Changing Career: How I Became an Interior Designer
I can honestly say that changing career to become an interior designer was one of the best decisions I have ever made. At the time, it was a huge call to make but I trusted my instincts, followed my dream and haven’t looked back since. I do hope my story gives some insight for those considering the leap!
I have always loved to create and construct. Looking back at my school days, my subject selection allowed me to nurture this passion, whilst keeping my academic options open. Finishing A-levels in Art, Economics and Geography, however, presented my first real dilemma as to next steps. Should I study for an Art Foundation Course and take time to explore alternative and unknown career paths. Alternatively should I choose an academic degree at the University of Bristol, which would help ensure a more conventional career. After much deliberation, I chose to read for a Bachelor of Science in Geography.
Following graduation, I spent four years in account management at The Brunswick Group and BMP DDB. The world of corporate communications gave me a fast paced insight to the real world of business, most notably the importance of client servicing, estimating and scheduling. I thoroughly enjoyed work, but desperately wanted to explore and fulfil my creative passions further. After much assessment of the opportunities available, I decided to take a risk and change my career. I set my sights on a career in Interior Design and headed back to the classroom to study at KLC School of Design.
I immersed myself in an intensive year of study. The Diploma course provided a huge and varied number of topics including Lighting Design, the History of Style, technical drawing, inspirational lectures from leading industry experts, individual and group project work, as well as invaluable work experience with Todhunter Earle. I learnt so much from every element and from other students who each brought a wealth of knowledge from a global plethora of diverse experiences, both socially and professionally.
After graduating with Honours, and with the support of KLC, I was lucky enough to find employment with Lifestyles Interiors, part of the exclusive Northacre Group. I hit the ground running and worked on a number of show apartments at Kings Chelsea, amongst other private projects. I drew on everything detail I had learnt at KLC, as well as my previous practical business experience. To consolidate my old and new skill sets was incredibly rewarding and I felt truly fulfilled, both professionally and emotionally.
Having completed a number of prestigious projects with Lifestyles, I went onto work at Fox Linton Associates with Martin Hulbert in London and then Federica Palacios Design in Geneva. I was incredibly privileged to work at these renowned interior studios and have worked on a number of high-end residential and commercial projects, which have included a town house in Cadogan Square, the Grand Park Hotel and ski chalets in Gstaad, a family house overlooking Lake Geneva, as well as global apartments in New York and Dubai.
Returning to live in the UK with my husband and our three young boys a few years ago was the catalyst to creating our own design studio. Camilla Bellord Interiors was established in 2016, a family run business with the aim of providing a complete interior design service to both private and professional clients. With a harmonious blend of aesthetic and function always in mind, our ethos is to create timeless interiors, infused with an eclectic elegance.
Business is thriving with both local and international projects. Most recently we launched an exclusive online shop, which offers a unique collection of accessories, art and furniture from trusted sources all around the world.
Looking back over almost 20 years in the world of interiors, I am so pleased that I took a risk and changed my career. Each project is totally unique, presenting new opportunities and challenges. No day is ever quite the same! Some are spent on a building site sporting a hard hat and fluorescent vest whilst clambering up a ladder; others are spent preparing spatial concepts, sourcing exquisite materials from unique artisans, as well as the inevitable excel spread sheets detailing schedules and estimates.
I feel enormously privileged to work in this unique industry, which never ceases to entice or excite and I couldn’t recommend it more highly!