Interior designer Alex Fulton is well known in NZ for her fearless, playful love of colour. Along with her work styling homes and businesses, Alex is kicking off a series of interior design classes, and has just this week opened the door on her own store in Blenheim.
Can you tell us how you came to be an interior designer?
I always grew up with the resolute plan of becoming an surgeon. I had a ‘thing’ for science and doctoring and as far as I was concerned that was it. Life, of course, is unpredictable and throws curveballs when you least expect them so when the medicine road was re-routed to a nursing degree and then attending Otago University I was a little off course. Not to worry. As it turned out there were many more twists and turns to follow, and now I’m in my 10th year of being a designer in the interior field.
100% self taught with a little help from an on-line course and many many hits and misses, I’m here now enjoying this moment in time. It’s hard work but I love it.
What’s been your absolute career highlight so far?
Can I have two? The first would be being asked to work with Dulux as their brand ambassador. After working hard, head down and creating by feel and gut instinct it’s really encouraging to be acknowledged by an international colour company that what I’m doing counts.
My second one would be working through my latest branding and website. It’s an excellent way to really look inward and to ‘find yourself’ in a design sense. My new branding really showcases my design personality and it makes me fully dressed. Two proud moments.
With rooms like these, we’d love to be one of Alex’s children! Photo: Larnie Nicolson
You’re starting the AFD School this year – tell us about that…
This is another idea I’ve had for a while. I’m a sharer and I want to pass on to others what I’ve learnt. Don’t think it’s all one sided – I also believe in the power of gathering creative and like minded people. I may be giving but I get a lot back too. A forum for self development and creativity – that’s got to be a powerful thing!
It will also be a chance to empower others to design their own spaces. I’m a huge believer in living in an environment that reflects who you are as a family, an individual or a couple. Who ever you are and what ever your taste is it’s about unlocking your ability to realise that. As I say, design like no one is watching.
What’s on your decor wishlist at the moment?
A huge Moooi fan (Dutch design firm, pronounced Moo-ay) and I have been spying the Altdeutsche Clock by Studio Job for Moooi. It’s a piece that houses everything that good design should be to me – creative, different, surprising, humorous with a big nod to the past. I’m already saving up.
What’s your favourite art print from our current catalogue?
My husband and I tend to be drawn to very similar aesthetic when it comes to prints which is lucky really but today we are split. He’s a real music head and would go straight to the Famous Kiwi Gigs Rejigged prints where as I would love a ‘Claris’ and a ‘Cyril’ from Margaret Petchell. They would look amazing hung on a dark wall with jumbo white frames.
What are some of your favourite current interior trends?
I love the fact that designers are not shying away from colour. It’s no secret that I love all colours and I am particularly fascinated by colour combinations. I think there are some very clever designers out there at the moment that are experimenting with new combinations. That makes me very happy.
What’s coming up for Alex Fulton?
Well… I’ve just opened my new store (in Blenheim), have my first interior design classes in May (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch), and off for a spot of product sourcing in Europe in June. In between that it’s daily grind stuff and family time. I try to balance it all out and generally do ok. I can’t help but feel very happy with where my life has taken me and don’t regret for a second that I’m not Dr Fulton.
Alex describes herself as a ‘colour maximalist’. Photo: Larnie Nicolson