Janine Stone: ‘We create houses not only for clients, but for future generations’

In the third of our series of masterclasses, interior designer Janine Stone answers questions from Giles Kime about how to create a home tailored exactly to the needs of the owners.

In the process of creating or restoring a truly beautiful building, there rarely is room for off-the-peg solutions. As no two clients are the same, it is vital that architects and interior designers share an uncompromising, completely bespoke approach to every last detail, from the external elevations to the interiors.

It only takes a brief tour of any of Britain’s great historic houses to discover that, in the right hands, you can have a home that’s not only highly distinctive but also perfectly suited to its owners’ needs.

The secret to achieving this is the same now as it was at the time when those exceptional properties were built: it’s a combination of skill, experience and knowledge spanning joinery, masonry, plasterwork and finishes.

All of these time-honoured crafts are as alive in the 21st century as they were in the past. However, today’s technology adds a new advantage: it allows designers to take bespoke possibilities even further, creating houses that are truly tailored to their owners in every respect, from sound and lighting to heating and security.

In this interview, designer Janine Stone offers her insights into the pivotal role that modern craftsmanship plays in the creation of a beautiful home.

You and your team have an impressive track record in creating homes to an extremely high standard. What benefits does good craftsmanship bring to a new building?

We create houses not only for clients but also for future generations and craftsmanship is central to this. There are elements of a building and interior that can only be achieved with the human hand; bespoke craftsmanship offers an almost infinite range of aesthetic and functional opportunities.

In a new building, it allows an architect and a designer to create forms and finishes that are as close as humanly possible to their vision, from beautiful architectural details on the outside to meticulously conceived interiors that afford a completely new level of luxury. Beautifully crafted joinery, staircases and stone floors are only a few examples of the elements that can completely transform the experience of everyday life.

What are the benefits for a building that is being restored?

Craftsmanship is vital to the sensitive restoration of a building. It is also intrinsic to the success of modern interventions. We employ the same techniques used when a building was first constructed.

Restoring houses so that they have the same luxurious standards as new properties while remaining true to their origins requires a combination of traditional crafts and modern technology. Understanding how both can complement one another is crucial to successful renovation.

What craft skills are essential in a high-quality building project?

Working with natural materials, such as wood, stone and metal, is key to any high-quality building. Our designers’ experience and their understanding of materials allows them to work closely with craftsmen to create the best possible outcome.

Is it challenging to find the right skills for a project?

Janine Stone & Co has a long track record of working with the UK’s most skilled and experienced craftsmen. Our emphasis on quality, communication and collaboration ensures that we not only have access to the very best skills but also that work is beautifully executed.

How does creating bespoke elements improve the quality of a building and its interior?

In a nutshell, it ensures that both new and old houses look beautiful and function perfectly. Designing bespoke isn’t only about details, it is also about creating a building that is unique and completely coherent. Working with standard elements doesn’t just compromise functionality, it can also undermine the appearance of a property, both inside and out.

How important are materials?

They are vital. The best materials respond beautifully to carving, forging and polishing. When creating or restoring a new building, it is of paramount importance that they are of the best possible quality.

Beautiful marbles and timbers don’t only look great and enrich a scheme, they also age incredibly well. The textures and colours of the best materials enhance all our projects and are one of their many distinguishing features.

What about technology?

Using bespoke craftsmanship doesn’t only create aesthetic and functional opportunities, it also allows us to incorporate technology discreetly, ensuring that period buildings are as luxurious as new ones. Exploiting the possibilities of combining time-honoured craftsmanship and technology is an intrinsic part of what we do.

Janine Stone & Co specialises in building and renovating residential projects, incorporating architecture, interior design and construction management, and has been providing Country Life with professional insights and expertise in this Masterclass series. To speak with Janine Stone & Co about your project, please telephone 020 7349 8888 or visit www.janinestone.com