Meet Interior Designer Stephanie Dias

Decor Entrepreneurship

Meet the talented Stephanie Dias, owner of Sdias London Ltd. Born in the UK to Jamaican parents, Stephanie has a beautifully diverse approach to interior design. We met up via zoom recently, and besides her posh design style, I was highly impressed by her passion for embracing her Caribbean heritage. While currently based in the UK, this is a big part of why she has decided to relocate to Jamaica – where she considers home. If you are a Caribbean painter, sculptor, or even furniture maker, consider this your introduction to a real good connect. In getting to know Stephanie, here is what she had to say:

When did you first become fascinated with interior design and ultimately launching Sdias London? 

As a child, I loved interior design. I had a fascination for redesigning and reorganizing my bedroom several times throughout the year. I found myself coming up with innovative ideas to change and adapt my creation. 

As a teenager, I was exposed to a number of design elements, from art school to art galleries, fairs and shows etc. I would always get excited about visiting Chelsea design center, where I would gather inspiration and imagine becoming a designer. After graduating from my Master’s degree, I ended up working for a very prestigious design French brand called Pierre Frey.

Sdias London was launched some years after, while working with London’s top designers and developers. I’ve always had the drive to start my own company, where I could push design boundaries to a higher level. 

When did you first become fascinated with interior design and ultimately launching Sdias London? 

I would say, people always see the elements of painted walls and new furniture and yes, this is a part of it. But only an element, which comes after pulling all creative design sectors together. 

What is the change you hope to bring in the interior design space?

Most importantly, a look and feel that will capture moments and memories. 

Do you have a design style that is your personal favorite?

Contemporary and chic has always been an influence in my designs.  

When it comes to design, what are four things everything a home should have to give it character?

The character of a design, should consist of light, art, colour and culture

Do you have a favorite room that you like to design?

Yes, the reception room as this is a focal point in the home. On one end, it is often the center of entertainment for family and friends. On the other, it can offer a relaxation and chilled out zone be it for a couple, single person, or a place where children can relax and feel comfortable with their parents. It’s a multiuse space, so dependent on the client’s lifestyle, this really can be an exciting space. 

What are the things that influence your approach to design?

Culture, fine art, art history, architecture, photography, atmosphere, patterns, materials, and lifestyle. 

What type of clients do you typically work with?

Private clients and real estate developers.

What can a client expect from you during initial consultation?

Firstly, to discuss the capabilities of the project type, be it a residential, hospitality or commercial space. Along with the client’s vision and wishes of the project. Secondly, to help understand the lifestyle of the client or the needs of the space we will showcase our expertise and design ideas, with the client’s input, to envision the desired direction of work. Allowing the creative buzz to flow, while always ensuring the client feels comfortable. With the aim that the client feels all expectations of the initial consultation, discussed at the start of the session, are met by the end of the session.

How does the interior designer process typically work?

 The process is split to 10 sections, i.e, Client consultation, Contract – (Fee Proposal), Concept design presentation, Detail design and development – (Interior architecture & design), Project Co-ordinations, external consultants, i.e. Planning consultant, structural engineer, mechanical & electrical engineer- quantity surveyor.

The Tender package – (contractors) would include a Procurement Process, Construction (design and compliance monitoring), FF&E – Furniture, fixtures and equipment (installation process), then Client handover. 

When hiring an interior designer, what should someone budget on the low-end vs high end? 

Low end projects should be divided into key spaces the client wishes to focus on. We will arrange a proposal and design that meets the client’s budget, and illustrate a design for each area for a cost-effective solution. 

High end projects have more flexibility to maneuver between different design opportunities and explore with various materials, shape and form. 

As an entrepreneur, what would you say have been some of the greatest challenges to overcome when establishing yourself in the interior design space? 

What becomes very challenging is dealing with listed buildings here in the UK, as we would have to design within the restraints of the UK building regulations.

You are currently based in the UK, with plans to relocate to Jamaica where your parents are from. Talk to me a bit about that and what this move means to you:

Jamaica has always been home to me; I’ve been privileged enough to travel back there regularly since I was a young child. My granduncle was the third and longest-serving Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir Florizel Augustus Glasspole. My family history has always made me feel connected to Jamaica, for a long time, I have wanted to showcase my expertise back home. Not only for interior design projects, but also to contribute to the education and support of young designers who are interested in my field. 

 What advice would you offer to anyone interested in a career in interior design?

I would say, to go to school and acquire a diploma, degree or masters in the field which will help you learn the key fundamentals of interior spatial design. Alongside this, gain work experience from an interior design practice. And importantly, always be interested in learning and gathering new ideas that inspire you.