Creating the look of luxe

If you’re looking to inject some effortless style and glamour into your home then you’ll definitely be inspired by Vanessa Morgan’s work. Here the interior designer who runs the Speldhurst-based Ven Morgan design company speaks to Eileen Leahy about her unique and stylish vision…


Vanessa, when and why did you get into the wonderful world of interior design?

I have always had a passion for interiors and the way these can shape a lifestyle, or even the other way around. I knew I wanted to provide a service for people who wanted to make their home work perfectly for their style of living, but didn’t have the time or inclination to make this themselves.


What would you say your company’s USP is?

I saw a gap in the market for an interior design company which offered a complete turnkey solution to the often tricky reality of employing multiple individual contractors and craftsman.


What were you doing beforehand?

I worked in finance in the City for a few years prior to having my son and also enjoyed a brief stint living in Bermuda, so quite varied! These experiences have enabled me to make some strong connections and I am still in touch with many friends from those days – I’ve even worked on some of their houses!

You trained at the KLC School of Design in Chelsea. How did you find this experience?

KLC provided the structure and formal training I needed but there is a lot more to interior design than simply picking colours and fabrics. I really wanted to focus on making sure I was technically able as well as delivering on the more creative side of the profession. It also opened the doors to a wonderful network of supportive partners, clients and friends.


You say that your designs try primarily to reflect the personality of each client. How do you do this?

Originality is key as is understanding the needs of the family and the way they live. I like to really get under the skin of my client before I provide any insight or design concept. If you are an extrovert and love to entertain, then your needs will be very different to someone who hates to cook, the needs of a young family are very different to those with teenage children and so on. Many companies produce a standardised product with a one-size-fits-all approach,
but I thrive on projects which go against the curve.


Do you actively involve your clients in their projects?

I encourage them to embrace their own needs and wants, both now and with an eye to the future, and suggest design and interiors which underpin this and steer away from current trends. This means my clients end up with a home that is right for them and one that is designed for the long-term too.


Your projects range from country cottages to super yachts and everything in between. Do you have any particular favourite style of interior?

I have a real thing for working with people who have open minds, who I can build a rapport and sense of trust with. I look for people who are happy to share their lifestyles with me, as that’s how the best projects are concocted. Ideally I enjoy working with people who haven’t already got everything mapped out to a tee. I love to get involved in the original vision and to work collaboratively with a client and architect to achieve brilliant results.


In terms of your work, do you just execute the soft furnishings side of interior design or do you also get involved in the structural side of things if needed with the service you provide?

Our team is home to interior designers, project managers and tradespeople, working collaboratively together to simplify processes, reduce costs and minimise delays often experienced with numerous providers. We have decades of experience on site building extensions and creating interiors, whilst also producing the best craftsmanship and joinery, accredited by the Federation of Master Builders. Whether we work on your interior design only, or deliver your whole build for you, we are committed to a flawless end result.


What companies do you like working with on your projects and are any of them local to Tunbridge Wells?

We love incorporating design details that support local businesses when we can and also bouncing ideas off other local designers. We use local photographers, local marketing and PR,
and on the procurement side. We also love collaborating and sharing knowledge. For example, a few companies I know in Kent that touch the home build space and share our values have been chatting about setting up a network so people moving to the area can immediately find the right experts for them.


How many are in your design team and is it deliberate that it’s an all-female one? 

I am proud to be breaking the mould of the male dominated building industry. My female-led team has a core team of eight designers, developers and craftspeople, but we are also privileged to have an extensive network we can call upon for our larger projects too. Our craftsmen and tradesmen are happy to work for women and it makes for a much more respectful environment that overturns stereotypes.


Your studio is based in Speldhurst, which must be very inspiring. What other areas in life do you draw inspiration from?

My son is sports mad and I am finding myself more frequently on the side of a cricket pitch, all over the country! Just as I am intrigued by how a person can shape a home, I am intrigued by how a culture can shape a person. My designs readily embrace local culture and influences.


Are there any particular designers you are inspired by?

I have always admired the work that comes out of the Helen Green Design Studio. The designs are always elegant and use colour and texture brilliantly. I am also a huge fan of the Tollgard Design Group for more contemporary design and their fabulous use of art.


Most of your work takes place in the local area. Are they all private projects or have you done some commercial ones you could tell us about?

We have worked on some wonderful projects both near and far, From Grade II-listed country manors, to contemporary London apartments and boutique holiday homes across the globe. We design exclusively to the style and vision of our clients, whether they are private or commercial. We don’t look for one type of project – we really enjoy complex and interesting challenges and, if we can build it in-house then it’s better for all parties as the client saves money and we can ensure our designs are delivered how they are meant to be.


And finally, can you sum up your interior design philosophy?

Originality and people-powered lifestyle design.


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