Designer Highlight   Joel Fry

Could you tell us something about your background?

London born and raised, I studied interior design (decoration) at Southampton university. Afterwards, I applied for a sale/designer position straight after graduation. As a result, I have stayed in the industry since. People are always surprised this industry exists, however, once you’re in, you realise how big it is.

What steps do you take in the creative process of designing a bathroom?

I always keep up to date with interior styles, yet lot of the times, the client brings a new look forward and I see it becoming a trend. I love interior trends. At the beginning I am very hesitant, but once I take a leap at a new product/style and see it work I love it! Function is key with design.

I hate seeing a badly thought out bathroom. It may it appear perfect on paper but you have think about the reality.  People need to live with our designs, therefore I want it to the be timeless and work just as well as they look.

When do you define your project a success?

Seeing a clients face light up when they see the design is great. It makes me know I’ve doe my job right and bought your ideas to life. The install can be stressful but then seeing it afterwards and having a client love their new space is so fulfilling. When they come back a few years (or months with some clients) later with a new project its so rewarding as they thought of me and my skills.

What would your dream bathroom would look like?

I get asked this a lot and its such a hard question but I think it would be matt matt matt. Matt tiles, matt brassware and matt furniture. I also have to have shiny surfaces in my bathroom streak and finger print free, which in a bathroom is very hard to obtain. In it, I want 100% shower select buttons from Hansgrohe/axor. Aqua clean Mera washlet wc, bespoke matt lacquered furniture with a moulded corian basins.  I also want the ultra-traditional lux look. Undermounted marble bath, rich wood toned vanity units. Roll top baths and wall sconces. Having 2 bathrooms of a different style I would simply love! Then a crazy cloakroom with 4 walls of busy wallpaper are my ideals!! But my master bathroom  would have to be the a matt/grey contemporary haven.

How do you work with a customer that doesn’t know what look they want for their bathroom?

My biggest thing as a designer is designing blind. Friends say to me “Design me a bathroom from scratch”. It cannot be done!  There are so many factors/styles that can come into play. Before a meeting with a client, I always insist they do their homework. Give me images of styles, colours, their ideas, regardless of how unrealistic it may be. Its my job to put it all together and get the look right, especially with their functional wish list. There are a lot of images online and in magazines. They showcase huge bathrooms when most London bathrooms are at lease a quarter of the size. It is my job to scale this down yet not compromise. 

What are your top 5 picks for must have products?

Aquaclean mera… or any washlet of this spec.
They really will be the norm in every home. A functional towel rail that can store more than 2 towels. The Bisque Olga has always been my favourite, with Chime in second place. 

Recessed mirror cabinets.
If you have the wall cavity space or enough space to box out your recessed your cabinet. Hidden storage looks amazing! Mirrors helps make a room feel bigger but hidden storage its just an ideal in modern life.

Special finishes/matt brassware
Chome is great for rooms not being used all the time, but makes the space unique! Customise as much as possible to have your bathroom personalised. Even if its only a 5 year home you have to live with it, make it right for you. Why should you compromise?

Feature walls -tiles/paper
In any bathroom, no matter how small, you need a feature. It could be as simple as strip of mosaic on the shower wall, or even a bright patterned floor. For me, right now, it’s wallpaper!! As I say to clients “Once tiles are up, they are up. If you get bored, you don’t want to re tile. Yet with wallpaper or a painted wall, it’s possible to change, and therefore gives you an instant WOW factor”.

Get To Know The Designer series features our designer: Joel Fry. Joel works out of our Chelsea showroom.

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