For designer and entrepreneur Cornelia de Ruiter, the task of transforming and updating her family house in South London helped to shape not just her home but her business. De Ruiter enjoyed the whole process of working on the Victorian terraced house so much that it helped seal the decision to embrace a long held ambition to launch her own interior design company, Homewings.
De Ruiter and her husband, Keith Evans, who works in the hotel investment business, bought the Balham house 2012 after a period spent living and working in Dubai. They were looking for a space that they could mould to the needs of the family, including their two children, Oskar, 7, and Julius, 5. The house had previously been extended to the rear and what impressed the family most was the sense of light, which they looked to enhance within the design process.
For de Ruiter, who comes from a Dutch family of engineers and painters, working on the house helped convince her that design offered the right path following careers in the law and strategy consulting. Homewings combines both a love of design and her business experience, offering an online platform that matches clients’ projects ad a team of designers. ‘When I worked on the house I realised that what I enjoyed most was smaller projects, where you are working on one room at a time, or doing some problem solving,’ de Ruiter says. ‘That’s how Homewings came about and making a service that is accessible to everyone. The client places a brief online and we match up clients to designers, who are all freelancers, and we now have about fifty design experts and counting. It could just be one room or a whole house. It’s design on a budget, that’s what we do, but we don’t want a cookie cutter result. We are encouraging people to give a room a special something and make it stand out with individuality.’