Niki Jones’ eponymous brand has been hailed by stylists and homeowners alike for its bright colours and prints inspired by Eastern European and Middle Eastern textiles. From a career that started at Habitat – where she was mentored by Tom Dixon – she moved on to be Design Director at Wedgwood before starting her own business in 2009. Here she looks back to her first ever flat, and the liberating effect decorating her own space had on her style and career.
“My first flat was in Wandsworth, near the common. I had just moved to London to do my MA at the Royal College of Art. After years of being creatively constrained at my parents’ home, and similarly at halls of residence during my degree, I finally had a flat that was mine to put my own mark on. I remember my first night in that flat. I had no furniture at all and was literally camped out on the floor, but was so thrilled and excited to have my own space.
The whole space had a horrible grey carpet throughout, with grey painted walls and limewashed woodwork. So I set about ripping up the carpet and sanding the floorboards. I painted the front room Farrow & Ball’s Bone and off-set this with white satin woodwork. I remember being quite overwhelmed by all the choices and decisions as I had never bought furniture before. I made some great buying decisions that have come with me every time I’ve moved since and still take pride of place in my home, such as my ‘Tulip’ style table from Portobello Market or my ‘Arc’ style light from Camden. My one big mistake was buying a futon for my bedroom. It was so uncomfortable and ugly.
I absolutely loved this space, it really became an evolving moodboard where I tried out ideas and experimented with colours and materials. It was a very interesting experience and gave me massive insight into the processes people go through when making decisions for their home. I don’t think my taste has changed a lot since then. I still love many of the items that I collected at this time and many of them still take pride of place in my home. I have, however, honed my editing skills and am more confident in my choices and combinations.
I think this period of my life was very influential in terms of my career direction. I had always had a love of textiles within an interior environment, as opposed to fashion, but the experience of having my own home really confirmed this for me. This resulted in my final portfolio being very focused on interiors and led me to my first job as textile designer at Habitat.”