Classic interiors get a bad rap sometimes. While sometimes people equate classic with boring, here at OB we understand that things become classic for a reason! The key to nailing classic interiors is to incorporate contemporary elements into the space, this way you can create timeless spaces and feather in your own personality as needed. Aoife Tobin of Style So Simple has mastered the delicate blend of classic and contemporary interiors.
Style So Simple is an award-winning interior design studio that specialises in creating timeless interiors for commercial and residential projects throughout Ireland and in the UK. The creative director Aoife is known for her bright spaces that blend personality with classical elements such as statement wallpaper and wall panelling. She is a prominent figure on the Irish design scene and a familiar face to the Interiors Instagram community with her helpful tips and tricks. To find out more about Style So Simple read on!
Aoife Tobin of Style So Simple, find her on Instagram @stylesosimple
1. What does your business Style So Simple specialise in and what type of projects do you work on?
At Style So Simple we specialise in two key areas of the interior sectors. We work with clients from all over Ireland, Europe and America with our bespoke approach to online Interior Design. We also specialise in high-end residential interiors. We mainly focus on clients in the UK and Ireland for our residential clients.
2. Do you have a signature style? How would you describe it?
Oh yes, we do. I would describe it as a transitional style which is a mix of both classic and more contemporary elements. We aim to create interiors that will last, so our designs are curated in a classic and timeless tone, while always invoking the personality of the client within the space.
Adding hints of green can help brighten up the space and give your room some life but works as a grounding and calm colour in commercial spaces like this hospitality project by Aoife and her team.
3. When did you first become interested in design? Tell our readers a little about your career.
So I didn't know too much about interior design until I started studying it. It was a teacher that thankfully pushed me to try the Interior course in college and from day one I just loved it. I came back to Ireland after getting my degree in the UK and went into interiors straight away. Before launching Style So Simple in 2018, I had worked in and tried every type of design sector from kitchen design, residential design, fitout firms and to commercial design. I am so glad now I tried them all, not just for the overall design experience as each sector is very different from the other, but it gave me a clear idea of what I loved and what way I wanted to shape Style So Simple.
4. What does a typical day look like for you?
God, every day is different. I could have a full studio day of designing or I might be out on-site meeting trades or clients. I find for me it also depends on the time of the year. So usually in January, February and March, I am doing a lot more virtual or in-house consultations for potential new clients and working on lots of design concepts which is always a really fun time. Other parts of the year are dominated by final installations and client handovers. But it also changes a lot from week to week!
"The Tranquil Town House" project by Style So Simple is just to die for with the fresh pastel blue oozing throughout the room.
5. And to help our readers get to know you a bit better...What's your favourite food? Your favourite place to go on a day off? And your favourite piece of furniture and why?
Oh, I LOVE this question! My favourite food is chocolate or macaroons, nom! I'm basically a sweet tooth, my favourite place to go on a day off changes all the time but at the moment it has to be Ormeau Park in Belfast then down to Indie Fude for a cup of coffee with Barry (the husband) and Flump (the fur man). My favourite piece of furniture, this changes quite alot but if I had to pick one piece. I am drawn back to time and time again, it has to be the Saarinen Dining Table (The tulip table) by Eero Saarinen with the marble top, lush!
6. Can you please give us an insight into your design process or how you work?
At Style So Simple we start every project with an initial meeting to get to know our clients a bit better, finding out how they want to feel and live in their interior. The overall look will be based on a mix of their personality and different design concepts. So it's so important for us to take time to get to know our clients before we start all the design fun.
Neutral doesn't always have to mean white! Aoife demonstrates how deep shades can provide a neutral base in this gorgeous living space.
We have two key stages in the design process, the first is concept development and space planning, here we will research and develop the initial designs and create an overall concept for the client's home. We will research different furniture and lighting layouts at this stage too, making sure the client is getting the most out of their space. This is definitely more of a conceptual design stage but also a very important stage of the project as we often refer back to these mood boards later in the project to make sure we are keeping to the core wants of our clients.
After this initial design stage, we move onto the design details and schematics. Here we start to narrow down key ideas and create the client's final schemes, refining the floor plan and looking at specific materials and sample selections for the project. After all the lovely design stages are completed we start looking at the tender and sourcing for the project and then onto onsite installation.
7. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been a few wow moments that I have been super proud of, but I can definitely pinpoint two moments that made me go, okay this is going well. The first is back in 2018 when I won Best New Comer at the AMARA interior awards. I had just launched Style So Simple a few months before this, so it was just an amazing moment for me both personally and professionally. The second was in October of this year when I was asked to speak at the Interiors Theatre at the Ideal Home Show. The whole weekend was fabulous and getting to work with some lovely people like the Niamh and Grainné from O'Carroll Consulting, and the other designers and creatives was just such a wonderful experience.
8. Any exciting plans for the future you can tell us about?
Aoife's kitchen designs radiate calm with her tried and true colour palette!
Visit Style So Simple on Instagram @stylesosimple or Visit her website here!