Define & Design: With Mathilde Le Villain [Ep. 3]


Welcome to the third episode of our first Define & Design where we enlist the help of experienced professionals to help us create inspired flooring concepts, imagine unique room designs, and share their own insights and experiences of the interior and design industry.

For the first instalment of this brand-new series, we worked with Mathilde Le Villain. A designer and artist, Mathilde has decades of invaluable experience having created standout interiors for Nando’s and Benihana.

In Episode Two we explored the project brief, how we defined the scope, look at the ideation stage and how we worked with Mathilde to realise her designs.


It is really important for us to work with designers that align with our values – designers that respect the lived-in look, and understand that when you specify Ted Todd, you are buying a floor for life, which is the most sustainable way. We also hope designers and homeowners alike appreciate that wood is a natural material, bringing with it a uniqueness that should be celebrated.

Likewise, I think for designers and individuals it’s so important to feel your personal values align with the brand that you buy from. I want to feel I am buying from a brand that is respecting the environment, and its team wants to do the right thing.

For our latest product launch, we invited you to develop concepts for our new floors, Sheringham, Dunham, and Kearney, how did you begin that process?

On this project, the floor came before everything else, whereas normally you start with a story and then decide on the floor. But here, I had the floor and created a story around it.

I looked at all the timber I had received and considered the marketplace and then balanced all the concepts to demonstrate the flexibility of the floor, so all the concepts didn’t look alike.

I began with one floor, Sheringham. I had ideas for the colour palette, which was inspired by my travels, so I looked through my library of samples and searched for fabrics and tiles.

Then I started to pull things together and when one might not be going anywhere, I moved to the next one. Then things started to evolve. I had different boards being created at the same time – almost like a jigsaw where I was moving elements around and stepping back, leaving it, then coming back to it later, seeing it through fresh eyes.

For me, it’s a very organic process and something I can’t really explain.

Sheringham Wide Plank Engineered Oak


sheringham plank
Sheringham Plank, Crafted Textures Collection

From the product brief I was given, I thought Sheringham sounded like it was suited to a boutique or lifestyle hotel which is really in trend. Think, Artist Residence, Soho House and The Conduit.

Sheringham is the discovery of something new, a respectfulness of the environment, a floor for those that appreciate a certain rawness.

These days we are travelling more, and as such we are inspired by the design of what we see and experience.

So, my inspiration is the Moroccan style. A light scheme with patterns on the cushion and rug. Natural finishes and understated bohemian chic mixed with some luxury elements. Yellow brings vibrancy. Flowers add a feel-good element and natural energy.

Combining the rawness of the wood with the sharpness of the glass vases, and plaster wall as a backdrop creates a pared-back interior perfect for the down-to-earth traveller.

Sheringham has a sandy tone with hints of pink so that was used as my inspiration. When you have good timber, you just want to touch it. It’s like the palm of the hand. It has textures and lines. I also like how light and fresh Sheringham is, with the wood grain enhanced. It is a really rich timber, but also subtle and refined at the same time.

Dunham Narrow Herringbone Engineered Oak Floor


dunham herrinbgone
Dunham Herringbone, Crafted Textures Collection

Dunham was more about the luxury home. The feeling of comfort and warmth.

The concept is a mix between masculine and feminine. Designing for a residential property I thought about a customer’s behaviour and a couple choosing timber together. How do they pick their floor? What questions would they ask each other? This is why the balance between masculinity and femininity is important in every design, as it may not just be one person you are designing the space for.

Being a French person, I really like the British style. I like the quirkiness, the eclecticism, and the fact that not everything is matching. This is also how I design. My tip for a homely feel is not to match everything because if it all matches it becomes too sterile.

We initially chose a beautiful Lyrebird wallpaper by Mathew Williamson but on set, we decided to go with a unique artwork with the birds and a tree. The different patterns complement the purple and the green colour pallet, making a visual connection to nature.

With this concept I was thinking about coming home on a Sunday afternoon, it is dark outside or raining and cold. I want to feel warm and cosy and settle in with a book by the fireplace with a cup of tea – in my own cocoon, that was the inspiration.

Dunham has a richness that lends itself beautifully to the concept. The depth of colour is enhanced by the brushed and burnt process it undergoes. It’s luxurious but earthy with added texture and the deep pink of the chair provides a touch of warmth like a fireplace would.

Kearney Narrow Herringbone Engineered Oak


kearney blocks
Kearney Herringbone, Classic Tones Collection

I think what is interesting is more and more people are considering which way they should lay their floor, which direction would work best for their scheme – it is always about preparation and effect.

If I am designing a restaurant for example, I may lay the floor in the direction I want the customers to go. Or sometimes the direction is used to elongate a room. Alternatively, you could play on the shape of the room or even go against the length of the room. You have many choices.

For Kearney I decided to switch up the laying pattern to demonstrate there is not just one effect you can achieve with parquet blocks.

This floor is a traditional herringbone, but this laying pattern is more contemporary which also makes it more unique and somehow makes the timber look more premium.

Interestingly, I also learned that it’s simpler for the fitter to lay which makes the installation more cost-effective!

The concept for Kearney was chic, elegant, and bold – a look that would work for a contemporary apartment.

The scheme is about darkness and moodiness. The burnt orange cube contrasts elegantly against the night blue wall and the velvet curtains add opulence.

Brass detailing in the fun monkey lamp is reflected in the rabbit artwork. At the shoot, the artwork didn’t look funky enough, so I made a stencil, spraypainted it and customised it to give it a bit of edge.

This look is all about being different. This is why I decided to lay Kearney in a different way, because it is about the concept, about being unique.

Champagney Herringbone, Aged Collection

Do you have a favourite Ted Todd or Woodworks floors?

When I was working for Nando’s, I had one I particularly liked. Not too dark, and not too light. A beautiful French oak – and no I did not just use it because it was French! Champagney is a timeless elegant floor I will always want to use in my projects!

How would you describe your experience of working with Ted Todd?

Working with Ted Todd is always fun, both as a designer and as a collaborator.

It is very important to work with a team – when designing a project, that gives you a reliable service. If you call your specification consultant and say, “I’m looking for this”, you need them to be able to send hand samples and recommend products that would fit your vision.

Recently I went into the Design Centre on Margaret Street in London and said, “I needed a black timber, that it needed to be a warm medium timber at this price, what can I have?” The team there is so helpful and experienced, and the range of Ted Todd and Woodworks floors is such that they can bring you a great selection of samples instantly.

I like to work with a team that is helping me and that’s the service I receive from Ted Todd.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mathilde for all her help on this project. It’s been a delight collaborating with her for our very first Define & Design and we’re excited to share with you our next installment, coming soon”, Katie Hudghton, Head of Marketing for Ted Todd and Woodworks.

To learn more about LE VILLAINE visit or follow Mathilde @siga.mathilde