Who I Am
I am Sonia Hayes! English but Kenyan born and South African raised, my familiarity and exposure to Africa is where my African and colonial flare started. I also have strong influences from my English and Mediterranean family connections. My familiarity with various cultures has equipped me with a multi-faceted approach. My love for interior design brought me into contact with, and trained by, renowned Danish designer, Birthe Gibbons (Birthé Studio of Interior Design) I was then mentored by Belgian born, well known Anne Colle (Anne Colle Interiors/Timeless Interiors) I have been exposed and guided to be able to gain a distinctive European eye for detail with a touch of African spirit.
I studied Interior Design and worked in both Interior and Graphic Design for a few years. This strengthened my passion for design and I then decided to study Fine Art at UKZN in Pietermaritzburg. On completion of my degree, I worked as a professional artist and assisted in the setting up and management of Butterflies for Africa Art Gallery. Life and circumstances kept drawing me back to my Interior Design roots and I accepted a job as a young decorator and designer at Anne Colle Interiors where I learnt the foundations of my trade. I opened Sonia Hayes Interiors in Pietermaritzburg in 2003.
I believe a home is a sanctuary that deserves to be artistically explored. I strategically create classical spaces which can house both antiques and contemporary furniture, showcasing and incorporating the home-owners unique personalities, hobbies and ideals. Transforming a home and enriching a client’s lifestyle with suited design pieces that increase feng shui and optimise a space to encourage comfortable living. This transforms not only the visible elements but also the ambiance of the space that livens up any interior.
My history in the Design Industry began at Anne Colle in Pietermaritzburg, clients were consistently being referred to me for more than just décor advice. Since those early beginnings I have managed refurbishments of local Hotels such as Golden Horse Casino, Ithala Game Reserve, iNsingizi and numerous B&B’s in the Midlands and Pietermaritzburg area as well as holiday homes along the South and North Coast.
I thoroughly enjoy working on large ventures, where I can cultivate lasting relationships with my clients. My mentioned unique and diverse background added to my previous studies dedicated to African Art allows me to fully and confidently explore my work and truly let my imagination take flight and express my interest and knowledge when working with African textures and artefacts. I enjoy building and enhancing homes and seeing projects through from the architects’ plans to when the clients move in.
One of my key attributes in the design faculty is my ability to visualise the final product and see the process through to completion.