Earlier this month, The Glam Pad featured the most charming Cotswold cottage decorated by up-and-coming interior designer, Sean Symington. Back by popular request, we are delighted to welcome Sean today and get to know him better with a peek through his exquisite portfolio and a Q&A!
Sean Symington began his career in Toronto, completing a Bachelor of Arts from Ryerson University, School of Interior Design. Following his education, he worked for top interior design firms in both the UK and North America. With experience in residential, hospitality and commercial interior design, Sean is well-versed in the design and construction process. With this knowledge as the foundation, he has been a tutor at the British Academy of Interior Design for several years, alongside building his practice. From concept to completion, Sean Symington Interior Design offers an array of services ranging from extensive remodelling and construction to light-touch styling and home staging. Sean endeavours to keep his firm small and boutique, always ensuring that the client is at the forefront of every project.
Q: When did you decide to pursue a career in interior design, and what was your biggest influence along the way?
A: I always knew I wanted to be an interior designer. My passion for interior designer was always prevalent, from a very early age I would rearrange my childhood bedroom and insist on parading my family around while I pointed out how the new layout was so much better than the previous. Following this, during high school I pursued a job with a residential developer in Toronto, where I assisted new homebuyers with selecting the finishes for their new home. When it came time to apply for universities, I knew I wanted to make my passion a career. For this reason, I enrolled at Toronto Metropolitan University, where I obtained a BA in interior design. Throughout my life, I’ve been influenced by various design luminaries, including historical figures like David Hicks and Dorothy Draper, as well as contemporary designers such as Mark D Sikes and Miles Redd. These influences continue to fuel my creativity and drive. I am thrilled to embark on the path of growth as a designer and to further expand my portfolio of work.
Q: What made you decide to move from Canada to England? What is your favorite thing about living/working across the pond?
A: After completing my university education, I embarked on my career journey by joining an interior design firm in Toronto, Canada. It was there that I found myself immersed in a unique project known as “Versailles in The Sky,” which was an apartment within the Four Seasons that aimed to replicate the grandeur of the Palace of Versailles. While meticulously sketching the ornate mouldings onto the elevations, I couldn’t help but feel a touch of impostor syndrome, given that I had never personally visited Versailles.
My desire to both explore Europe and advance in my career was a driving force within me. Consequently, I decided to apply for positions with design firms in Chelsea, London. Initially, I envisioned it as a two-year adventure, but it ultimately transformed into a wholehearted relocation across the Atlantic. Living in England captivated me, and I developed a profound affinity for the design landscape here, which starkly contrasted with Toronto. The richness of layered interiors, bold use of colour, and the prevalence of antique elements perfectly resonated with my personal aesthetic.
One of the many aspects I adore about this newfound home is its proximity to European cities. Whether it’s a weekend getaway to Amsterdam or a day trip to Paris, the accessibility to these iconic destinations is simply unparalleled.
Q: How do you define your style?
A: I would define my style as a fresh take on traditional. I like classic interiors with a fresh whimsy. I think every room should strike the right balance of colour and pattern with eclectic pieces which reflect the people who live there. I don’t like interiors that look like a ‘one-stop shop’ or catalogue furniture. Incorporating antiques and vintage is always a must.
Q: Who are your top five interior designers (past/present)?
A: There are so many interior designers that I admire. It is very hard to narrow it down, but if I had to put a mini list together, it would be the below:
- Bunny Williams
- Ben Pentreath
- Nicholas Haslam
- Mary McDonald
- Mark D Sikes
Q: Do you have any favorite go-to paints, wallpapers, linens, artists, etc.?
A: We use so many different suppliers in our projects that it is very hard to narrow down our favorites. I would say Edward Bulmer for paint, Schumacher for fabrics and Cricket Fine Art for fab oils! It is all about striking the right balance between English traditional with fresh joyful colour and whimsy.
Q: For those of us who live in the U.S. but adore English Style, what are your tips for achieving this timeless and quintessential look?
A: I think the classic English Style is all about the mix so my advice would be to start collecting items that you are drawn to. I am a strong believer that if you love something, it will always work in a room. Don’t take decorating too seriously and have fun with it. Lastly, every room needs something old, whether it be a beautiful old chest of drawers or a midcentury rattan side table, something with a bit of wear-and-tear is must in every room to avoid it looking too perfect.
Q: What are your favorite Instagram accounts to follow?
A: There are so many fabulous Instagram accounts to follow. I love following @vsp_interiors as her style is so chic and fab! Similarly, across the pond, I love following @heatherchadduck ‘s work in America.
Q: Where do you see Sean Symington Interiors in the next five years?
A: I am very much in the growing stage of my business. We are working on some exciting projects currently that I hope will take us to the next step in the industry. I would love more international projects and maybe even a boutique hotel! Let’s see where we end up… I am always a dreamer.
Q: When you aren’t busy decorating, how do you enjoy spending your free time?
A: At this point in my career, I have very little free time! I am so busy working on the various projects I have on the go. However, when I can take time off (which is never) I love traveling, perusing antique markets and delicious wine with good friends!
Thank you so much, Sean, for joining us today! We are huge fans of your work and cannot wait to watch your career skyrocket!
For additional information, please visit Sean Symington Interior Design and follow @seansymington on Instagram for ongoing inspiration. You can also click here to take a tour of a delightful Cotswolds cottage he designed that we simply adore!