Q&A with Henriette von Stockhausen

Henriette von Stockhausen co-founded VSP Interiors in 2000.  Her background includes studying and working at Sotheby’s in both the antique furniture and country house sales arms of the business.  After making the transition to interior design via studying at the Inchbald School of Design Henriette worked with leading names in the interiors industry, including Stephen Ryan, and also dabbled in theatre design before setting up her own interior design studio.

Based in Dorset but working nationally (and internationally) Henriette has worked on a diverse mix of projects from large country houses to pied-a-terres and new builds to renovating listed buildings.  Her much sought-after style reflects her eclectic background and has produced some truly inspired projects.

Having worked in the interiors industry for more than 15 years Henriette knows the Chelsea Design Quarter well and we are pleased to welcome her as the next designer in our Top 5 Picks series and can’t wait to see which products she chooses.

Henriette, thank you for taking the time to talk with us.  You started your career in antiques, what prompted the move to interior design?

I worked on and off during my studies with my “fairy Godmother” who was a big property developer in the country house sector and I had the great luck to be passed from department to department.  I did various stints in the drawings office learning CAD and the basics of architecture. The following week I was tasked with gilding staircases and iron gates…and other days, I would go antiques shopping or marble selecting.  This ignited my love for interiors and I decided that I would go to the Inchbald and learn in more detail what this exciting industry is really about.

How do you think your background affects your style and way of approaching a project?

My background gives me a very varied experience of styles and budgets.  My antiques background has fuelled my love for antiques in interiors and they are part of my style while my stint in stage design helps with adding a bit of drama and interest to a room.

Are there any stand out projects you are especially proud to have in your portfolio?

All my projects are very special, individual and client driven. I particularly love working on listed buildings. I adore the sense of history and mixing it with new ideas and art to give it a new lease of life whilst looking historically correct and lived in.

Are there any interior design projects that you would either love to have done, or would like to do?

I would love to have the chance to design a small private club or cocktail bar where I could give my love for colour and eclectic pieces free reign, mixing them with more traditional pieces for a little bit of fun. It’s a very different feel to a private house that you live in as a club has to be more stimulating for a special evening. My other dream project would be a house in the Caribbean designed around water, heat and shade

Are there rooms e.g. bedrooms or kitchens that you particularly enjoy working on?

I love working with kitchens as they have become the centre of a house/ family living these days in my opinion and encapsulate modern day life.  We make these into living/dining rooms as well as kitchens with art, rugs etc so they become rooms rather than just kitchens.  The same applies to bathrooms which I love designing as living rooms with curtains, rugs antiques and art.

When planning a project with a client are there ways in which you guide them towards the best use of their budget?

Yes- it’s always important to find out what the client’s priorities are and then make the most of their budget with antiques etc that can be found quite reasonably at auction. We monitor all auctions most days. At the end of the day, the client drives the outcome but more often than not clients are happy to spend a little more than their budget on key/ investment pieces if it makes a focal point for the design.

Do you think social media and a strong online presence are important for developing a business? How has the growth of social media impacted your business?

Social media is very important in building a brand but at the same time, I feel designing just to be seen is not what we strive for. Our main goal is client satisfaction rather than ‘likes’ as most of our clients are not keen on their private spaces being shown on social media.

How would you describe your personal style?

Traditional, architectural, colourful yet understated with an element of surprise.

What do you see as the biggest challenges currently facing the interiors industry?

Copying via Social Media

On reflection each decade has a defining look, how do you think people will describe the current style of interiors in years to come?

Eclectic country house, romantic revival.

Are there any trends or styles that you think are due to make a comeback?

Artisanal detailing – braids and tapes to walls and architraves.  Bringing back rooms dedicated for particular occasions.  The colour canary yellow.

How did you choose your Top 5 Picks? 

My picks are companies that I work with all the time and who offer great service and products. I always rely on them for finding what I need.

What does the future hold for you personally and VSP Interiors?

A capsule furniture collection.  Some wonderful clients/houses and hopefully one day that private members club or bar!!

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