Ever considered a drastic career change? Our new semi-regular feature will follow a typical day in the life of someone with a Super Cool Job™, letting you have an insight without having to hand in in your notice. This week we're talking to Holly, who probably spends more time thinking about restaurants than even my ICB colleagues, as she designed some of the chicest ones in town.
Holly Trehearn is an interior designer at Faber, a design agency in the Custard Factory that works primarily with restaurateurs, hoteliers and retailers. Nocturnal Animals, Kilder and Folium are just some of their spots I like to ogle.
After growing up near Cambridge, Holly went to university in Nottingham and now lives in Stirchley.
How does your day start?
I hop out of bed at 7am(ish) and watch the morning news with a crumpet before running—most days literally—to catch my train into town. If I manage to get a seat, I'll read my Elle Decoration mag on the way in. No day in the office can start before I’ve had a coffee. Shout out to Kanteen down the road from Faber who do the BEST coffee if I need that espresso rush.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Most mornings I'll catch up with client emails and calls before I settle into design work around mid-morning, but this varies depending on the stage of the project I’m working on. If we're at the concept stage, I'll be creating moodboards with imagery on Pinterest or doing free hand sketches. Then we move onto designing with 3D software, sourcing fabrics and materials from the sample library. Next stage is the technical design with detail drawings before finally taking the project onto site with a contractor to deliver it.
Did you always want to be a designer?
Growing up I was always drawing and designing things. When I was really young, I used to make room collages with furniture magazine cuttings and was always re-arranging my bedroom so maybe that's where it all began! I realised I was interested in the built environment and I wanted to design spaces and experiences for people so I studied architecture at uni. But I soon realised after I got my degree and worked in practice that my passion was actually for interior spaces. I was really lucky that I moved to Birmingham and landed my dream job at Faber.
Which has been your favourite project to work on?
I really enjoyed working with Adam and Natasha Stokes on The Oyster Club [below]. I'm a self-confessed foodie so getting to work with a Michelin star chef was quite a highlight! They were really open to letting us guide them on the look and feel, as well as the branding. Kilder [above] is another one of my favourites. The owners, Tom and Scott of Original Patty Men fame, were so nice to work for and had a really cool vision. They also used a lot of Birmingham local fabricators for the build which I thought was ace.
What makes a great designer?
Creativity is key obviously, but being able to communicate and present your ideas effectively is essential. Being open-minded and not precious about a design is really important too, as things change dramatically all the time. Taking a design from concept to finished takes hard work from all sides, so being a team player is also super important.
What are the best parts of being a designer?
I love that I get to be creative and design in the day-to-day of my job. The briefs and clients are so varied and it's great when all your hard work pays off.
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
I wish we had an office dog.