An Interview with Interior Designer Pia Pelkonen

With sustainable design at the heart of all her work, we were honoured to be a part of interior designer Pia Pelkonen's latest project, Thornfield House. The project involved a sensitive interior refresh of a classic Georgian country house, with a very specific brief from her clients; to design the interior in a sustainable fashion and to reuse and refresh their old and existing furniture.

Pia was first drawn to Woodchip & Magnolia due to our shared interest in sustainable and eco-friendly design, and used our customised murals throughout Thornfield House to successfully bring the beauty of the outdoors in. 

We chatted to Pia to ask all about the sustainability aspect of her designs, as well as her work as an interior designer.

Pia Design

Image features Land of Milk and Honey Grey Mural

1. Was there anything specifically that drew you towards Woodchip & Magnolia?

We chose to work with Woodchip and Magnolia because of your Eco Manifesto. We love that you use FSC certified paper, low VOC inks and 100% renewable energy sources. Your values are very much aligned with our own!

2. Thornfield House is a stunning project. What drew you to using our murals throughout the house? The property has gorgeous scenic views over the North Downs. We wanted to create a panoramic feel so that the walls of the house would not visually interfere with the view, but instead elevate it. We thought your natural scenic murals would ‘fill in’ the spaces between the landscape and the interior.

Pia Design

Image features Land of Milk and Honey Grey Mural 

3. What was the brief for from your client for the Thornfield House project? This project was an exemplary case study for us in sustainable design. Our client had collected good quality furniture pieces of the years, some of which were handed down throughout the generations and had a lot of personal meaning to the homeowners. They wanted to keep as much of their existing furniture as possible, whilst being conscious that they want to modernise the look of their home. We successfully reused every single item of furniture, only filling in gaps with new pieces where necessary. Their existing furniture was lovingly restored and reupholstered and the new pieces carefully selected or made bespoke to fit in cohesively with the existing.

4. How would you describe your signature interior design style?

We actually proudly don’t have a ‘house style’. All of our projects are uniquely tailored to the taste of our clients, hence each of our projects is a personal reflection of them. After all, it’s not about us but about them. Instead, there is a common thread underlying each of our projects, led by our sustainable values, to specify natural materials that have a timeless quality about them - some materials even grow more beautiful with age.

Pia Design

Image features Heaton Park Grey mural 

5. What inspires your work?

My work is almost always inspired by nature. Whether it be the location of the property, it’s landscape and surroundings as well as the building itself are a typical starting point for any project. I also gather ideas and materials from walks in my local country park, drawing inspiration from the changing colours of the seasons and reinterpreting those into colour schemes for projects.

6. Are there any classic design rules you’re happy to break?
We do love a rug on a carpet, which can be a bit controversial! Because we don’t believe in simply ripping out the existing and starting again, sometimes adding a rug on top of existing carpet adds or softens or adds a pop of colour without needing to replace the existing flooring. We are also not afraid of a bit of ’style clash’ because we prefer to reuse what the client already owns rather than replacing everything. Often we end up with a few furniture pieces that don’t quite match the style of the new design but we love the challenge of working something a bit eclectic into a scheme and think it adds to the overall personalisation of it.


Pia Design
Image features Land of Abundance mural

7. Do you have any tips on how to incorporate patterned wallpaper into a scheme? Patterned wallpaper can be used to make a statement. One way to incorporate it into a scheme is to go BIG and use it one every wall, keeping the rest of the design finishes more minimal / plain to avoid pattern match. Another way to incorporate patterned wallpaper is to use it as a detail. For example, applying it to the front of joinery doors, or as the back panel of joinery, or inside panelling to frame it - a safer option for those who don’t want to feel overwhelmed by pattern! 

8. What's next project wise?

We are just finishing the design of a 1000sqm country home on a Royal Estate in Hampshire and moving onto a couple of new projects in London. One is the extension and redesign of a house in West Hampstead - the style is contemporary classic in monochrome, and the other is a full turnkey refurbishment of a house in Highbury, with Soho House vibes.

See more of Pia's Thornfield House project here

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