Here is Jo, the awesome founder of Joanna Knight Interiors. Let’s find out more about our fab leader!
So here is our 15 minutes with…
What key creative influences inspire you?
I think actually, my biggest creative influence comes from nature and the great outdoors! Everywhere you look, there is a fine architectural detail to a leaf, a bug or a plant growing in the wild. And the mix of colours surrounding us – some are so hard to replicate, but so pleasing on the eye! Having children (especially one that is so interested in nature) has really made me look more closely at everything around me.
What one quote or piece of advice will you never forget?
‘Have nothing in your home that you believe to not be beautiful, or useful’ – William Morris. Also, ‘ Do whatever you feel like doing, just don’t get caught doing it!!’ – my Dad!!!
Can you describe your at home style?
Classic with neutral furnishings, and added pops of colour and beautiful and unusual artwork and accessories. That way, I can change the look or feel of a room quite simply by switching around a few items, or bringing back a new treasure from my travels.
What can you remember of the interior decor of your home as a child?
Gosh, lots of orange, yellow and brown. But weirdly, I don’t think the colours were reflective of my parents taste particularly – I think it was just the “in thing” at the time which I’m not keen on. I do remember William Morris curtains with ‘The Strawberry Thief’ which is a design classic and lots of Georgian furniture which I am still very attracted too. My father travelled constantly so he was always bringing back weird and wonderful (and frankly some quite ugly) objects!!
What pieces can’t you live without at home and why?
My beautiful 3mtr long Porada Infinity dining table with twisted walnut legs. It is sooo beautiful and I just LOVE having lots of people over for lunch and supper and this table fits 12 so is ideal! Sadly it’s mainly covered in a cloth most days, as I can’t stand cleaning the sticky fingerprints from the glass top, left by my 5 and 7 yr olds! I can’t wait for social distancing to ease so that we can meet with friends again!
What has been your career highlight so far?
There have been so many highlights! So many great jobs, and lovely clients. But I think the thing I have gained most satisfaction and pride from, is my team. I’m so proud of them and glad to have them alongside me – but most of all the fact that they have fun and enjoy what they do! Whilst there is a lot of nose to the grindstone in the office there are also quite a lot of headstands and breaking into random dance routines en masse…
What, in your view, is the secret to good interior design?
I think the mark of a good designer is someone that really looks at how the users USE the space. You can make a space look stunning but if the user doesn’t feel comfy or can’t reach the light switch or charge their phone easily etc, the interior design ceases to enhance the space.
What was the first interior space to impact you?
The Oriana Cruise ship. I was very fortunate to have a private tour when I was in my early 20’s, straight out of Uni and working in the industry as a textile salesperson. The head of fleet furnishings for P&O rather took me under his wing and showed me the cruise ship from top to bottom – even back of house kitchens! The scale and logistics blew my mind! I’ve always had a keen interest in cruise ship design since that visit.
If you could go on a spending spree tomorrow what are the first three things you would buy for your home?
A swimming pool, a sun lounger, and a large inflatable flamingo. No explanation required.
What one thing do you wish you had never purchased?
There is nothing really. Everything has a time and a place. My only slight regret is having a custom made sofa in a plain slate grey. Every little mark shows up on it and I feel like we are constantly wiping it down. However, the covers are removable and washable so that’s some comfort!
Tell us about a hotel that has wowed you, why did you love it so much?
I adore the Langham. The guestrooms are so understated and comfy, whilst the public areas are just beautiful and light. They are like stepping into a fairytale! I must also say, the service you get at The Langham enhances the whole experience. The interior feels contemporary with a touch of cool in the bar, whilst still feeling very classical and respectful. Some hotel interiors are so modern and designed to provoke emotion that it’s actually quite draining.
What do you think the next design trend will be?
In the hospitality industry it will all be about infection control, contact minimisation, touchless controls, and in-room eating options. In the residential sector, we are looking at ways of either converting parts of the home into fully functional but beautiful offices or creating garden structures. We are also finding clients in both sectors are looking more to outdoor furniture solutions.
What has helped you through the covid-19 lockdown?
Staying in touch with friends, colleagues and family on a daily basis! That and taking things a bit slower; I’ve been raising chickens! Just watching them waddle about the garden looking for tasty treats is incredibly calming.
What do you like to do for yourself outside of work and family?
When I have time I love a long slow run in the countryside with my husband or a friend, or a good pilates class. My secret pleasure is a really hot bath with a copy of an interiors magazine, staying in the bath until the water is cold!!
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