In our latest blog post, we looked at the benefits of working with a designer to help you create the perfect kitchen for your home. For the last seven years, Blenheim Bathrooms has worked alongside Karen Beecroft of Beespoke Design to design and install stunning bespoke kitchens and bathrooms throughout Oxfordshire. In this interview, we spoke to Karen about her business, what makes a good designer, and her top tips for creating a beautiful, functional space.
- Please introduce yourself and your business.
I’m Karen Beecroft and my company is Beespoke Design. Having worked in the interior finishes industry for over 20 years, specialising in kitchen and bathroom design, I decided it was the right time to set up on my own. My goal was to offer a bespoke service to clients in their homes, creating spaces that are uniquely tailored to each individual.
Beespoke Design supplies all units and fittings and works with experienced fitters, like our friends here at Blenheim Bathrooms. We offer a free design service, along with a full installation pack for the fitter, providing the client decides to go ahead with the product order.
- First things first—what does a kitchen/bathroom designer do?
Designers work with their clients to create a custom kitchen or bathroom design, taking all aspects of the room into consideration, including flooring, wall tiling, lighting, paint colours, extraction and units
- What qualities do you think make a good designer?
Listening, understanding, communication, and a good eye for design and colour are the key qualities needed to produce a design that suits the client and their lifestyle.
- What are the differences between a kitchen/bathroom designer, an interior designer and an architect?
An architect designs buildings and oversees construction, while an interior designer works with spaces, functionality, colour schemes, lighting and decoration. Kitchen and bathroom design is a more specialised form of interior design, concentrating on these two areas of the home.
- Can you describe your process for designing kitchens and bathrooms?
The first step is to have a consultation in the client’s home. This is a relaxed meeting to establish requirements, ideas, likes and dislikes, along with timescales and budget. It also gives me an opportunity to survey and measure the room.
I then order samples and produce a 3D design with photorealistic renders, at which point I return to the client’s home to present the options, along with a quote.
- Who are some of your favourite brands and suppliers?
I have built up long-term relationships with all my kitchen and bathroom suppliers, working with suppliers that ensure excellent service and always deliver high-quality products.
I use Kessler Kitchens for all kitchen units and various bathroom suppliers, including Cifial, for brassware. For sanitaryware and furniture, I like Roper Rhodes, Britton, and Burlington Heritage. Grespania and Craven Dunnill are my favourites for tiles, and I use Jackon for tanking and wet trays.
- What are your top tips for making kitchens and bathrooms feel more upscale?
Clever lighting is something that often gets overlooked. Lighting can be very affordable and really make a room. I also love coloured radiators and heated towel radiators—these can look very expensive and are a real design statement, yet in most cases are less expensive than chrome.
Related reading: 15 Luxury Features to Consider For Your Contemporary Kitchen Remodel.
- What are some up-and-coming kitchen and bathroom design trends?
I don’t tend to follow trends as such: it’s more important to tailor the design to the client and their property, making each project different and unique. Sometimes, following the latest trends has a downside, with rooms dating quickly.
Some of the latest trends I’ve seen in kitchens are bolder colours, moving away from chrome to golds, blacks and coppers, more pantry storage, island units in contrasting colours to the main units, and installing underfloor heating. In bathrooms: feature walls, using textured or bold patterned tiles, screened-off toilets, freestanding baths, and mood lighting.
- How do your designs compare to the finished result?
I pride myself on my 3D designs and renders, making them as realistic as possible and with close attention to detail, so the client gets a genuine understanding of what to expect from the finished room.
- What is your favourite thing about what you do?
I love using my design skills to come up with something above client’s expectations and seeing their reactions to the finished room. Knowing that I have helped to transform their lives is a very rewarding experience.
Many thanks to Karen Beecroft for her insight; we look forward to working together for many years to come. Ready to discuss your new kitchen or bathroom? Give us a call.