Happiness In The Home
Carola Gutierrez, founder of White Lava Studio, tells us about her interior design practice in London
Tell us about your business.
White Lava Studio is an interior design practice based in Putney. It focuses on residential projects, both primary and secondary residences in London or even abroad. The studio offers a wide range of services from consultancy to a full interior design project management from start to finish. Whether help is needed for just one room or their entire place, we can help clients step by step with defining their style and presenting mood boards and ideas. We like to make them feel that they are not alone in the process.
How did you get into your chosen career and why?
I was born and raised in Mexico and whilst in my second year of Dentistry at University I broke the news to my dad, a doctor himself, that my passion was actually design and that I would stop dentistry right away to start an Interior Design Degree!
From an early age, I was very often changing the layout of my bedroom, moving furniture around and changing the colour of the walls. Inspired by Luis Barragan, amongst others, I further studied the art of using colours, materials, fabrics and space in order to create serenity and beauty in a home.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love the whole process: from meeting the clients, getting to know them, opening their minds to new ideas and finally winning their trust to deliver on the space that will bring them happiness in their home.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I come from an international background, growing up in Mexico, having lived in the U.S., Barcelona then London, and am lucky enough to have travelled to many other places in the world. That diversity of culture, art, architecture and landscape has given me a vast source of inspiration. I have been living in London for over ten years and I can say that London is an amazing eclectic city that attracts all types of culture and personalities that bring inspiration to me.
Nowadays with the explosion of internet, mobile phones and social media, this diversity and cultural wealth is available at any time to anyone. I have to admit I spend a lot of my personal time browsing Instagram, Pinterest, reading blogs, websites, magazines, and also taking inspiration from all that pool of talent and ideas.
What are the biggest challenges you came across?
I sometimes find it difficult to live far away from my family. Becoming a mother of two and managing a household and business at the same time is hectic! I am very lucky to have very close friends who are always at hand if I need help. I often wish that there were more than 24 hours in a day, especially at night!
I take pride in seeing all those women who are in the same situation but manage perfectly well to juggle their personal and professional lives. It gives me strength to think about them when I need it.
Nevertheless, these challenges have given me more experience. For example, when I work with a family who has young children, my design proposal will not only emphasise the aesthetic but also the practical. You need to know how to integrate storage or play areas within your solution. This is why it is so important for me to know the client and the purpose of the room being designed.
Besides interior design, what are you passionate about?
I’m an art and crafts person! I always take the chance to explore and learn new skills. I have tried glass blowing, painting, jewellery making and candle making. I love cooking (and eating of course) and you will always hear music in my house!