Creative Conversations: Plum Guide meets Laura Hunter
We sit down with the founder of No Feature Walls to talk favourite patterns, French architecture and her signature interiors twist
Plum Guide meets No Feature Walls founder and pattern expert, Laura Hunter to discuss her biggest interior design influences, the meaning of home and more.
Tell us a bit about No Feature Walls, your interior-focused website and account
No Feature Walls started as a renovation and decoration journey of my new house. Mainly focusing on how I am using pattern and wallpaper across the property, which seems to resonate with people. It has grown into more of a general appreciation of pattern and wallpaper and curation of different brands within in fashion and interiors that do those things well.
Where did your passion for pattern come from?
I have always loved pattern and thought plain walls were a bit boring, even as a kid! I appreciated the eclectic styles of both of my grandmothers as a child – one of which had more of a traditional English layered style and one probably more into what was fashionable at the time (70s/80s). I guess I have combined the two into my own style.
You describe your interior design style as ‘Jamaican nan cottage core, with a bit of a twist’. How do you bring your signature twist to a room?
It depends on the room to be honest but I like to mix old and new and blend traditional English-style interiors with something a little quirkier and offbeat. So that might be colour or artwork or even just found objects.
How do you balance pattern with the space and age of a building?
My house isn’t very old but I certainly don’t want it to look like a new build – however at the same time it doesn’t have any character features and I haven't put any back in. In general, I don’t think pattern dates and, dependent on how it is used, will not date a building or room. For example I have quite a lot of ‘chintzy’ patterns across the house and yet I don’t think the house looks dated or like a museum piece. That may be by using modern elements and colours throughout alongside the chintz. In terms of the space I have quite a few, dare I say, ‘pokey’ rooms which initially was a bit annoying as you can’t really see the scale of some of the bigger patterns, however the upside of this means I have had the chance to design each space differently. I tend to stick with smaller scale florals for that reason.
If you had to decorate your home with just one pattern throughout, which would you choose and why?
Overall style of pattern would be floral and this is because I love florals and think there is so much you can do within the style. I like to think of myself as a bit of hopeless romantic and florals certainly lean into that. In terms of one type of pattern I would probably go with a chintz again because it suits my personality, lifestyle and interests and that really is what it should be about when choosing patterns in the house, rather than what’s fashionable at the time.
Tell us the story behind a favourite item in your home
My favourite item is probably a little singing bird cage which I inherited when my nan passed away – she had it on her mantlepiece since I was born. It was made in the late 60s and plays ‘Close To You’ by Burt Bacharach/The Carpenters. Probably one of the creepiest songs of all time when played in ‘chime mode’. Sometimes it goes off on its on which gives everyone a bit of a shock – I don’t think it's haunted, just old. It’s a really silly, nostalgic little thing that I love a lot.
What makes a house a home, to you?
I’ve actually lived in quite a few places as I rented prior to this house, and I don’t have that attachment to houses that others seem to have. Every house I've lived in felt like home after a few weeks and that’s probably a comfort that is achieved by personal items, décor, furniture, smells and people(!).
Where is your home away from home?
I am yet to travel to a country or place that I have thought of as a home away from I am afraid. I like France in general – I like the people, language, classic interiors, architecture and overall style. I could definitely live there at a push – ha!
Who or what do you consider to be an arbiter of style?
Person wise I would probably say LaKeith Stanfield – I just love his style and the way he carries himself. He just encompasses so many different styles, eras and quirks, and somehow brings them all together as his own. I think in terms of interiors, I just have too many influences to pin down one interior designer and their style!
For the Plum Guide ‘Perfect Stay’ home test, we collaborate with experts from different fields — from psychologists and hospitality experts to architects and interior designers — to identify the ingredients a holiday home needs in order to deliver a perfect stay. If you were designing a test or set of criteria for the perfect holiday home, what ingredient(s) would you specify as essential for the perfect stay?
I very rarely come across holiday homes that are in my style. I understand that as, practically, I think heavy patterns can be polarising. As a result, most holiday homes I visit are a lot more subdued and I actually like that! Most locations and countries I visit have quite a lot of history and I spend a lot of time visiting museums, galleries... When I get to the holiday home I want to see how people are living now – up to the minute tech, TV, sound system, WiFi etc. All that stuff can be in a traditional property, but I do not like to play pretend on holiday! No historical re-enactments needed.