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Design & That

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Aucoot's Favourites

Design & That

Emma Shone-Sanders has entwined her life-long love for design with her East London lifestyle effortlessly, having spent years exploring and educating herself in the fields of architecture, interior architecture and interior design. She set up her interior design studio – Design & That – in 2016 – and, most recently, opened the Design & That store with her partner, Jade Shone-Sanders. Their combined expertise and aesthetic eye are well showcased in their own home – a Victorian conversion in East London’s Victoria Park, which they share with their young son. We catch up with the couple at home to chat about their approach to design, their home renovation and what inspires them creatively.


Tell us a bit about your background and what led you to founding Design & That.

I’ve always had a love for all things design related from as early as I can remember. I always loved sketching and creating, so studying Architecture at University felt like the natural path for my career. After graduating with a BArch and RIBA Part I, I realised that I was much more interested in designing the interior spaces and I moved to London to study a Masters in Interior Architecture. I spent the next 10 years gaining experience at various design studios and working on a range of projects across retail, commercial, hospitality experiential design. I went on to set up the Design & That Studio in 2016, and opened the Design & That Store together with Jade in 2019.


You work alongside your wife, Jade, what’s it like to be partners in business and in life?

Working together has its pros and cons for sure, but it’s mostly great and we feel really lucky that we get to spend so much time with each other doing what we love. We always love bouncing ideas off one other, so we end up talking about our work a lot and often find it hard to completely switch off, but I think we have a good balance between our individual roles, and working on projects together.


Beautiful natural materials are celebrated in many of your designs, have you always had an appreciation for materials and a focus towards them in design? What materials/textures do you love to work with?

I do have a real love for beautiful well-crafted materials and always like to layer in a mix of textured woods, marble, velvets and linens into our designs wherever we can to add character and a feeling of warmth to the space. I’m always guided and inspired by the space itself and the client, but the aim is always to create a space that feels warm and tactile and inviting, a space that makes you feel instantly relaxed and at ease.


The studio clearly celebrates its East London roots – what do you think makes East London so special? What do you love about living there?

We love East London, it’s buzzing with creatives and there’s a great mix of wonderful independent shops and galleries, and some of the best markets to mooch away the weekends. There’s new restaurants, bars or cafés popping up all the time to keep us entertained without having to go very far, and Victoria Park has a real village feel to it that feels like home. We love being so close to the park, especially now we have a baby; he gets so excited every time we walk through the park gates!


Tell us about your own home and what attracted you to it.

We fell in love with it the second we saw it pop up online and we knew it was the one from the minute we walked through the door. The location was perfect for us – right in the heart of Victoria Park – and although it was a complete wreck and needed a full renovation, it had good proportions and some lovely period features, with big sash windows and lots of light. And we really wanted a project so it was ideal for us that it needed so much work.


How did you approach the design when it came to your own home?

Not too differently to designing for clients – just in more of a rush and on a super tight budget! We also lived on site during the renovations, which was all kinds of stressful, but meant that we were there to meet the builders for site meetings and see the progress every day. I had a pretty clear idea on the design, and how I wanted it to look, but still spent hours pulling together mood boards for each space and prepared a design pack for the builders to work from.


What defines ‘home’ for you?

A place to be together as a family, to feel relaxed and at ease, and surrounded by our favourite things that we love and have collected over the years.


Tell us what your dream design project would be.

I love designing all sorts of properties and I love to be inspired by the space be it a period property or modern city apartment, but I probably wouldn’t say no to a year long project in the Caribbean!


Where do you turn to for inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anywhere and often when I’m least expecting it – often I’ll notice something just in the everyday – it might be something I’ve spotted in a magazine or in a film, or something in a restaurant or a hotel. I’m always snapping away on my phone taking pictures and screen-shotting, it never stops!


Are there any other creatives who you particularly admire?

So many! At the moment I’m really loving the work of Jake Arnold, Heidi Caillier Design & DISC Interiors for their take on the traditional interiors with a contemporary feel. I love Studio Giancarlo Valle for their playful and unexpected use of scale and colour. And I’m a big fan of Workstead for their wonderful use of craftmanship and a refined palette – they also make great lighting!


Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you can share with us?

I’m working on some really fun projects at the moment – one in Fulham, which is on site now and really starting to come together. I’m also working on the designs for a modern apartment in Belgravia, and another project in South London where the brief is to create a cosy members club feel – we’re having a lot of fun designing things like a cinema/entertainment room and bar.


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