Justine Hugh-Jones Design creates homes that are elegant but interesting, easy and comfortable and often punctuated with a twist of the unexpected and a dash of humour. The choice of materials and textures is always natural favouring stone, timber and fabrics such as linen, velvet, wool and silk. Muted, calm and natural colours dominate her interior palette punctuated with startling combinations of colour, art and shape which add drama and contrast.
Having lived and studied design in Europe over 10 years, Justine’s inspiration comes from the fresh and distinctive feel of European living with influences from France, Belgium, and Scandinavia. She established her practice in Sydney in 2004 and her design has adapted to take advantage of light, open plan interiors and outdoor living.
An eye for detail, style and luxury distinguishes all of Justine’s work. Here, we have a chat to Justine.
HMCo: How would you describe yourself as an interior designer?
First and foremost, as a people person and in the world of residential design, this can be as important as the design element. We wear so many different hats and have so many different skills but it’s essential to be a good communicator. You are giving design advice but simultaneously you are a friend, confidant and often counsellor to clients who are in your life for long periods of time. I also love the interaction and teamwork with so many different trades and suppliers on many different levels therefore it’s important to love people as much as you love design and interiors otherwise you won’t survive!
HMCo: Who inspires you inside and outside the design world?
Such a hard question and there aren’t individuals to mention because as designers you are inspired by so many different things on many different levels. So much talent exists in the international design world and now with an extensive social media platform we are exposed to it all every minute of the day. I obtain inspiration through fashion, travel, restaurants and food, hotels, mountains and oceans…. the list goes on and on! This is one of the biggest reasons why I love design as it permeates every aspect of your life and you never ever stop being stimulated with new ideas.
Deep down I am inspired by anybody who lives a creative rich life who favours lifestyle, values and happiness over materialism. I think you have to be an acutely observant person with a certain set of eyes who sees and feels beauty in so many things to be a good designer. You need to be a lifestyle and creative orientated sort of person and these are your main sources of inspiration and motivation. The funny thing is the design creatives who are successful and who I most admire are sometimes the most understated people with no egos who suffer from imposter syndrome!
HMCo: What are your go-to essentials?
Art, art and more art… but that isn’t really a go to basic is it! I think my go to basic is anything that has a history, story and patina to it. Whether that be a beautiful vintage piece of furniture, textiles or glassware; then the energy and beautiful tension that is created when you have the vision to put it into the mix with something modern and contemporary is the cornerstone of my design philosophy.
HMCo: Is there a favourite room you’ve designed?
There’s not really one favourite but I would say any room or project where I have carried out my design vision but also succeeded on taking the client on the design journey and we create something more amazing than either of us ever could have imagined.
HMCo: What’s on your bedside table?
After twenty years I have finally found and sourced the most beautiful antique ebonised and brass bedside tables that I am so delighted with, I have promised myself to keep them uncluttered and elegant. A simple contemporary angle poise reading lamp, a beautiful coloured water glass and carafe and a small pile of deep and meaningful literature that calls out to me every night when I fall into bed exhausted but in reality, reach out for my iPad and Netflix. Sad but true …. after a full and busy day sometimes you just need a quick fast fix of escapism.
Images courtesy Prue Ruscoe