Charmed by vintage and one-off pieces? Like Mario Testino, you’ll love Squint’s pretty patchwork furniture. Each piece is lovingly created using swatches of modern and vintage fabrics. Meet founder Lisa Whatmough, a member of the mydeco design boutique.
I got into design through… an antique dealer friend. Previously, antiques were never a part of my life. My parents had very ‘up to the minute’, in vogue taste.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without… Liberty. I emailed the furniture buyer my first collection and it happened to be around the time of London Fashion Week so they needed to decorate the windows. They snapped up the whole collection lock, stock and barrel. They never gave up on me and gave me complete carte blanche in terms of design.
I opened my shop… in 2005 but have recently moved to Shoreditch. Some people thought it was a crazy White Cube environment but that enticed me more.
After a night out… some people write me notes on empty cigarette packets saying how they love my deigns. People are bolder in the East End which fits with the ethos of my shop.
I make… exquisite furniture with a modern twist.
Each piece I create is … unique. The nature of the fabric means it is only available in scraps making each piece individual. The designs from Osborne & Little and Designers Guild have amazing textures and bold, loud colours.
I’ve had my fair share of… intriguing commissions. I put my own mark on each piece. If people come to me, they do so for my taste.
People ask me… to incorporate their own material onto sofas. I’ve used a baby’s christening gown and funky home–made shirts from the Eighties and sewn them on to sofas!
I feel very strongly about… manufacturing in England. I use a team in Nottingham, where the history of furniture making goes back generations. I would not get pieces mass-produced in China. Even if I wanted to, it would be impossible to produce a carbon copy.
My most sentimental possession is… a watch and an old pair of sunglasses previously owned by my late mother. I would die to save these items. Other than that, I am not particularly sentimental.
I live in… London but I am buying a bolt hole by the sea near Cromer in Norfolk. I’ve been a city girl for a long time so it’s somewhere different where I can do the gardening and get back to nature.
A home is… where you feel comfortable. It’s not a precious show home but a place where dogs can jump on the sofa and you can put your feet up.
Take my advice… don’t base your furniture on a paint colour. If you’re unsure about choosing colours, start by collecting objects that you love colour–wise. My friend chose her new shop colour on a pair of pink marigolds!
Update a room by… changing cushions or lampshades.
I predict the future trend of… glamour, lush silks and satins this autumn/winter. Think very James Bond, Monte Carlo chic with satin mixes from Osborne & Little. It’s bling but in the right way. I am focusing on a moodier look with brighter colours, such as rich fluorescent velvets.
If I had an obscene amount of money, I would… love a fabulous art collection. I admire Jeff Koons and would like a Picasso print or the Salvador Dali beach scene with fairies that I recently saw in The Tate. It would look fabulous in my new seaside cottage.
I am most proud of… the quality of Squint’s final products. So much time is invested into each piece. From the first appointment to the finished piece takes 12 weeks. I have never had an unsatisfied customer!
The design industry is… more about quality than design. You cannot be all show – you need to build with integrity. My friends are astounded that I am making a living from making patchwork furniture.
Mario Testino… visited my shop in Shoreditch and admired my designs. Testino was very interested in my pet beagle because he was looking to buy a dog and wanted to see what a Beagle looked like next to him!
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