I do so love watching those house makeover/interior design type TV programmes – the ones where whole houses have been renovated room by room. I love seeing how the clever use of colour, design, and furniture can transform a room. Even shifting furniture around a room could make a big difference in helping to accentuate the size of a room. I’ve come across a “one -stop online interior designer and furniture shopping destination” that really impressed me – Pepper Sq. Pepper Sq offer “Ready to Buy” Room sets – you can discover the best furniture for your space, estimate the total cost, assess the dimensions and visualise the room design. I caught up with Oxana, co-founder of Pepper Sq, to find out more about her brand, and her personal design loves. Hi Oxana!
Hello, my name is Oxana Yanushkovskaya, I am a CEO and Co-Founder of Pepper Sq.(www.peppersq.com) – which is an online resource for room-by-room makeovers, setting out interior ideas and offering carefully curated furniture.
What inspired the founding of Pepper Sq?
Pepper Sq. was launched in autumn 2018 with a mission to make ‘spacemaking’ simple and efficient. Following our own experiences of online furniture shopping, we noticed a gap in the market for a new entrant – one which provides vast yet considered furniture selection, digital ‘interior design’ tools and smart curation to foster better customer experiences. Our aim is to revolutionise the furniture retail, by creating unique customer experience and simplifying the purchasing decision making process. While a lot of people want to design their perfect homes, they find it extremely time consuming to shop in-store or search through thousands of portals on the Internet. Needless to say, many people don’t feel overly confident choosing furniture, as it involves dealing with sizing, colour and style matching issues and thus, money and time are wasted on sorting returns. This is where Pepper Sq changes everything, reduces noise that’s out there and lets customers hone in on precisely what they are after.
I absolutely love the idea of the “Ready-To-Buy-Room” sets and the way your website offers the solution to visualise your room space, discovering the best furniture options for that space, and the cost of an entire room. How can customers utilise this facility?
The platform features a new concept of complete room designs, which can be tailored by customers to suit their spaces and budget. The room ‘spacemaking’ function offer also comes with price reductions compared to buying individual items. All of the items featured within the room designs are also available separately.
You can follow three simple steps:
Discover – Browse our impressive collection of room designs, compare styles and find your favourite.
Design – Customise your favourite room designs, check dimensions, match colours, choose patterns or find alternatives.
Enjoy – Turn that space into a thriving reality. Click and buy – you’ll soon enjoy your new room design.
Every look comes with a visual reference so you can imagine how it might look in your own home, and you can see the actual budget. Last but not least, you can find recommendations on finishes and décor, or get in touch with an interior designer who created the room you like in case you are looking for something bespoke and different.
Which room do you find is the hardest to makeover?
There are three areas that give an emotional ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the house. In my experience, these are often dining area, living space and master bedroom. It’s the heart of the home and really transforms the rest of the interiors, so it should capture your lifestyle, taste and vision. And it’s most critical to have it done right.
What room set is the most popular?
Oh! It’s a good question… Depends on a season. New rooms are always getting more attention. Last year there were a few rooms that were probably most ‘wanted’ by consumers and journalists (appeared in press): Simple 1.0, Sakura Dreams, Stone Island, Pastel Explosion, Eggnog Throff… (our Christmas edition) .
I love the Hoxton Corner Sofa and the Yeux Rug. What’s your most favourite item(s)in your furniture/rugs collection?
The cane bentwood combo takes our heart this season. Rounded shapes and sinuous lines are known for giving a softer and more welcoming feel. We have a vast collection of bentwood and cane furniture, that’s extremely popular among our customers. Madrid and Lucien are my favourites.
Janson is a statement sofa and is utterly elegant, you will be surprised with the level of comfort it provides. When I say you can sink into your sofa, I mean it. It can be complimented by an oversized Janson Armchair, that is designed to switch off from the outside world with a book or a movie, stunning and spacious.
Our transforming multipurpose furniture collection, that is perfect for a smaller space, includes Barbican and Levante coffee-turn-dining tables, Origami Folding Table or Flap Console-turn-Dining Table. My current favourite is Schasta that was recently added to our catalogue.
Malibu Console/Dressing table – beautiful in its minimal design, it functions as a hallway table, dressing table or a desk.
The Vaquero Cowhide parquet rug that combines modern style and elegance, with it’stextured tones of calf hair that add subtle untamed luxury to any living space.
When picking items to add to your collections, do you select by what has proved popular in the past, current trends, customer requests, personal preferences or all of those things?
We love to be a trend setter, and every product added is hand-picked by our team members. The beauty is that we have very different life styles and cultural backgrounds, thus the tastes that make up our collections are broad, and (hopefully) attractive for many people.
There are two criterias we never compromise – quality and design. Our team hand-picks European furniture that is confident on its own, as well as part of our bespoke room design concepts.
Are you a big fan of the “feature wall” or do you think all walls should be papered or painted?
I do not have personal preference, a space will dictate the rules…
Colour accent walls can add depth and dimension to a room, and make a room seem bigger, warmer, or brighter. If a room is small, a light colour accent wall can make the room seem more spacious. If room is too long, a dark colour accent wall can make the room appear more welcoming, and optically change proportions.
On the other hand, you can use walls as a foundation … with single colour paint or same pattern paper, and go wild with wall décor. The benefits – you can change décor elements more often to create a new look .
Have you got a favourite paint colour?
I love Green colour, all shades of green really. My favourite paint is from Farrow & Ball collection – Mizzle 266.
As Pepper Sq is based in the UK, are your products available to purchase and order worldwide?
The UK market is our primary focus for the next two years. It’s important to get it right. We are aiming to launch our service in a few other countries in 2022.
Hypothetically speaking, if you were able to visit any place in the world to get inspiration for a new design collection, where would you go and why?
I have been lucky enough to explore the world. I was born and raised in Russia, lived in Far East for a few years, and worked across many countries and continents.
Two countries stand out the most for me …
Peru, with the myth and mist shrouded Inca citadel and it’s breath-taking landmarks, is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. It’s the place to re-connect with the Universe, absorb wild colours of nature, and Inca’s most colourful civilisation too.
China, with it’s calm balanced environment (natural and cultural) – order and creation of harmony.
Have you always wanted a career in interior design, or did you have ambitions elsewhere?
I studied arts for 8 years, and had a few personal exhibitions in the meantime. By irony of faith, being a creative soul throughout, I didn’t apply my skills and passion in full until starting this company. I chose to pursue the career in the commercial world (though within the creative industries) and never regretted it and all the opportunities that came with it.
Prior to founding Pepper Sq, I worked for 10 years with Discovery Communications Inc., where I led commercial strategy and business development teams across several networks and continents. Before Discovery I was in homeware & DIY wholesale businesses, working closely with the largest European retail groups, in addition to European and Far East manufacturers.
So, getting back to design space, it’s almost getting back to my roots.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I almost have dual personality now!
I love designer clothes, and even more, shoes! My favourite shoe brands are Jacquemus and Nikolaos Kirkwood.
However, nowadays, you can find me in quirky t-shirts, jeans and sneakers more often than not. There is no better outfit to run a start up!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
I have been converted into ‘digital shopper’ many years ago, just never had time to visit physical shops. I still love to wonder through little boutiques shops when I travel, though. I am also a big fun of flea markets. My favourites are Place du Jeu Balle in Brussels, Marché aux Puces de Clignancourt in Paris, Grande Foire à la Brocante de Pézenas.
My favourite online shop is Pepper Sq. (of course)!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
More shoes from Jacquemus!
Boots or Shoes?
Always stylish shoes ! Do I mention sneakers again? (Easier to style)
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Pepper Sq.
Definitely food for thought – thank you Oxana. I do share your love of the colour green – all shades of green – my previous homes have been green colour based. Currently though, I’m attracted to pale colours for my interior walls (lemon, lilac, cream, white, baby blue); then I can go to town with bright colours such as yellow and orange accessories in the kitchen and bathroom. I absolutely adore Pepper Sq’s room set idea – it is great to be able to virtually visualise a makeover and have access to the ideal furniture all on one site. I hope you agree, dear readers!
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Pepper Sq.