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A quick word with … interior designer Alex Fulton

PHOTO: Sophie Jensen

Interior designer Alex Fulton is a long way from her original grown-up plan of pursuing medicine – and thriving. She’s just about to open her own store and is a finalist in the 2014 Dulux Colour Awards.

My first job was … A paper run around my local neighbourhood in Rotorua where I was born and raised.  I was 11.

And now I’m … An interior designer that runs her own design business and (opening soon) retail store.  I am now 40.

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be … An orthopaedic surgeon.  Medicine and science was my original grown up-plan (and first love) but socialising, travel, and family got in the way.  Now I’m indulging in my other true love and have fully embraced my world of design and colour.  That suits me.

Talk us through a typical work day…   Rise at 5.30am and either go to the gym or work.  Get kids up and off to school.  Go into the studio/store.  Work frantically.  Collect kids from school and run around after them/feed them/put them to bed.  Work.  Hang with my husband and chill.  Repeat.

I wound up in this line of work… After my first daughter was born I wanted to get back into the workforce without working for anyone so I partnered up with another entrepreneurial new mum and we started a business putting graphics onto canvas.  This got me in-front in the interior design world and I was hooked.  

I sold that business and started my design company, Alex Fulton Design in 2006.  I was far too impatient to study so I told myself that if anyone asked what I did for a job I would say ‘interior designer’.  It worked and I got my first job doing some contra for the company that did my first company logo.  The work has never stopped since that day nine years ago.  

I’m inspired by… Creatives.  I’m constantly exposed to clever people and what blows me away is the constant stream of new ideas, products and concepts.  It’s an infinite source of inspiration that encourages me to keep pushing new ideas everyday.

My first creative/artistic memory is… Finger painting.  The feeling of colourful paint on my fingers and the fascination of them moving across paper and leaving a trail of beauty behind them.  It seemed like magic.

I can’t live without… My family and friends.  They support, encourage and back me 100 percent.  It’s a lonely world working for yourself and when any self doubt creeps in I have strong walls of support to keep me upright.  

One design trend to watch this year is… More colour and pattern.  Designers and products are all showing more confidence with pushing colour and pattern boundaries and I say yes please to that.  There’s less beating around the neutral bush which is very exciting.

My work in three words is… Colourful, creative and original

Alex Fulton is an interior designer, stylist, blogger and writer – a bit of a rebel with a colour wheel who likes to bend the traditional rules and design like no one is watching. Find her at alexfultondesign.com

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