Interview with Swedish interior designer
“Our homes are our most intimate spaces. They are where we unwind, entertain and connect with the people closest to us. That’s why it’s so important that a home reflects the people who live there”, says Swedish interior designer Maria Kingsley. “
"An interior shouldn’t be too perfect"
“Our homes are our most intimate spaces. They are where we unwind, entertain and connect with the people closest to us. That’s why it’s so important that a home reflects the people who live there”, says Swedish interior designer Maria Kingsley. “My mission is to help people realise their visions for their homes – and to make the theme even more personal through adding elements that they want, but hadn’t thought of themselves. One of the most important elements is the floor, as you can create a totally different feeling depending on what floor you choose. But regardless of style, wood is my favourite as it adds a sense of quality and style that will last over time.”
Vibrating with creativity
Maria Kinsley has become a well-known face to Swedish TV-viewers after featuring on popular home decorating TV show “Bygglov” (“Building Permit”). After a decade of helping clients to realise their interior visions, she has developed some clear philosophies when it comes to decorating: “My personal view is that an interior shouldn’t be too perfect. If you add objects creating a contrast, like something old and worn against new and shiny, or a hard surface against a soft one, it makes the interior much more interesting.”
“But most important of all is that an interior should say something about the people who live there – their history, interests and hobbies. That’s what makes it home”, she says. This means that when starting a new project, at the top of Maria’s agenda is to get to know the people she is working for. “They will express their visions and dreams, and then it’s up to me to interpret these. However, I always want to push my clients a little outside their comfort zone and come up with ideas that they wouldn’t think of themselves - but which I think will add a further dimension to the interior. I also think it’s important that the interior of the house matches the exterior.”
Likes to work with wood
Many of the interiors that Maria has designed since she set up her business some ten years ago, feature wood floors from Kährs. “I like to work with natural materials, like wood. A wood floor stays beautiful for a long time and gets a nice patina over the years. It adds warmth and softens the impression of all types of interiors”, she says. “I also like the contrast you can achieve through using a soft wood floor against a concrete wall, for example”.
She says that she always tries to use colours that she knows appeals to her clients, although her own favourite palette leans towards neutrals, like soft grey and soft beige. Maria goes by three criteria when helping her clients to choose items – to buy or to keep – for their homes. “I think that it either should mean something, a memorabilia, or that it’s extremely attractive – and then it doesn’t necessarily have to be useful. The third criterion is that it is, in fact, useful. If the object doesn’t match any of these criteria, I think you should get rid of it. Part of my job is to encourage my clients to clean out.”
“I like to work with natural materials, like wood. A wood floor stays beautiful for a long time and gets a nice patina over the years. It adds warmth and softens the impression of all types of interiors.”
Maria’s creative spirit has been nurtured since childhood. Growing up, Maria spent time every day after school at her grandfather’s, a passionate artist and builder of old windmill models. “He encouraged me to paint and to create things with my hands. There were never any boundaries set on my creativity. I grew up believing that I could do anything. And I was always decorating – and redecorating – my own room at home. So I knew from an early age what I wanted to do”, she explains.
After finishing three years of studies at a Danish school of design, Maria went on to study interior design for another two years in Australia. Since returning to Sweden, she has been working as a freelance interior designer. “I feel really privileged to have been able to take part in many different types of exciting house projects, ranging from private homes to decorating show houses and flats for real estate developers. My dream project now is to decorate the waiting room at an emergency ward for children. With small children of my own, I have spent a lot of time in these wards, and know how somber they can be.”