fresh take on everything to do with property and her ideas and images are tasteful and fun.
I also adore In Detail. Beanie the writer is one of my great friends and she studied jewellery at Edinburgh College of Art which is how and when we met. She is very talented and her ideas are contemporary and really fun. She always find amazing pieces and fuses them together with incredible ideas.
So, which critter are you going to use first? I cannot decide between the flamingo, zebra and elephants.
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