Ask an interior designer – exclusive insights on art and design

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Exclusive insights on art & interior design with Kym Lackman, from Melbourne based interior design firm LUXE DOMAIN

Can you please share some general information about your business? Can you tell me when and where it was established, and what your expertise is?

LUXE domain is a boutique interior design studio based in Melbourne, Australia established in 2003. In addition to regular interior design work we have a unique offering that we specialize in, ‘Luxury Downsizing’, whereby we create beautiful and ambient spaces for our clients who are downsizing from their large family homes and moving into slick new apartments or townhouses.

What makes your business unique to your industry?

With ‘Luxury Downsizing’ we help our clients curate their possessions and collections. We also help to distribute excess pieces to family members or charitable organisations, and we help sell the more valuable items through auction houses or online.
We follow up by designing their new interiors around their precious pieces, blending their older items with new purchases. Finally, we relocate our clients into their new home, providing the best removalists and packers for their move, and ensure that their new residence reflects their character and the essence of their previous home.

Do your clients expect from you to come up with an entire plan on interior design which incorporates proposed artworks?

In some instances, we do propose art works for our clients or they may seek our advice on which pieces to buy when they visit a gallery. Overall though our clients tend to request that we design around their existing art and antique collections, and this is as important to us as it is to them because it is these collections which determine the uniqueness of their living spaces.

What has been your biggest challenge in the industry to date?

Our biggest challenge up until a couple of years ago has been maintaining consistent acquisition of work or concurrently having to work on many projects. As there are so many designers out there now, I have found that by niching and finding an area that we can specifically focus on has provided us with terrific opportunities. Most of our clients are professionals or executives and as such they are time poor and used to delegating, so they immediately ‘get’ our value, our design philosophy and the efficiencies we’re able to offer them.

How often do you integrate original art in your clients project and why?

I would say that 98% of the clients we look after have considerable collections of original artworks…pieces that they are very attached to.

Do you collect art yourself? If so, what art can be found in your home?

Where a client’s new apartment doesn’t have the space for hanging all their artworks, they are often forced to make difficult decisions. We help by carefully studying each piece, looking at scale and maybe subject matter and of course we consider the level of affection the client may have for the piece. If the artwork is potentially of high value we will call in the services of an art expert who can advise on resale value, etc.
We also consider which pieces could be distributed to other properties owned by the client and their family e.g., at the beach or in the country.
The most important criteria for me when I help a client choose between
their existing artworks are: –
Which pieces hold significance for them?
I consider scale and the best way an artwork can be displayed
I consider the existing frames…some are so eighties!
After speaking with an art expert, we determine which pieces are more
likely to retain or even increase their value
From a pure ‘design’ point of view I look at colours, composition and
If I were selecting on behalf of my client to purchase art from a gallery I
would consider the following: –
The client’s personality
I would do research on the artist to make sure they’re credible
The scale of the piece and how and where it will be displayed?
I consider the topic and mood of the artwork
Whether the potential piece is within budget

My husband and I are most fortunate because our daughter studied fine
arts at university, so we have a few of her abstract paintings hanging on
our walls, and we have a small number of other pieces as well. In the
future, we hope to be able to add to our collection.

As an interior designer, what trends do you see coming up with regards to art and interior design

Probably the biggest change I have noticed in the industry has been the
advent of DIY design shows on television, and sadly many people do
think they can successfully design their own home interiors. The other
major change has of course been the accessibility of products through
the global internet. Whilst this has been beneficial for designers to be
able to source from around the world it also means it’s more challenging
for them to create ‘unique’ interior schemes. I think that this is where
original artworks can be beneficial in creating interiors with a difference.

Lately I have noticed the occurrence of larger homes featuring
‘installation art’ either inside or outside in the garden. I have also noticed
a trend for more serious collectors of art converting their homes into
private galleries.
With our clients, we have seen many of them having to sell their larger
paintings because their new apartment or townhouse doesn’t have
enough wall space for hanging them.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start their career as an interior designer?

If I were to advise anyone who is starting their career as an interior
designer I would stress the following: –
• Have a strong belief in yourself (but leave your ego at the door!)
• always try to see things from your client’s position
• make a point of identifying your ideal client and if a potential
client doesn’t fit that framework, in the nicest possible way explain
that you’re not the right fit for each other and move on
• and, find a niche within your market that you can dominate in.

Kym Lackmann - Director of LUXE Domain