In Conversation with Emily Reilly from COAL

COAL is an interior design and architecture business based in Cornwall. Run by Emily and Joe, an interior designer/architect duo, the connection to the Cornish coast is at the core of what they do. Building relationships and staying connected to the scenery, talented local craftspeople and their clients is the founding principle of their studio ethos. 

What inspired you to be an interior designer?

I am passionate about colour which comes from a first love of Art. I studied History of Art and previously worked at the V&A... being surrounded by wonderful art and design all day was very inspiring. I wanted to move this into more of a practical field.. designing eclectic interiors that mix and match styles, pattern, colour and design. 

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?

A colour card 

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life within the design world has taken?

If you’d have said to me 10 years ago I’d be an interior designer of my own company working and living in Cornwall... I probably wouldn’t have believed you. So I’d say I had little control. A variety of life’s stepping stones led me in this direction.. Which was a good thing... sometimes you have to go with the flow and keep seizing opportunities, absorbing and learning things and wait for the idea to bubble up! 

What would be your dream interior project?

A new build with a serious sea view in Cornwall... that I designed in collaboration with my husband (and business partner) Joe, who is an architect. 

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

We are not concerned by what’s on-trend or creating interiors that are too precious.. we attempt to create timeless designs that are timeless because they truly make our clients happy and fill their homes with colour and joy. 

If you could go back in time and speak to your adolescent self, what advice would you give them about the design world?

Don’t rush, only do jobs that you love and trust in your creative instinct... the only thing holding you back from new adventures is yourself





Photo courtesy of COAL