Jo Ridout is from A Passion for Homes, a site obsessed with everything to do with homes, properties, design and buildings. Her site combines inspirational and aspirational home design content to help passionate people design their dream home. With a 20 year background in creative marketing, Jo loves quirky and beautiful buildings, classic kitchenware, coloured lighting and bold wallpaper. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Jo Ridout.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
Personally I love colour, and the mix of accent colours with a dominant block of colour, usually a statement piece such as a quirky chair, amazing mirror, centrepiece bed or eye-catching sofa. My favourite design styles are barque and gothic with intricate detailing, the use of metallic colours and reflective surfaces, and the use of multiple light sources (including colour) but obviously this isn’t for everyone – a minimalist’s nightmare! Obviously I do not impose my personal taste on to clients, but I do encourage them to think about how the creative use of colour can add to a room design.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
It can depend on whether I’m staging a home for sale or if I’m helping a client to re-style a particular room in their home. The timing, budget to spend and choice of décor is decided by the objective of the project. Obviously home staging is all about making the home appealing to as many potential buyers as possible and staging a lifestyle they will want to buy into. If re-styling a room, I spend some time with the client in their home, get to know them and how they live, and understand their interior influences and preferences as much as possible. Arguably the most important aspect of restyling a room is the mood and atmosphere the client wants to create in their room, closely followed by the function of the room, its size, storage needs, light sources, budgets and timings.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
I grew up watching Ann Maurice on the TV programme House Doctor – I was fascinated by how she could change the feel and mood of a house by making changes to colour, moving, removing or replacing key pieces of furniture, altering light sources and decluttering (but not to the point of an empty room!). Ann’s advice is still relevant today in the home staging industry, and she certainly influenced me - I can’t go into anyone’s room without re-arranging and re-styling it in my mind! My art teacher was very inspirational as she taught me not to just look at the shape and dimensions of objects, but the shape of the space between objects too. Also, the amazing difference that light sources and different angles of light can make to an object – how something can look so different, how patterns and shapes can emerge, when something is lit in a different way.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
I think of the mood and atmosphere that the client wants to create in a room, and it usually flows from there. The advent of the camera function on a smartphone has been a huge development for me, as I can easily snap anything I see that inspires me - be it natural or man-made. Shapes, patterns, light affects, moods and atmospheres, colours and colour mixes in nature, intriguing building design and the use of coloured lighting continue to inspire me, so a walk in reality or ‘virtually’ always helps. Storing these images and ideas for later inspiration is vital. Seeking inspiration on demand can be hard – it’s easier to always be open for inspiration to find and strike you – just make sure you have your smart phone ready!
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
My background is in marketing, but I’ve combined this with my love of everything to do with home styling and staging to create a business that is all about helping people achieve their home objective, whatever that may be, and then sharing it with like-minded passionate people on the website, blog and social media. My advice is to follow your passion, get as much relevant experience as you can, learn from any mistakes, don’t under estimate how important marketing is and, most importantly, put the client at the heart of everything you do. And enjoy!
Image sources: Debenhams and Very