Colour consultant and interior designer Emma Diaz has a passion for sustainability and has just launched a small but perfectly formed range of British-made furniture called the Westridge Collection. We caught up with her to find out about the influences behind her work.
Emma says, ‘I’ve always had a critical eye for detail due to my previous career in the film and animation industry, but when I started translating it over to interiors, I found a new passion. After building and renovating my Cotswolds cottage, I initially painted everything white and realized how much it was negatively affecting my mood and creativity. I began learning about how I could introduce colour to improve my wellbeing and productivity, whilst looking into natural paints to use here on our lime plaster. I retrained as a colour consultant for Edward Bulmer Paint, covering the Cotswolds, and embarked on a career in colour and design.
Every design decision I make is individually considered – whether it be to the age of the property, the use of the room, how someone wants to feel in a space, or the exact tone of colour to use. Everything has a meaning behind it, a story, and I love that. I recently launched my own small collection of handmade furniture, the Westridge Collection, my first foray into designing my own pieces. I wanted to create something that not only celebrated the British craftsmanship and woodlands we have here, but also to be more sustainable by using certified local wood and minimizing importation.
My work is inspired by my love of nature and the environment that surrounds me. The Westridge Collection has been inspired by my local woodland that I walkthrough regularly, the colours I see throughout the seasons, the textures of beautiful British oak, and the surrounding rolling hills.
I believe in buying British where possible. We can help the environment by not importing resources we already have here – timber being the obvious one. If we invest in furniture pieces that are made with responsibly sourced, certified British timber then we are supporting the responsible management and regeneration of our local woodlands, whilst also supporting local craftsman, artisans and creatives. I fear that if we don’t support these British businesses, this will all be eventually lost.
All of the furniture has been made to built multi-purposeful. I have designed the mini-table and side table as rectangular pieces, so you can slot them into smaller spaces to hold lamps or drinks, or place width-ways if you have a little more room. The pieces are neat and not at all bulky, which helps when it comes to positioning larger items such as the bookcase. I became aware of my desire to live more sustainably when we were renovating our cottage. We are in an old building, and I wanted to use traditional, natural materials that were a kinder option to the environment.
Our cottage really comes into its own in autumn. It’s when it feels its best. But I’m an outdoors person, so I love being out in nature and watching the colours of the leaves change daily; listening to the crunch of fallen leaves as I walk the muddy Cotswold way and feeling the crispness of the autumnal air on my skin. I have chosen a palette of nine colours to use as my ‘stock’ colours for the furniture collection. These include at least two colours for each season, inspired by the changing landscape of the woodland. I have included subtle, softer shades for schemes that require a little calm, but also included bolder colours that we find across the seasons for those who require a statement piece. I’ve specifically chosen these colours to work with the warmth and depth of the exposed wooden aspects, yet I also offer a bespoke service people have a colour in mind, or I can help choose one for an individual scheme.
I’m a very visual person, so colour and lighting are incredibly important to me, and connect to my wellbeing. My mood is often changed by the colour that surrounds me. On a sunny day, when the golden light is glowing, I feel instantly uplifted. I respond to warm colours (an autumn palette in colour psychology). So, when summer fades, I love to bring those warm rusts, yellows, reds and yellow-based greens into my home. Branches full of golden leaves can be enough to give me the autumn colour kick I need. I also love enhancing the autumnal atmosphere with the glow of lamps (make sure the bulb is low and warm rather than white), softness from candles and the flicker of a fire. To complete the mood, I have several beautiful blankets that I bring out at this time of year, for that extra cosy touch’.
Images: Alexander J Collins