With over 25 years’ combined experience in the design industry Laura and Aaron Hammett, are experts in luxury interior design and launched Laura Hammett LTD in 2008. Specializing in luxury residential projects, they offer a highly personalized and dedicated service to create bespoke interiors for their many clients which span both the private and commercial sector. Laura talks to The LuxPad about how her team plan for each new project, her favorite interiors and how they create a personal feel for each property…
How do you and your team first plan a design project – do you have a process for determining your clients’ needs?
Each project and client is different so a detailed brief is essential along with understanding how they live in their home as a family. We walk through the property room by room establishing exactly what each space will be used for, looking at its functionality, storage needs, assess the natural light and discuss any particular design ideas they want us to include.
How do your team work together to plan and execute each project?
If there is a deadline we will work back from that by allocating reasonable time to each stage of the design, preparation of the tender package documents, speaking to our contractors and suppliers to establish timings. Aaron and I will then assess the team’s workload and decide which senior designer will lead the project and who will support them throughout. Aaron and myself are always closely involved.
Do you have a signature style which you aim to incorporate into all of the projects you work on?
Our projects always combine a creative timeless approach with an elegant and luxurious style to create a flawless finish. We take inspiration from many places and are particularly influenced by hotels, due to their luxurious nature. Travelling abroad and within the UK provides us with a great deal of creative influence, drawing from different cultures and materials. London also provides ongoing inspiration as a result of its eclectic architecture and fashion.
Is your own home furnished in this same style or do you prefer a different look for your personal space?
Our home definitely reflects a similar style, however with a three year old it needs to be practical and comfortable. I would say that it’s a relaxed version of the look we create for our clients, with our kitchen being the main family space and living room being more formal.
Can you tell us about the bespoke furniture pieces you create for your clients, what goes into the making of them?
We love to design bespoke furniture because it gives our clients something completely unique, and us a chance to be really creative. We work very collaboratively to come up with the concept, taking inspiration from all over, such as the stitching on a handbag, trying out different finishes and combinations from our sample library. We then start sketching, often using tracing paper because it allows you to be more fluid with the design. These final sketches are then drawn up in CAD, 2D or 3D depending on the complexity of the piece, and carefully annotated so that it can be sent to one of our furniture makers. We then work very closely with them on the production of the piece because sometimes minor tweaks to the design are needed along the way for a perfect finish.
What is your favorite stage of your projects, from receiving the initial brief to adding the finishing touches?
I love the concept stage at the very start of each project. Each project is unique and we try to make each design different from the last. Our concepts start quite abstract, taking reference from nature, fashion and architecture, giving us a set of key design principles, color palette and finishes to work from throughout the whole property so it’s cohesive. The final stage is also fantastic, once the contractors are completely finished we usually install and style everything in one go. Seeing everything come together is so rewarding and the finishing touches such as cushions, accessories and artwork make everything come to life. Handing the project over to the client when everything is complete is a very special feeling.
Do you have a favorite project you have worked on since you launched Laura Hammett Ltd?
I particularly enjoyed the challenge of designing the interiors of the Belgravia Grade II listed townhouse on Wilton Street, London. As the building was steeped in history we approached the design with understated elegance as we wanted to complement rather than compete with the classical architecture. We worked very closely with Listed Building Consent on the architectural detail so that every element was historically accurate and sympathetic to the property’s Regency heritage. During demolition for example we uncovered an original door with beautiful simple paneling, a design which was replicated through all interior doors.
With the London property market currently booming, have you noticed a difference in projects you have been invited to be involved in the past year as opposed to a few years ago?
We have noticed a big increase in international inquiries and large scale projects in Prime Central London over the last few years, moving from West London into areas such as Belgravia, Mayfair and Knightsbridge. Clients in these areas are much keener on the full “turn-key” design service from architectural renovations right through to bedlinen and books on their shelves. Often it’s not their main residence and they want to be able to turn up with their suitcases with everything ready to move in.
How do the challenges and benefits of carrying out a project with a large developer compare to private residential projects?
As with everything there are pros and cons to both. Property developers give us much more creative freedom, particularly when we have worked with them a number of times and they trust us, but the budgets are often more restricted and completely set in stone from the start. A private client however will often have some influence in the design process meaning from time to time we have to compromise on our overall vision. At the end of the day we are working with them to create their dream home and so many aspects of design are subjective and the most important thing is that they love the end result. The personal side of working with a private client is very special and really rewarding.
What are the biggest challenges of the moment when designing interiors for the luxury property market?
We are saturated with design these days with social media and more publications than ever before, so our challenge is to keep our designs recognizable and unique. We spend a lot of time keeping up to date with new suppliers and materials, visiting trade shows and meeting craftsmen as much as possible so that we can bring something fresh to each project. Our clients spend time in some of the world’s best hotels so it’s essential that we keep up to date with design and the latest luxury finishes.
One of Laura Hammett LTD’s most luxurious bespoke projects, Devonshire Place, can also be found on The LuxPad.