Kristine Hayes is the first guest for my Artful Living journal diaries, where I invite creative beings from all walks of life to chat about art, creativity and what inspires them. Kristine creates beauty all around her, whether it's in her own home, her clients' homes, or designing weddings, she brings a certain kind of magic to spaces. Here, Kristine spills the beans about her work, interior design tips and lots of more wonderful insights. Let's dive in x

Tell us about yourself and where your love for interiors and styling began?

I’ve always had it, for as long as I can remember. I used to love rearranging plants and furniture in my childhood bedroom, and any short term rental I lived through my student years I made into a nice cosy home. It took into my 20s to realise that it’s not a given and not everyone has the same talent. And even longer then to figure out that I can turn that talent into a profession. I went back to college in my very late 20s to retrain as an Interior Architect. I was a late bloomer, but I’m so happy I finally did figure it out.

You wear many hats, interior architect, stylist, wedding planner and even floral designer! What inspires your creativity and drives your passion for designing?

Yeah, I know, I myself find it so confusing to try and explain my professional life in one sentence. Though all those disciplines have a very similar process and outcome. You have to plan logistics and tradespeople/suppliers and timelines when managing an interior project and planning an event. When designing an event or an interior, it’s the same creative process, from the big picture about function and overall aesthetic, to all the tiny details that bring it all together. Even the outcomes are similar, except that event has a very short lifespan, while interior lives on for a very long time. Floral design comes somewhere in-between – I’m resourceful and crafty, and like making things, so this skill also transfers between various projects -  it’s so rewarding to be able to finish an interior design project by making floral or faux plan installations, or a wedding by designing all the floral arrangements myself. I love the mix and variety.

Inspiration comes from anywhere, but firstly and foremostly, the client and their needs and wants. It’s a long and bendy road of merging their wishes with the existing environment (either wedding or interior design), and my own style.

Can you walk us through your typical process when working with a client to style a space?

It starts with assessing the existing situation. It’s either their home and how their family uses it, or the venue and it’s style for a wedding. We check what’s there, what works, what the client loves. And we check what’s missing, what’s not working, and what the client dislikes. Same for events and interiors, I take what works, add the clients wishes, and enhance the environment to the max, so it’s interesting, comfortable, and feels finished and homely.

Can you share any tips for individuals looking to refresh their home’s interior without undertaking a major renovation?

The finishing touches are as important as all the other steps in design process. Details are everything! Paint is so easy, and inexpensive. Changing accessories – cushions, rugs, art, décor items – when selected intentionally, these can make huge changes to the overall aesthetic and bridge the existing items together. And smaller details like light switches, plugs, handles also make a huge difference and change the look and feel of the entire home. Finally, lighting is so important. Mood lighting, like floor lamps, wall lights and table lamps makes such an enormous difference to how the space feels in the evenings. That overhead light should never be turned on, it’s there just for show!

What role does art and colour play in your approach to interior styling, and how do you use both art and colour to create harmony, balance and interest in a space?

Art is so important. It’s like an extra window with a beautiful view. It adds interest and depth, and colour. Art should work with the colours of the space. In fact, an artwork beloved by the homeowners could be such a great starting point for the overall design on the home.

What advice do you have for individuals who are unsure about selecting art for their home or office and how to integrate it seamlessly into their existing decor?

It is so personal, isn’t it? It’s hard to explain, but it should make you feel something. It takes quite a lot of experimenting to figure out what you’re drawn to. If unsure, assess the colours in your space, and go with that. Something nature related is always lovely to have, especially in an office environment or when there are no exciting views outside.

Finally, can you share any personal anecdotes or experiences that highlight the profound impact art can have on the way we experience and interact with our surroundings?

I’ve surrounded myself with flowers. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just worked out that way. Our home doesn’t have much interest outside, and art is such an amazing replacement of the missing views. I’m drawn to airy colours and botanicals and florals, and most of the art I’ve collected over the years is all that. I’m a proud owner of two Elouise originals, and I chose the paint colour to complement the paintings.


Quick Fire Round!
Favourite place to eat out? Tannery in Dungarvan
One word to describe your creative style? Colour
Dream vacation? Thailand
Favourite Interior Designer? Roisin Lafferty
Favourite book? To Kill a Mocking Bird
Where to find Kristine...

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