The Story Behind CMS Group: Specialising in Maximalist Interior Design 13th October 2023 | IN EXPERT INSIGHT | BY SBID

Emily Parry, Interior Designer at CMS Group has given her insights into the industry. With 16 years’ experience as an interior designer, Emily has worked on a wide range of projects including home interior redesign, healthcare design, interior design for education, and styling for show homes. Particular highlights have been the £500k re-design of a Malverns country manor and complete project management and design of an 18th Century chapel conversion. A talented designer with an artistic eye and great attention to detail, Emily has the creativity to find unique solutions to client briefs and is committed to ensuring smooth progress from start to finish. Emily now specialises in designing and sourcing for residential clients.

Why did you want to work in the interior design profession?

My Dad was a furniture designer, Mum a soft furnishings designer and one of my brothers an architect, so a career within the design industry was almost inevitable. I grew up surrounded by fabric samples and paints, watching my Dad work in his workshop, attending showrooms and trade shows, and helping Mum cut fabrics for curtains. I spent school holidays in Dad’s furniture factory (now one of the UK’s leading upholsterers) – as a child roaming around and chatting with the upholsterers (mostly causing mischief) and as a teen watching and learning the design process from concept through to completion.

Whilst completing my A-Levels in Art & Design I worked alongside Mum for a period which gave me more experience in interiors. As a soft furnishings professional, her work was centred around upholstery, curtain making and styling and I would often help her to hang her beautiful curtains and add the finishing touches to a scheme. I took on my first paid project at the age of 17, completing a show home for a high-end development of apartments in Sutton Coldfield – I loved every second of the design process and knew this was the career for me.

CMS Group, The Story Behind CMS Group: Specialising in Maximalist Interior Design
CMS Architects

Which elements of your profession do you enjoy the most?

Above all, I love the staging side of design, being creative and making things look beautiful. I’m a bit of a maximalist with a love for having lots of things around that look visually aesthetic. I really enjoy working with textures, textiles, patterns and colours, and have a keen eye and love for fabrics which is definitely influenced by my Mum.

Another part of the profession I enjoy is, of course, meeting people! I love to chat to clients, work out what they like and don’t like, and understand their vision. With every client and space being different, some projects take me out of my comfort zone, but this is something I love about my work. For instance, working with a client who’s looking for something minimalist is not what I might go for myself, but what a wonderful opportunity for learning, innovating, and broadening my design portfolio. Every project offers its own unique challenge!

What has been your most memorable career highlight from the past year?

The most rewarding thing I’ve worked on recently was a manor house in the Malvern Hills. I completed the interiors for a handful of rooms within the main house and post-completion the owner decided they were going to convert a barn into an annex. I oversaw the whole whole project, converting the barn into a modern country cottage and whilst it took me out of my comfort zone in terms of style it provided the perfect opportunity to merge my creativity together with the client’s vision to create something truly wonderful. We were both thrilled with the result, and it is one of my favourite projects of all time.

CMS Group, The Story Behind CMS Group: Specialising in Maximalist Interior Design
CMS Architects

What are your favourite types of projects to work on and why?

I love working on residential projects the most, where you have a brief and end up producing something completely different to what you first imagined. My favourite projects are not necessarily high-end residential. I really enjoy designing where there’s a conservative budget and you have to supply items and furnishings in creative ways and make them look beautiful. You can find some real treasures in places like Etsy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace!

I’ve also loved working on some projects at schools. I recently designed a school library, which was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding process. It’s nice to do something that you know is improving children’s educational experience and surroundings and will be enjoyed by many for many years to come.

CMS Group, The Story Behind CMS Group: Specialising in Maximalist Interior Design
CMS Architects

What are the most challenging aspects of working in interior design?

Since working as an interior designer within an Architects practice the most challenging aspect has been getting to grips with the specialist CAD side of design. As someone who was trained in, and enjoys, drawing freehand I really enjoy getting out my drawing board and rainbow assortment of pens and paints, transitioning into working digitally has been a journey!

As a designer I believe it is really important to see schemes in the flesh, see the colours and feel the textures, and whilst I don’t believe it is the end of the ‘mood board’, working digitally is becoming much more relevant in the world of interiors. There are however so many benefits to working with CAD including higher degrees of accuracy, reduced timescales and easier channels of distribution, to name but a few.

What do you wish you knew before working in the field?

I was incredibly fortunate as I had an insight as to what it was like to work in this industry long before I began my career, as I grew up surrounded by it. I entered the world of design with my eyes very wide open.

Growing up with parents always out and about, I saw first-hand that being self-employed can mean working long hours, often meeting with clients in the evenings and at weekends. Though whilst this didn’t come as a surprise, I still had to develop my ability to be malleable and able to work around other people’s availability and schedules.

CMS Group, The Story Behind CMS Group: Specialising in Maximalist Interior Design
CMS Architects

If you could give one tip to aspiring designers, what would it be?

My top tip would be to be adaptable to your clients. Sometimes a client won’t want a little piece of you – they’ll want you to deliver a little piece of them into the scheme. So having the ability to listen to them, understand their vision, and adapt your design approach to fit the brief is essential.

How do you see the interior design industry evolving in the year ahead?

I think there’s going to be a lot more environmentally friendly design and biophilic design. Largely stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing a renewed desire across populations to improve their health and wellbeing at home, work and leisure which interior design can contribute to in many ways. We are also seeing much more ‘flexible living’ incorporated within design; people are working from home more often and are generally spending more time within the home environment and we are seeing a rise in multi-generational living. These changes within our social world reflect on the world of design and we are seeing more and more products related to this such as eco-friendly and low carbon footprint lighting and suites to multi-functional storage solutions.

People are becoming increasingly conscious of the environment, upcycling, reusing, and making more sustainable in all areas of their lives. Second hand selling websites such as eBay and Vinted are soaring, and the interior design industry has great potential to evolve in line with these developments.

What does being an SBID Accredited Interior Designer mean to you?

I’m really proud to have become an SBID Accredited Interior Designer. Although I have years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, I have spent many years being a mother to my three children and it has been great to finally return to my career and my passion.

CMS Group, The Story Behind CMS Group: Specialising in Maximalist Interior Design
Emily Parry, Interior Designer at CMS Group

About CMS Group: Emily Parry

With a long background in the design industry Emily Parry has an exceptionally diverse portfolio of work from her previous roles, both as a freelance and employed interior designer. These have included complete home interior redesign, specialist healthcare design, Interior design for Education and styling for show homes. With a history in kitchen & bathroom design and hailing from a family of renowned furniture designers, and having more recently diversified her experience as a project manager, she currently specialises in designing and sourcing for residential clients, regardless of the size or complexity of the project.

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