Meet the Edinburgh-based Romanian interior designer creating spaces for 'quieter souls'

Raluca Vaduva is an interior designer, creative director and founder of Detail Movement, who has a unique approach to working with clients.
Raluca Vaduva is originally from RomaniaRaluca Vaduva is originally from Romania
Raluca Vaduva is originally from Romania | Studio Gently

Job title: founder and interior designer of Detail Movement Interiors. I am based in Edinburgh and I take on projects to achieve homes for what I call ‘quieter souls’. I aim to design spaces with soulful touches, that create a sense of belonging and calm.

How did you get started? There were no opportunities to study interior design in my home town of Bucharest, Romania. So I studied architecture at high school, took a degree in it at university and completed a masters, which was six years of study in all.

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I worked for about a year and a half in the field but then decided to retrain. I did a short course in interior design and loved it, so I decided to move to London to take a longer course and set up as a designer.

A living room by Detail Movement A living room by Detail Movement
A living room by Detail Movement | Raluca Vaduva

Why did you move to Edinburgh? For my husband’s job but I saw an opportunity to set up my own studio.

But it was just before the pandemic, which gave me extra challenges, but happily I got my first client during lockdown in 2020. It was a small boutique hotel in Berwick upon Tweed, but my clients now are mainly residential, and about 90 per cent of my work is flats, the rest being full houses.

Is an architectural background an advantage? I think so, the big advantage is that I see spaces from a functional point of a view and see the issues that may come up with practical use. It has saved me a lot of time - and that of my clients. In Edinburgh where homes might not be so spacious, I do challenge myself to work within the existing walls, and that is an area which can save a lot of money for clients, by redesigning the space so it works, rather than embarking on a building project.

Raluca specialises in beautiful, calm interiorsRaluca specialises in beautiful, calm interiors
Raluca specialises in beautiful, calm interiors | Raluca Vaduva

What is your typical project? Sometimes it is just one room, sometimes the whole property. And it is a mix of people who have just moved in, and those who have been there a while but want a change. A lot may be new to using an interior designer and perhaps nervous about the process.

Do you have a signature style? My style is ever-evolving but the core of what I do can be described as Scandinavian and modern, with a mix of mid-century and colour. I am adaptable however, so it very much depends on the client’s needs and wishes. I have had clients that push me out of my comfort zone, and I do that for them too. When that happens the end result tends to be very beautiful. I think I specialise in bringing in a modern look to an older property, but keeping harmony between the styles.

A home office by Detail Movement, Raluca's design companyA home office by Detail Movement, Raluca's design company
A home office by Detail Movement, Raluca's design company | Raluca Vaduva

At what stage do clients approach you? Either they have tried (to redecorate) themselves and not reached the level that they wanted, or others are overwhelmed by the whole idea and want to hand over the project. But all have the aspiration to have a beautiful home and feel safe in it, because it can be an anxious time to change it completely. It’s an emotional process and it is really beneficial to have someone in your corner so you don’t feel alone throughout. After all, to take back a property to its bones and redo it requires patience and faith that it will look as you want it at the end.

How important is getting to know your client? There are different levels, at the beginning you have to understand the client and what their wishes are, their favourite colours and finishes. But then you have to go a bit deeper and understand their values and how they plan to use the space. You have to reach a degree of trust, and get them to understand that you are on their team, and that is the key to successful project.

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Raluca helps clients set up their homes as a sanctuaryRaluca helps clients set up their homes as a sanctuary
Raluca helps clients set up their homes as a sanctuary | Raluca Vaduva

How would you advise someone to find an interior designer. Obviously you choose someone whose style you like. You wouldn’t want someone who is a specialist in classical design if you want a Scandinavian style, but it is important to keep an open mind. On TV, we get a completely unrealistic view of interior design - that a designer can redecorate a room in a few days for £2000 but they will push their opinions on me and I have to accept it. But we genuinely want to help our clients, and the best designers will work very collaboratively, and will be able to present some ideas which are rejected, without any offence.

What services do you offer? I offer personal consultations but it is a bespoke service which can be tailored to the client - whether it is a whole project or they just want ideas and nothing more, someone to help them with a plan, or to just choose colours. And you only pay for what you need.

Most of Raluca's work is in apartmentsMost of Raluca's work is in apartments
Most of Raluca's work is in apartments | Raluca Vaduva

I also have an online-only consultation, dedicated to introverts but not limited only to them. I count myself as an introvert, so I understand that people sometimes feel overwhelmed by information and the pressure to take a decision on the spot. So we can communicate online, in written format, whatever people feel comfortable with.

What are you working on at the moment? I’ve just finished a two-bedroom flat in Leith, which I am very excited about. And I’m working with a client with a newbuild home which is a breath of fresh air from all the period properties I’ve done.

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