The Way I Work... Interior Designer Beata Heuman
In our new series, we look at the things, places and people that inspire a creative’s working life. New York Times bestselling author Fatima Mirza spoke to the interior designer Beata Heuman about everything from childhood inspirations to the best interiors accounts to follow on Instagram. Here are her thoughts…
On letting your inner child create your home: I focus a lot on listening to the voice of your inner child. I want to unlock that in people because we all have it within us. That can be really healthy and make you happier in your home. One way is thinking about the things you grew up with. There’s always something sentimental or that has meaning. Our jumbo gingham fabric is very much part of my childhood and growing up in Sweden, and the colours I chose are connected to memories of our farm and gardens. And don’t worry too much about what the right thing is – just find things that speak to you.
On her sartorial choices: I don’t have a work ‘uniform’, but I do enjoy making an effort with clothes. I tend to sit with my legs pulled up (like a five-year-old!) so I like something with a comfy waistband. I’m a big fan of Bode. It’s a big brand now but when I first came across it, it was hugely inspiring. It’s a unique way of making clothes, and the aesthetic really appeals. In theory, it’s a menswear brand, but that makes me enjoy wearing its clothes even more. Loretta Caponi in Florence is another shop I love. It’s very old fashioned and has lots of comfy smock dresses. To be honest, I’m just drawn to anything that feels ‘olde worlde’.
On music while you work: There’s a great app called Radiooooo. It’s a map of the world, and you can choose any country and decade – whether something from the 1910s or 1970s – and play music that was popular at the time in that country. Recently, I’ve been listening to Can I Get There By Candlelight by David McWilliams, Starálfur by Sigur Rós and Ohne Chanteuse by Yonderboi.
On her fragrance of choice: It took me years to come across a scent I liked, but ever since we stayed at Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy I wear Eau d’Italie by Le Sirenuse. It isn’t overly feminine and smells fresh. I often have scented candles burning in the office, such as Moro Dabron’s or Ortigia’s Florio. They help me focus but also make me feel cosy.
On spaces to inspire: Growing up, we used to go to the Landskrona Museum in Sweden. You’d go from room to room and be given time-typical outfits and get into character. I loved it. More recently, I went to the beautiful Swedish Grace exhibition, about art and design in the 1920s, at the National Museum in Stockholm. I’m really inspired by that time and designers such as Anna Petrus. I especially love museums with preserved interiors (it’s the closest to time travel you can get), hence I love Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, Charleston in Sussex, England, and Svindersvik in Stockholm. There is an amazing house called Villa Santo Sospir in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat [in the South of France]. It was designed by Madeleine Castaing, and Jean Cocteau had a hand in it too. Sadly, it’s closed for renovation, but I’m hoping they will open the doors to the public once again.
On learning: I read Get Your House Right by Marianne Cusato and Ben Pentreath. It’s all about traditional detailing in architecture and I learned a lot. It’s made me better at reading the architecture of a house.
On how to decorate your home: Whenever you see images of interiors you like, save them, and build up a little library. Then do a proper furniture plan. If you have a layout of your home, work out how you want to place the furniture. Then you can populate it. If you know what you’re looking for, that’s reassuring, but even if the pieces themselves are still missing, wait for the right thing – you don’t have to get everything at once.
Beata Heuman’s book Every Room Should Sing is out now