Fridays and weekends are all about inspiration. Breathing in and taking stock of what you have accomplished this week, and want to in the next. Inspiration comes from everywhere and everything. It can be as big or as small as you want. There is no preset excel formula to create inspiration. You determine it. Recently I wrote my Do Lectures application and shared about being inspired when creating my Saturday curry recipe. It can be that simple.
Our guests on Spotlight Friday this week are experts in creating the perfect environment to be inspired. Sisters Patricia and Catherine are the creators and owners of concept store Maven. One of my favourite spots tucked away in a stunning building on Maryville avenue, it is a haven for designers and creatives. Full of practical and stylish solutions for your home and office. We were lucky enough to get talking with Patricia to find out more about Maven and how she looks for inspiration as an interior designer.
- How did Maven come about?
When I visit a new city, one of my favourite things to do is to find out where the cool shops are and to spend time exploring them. There is something endlessly fascinating to me about the way independent shops are curated.
Through our design projects we were constantly having to source products online, as most of the brands we loved were not available locally. It was frustrating to visit other cities and discover awesome design shops yet when we came home we felt disappointed. At the time, there were some really great clothing independents, in Belfast but in terms of design, we felt that there was a real opportunity. In short, we wanted there to be a place filled with the products that we wanted to buy, in a shop that we’d want to visit. We knew that we needed a really special space and the Reid Memorial Hall fitted the bill perfectly. Retail today has to be about more than your generic high street offering and we believe that with our range of products and the space we sell them in, we can offer customers something a bit special.
- You have curated a fantastic range at your premise on Maryville Avenue, where do you find your ranges?
As I’ve mentioned we already loved many of the ranges we now stock so that was our starting point. We travel a couple of times a year and go to shows across Europe to try and source new things. Now that we’re more established, we have a lot of brands coming to us and asking if we can stock them. Instagram, blogs and magazines are great sources of inspiration. As well as lots incredible international brands, we are really honoured to be stocking some of the best of Irish designer-makers too, like Mourne Textiles, Superfolk, Father’s Father and Derek Wilson Ceramics.
- As well as bringing Belfast a fantastic concept store you are interior designers. Have you a particular way you approach a project?
Every single project is different but they all start with a similar approach, which is listening to the client and truly understanding what their aspirations for their space are. Whatever the brief, be that an entire home, a single room or maybe some personal shopping, we listen first and then work together with our clients to give them the highest levels of service.
- Where do you draw inspiration from?
Literally everywhere. I read magazines like crazy; fashion, lifestyle, interiors – all of them. I subscribe to tons of blogs, and I’m addicted to Instagram. But inspiration could just as easily come from a weekend spent in Donegal. I guess it’s all about being open and really ‘seeing’ things. And also letting myself have the space to be inspired by slowing down sometimes.
- What are you currently listening to and reading?
‘How to Make a Home,’ by Edward Hollis and The School of Life. Despite the title, this is not in any way an interiors manual. Instead it challenges the reader to truly examine how we live in our most intimate spaces and asks us to think about what constitutes a home. It is fascinating and a tome I know I will keep referring back to.
I’m a BBC Radio 4 junkie at the minute and constantly look to Catherine for guidance on all things musical. She’s always the one to find the tunes!
We love Maven and all of the stock that it has in store to turn your home into a practical and effortlessly stylish haven. I popped in last weekend when I was searching for a mother’s day gift and I could have filled my car with the contents of the store. Currently I have my eye on the natural oak chair and ceramics by Derek Wilson, to sit and drink my morning coffee in. If you need inspiration for your next interior design project, then drop into Maven and Patricia and Catherine will be able to guide you along the journey.