Ireland’s Deirdre Hardiman knows that DIY is the ultimate way to personalise the heart of your home

If there’s one thing interior designer Deirdre Hardiman knows for certain, it’s that trends are simply a sign of the times. Having lived in Ireland for the past 16 years (after living abroad in America, Spain, France and Greece), Deirdre has experienced first-hand what an economic boom, and bust, can do to people’s tastes and their interior design priorities. In fact, it’s completely influenced her core business model: “Designer for a Day”.

“My main business, ‘Designer for a Day’, was really born out of wanting to help people who didn’t have a big budget do up their house.”

The concept is based on clients hiring Deirdre for a day at a fixed cost to provide them with interior design ideas and on-the-spot design ideation, as well as supplier contacts and directions about how they can rearrange and repurpose what they already have. She arrives first thing in the morning, packed with materials and samples, and spends the entire day with the client – observing how they live and how they use their home. Throughout the day, she and the client work together to come up with a concept and then when she leaves, they do all of the legwork! By working so closely with the client, the final interior design is as beautiful as it is practical.

Packed with materials and samples, Deirdre spends the entire day with the client to observe them in their home. @ hepburndesigns.com

Packed with materials and samples, Deirdre spends the entire day with the client to observe them in their home. @ hepburndesigns.com

In fact, “Designer for a Day” has been such a success that it contributed largely to her studio’s win of Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012!

“As a designer you have to be creative and you have to be able to put colours together and come up with a great design. But, to be able to execute that project in a timely manner, to stay on budget, you need to be good at business as well.”

However, it’s not all about numbers for Deirdre. Her career choice was based on a lifelong passion for design, and has been greatly influenced by the DIY ethos of her grandfather.

“I decided to become a designer at a very young age. We moved a lot and I was always moving the furniture around, finding new and creative ways to use things I already had.”

Though “upcycling” is now a trendy way to repurpose what we already own, hopefully reducing waste in the process, Deirdre was at it for years before she realised she could parlay her talents into a profession.

Though “upcycling” is now a trendy way to repurpose what we already own, hopefully reducing waste in the process, Deirdre was at it for years before she realised she could parlay her talents into a profession. © hepburndesigns.com

Though “upcycling” is now a trendy way to repurpose what we already own, hopefully reducing waste in the process, Deirdre was at it for years before she realised she could parlay her talents into a profession. © hepburndesigns.com

“My grandfather was very practical and he was always fixing things. As a child I was always taking things apart and putting them back together again and seeing how I could make different things from what I found in the garage, or garden.”

Mixing things up like this drives Deirdre’s designs and inspires kitchen concepts that are in-tune with what people want. In the grey climes of Ireland, that means suffusing kitchens with light – through materials, colours, and windows – and keeping the area visually clean with clever storage solutions.

In the end however, interior design for Deirdre is really all about making people happy. Creating kitchens that are cosy and comforting, and truly the heart of a home.

“I think as a designer, the most important thing that we can do is actually understand our client and what makes them tick, because if you can bring that through in your design, it’s magic!”