Interior Designer Emma Barber talks creative spaces
We are so thrilled that the lovely Emma Barber from EB Interiors is our second #ourspacetocreate blog interview. Emma is an interior designer based in Wiltshire and has over 10 years experience of designing a variety of spaces, including children’s bedrooms and playrooms.
Like us, Emma passionately believes that creative spaces should be celebrated and in this interview Emma talks about her own work and family spaces and also provides top tips on how to put together the perfect creative space.
Please could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am an interior designer based in Wiltshire, and founder of EB Interiors. I am passionate about interiors and creating spaces for my clients to enjoy once again no matter what the brief. When i’m not designing I am being a mum to Neve and Elliot, a dog walker to our westie Ollie and enjoy the culinary skills of my husband Julien.
What’s the first thing you do/think about when you start designing a space/room?
I sit down with my client and have a good old natter. Everyone is so different and how they use their spaces are too. Its at this initial point where I learn so much about my clients and how differently we all live, which is great as it challenges me every time… no two briefs are the same even if the rooms are!
Where do you feel most creative?
As I work from home I suppose I have two spaces, each for different reasons –
The first in my office as its my space, done how I like it, white, fresh, tidy (not all the time mind you) with lots of storage for all my samples and projects I’m working on. I’m surrounded in magazines as I love nothing more then flicking through them with a cuppa to gain inspiration or catch those vital quiet moments. I have a shelf above my desk with some DIY art work on which the kids and I have done together, along with a variety of plants both faux and real. Then, under my desk you can normally find Ollie keeping my feet warm.
The other space is down stairs in our open plan kitchen. This is normally where the kids and I get creative together with paper, card, paint, sequins, pom poms, sharpies, felt, material scraps etc… Its a great large space where we can spread everything out all over the kitchen table (and more often then not all over the floor) and transform anything and everything usually into a dinosaur and an alicorn (unicorn with wings I have been told!). Its great in this room as its now the hub of the house, flooded in natural light, sun (when it comes out) and it overlooks the garden so even on those gloomy days this room stills feels inspiring and theres plenty of room for us all to be together.
What’s your favourite thing in your creative space?
Hum, I suppose its anything my kids have given me as they have put so much thought into it whether they have made it or bought it. I have a candle on my desk which Neve bought me last mothers day from her schools mothers day sale. I haven’t had the heart to burn it… those little things mean lots to me!… This is followed closely by all my plants, I love how they bring a space to life!
What do you need to design/create?
A clear work space! That doesn’t sound very creative does it but for me when creating/designing anything new whether for my work or something with the kids I have to start with a clean surface.. it’s like my version of a blank canvas. I can’t concentrate if I have mess everywhere so I guess that’s why I have lots of storage in my office and have kept it quite white and fresh. It’s then from this point that I can then get creative and lay all my samples out; magazines, inspo pieces etc… I call it an organised mess then. Oh and I almost forgot lots of tea, biscuits and music!!!!
Do your children have their own creative spaces? Could you tell us a bit about them?
Yes, they have their own rooms which through time have evolved and now totally reflect their personalities. Neve who is 8, absolutely loves art, which I guess she got from me. In her room, she has her own desk area which Julien and I made her, something she was desperate to have when redesigning her room. She spends most of her time here amongst all her treasures and creating works of art, homework, models, registers for schools (a firm favourite game she and Elliot play together) and playing with all her toys. I love how she has made it her own space with even the recent addition of a reading corner she put together herself. Once her art is complete she loves to display it on her ‘best of’ wall along with all her treasures she’s collected and put up on her pink peg board from Blue Ticking of course!
Elliot who is 6, also has a desk area but this a very rarely used for art/home work, instead its normal the scene for an epic dinosaur battle along with any other surface in his room. We recently moved his room around and repositioned the bed into the corner which he loves as its become his little den area. He reads his books and plays most of his games here and has even started to create his own dinosaur wall inspired by his love of dinosaurs.
Why do you think it’s so important that both kids and adults have a creative space?
I think when it comes to creativity there is no age limit. We all need that space no matter how big or small to get inspired, be ourselves and have some freedom to create. Much like Emily Quinton said in your previous interview, adults do often think they have grown out creating and all the fun that goes alongside it but I believe kids will always try to emulate adults so what better example to set them than having our own spaces to be able to sit, be inspired and create alone or even together as a family. For kids, I believe it’s so important for them to have their own space too as it’s a space they can get inspired, get creative, express themselves through its set up and call their own.
As an interior designer what top tips would you give to someone who wants to put together a creative space for their child/children?
I think you need to start off by working out how much space you can designate to this area, without continually having to pack everything away each time. Creativity hits kids at any point so its great for them to be able to go to that area as oppose to having to set it up all the time. Remember it doesn’t have to be big, it can even just be a little corner of a room. Why not visually partition an area with a change of colour to the wall, or create a black board, peg board or even magnetic board strip for all those pictures and creations. You also need to work out what you want to do in this area. Is it a reading corner for them where all you need are bundles of cushions, a canopy possibly and cosy lighting? Or, is it a more sit down and make area, where you’ll need storage for all the bits and bobs. You can create this using simple open shelving to display jars of creative bits along with pencils, brushes, pens etc…When designing this space for your kids, remember to do things at their level and have things which they are happy to use by themselves. Also remember, this space is all about individuality so make it work for you and your kids!
Why not head over to Emma’s Instagram feed (@ebinteriorsuk) to see more amazing interiors and get inspired!