Born in Holland, René moved with his family to spend his early years in South Africa, which is where his interest in luxury interior design first started. “Looking back, I think it was in my early childhood, probably when I was about 12, that I began to show signs of artistry, and did planned drawings of my ultimate home. I probably still have them somewhere!”
After school, René admits he wasn't sure which career path to take. “I was at a crossroads in the late 1980s and my parents suggested I study something, but I wasn’t sure what. Then my mother found an ad in the paper for a design college offering an interior design course. In those days, it wasn’t really considered a career and I wasn’t too keen, but I went for the interview just to make my mother happy. While I was there, the director of the college explained the type of career interior design could lead to, and I was completely blown away. I could not believe that an exciting career such as this could even be possible – it was like the proverbial light went on and I was caught, hook line and sinker!”
It was clearly the right path to take, as after René graduated he was offered a position on the teaching staff at the very same college. “My first job was First Year Course Director – I think they offered me the position because I understood the technical side of things so well and I'd been able to help my fellow students who hadn't quite got it.”
René continued to build up his experience, but it was only when he came to the UK that things came into their own. “I worked for several years as Head of Residential Interior Design at a large architectural practice in London, and from there set up my own company.”
So what is it about interior design that he really loves? “Like all jobs, there are many aspects to it; it's not just one element. When it comes to interior design, there are several stages – meeting the potential clients, creating the initial concept, the organisation of the fees, the various work stages, problem solving, project managing, sourcing products, and dressing the final project. I'm very lucky, as unlike many people's jobs, I actually love every stage. The other thing I really appreciate about the business is that although the process is the same every time, each project is different and, once the spark ignites the creative process, it’s like the flood gates open.”
In terms of inspiration, René's creative spirit is stimulated by a variety of areas. “I'm not sure I get inspiration from just one thing. But I do know that whenever I meet a manufacturer or supplier who is passionate about their product, or a designer who loves their skill, their enthusiasm completely inspires me.”
A passion for his work is clearly what motivates René to achieve his impeccable sense of style and luxury in his interiors schemes, and to set up his own hugely successful and internationally recognised design business. Interiors are what drive him forward and even figure strongly in his perfect day.