House style

Meet the in­te­rior de­signer of the year, Erin Martin

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - NEWS - Jes­sica Doyle

Re­vealed: the in­te­rior de­signer of the year

OVER THE PAST 21 YEARS, the An­drew Martin In­ter­na­tional In­te­rior De­signer of the Year Award has helped to launch the ca­reers of such tal­ents as Kelly Hop­pen, and cel­e­brate d the achieve­ments of oth­ers: Rose Uni­acke and Nicky Haslam have been among its re­cent win­ners.

For Amer­i­can de­signer Erin Martin (no re­la­tion), how­ever, the mo­ment she was an­nounced as this year’s win­ner at a cer­e­mony on Mon­day was par­tic­u­larly sweet. ‘My mother gave me one of the first An­drew Martin books,’ she says – a re­view of the world’s top 100 de­sign­ers is pub­lished along­side the awards each year – ‘and it blew my mind. It changed the way I looked at how peo­ple lived and how you could live. I thought, “I want to do that,” and every year since I’ve thought, “I want to be in that book.”’

Martin’s in­clu­sion in this de­sign pan­theon is, ac­cord­ing to the hote­lier Kit Kemp, one of the judges and her­self a pre­vi­ous win­ner, down to ‘her youth, sheer ex­u­ber­ance and creativ­ity. Her work has one eye on the past, one on the fu­ture, and lands slap-bang in the present: wellthought-through and dis­ci­plined, but with an el­e­ment of orig­i­nal­ity.’

Martin abides by no de­sign rules, but you won’t find a flo­ral chintz or pat­terned wall­pa­per in one of her in­te­ri­ors. ‘I don’t like colour,’ she says: a brave state­ment. Although she hates the idea of a de­sign sig­na­ture, her projects do dis­play ‘a per­son­al­ity and an opinion’, and share a cer­tain Amer­i­can sense of cool, with nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and in­dus­trial el­e­ments.

‘I think peo­ple are the art in life,’ she says. ‘If you have any­thing in your house that you can’t touch, you’re stupid. Your house should be the back­drop, but it needs to be home, and it should be fun. We’re not sav­ing lives, but we’re help­ing peo­ple find a place where they can re­boot, and we all need that.’ er­in­martin­de­

Above Char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally in­dus­trial de­sign for a prop­erty in How­ell Moun­tain, Napa Val­ley. Right The bed­room at How­ell Moun­tain; Erin Martin

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