Flying the Bermuda flag in London
No matter where she is in the world, Catherine White always flies the Bermuda flag.
The interior designer’s work has taken her around the globe from her base in London, England.
You can find an Islamic prayer room she designed at a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi; she worked with jeweller Alexandra Mosher to create her studio space in the Washington Mall.
The 35-year-old launched Catherine White Interiors in 2011, after more than a decade working in design studios around the world.
Starting her own business gave her great satisfaction, she said.
“Even when I worked for a while with different firms like Foster + Partners and Dalziel & Pow my plan was to gain enough experience so that I could one day work for myself,” she said.
“I was actually picking and choosing my projects carefully so I could learn everything I needed to eventually start on my own. I always wanted to work for myself.”
Ms White comes from a design background. Her father, Reginald White, was a senior architect for Bermuda’s Works & Engineering Department.
She studied at the Wimbledon School of Art and Nottingham Trent University, where she gained her degree in interior architecture and design in 2005. The BSID Scholarship, Steelcase Award and The Peter Leitner Arts Scholarship helped her along the way.
She’s currently living in Dalston, a creative “up-and-coming” area in north-east London. It’s known for its music, events and nightlife. Just this past weekend it was the home of the Dalston Music Festival, a 24-hour showcase of British DJs, bands and artists. “It’s definitely not the most picturesque part of the city, but there are so many different parts of London,” Ms White said. “Dalston is a very up-and-coming area and has lots of good bars.”
When she’s not working she loves picnicking with friends in Hyde Park. She also loves exploring other parts of the city to learn as much as possible about British arts and culture.
“I get inspired all the time living in London,” Ms White said. “I like the proximity to Europe and the fact that I get to go to design fairs a lot.
“I also like that I get to work with people from all over the world. Within my team I have Italian people and in the past I’ve worked with Japanese designers and people from Norway, Spain and Portugal. You also have a lot of resources at your fingertips here. It’s so much fun being able to work on a project and visit The British Museum for research.
“I designed an Islamic Prayer Room for a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi and I got to go to the British Museum to look at Islamic art and history. There are so many resources in London and the atmosphere is really fun here.”
She says that making clients happy is one of the best parts of her job. Her goal is to create beautiful residential or business spaces that people feel comfortable living and working in.
She also enjoys being able to inspire people considering entering her profession.
The designer was recently invited to speak about her business at London Metropolitan University.
“I shared with the students about how I opened my own studio and the challenges I had,” she said.
“When you are working for other people you should have at least two of these three things in place: either you are getting paid what you want, getting the right experience or getting the right amount of time off. If you are not getting two of those three things, based on whichever point you are in your life, then it’s important to start looking for other opportunities.”
Ms White said she was “very keen” to bring some of her knowledge and experiences back to Bermuda.
She’s always been proud to call the Island her home.
“When I talk to my colleagues and clients, I tell them I’m Bermudian,” she said. “For me it’s just about flying the Bermudian flag whenever and wherever I can.”
Visit Facebook: Catherine White Interiors or www.catherinewhiteinteriors.com.