Earlier this year when asked if I fancied recording a series of interior design podcasts by Sofa Workshop, although I love to chat, the invitation made me a bit nervous. I’m not a trained journo with long honed skills in eliciting information out of other humans. That makes journos sound a little like SAS interrogators doesn’t it, but you know what I mean. Nor would I know the guests, or have a partner in crime to giggle with. Heaven forbid any Russell Harty moments. You’ve got be really old to get that joke, sorry.
What has saved my podcast bacon is the sheered loveliness of the invited guests, and all skills to the SW team on that score. I’ve two more to bring you and this penultimate one is with Monique Tollgard, one half of design duo, Tollgard Design Group.
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Monique and husband Staffan’s background is in filmmaking and documentary production. They met and fell in love on the set of a feature film and on buying their first house, an unmodernised Victorian pile, the couple’s life direction changed from making movies to making spaces. Have a listen if you’re stuck in a job which doesn’t fulfil you or if you yearn for creativity, it’s very inspiring to hear Monique talk about how and why this life change was made.
Staffan moved into the world of interior design first, re-training at the Inchbald School of Design on the Architectural Interior Design course. I loved hearing how the green eyed monster crept in. Though an intense year’s study, what Staffan was doing looked so much fun, Monique opted for a complimentary direction and soon completed the shorter interior design and decoration course at the same design school.
Chatting about the way that interior designers and architects sometimes politely disagree on what brings joy to clients made me smile at the time of the interview and did again when I listened. Monique and I have a similar opinion that interior design is what most people love about their homes – the colours, the textures, the finishes – though some architects disagree and want to strip all that back to just light and space and none of what they sometimes see as fripperies. It’d be true to say that most people don’t have the luxury of architecturally stunning homes, so those fripperies which fill their residential boxes are going to be what brings the most happiness.
Can interior design enhance good architecture? The answer to that depends on who you ask 😉
We chatted about whether to extend and the value of simple adding extra footage, and about how the couple work with clients to achieve the best possible outcomes. There’s some super advice from Monique in the chat if you’re renovating or embarking on your own project. Heat mapped your house? Why ever not?
Unsurprisingly, with their film background, the Tollgard Design Studio are known for bringing a narrative to their interior projects, and are determined to do so. They tell stories with their design. When I was reading about the Red Thread earlier this year, Staffan’s article here was one of the best descriptions of this Scandinavian notion known as the Röda Tråden. You can absolutely use this notion to help with your own home design – I’ve a few Red Threads running through Moregeous HQ and talk about how to weave them on our Reno Day. It’s a fascinating subject and Monique covers in wonderfully in the podcast.
With Monique’s South African background, Staffan’s Scandinavian heritage and a truly international design team within the company, their design studio mixes creativity with practicality, is unafraid of strong design choices and vibrant colour, and takes clients on bold but thoughtful journeys to achieve their dream spaces.
On a final note, be prepared for a little sniffle at the end. It’s possibly my most favourite answer to the Cup Of Tea question yet.
There’s a direct link to the podcast HERE.
I hope you enjoy it x
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