Secret service – Katrina Phillips Villa Styling
Since the opening of her slightly elusive store on the road between Ibiza and Santa Eulalia last summer, Ibiza interior designer Katrina Phillips discovered that some of her customers became addicted to her pieces rather swiftly. “People said they’d never found pieces like ours before,” she says. “Before we knew it, we were being given budgets to come to villas with carloads of stuff and accessorise them instantly.” Well, there are worse things to be addicted to, and when you see the beautiful earthy, natural and bohemian style of the shop, it’s easy to understand the demand.
“For our clients, some of these pieces would be almost impossible to find. They’d take years of sourcing, plus the knowledge to find them or commission them. We were zipping around the island making a few stylish places just a bit more stylish and interesting, and the service was born.” A natural born ‘sourcer’, Katrina has built up strong networks through her work in Ibiza and London alike for finding interesting and beautiful pieces – and finding them quickly.
“Having done a few interiors from scratch in Ibiza now, for discerning clients, I am keenly aware of what suits the island, what fits naturally and unpretentiously into the surroundings,” she explains. “Ibiza can take powerful pieces, and it’s great to be able to use pieces that people might be too shy to use in London. Clients tend to be more relaxed and adventurous here, which allows me to do my best work. Like most designers, I work best when I am allowed to create a considered vision for a client and carry it out and I do pay attention to small details.”
Getting to know and understand her clients’ tastes comes largely through life experience and intuition, according to Katrina. “I listen closely and I have a good understanding of different lifestyles. If it’s a full on interior, then of course by now I have developed a method of understanding my clients, a process that takes an hour or two initially with further meetings as necessary. But for a swift villa makeover I just need a short conversation and a budget. I am used to working for high end, time short clients.” The process for such a makeover can take anywhere from an afternoon (yes, it has been done!) to a few months, depending on the scale of the project, while full interior design jobs are much more lengthy.
Katrina uses elements such as strong large-scale pieces with gentle, forceful impact like giant bowls, or pots to transform clinical villas into beautiful homes. “I use modern wall sculptures and contemporary artworks (I have been commissioned by several people over the years to build quite serious art collections, in Ibiza though I take the effects of the elements into consideration) or great vases, art glass such as Amanda Brisbane frozen water bowls. I tend to use texture over colour. Having said that I created a whole wing of guest bedrooms based around the colours of the sunset and the sea once. I have used enormous fossils, such as a pair of 50-million year old giant clam fossils. Sturdy, cool, intelligent pieces with a story. And sometimes it’s just a matter of adding some great cushions and lanterns.”
Katrina is open to transforming any ‘viable space’ and works to her clients’ budgets. “These have tended to be in the thousands rather than hundreds, and then sometimes in the hundreds of thousands. It’s a joyful process. And, importantly, it’s intelligent. There are so many wonderful things to do in Ibiza: my clients want to be offered cool, beautiful stuff quickly and with consideration. I’m pretty sure ours Is the only service of this particular kind as I protect my valuable and knowledgable sources. So it’s a kind of a secret service!”