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Martina Tolarova La Maison Design Dalkey Founder

"Design is a journey of discovery. As we evolve, our homes should, too."

How did you get started as a designer?

I have originally studied economics but quickly realised working in an office wasn’t really for me. I always loved surrounding myself with all things pretty and redecorated everywhere I have lived. I consider myself lucky to have found my passion and turn it into career.

Which design rule/idea do you refer to over and over?

The rule I always go back to is 60/30/10. 60% of the room should be a dominant colour, 30% should be the secondary colour and the last 10% should be an accent.

Which design rule/idea have you thrown out?

Matchy matchy. I like to mix different styles and patterns together, I don’t like interiors that are almost too carefully curated. 

What are your go-to sources for inspiration?

I draw a lot of inspiration from fashion. Both express aesthetics and are influenced by culture and different trends.

Which design trend or idea do you wish would go away right now?

Grey interiors. I never understood why would people want to surround themselves with layers of grey especially given the climate we live in in Ireland. Grey is a good base colour but it needs to be built on with other colours in my opinion. 

Which design trend or idea are you loving right now?

I am not as much into trends, I think everyone needs to find their own personal style that works for them and stick with it. You should always stay true to yourself.

What’s your greatest challenge as a designer?

One of my biggest challenges is to push people out of their comfort zone. Clients often come to me looking for a change but then it transpires they are not always ready for it, playing it quite safe in my opinion. A design process should be fun, it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

In your opinion what’s one thing that will never go out of style?

I believe that if you genuinely love something that it can never go out of style. Listen to your gut feeling when it comes to design.

What are the core principles of design in your opinion?

Symmetry and balance, colour and texture, scale and proportion.

If you weren’t an interior designer what would you be?

I would have probably either ended up in fashion or been a vet. Animals are huge part of my life, especially dogs.