Rachel Chudley began her career in the arts, working in both gallery curation and art direction (past projects include the much missed Guts for Garters). It’s this experience that has given her a totally unique take on interior design, developing her own brand of British eccentricism. Her team is made up of artists as well as designers, resulting in truly unique interiors.
OM: Can you describe an average day at work?
RC: I’ll meet at the office for a half hour run through with my team – I find this first half an hour over a cup of tea the most important time of the day! We give each other aims for the day, complete with lists. As I am sometimes the only one meeting with clients this is the best way to make sure all the hard work that goes on in the office directly addresses the clients’ most important needs. Then it’s a mixture of creative work and project managing. Depending on the most pressing stage of a project I could be mood boarding, sourcing, overseeing concepts or technical drawings, meeting with clients or makers, or stomping around building sites. Each one of these needs a very different mindset, and I try and organise my week so that I also have some time to think and have ideas.
OM: Have you always wanted to be an interior designer?
RC: I have always loved doing up houses. I would draw imaginary kingdoms for my pets and reconfigurations of my parents house for fun from a worryingly early age….
OM: What was the hardest part about becoming an Interior designer?
RC: Giving myself permission. It might sound a bit ridiculous – but doing what I really loved came as a revelation to me!
OM: And what’s the best part of the job?
RC: Watching an idea materialise into something real.
OM: Do you feel you’re treated differently in your industry because you’re a woman?
RC: Interior design really straddles several different industries, so although I am in a profession where it is not uncommon to have an all female studio (as I happen to), sometimes this is certainly true: which is always disappointing!
OM: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given? And what other advice would you give to anyone looking to become an Interior designer? What qualifications and experience do you need?
RC: Donald Kaufman gave me the best piece of advice – it’s all about the client! It is important to learn your craft as much as you possibly can, as well as everything else, this gives you the confidence you need.
(Rachel graduated from The Courtauld Institute of Art and attended the Camelback Institute of Interior Design, California.)
OM: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in the workplace or in your career?
RC: I don’t really believe in making mistakes. Decisions I have made in the past that I wouldn’t make now might make me cringe a little but I think its all part of finding out what you really want.
OM: What does success mean to you?
OM: What’s your feminist wish for the future?