What drew you into the world of Interior Design?
This was very much by chance, after returning from a year exchange in Sweden in 1990. Enrolled in a Mathematics & Computing Degree at Curtin University, something after a year away I could not imagine doing. I got out the student handbook and had a look for something that interested me more.
The Interior Design degree seemed to jump out at me.
I called the university to see if I could change courses. The answer was a definite no, second round offers had already gone out. It was such a popular degree that the administrators were sure that all places would be snapped up! I received a phone call the same day. Someone had declined, could I come in for an interview with my folio the following Monday?
I had never done, or been interested in art. I pulled something together over the weekend with the assistance of my arty brother and set off for the interview. As it turns out the head of the department at that time had spent many years in Sweden. We spoke Swedish for a bit and he handed me the forms to enrol in the degree.
It seemed to stick, many years later and I’m still in the industry!
What do you think is the most important quality of an interior designer?
Having a good ear to listen and understand what your client wants is the key I believe. A project, particularly if we are talking about someone’s home or personal business should be about the client, not the designer. So, listening, understanding and translating the client’s vision is what I see as the most important quality of a Designer.
Sometimes it is also about educating and the art of suggestion. If there is something a client wants that clearly will not work or is a bad choice.
“I think also being thick-skinned is a very good attribute to have. There is an element of the work that is being constantly questioned and criticised.”
Hopefully more constructive criticism than anything: Learning how to respond to this, keep your cool and keep going is a big part of the job.
Do you have a particular personal style?
I would say my style at home is eclectic. I have walls full of art and objects that I have collected both from galleries and my travels. When I go home after work or a day on the mountains I want to be enveloped in comfort. Which for me equates to pieces that have been with me for years. Books, art and beautiful, comfortable, quality furniture that I have collected over the years as I could afford it.
During a project is your role purely design-based or do you also project manage?
Our role varies between projects and how much the client needs our assistance. We have done some successful projects for example where the client is the project manager. Then on larger projects, we tend to be working with an Architect. Who in Switzerland especially, will have an overall all project management role. In this situation, we tend to slot in as part of the design team and assist with the project management.
Many of our projects over the last couple of years have focused on furniture and lighting packages, so in this scenario, we manage everything including the administration, logistics installation and defects.
What type of projects does Quattro Interiors undertake?
Generally, our focus is residential design for both homes and luxury holiday rentals. I also have a very strong background in hospitality design. So there always seems to be hospitality projects happening as well.
I enjoy both design areas as they tend to be more personal and involved, which for me feels more rewarding.
Our projects can be broken down into Interior Architecture, Interior Design, Styling and Homeware packages.
In a nutshell:
- Interior Architecture involves anything with built work. For us, these tend to be larger residential projects where an architect is also involved, and we are part of the project team.
- Interior design I would describe as the loose furniture, window coverings, lighting, artwork, and soft furnishing. The part of the project that starts to make a space feel like a home. Or, in the case of a hospitality project to give it a personality.
- Styling for photography is something relatively new to our folio since we have been in Switzerland. Working with the client we can produce a brief for the photographer to create photographs to suit their needs. This may be for real estate sales or luxury holiday rentals.
- Homeware Packages were developed to cover a gap in the market. From where a project is completed, but there is nothing in the cupboards and drawers. Essentially these are to allow people to move into a home that is ready to live in. Or for chalet / holiday rental operators to enable them to efficiently run their business from day one.
There is a full breakdown of these services on our website, complete with downloadable .pdf documents: https://www.quattrois.ch/services/
What are your favourite projects to date?
This is a hard question! I would say any of the projects on the website are favourites, but if I was to choose three:
This home designed by Suzanne Hunt Architect (SHA) is in Bedfordale in the foothills of Perth. ‘The overall design brief was to design a tranquil sanctuary, reflecting the owner’s love of Japanese aesthetics, accommodate their ageing, provide state of the art technologies and connect with their landscaping vision.’
Quattro Interiors was commissioned as part of the SHA team to assist with the interiors of the project. Including design development, documentation of finishes and detailed joinery units throughout the house, and directly by the client for the furnishing of the project.
Verbier Private Chalet
This is a very special project for me because it was my first large project in Switzerland. I was a bit nervous to start with as the client’s father is an extremely successful Interior Designer in New York. No pressure!
It turned out I had nothing to worry about. The clients were lovely and having had the background of working in her father’s firm Tim Mac Inc. So had a perfect understanding of the design process.
The project brief started with a furniture package. It soon grew into Quattro being very involved in the Interior Architecture of the home. We worked hand in hand with a local Verbier architect Christophe Corthay and the trades on site.
This project is a prime example of a synergy between the client and designer. Which is always important in translating the client’s vision for their home.
Zermatt Ski Chalets Office
A very small project that is very different from any of our others. This is a small office space on a prominent corner in Zermatt for Zermatt Ski Chalets. A luxury chalet operator here in Zermatt. A pure interior design project including paint colours, lighting, furniture, and a feature gallery wall. Containing vintage and antique collectables from the area.
How has Quattro Interiors evolved over the years?
I feel that Quattro has grown and changed as I have over the years. As I have wanted something different the business has adapted around me.
In Sydney, I spent a lot of time working with Interior Design & Architecture students. Seeing them through the start in their career as both mentor and employer.
After deciding to leave our initial incarnation of Quattro Design, which was an Architecture practice back in 2011. We have tried to cultivate and attract the kind of projects we enjoy. Quattro Interiors was born from this. I had wonderful staff that supported this and worked with me to make these changes possible.
Six years later the business is still going strong. We can maintain a small number of Interior Architecture projects. Which in turn allows us to have an alternate focus on furniture packages and homewares.
Where is Quattro Interiors going from here?
Let’s face it 2020 was a tough year! We were all set to get bigger and better after a successful 2019 and then covid hit the world. Something we are all still dealing with.
We took some time to reflect and slow down. The result was a decision that we needed to add an income stream that is a little more passive and less reliant on face-to-face communication. So we have been busily in the process of setting up an e-commerce site.
This was inspired by the homeware packages we had set up and also the relationships we have developed over the years with suppliers and products.
With the launch of the site, we are focussing on one of my all-time favourite brands, Bemboka. I first discovered Bemboka in Sydney many years ago and have been working with them ever since. Their timeless throws and blankets now sit in many chalets and apartments here in Switzerland. Including the ones I have had on my sofa since 2008!
Author – Teri-Anne of An Aimless Walk