Kate Aslangul has enjoyed a varied, creative career. Beginning her working life as a professional photographer, Kate’s love of fabric and impeccable taste for interiors eventually lead her to establish her own interior design studio, Oakley Moore.
Launched just three years ago, the Chelsea based studio already boasts a number of international and award-winning projects within an ever-growing portfolio, we talk to Kate to find out more…
Nurturing a passion for interiors
I have always been aware of the importance of a comfortable and beautiful home. When I was growing up, as an army family, we moved house and country every two years so I was always arranging and redecorating my bedroom. It gave me an opportunity to try different styles which I loved.
My first job at Colefax & Fowler was a great introduction to the textile industry, absorbing ideas and details that would later prove valuable. It also acted as the catalyst to starting my own highly successful curtain making business. However, providence stepped in and I transferred my skills to retail, running the PR and Marketing department for the then new Tiffany & Co store on Bond Street for the next seven years. It cemented my appreciation and understanding for good design.
After various renovation projects on homes in France and the UK, I started receiving requests for help on other people’s homes. At that point, I decided to consolidate my knowledge and signed up to KLC for formal training, followed by a stint with Todhunter Earle, before setting up my own design studio.
There have been so many greats designers that I have observed over the years it is hard to know where to start in terms of influence – the inventiveness of Roger Banks-Pye; the masculine lines and tonal colours of Steven Gambrel; the texture and materials of Rose Uniacke; the relaxed aesthetic of Jaime Parlade; the details of Renzo Mongiardino; the rattan of Gabrielle Crespi; the brutalism of Scarpa; the fun of Kit Kemp and the cosiness of Rita Konig.
I find inspiration from everyday life including nature, art or travel. I take photos everywhere I go, of everything I see. I often refer back to these photos when I am looking for inspiration for a design. Recently I was designing a bookcase with a bar for a living room in London and found myself referencing the architecture of the palacios of Seville. I am like a sponge – always soaking up ideas – you never know when they will pop up and be useful.
The origins of Oakley Moore
Good design, how we live in our homes and how they impact on our well-being, have always been a passion. After a lifetime in design, I founded Oakley Moore in 2017.
A photographer by training I have an instinctive eye for how to use space productively coupled with a confident flair for colour, texture and shape. My design aesthetic was influenced by total immersion in France for over a decade in the French way of life, inspired by traditional and Parisian contemporary interiors. The studio is based in London; however, we work on projects all over the UK, and further afield including France and Switzerland.
We were Winner of Best Living Space – Europe Award in the International Design and Architecture Awards 2019; and shortlisted in two other categories: Interior Design Scheme – Europe and Architectural Glasshouse for a whole house renovation project in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. I was also delighted to be shortlisted for The Design Society’s Best International Interior Designer Award.
We have been incredibly lucky with the variety of projects we have worked on be it a chalet in Switzerland, a villa by Lake Geneva, a townhouse in Paris, family homes in London and English country houses. Every new project is always an exciting challenge as we get to know the client and the property, and they all always come with very individual design briefs.
We have no formula, as every project is different. We are client-led in the way we design, believing a home should reflect its owners. That said there are themes you can see in our work. We create joyful eye catching interiors with a sense of place; we are very detail orientated and enjoy seeking out quality pieces and special finishing touches. We like our homes to tell the story of its owners.
Advice for aspiring interior designers
Be passionate about what you do. Be super organised and be prepared to work hard.
Art in the home
The secret to buying art is to love what you buy. If you buy what you love, then you will enjoy seeing it every day. Art makes a great focal point so when the room allows, we love to position art as a centrepiece to a vignette to tell a story or evoke a mood. When it comes to displaying it, I really enjoy using picture rails. They work well with contemporary art as well as traditional works, adding an extra element of distinction, helping to define the space as well as enhancing the artwork.
At the beginning of each project, I find it important to spend time with my client to understand their lifestyle, their tastes, how they work and relax, how they might use the space now and in the future, and what possessions they own that are important to them. I also look at the architecture of the building as that too will influence the overall design.
Often, we find that the starting point might come from a rug or painting that the client already owns, or from something stumbled on during our conversations. Armed with this information, I then draw upon on my own research and inspiration – such as photos from travel, art, textures, colours etc. I find all sorts of information goes into the mix.
Favourite room to design
There isn’t a room I don’t love working on – the challenge of making the most of every space is always exciting. However, I do love designing bedrooms, they are very personal rooms. I think the bedroom should be a haven where you can recharge.
Favourite room in your own home
Favourite item in your own home
That is a tricky one because as a designer your eye is always evolving, hungry for new inspiration so I collect all the time. One of my favourite recent purchases is a 1930s polychrome ceramic vase by Leon Pointu which I adore.
Home comforts could you not live without
If laughter can be called a home comfort then I would say laughter, but if I am not allowed that then I would say a truly comfortable well upholstered sofa … there is nothing quite like it.
We are currently working on a house where we have the dream client who is open to all our ideas on colour, shapes and finishes so this will be a really fun project with lots of unexpected details.
How did you come to work with Collier Webb?
We first came to know Collier Webb as we needed to commission a copy of some original hardware in a project. They were brilliant – the final item meant so much to the client.
Favourite Collier Webb pieces
I am really looking forward to using the new portable mini table lamps … I am envisaging long dinner tables, with the Mini Glass Drum lights interspersed with vases of flowers and candles … I am dreaming of a post Covid era where we will dance and have fun parties just like they did back in the 1920’s!