This month on The Style Segment we had the pleasure of interviewing Teresa Perng of TP Interiors, a Sydney-based Interior Architecture and Design Studio. Renown for her timeless, practical aesthetic, the spaces Teresa creates, both residential and commercial are stunning and evoke a true sense of calm and resolve. So let’s get to know a little more about the talented woman behind TP Interiors.
Amy: Tell us a bit about yourself…
Teresa: From as young as I can remember, I’ve always had a creative mind – my parents discovered my talent for drawing when I was three or four, and soon after they enrolled me into art class. I knew from a young age that I wanted to have a creative career.
In terms of my personal life, I grew up in Western Sydney but now reside in the Eastern Suburbs with my husband. We recently tied the knot and purchased our first property together. We are in the process of adding the final touches to our home, which is super exciting but harder than I thought when I am my own client!
Amy: Where and how did your interiors journey begin?
Teresa: My design journey began straight out of high school – I first studied Industrial Design at UNSW, which I soon realised wasn’t for me. A year later, I applied for a transfer to Interior Architecture, and I’m so glad I did because I absolutely love what I do now. Since graduating, I’ve worked in a range of small firms to award-winning studios in Sydney. In 2016-17, I made the move to London and worked abroad for a year to further expand my skill set. In late 2020, I took the plunge and started my own interior design business, which I’m incredibly grateful for, being able to work with amazing clients who trust me with their projects.
Amy: What services does TP Interiors offer and how has your studio evolved over time?
Our studio offered various services such as drafting, 3D rendering or material selections for Kitchen and Bathroom designs. Eventually this evolved to Full Scope Interior Design for whole new builds and renovations from concept to completion, which is our current signature and most popular service. We also offer smaller services such as custom joinery design and Furniture/Styling Curation.
We recently introduced a One-off Consultation service. This is a budget-friendly service for clients who are not ready to engage an interior designer full time but would like professional guidance and design ideas. Clients can choose either a 2 hour In-Home Consultation or a 2 hour Virtual Consult from the comfort of their own home.
Amy: You spent a year abroad in London, expanding your skill set working for one of London’s most renowned design studios. What was that like?
Teresa: It was an eye-opening experience working at SMC Design who are renowned for their work in the marine sector, specifically, global cruise ships. Living in London meant everything was at arms reach. Work would cover weekend trips across Europe to see the newly constructed cruises – this was so special!
A goal of mine was to see what design was like on the other side of the world, and I felt incredibly lucky to experience that!
Amy: What does a typical day in the life of Teresa Perng look like?
Teresa: My morning starts with a walk whilst listening to a podcast, followed by a shower when I get home to clear my head and begin the day fresh minded. I then make breakfast which is usually something light and easy, and sit down to check emails with a coffee in hand.
Then I work: my workdays vary depending on my schedule – some days I am running about to client meetings, consultations, site visits and showrooms. Other days I’m in the office designing, detailing up kitchens, bathrooms and joinery, and layering beautiful finishes together.
I try and wrap up at 5pm on most days and exercise after work – either bouldering, yoga or a swim at Malabar Beach if the sun is still out (during summer). Then I spend the evening catching up with my husband over dinner and relaxing on the couch, watching TV or heading to The Ritz (our local independent Art-Deco cinema) to watch a movie.
Amy: Do you have a favourite space in the home that you particularly love designing for people?
Teresa: I love designing smaller spaces such as Powder Rooms – often smaller rooms are great spaces to create impact and make bold statements. I love to achieve this by using striking materials such as stone, elegant wall sconces, a feature mirror complemented with beautiful tapware.
Amy: What design trends are you loving right now?
Teresa: My design focuses on timelessness. However, I currently love seeing earthy tones and materials, such as Micro Cement and Handcrafted Moroccan Zellige Tiles.
Amy: How would you describe your own personal design style?
Teresa: My style lies along the lines of Minimal, Timeless and Classic – clean lines, neutral tones and natural textures, with a touch of Scandi/Japanese aesthetics.
Amy: Form, function or both? Where do you stand on this as a designer?
Teresa: As much as I love beautiful design, function is most important to me – if a space looks beautiful but doesn’t function properly, then it hasn’t been designed well.
Amy: What are some key things you need to consider when designing a space?
Teresa: Planning and layout is key to each space as everybody’s lifestyle is unique and requires thought to ensure a clear vision that meets the design and purpose. Once the planning has been finalised, materials are explored to suit the intended style and budget to align with the initial vision.
Amy: Talk us through a brief timeline of events from when someone engages you to design their home until handover.
Once engaged with an understanding of the brief, the project concept begins through a series of vision boards, which are key in setting the tone and philosophy of the overall design. Planning options and 3D renders to show key design ideas are then proposed for client approval.
Then sourcing begins: finishes, lighting, fixtures and fittings are put together based on the approved concept design. A curation of samples is presented to the client for approval. A detailed drawing package and Finishes Schedule is then finalised and issued to the client for builder pricing.
During the construction phase, regular site visits are made to monitor the progress and should questions arise from the appointed builder, I am present to clarify and ensure the design remains true, ensuring a smooth building process until handover.
Amy: What project in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
Teresa: Collaroy House – it is my first Residential project when I started TP Interiors so it will always have a special place in my heart. The project is currently under construction, nearing completion in the coming months. I can’t wait to see it when it’s all finished and have the project professionally photographed.
Amy: How do you stay creatively inspired?
Teresa: I try to travel as much as I can – as cliche as it sounds, the world is your oyster! I love immersing myself in different cultures. Although we haven’t been able to travel as much, I have recently been exploring the concept of Wabi-Sabi in traditional Japanese aesthetics. I also find inspiration through The Local Project and Never Too Small.
Amy: What advice do you have for people wanting to get into, or starting out, in interior design?
Teresa: Make sure you are passionate about design! Research into the course you’d like to enrol into and what they offer, as there are so many interior courses out there. Develop your own style to stand out from the crowd!
Amy: What are your favourite pieces from the Huntley + Co range?
Teresa: I love the Bentley Dining Table and Chester Dining Chairs in oak which were specified in our Chatswood House project.