I studied contemporary crafts at Manchester Metropolitan University, designing and making in metalwork, woodwork, ceramics and textiles. When I left, I worked as an upholsterer for a year. I loved watching the journey an old piece of furniture would travel through. The way it transforms into a new one off piece of art; going to live with its new family! When it left the workshop, I would want to follow it to its new home and see how it looked in its surroundings. So I got a new job with an interior design company, where I trained for five years before opening my own interior design business. Planning the whole scheme instead of just one piece was brilliant; that's when I realised I'd found what I loved doing.
The psychology of finding out what my clients like to do, where they like to travel, how they like to live and what they would like their homes to look like, fascinates me. I like to get inside clients' heads and find out who they are so I can design for them and use my knowledge and experience to put their scheme together. Whether it's designing a whole house, a room or just helping customers choose a new wallpaper; the first thing I do is ask a load of questions! Then making choices and decisions is less painful for the client as there is so much to choose from, I can narrow it down from the start and just show them what they need to see.
I opened Angela McNeill Interiors in 2006 and after two years in a tiny shop, moved next door to a bigger space. I filled the shop with fabulous fabrics and wallpapers plus accessories for the home and gifts for friends. I worked in the shop in the day and popped round to see clients in the evening. My love for treating old pieces to a makeover was realised in 'The Yard'. The back of the shop was filled with up-cycled, re-upholstered, re-painted furniture and vintage finds. It was a place you can have a real rummage through and find a one off piece that no-one else has got!
I now work from my studio at home in Blackheath and see clients in the daytime. I moved out of the shop in 2015 to dedicate more time to the interior design side of the business. Having the shop for 9 years was truly amazing and very social with clients popping in all the time. From the studio I plan projects, research schemes for clients and organise the soft furnishing side of the business, which is still a major part of my work. I can be more flexible and organised with my time and get my weekends and evenings to myself!
I believe in the expression that if you enjoy what you do, you'll never have to work a day in your life. Getting to meet lots of different people and find out what makes them tick, then help them create their home is a real privilege. I feel that since time began, humans have found somewhere to lay their head and have painted their caves... home is such an important place. I think that a home should be somewhere that you can be yourself, express yourself, feel comfortable in and be proud of.