Monthly Archives: October 2013

Bathrooms with Texture

Bathroomtitle

Earlier in the year I talked about how I was asked to help a friend design 2 bathrooms – you can read it here. We are now in the thick of it and in the process of interviewing builders and so far the process has been eye opening, inspiring and lots of fun. So to say that I constantly have taps, basins & tiles on my mind is an understatement of late.

As you can imagine, I have looked at a gazillion images of bathrooms so that I can get idea’s and inspiration to incorporate into the design. Although the bathrooms I am designing are very contemporary, I am finding more and more that my eye is drawn to bathrooms that are layered with texture. The more layers, the better. Exposed brick & concrete are materials that aren’t necessarily the first choice for the average homeowner, however the effect they create within a small space such as a bathroom is stunning.

Here are some idea’s…

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So what do you think? Do you like texture in bathrooms? I’d love to know. Have a lovely week. The next post will be on Saturday. xD

Image Source: Title – Ryan Ford Photography, 1 – Mclarenexcell.com, 2 – Remodelista.com, 3 – Unknown, 4 – Onsitemanagement.com via Houzz.com

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Note to self…

youareontherightpath

Self doubt is one of those feelings that has the capacity to cripple you and stop you in your tracks. The longer you do something, the better you become and the more confidence you gain in your ability.

Changing my career from IT to Interior Design is like starting my 20s (which was a very very long time ago) all over again. Yes it’s exciting and new, however I am also finding myself in more and more situations that are pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone and as a result in constant doubt.  There many times when I doubt whether I should be doing this at all. I mean, it would be so much easier to just go out, get a job and do what I know rather than follow my passion right?

The journey has been somewhat bumpy, but I am happy to tell that over the last couple of weeks I hit a smooth patch of road that has given me the motivation and inclination to keep going.

I recently came across a couple of situations that gave me the feeling that I was on the right path and a sign that it’s all going to work out.

I was visiting a friend who has been slowly making changes to her house. She had invited me over to help her choose from some tile samples for a kitchen renovation. When I arrived, it was with great joy that I found that little suggestions (made off the cuff) I had made during previous visits had been implemented and looked wonderful. It was delightful to see the vision I had turn into real life and looking so great.

In the second situation, I was dealing with a salesman in a tile warehouse. I had made suggestions to a new “client” (friend I’m helping out actually) on the sort of tiles, size and patterns they should use to fit in with the style they were trying to achieve in their new bathroom. I was somewhat gratified when the salesman provided exactly the same suggestions without my prompting or involvement. It gave me the confidence and understanding that I do know what I’m talking about despite the doubts I have in my head.

So why am I writing this? Well I figured that with many more challenging situations to come during this transitionary period in my life, I figured I should take the time to reflect on the positives. I know the road will get bumpier as I move from theory into experience. But it’s the little highs that keep you going.

So I write this to anyone that has, is or about to face a challenging journey or a bump in the road of life, try to remember and appreciate the little high’s because it’s so easy to be overwhelmed with the self doubt swimming in your head. And that if you are following your passion, no matter how hard it seems, you are on the right track.

Have a lovely week. xD

Image Source: Julie De Waroquier


Photography for Bloggers Workshop

YellowStyle

Today I’m going to take a slight diversion from the normal interior chatter and talk about the photography workshop I attended over the weekend. You see, I’ve been wanting to take my own photo’s for the blog for a while now and found that when I attempted to, they never came out right.

I know I’m never going to be a photographer at a professional level so I didn’t want to go on a course that gave me all the technical information on how to fiddle about with a million buttons. All I wanted was some tips on how to take a good shot. So when I heard about the workshop run by Emily Quinton from The Startup Wife I jumped at the chance to attend and I wasn’t disappointed.

I am a firm believer that the surrounding environment affects your capacity to learn. So when I arrived at the industrial style office of Makeshift Studio’s on a dreary Saturday morning, I was already inspired. Think exposed brick, worn concrete floors, double height ceilings and large industrial steel windows.

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In fact, I was so taken with all the different surface texures of the building that most of the photo’s I took for the practical exercises incorporated either the floor or the walls! If you get a chance to attend her workshop I highly recommend it.

Here are some tips that I learnt …

  • Make sure you develop a photo style that is your own.
  • Always think about the light and where it’s coming from. If taking photo’s in your home, think about when the best times would be to take them by observing where the light comes from over the course of the day.
  • When taking a photograph of a subject, move around and take shots from different angles.
  • Sometimes a picture may not be working because of the direction the light is in, getting the right shot could be a matter of slightly moving yourself or the object you are taking.
  • When taking a photo, use the rule of thirds theory.
  • Try not to use red as it’s a difficult colour to photograph.
  • And finally… practise taking photographs everyday, you will get better with time and practice.

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Let me finish off by saying that there were many colourful props and bright flowers to choose from, however I found myself wanting to take pictures of the concrete floor rather than the props. Do you think it was the interior designer in me? If you’re interested in attending Emily’s lovely course, you can take a look here. xD

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee


How to create a perfect treehouse…

Last month we took a long deserved break and decided to go away for some rest and relaxation. Having decided to try our hand at glamping this year (we wanted a bit of luxury this time) I started to do some research on possible camp sites. It was during my search that I came across a little treehouse for rent and thought how fun it would be to stay in one.

La Palombiere is a treehouse nestled between a vineyard and an old oak forest on the estate of Chateau Lestange which is located 12km from Bordeaux, France.

Made out of red cedar and douglas fir, the treehouse has 2 levels. The first level houses a double canopy bed, shower room and toilet, the second or loft is a spare bedroom for the kids at night and a reading/tv room during the day.

The interior is rustic in style and it was the details used that pulled the space together. The re-purposing of old timber to create a console table with rusted iron legs, the use of branches to create a chandelier and wall lights and using door knobs from the historic chateau located on the estate creates a cohesive, warm and stylish scheme. It was an inspiration to be in such a well thought out and original interior. So here are some tips on how to create the perfect treehouse…

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Little J didn’t want to leave ‘his’ treehouse and had a lot of fun running around in the vines. Staying here has prompted us to look for more interesting accomodations while on holiday. Have you stayed in any interesting accomodation while away? I’d love to hear about it. I hope enjoy the rest of the week. See you on the weekend. xD

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee


LDF 2013 Lecture Series – In conversation with Jeremiah Goodman

We are enjoying the most wonderful Indian summer over here in London. It’s been absolutely lovely with blue sky and warmish weather. So, I was glad that I got to spend some of it outdoors meeting up with blogger friends, Lauren, Erin & Monika. How was your weekend?

In a way, I feel that I’ve saved the best post for last in the London Design Festival lecture series. The talk titled “Nicky Halsam in conversation with Jeremiah Goodman” was the last seminar of the day and programme at Decorex.

I must admit that I wasn’t going to stay for it. It had been a long day and I was keen to get back on the bus and avoid the peak hour traffic. I had no idea who Jeremiah Goodman was and besides, what was I going to learn from an illustrator? But something in me decided to stay.

And I was so glad that I did. You see, I didn’t learn anything related to interior design, in fact I didn’t take any notes at all, but I got to listen to and see a legend in interior design illustration talk about his life’s work. And it was wonderful.

Jeremiah Goodman was born in 1922, that would make him 91 years old this year. He has been illustrating interiors for seven decades and has featured in many major publications like The New York Times, House & Garden and Interior Design. He has captured the interiors of many famous people from Nancy Reagan to Cecil Beaton. Below are some of his pieces that represent the following rooms: Leonard Stanley’s Bedroom, Greta Garbo’s NYC Sitting Room, Carlos De Beistegul’s Parisian Dining Room, Claude Guidi’s Buenos Aires Living Room & Harry Samuel’s Country Living Room.

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Greta-Garbo-New-York-City-Sitting-Room

Carlos-de-Beistegui-Paris-Dining-Room

Claude-Guidi-Buenos-Aires-Living-Room

Henry-Samuel-Country-Living-Room

Let me tell you, the images don’t do his work justice. I was in awe as I sat and listened to him comment on each of his works while they flashed up on the big screen with little anecdotes of the owners and their homes. It was truely inspiring and a moment that I will not forget too soon. Jeremiah has released a book of his works which you can purchase here. I hope you have a most inspiring day I’ll be back on Thursday. xD

Image Source: Dean Rhys Morgan


LDF 2013 Lecture Series – Designing for a Show Home

TaylorHowesLogo

Hello Friends. I hope you are enjoying your weekend so far, a bit of an early post as I’ve got a jammed packed weekend ahead.

Here is the third instalment of my London Design Festival lecture series. Today I wanted to share a talk that was given by Karen Howes from leading Interior Design company Taylor Howes titled “Designing for a Show Home”.

When I decided to attend this talk, I thought that it would be about how to design an interior for a generic client. I mean, a show home is something that needs to appeal to many potential buyers right?

But what I quickly learned was that it’s much more complicated than that. You actually have 2 clients you are designing for with very different needs. One is the developer who is looking to make a profit and the other is for the potential buyer.

It’s a fine balancing act and here are some things I learnt…

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  • Get into the mindset of who you are designing for – both the developer and the potential buyer.
  •  The most important space in the design is the Entrance Hall as it is the first and last place that a potential buyer sees.
  • Make guest toilets dramatic, it’s a small space that can usually take a little more creativity and drama in the house.
  • Use dramatic lighting with chandeliers to make the space feel grander.
  • When creating the plan, the first thing to do is to place all the furniture on the plan to design the space.
  • Colour palette is important, go neutral and accessorise with bolder accent colours.
  • When designing a bathroom, it’s all about the little details such as ambient lighting and shaver socket.
  • Detailing and accessorising is important from towels in the bathroom, right down to stocking champagne bottles in the fridge.

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  • You need to be clever with your budget and ensure that every millimetre in the space is accounted for to provide value to the client.
  • Never underestimate the dressing of the property at the end and in terms of time and budget. They are just as important as the design process.
  • Developers usually work on £ per square foot calculation.

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If you want to see more of the portfolio you can check it out here and if you happen to be in the market for a new abode, you can still buy some of the apartments starting at a couple of million here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the series so far. What has been the most interesting thing you’ve learnt?  Have a lovely weekend and I’ll be back here next time. xD

Image Source: Taylor Howes


LDF 2013 Lecture Series – Working effectively with Ultra High Net Income Clients

HarrodsStudio

This is the second instalment of my London Design Festival lecture series. Today I wanted to share the notes from a talk that I attended at Decorex by Sara Cosgrove. Sara heads the Interior Design department (called The Studio) at the world renowned department store Harrods. The talk focused on how to work effectively with ultra high income clients.

Being a novice and aspiring Interior Designer, I am interested in how to work effectively with any client (and can only hope that one day I’ll work with a client with a big budget) however I found the talk extremely interesting and a lot of the points made could be adapted to anyone in any industry. Here are some notes…

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  • An ultra high net income is defined as £60 or $100 million in net assets
  • London properties have the 3rd highest cost per square foot in the world averaging £3,500
  • London is experiencing a spending spree where foreign investors from Russia, China, Emirates & India are buying prime real estate

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  • Are extremely well educated, and not just academically. They travel constantly and are exposed to great design through the hotels they stay in, the restaurants they eat in and the places they visit.
  • They have design at their fingertips. Information is easily accessible via google and the internet, and visual inspiration is readily available through sites like Pinterest.

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  • You are the expert in your area and need to ensure that your clients are confident of your design and technical ability. Sell yourself through examples of previous work and provide ideas during the initial meeting.
  • The client is king so always try to accommodate when you can. When you have to say no, always provide an alternate solution to the problem.
  • Make the client feel special with the small details. For example, when a client visits the office all their needs are accommodated for ie some clients prefer water at room temperature rather than cold, so both are provided. When they leave a meeting, they always have a package of materials and information to take with them.
  • Understand any cultural nuances, it doesn’t take any extra effort to know that you use both hands to accept a business card from Japanese clients.
  • Be service driven, push yourself to be there with the client for the entire journey. People remember great experiences.

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The rest of the talk then focused on branding as an Interior Designer. I was particularly intrigued with the importance of social media and how sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and blogs where becoming the norm for ways that Interior Designers are establishing a presence on the internet.

Regardless of whether your clients are high income earners or not, Sara makes a good point about the effect the internet has had to the industry. Where it used to take months, sometimes years for an interior to be publicised and seen by the public, it is now common for details of a project to be available before it’s finished. It’s normal for images of furniture planned for a scheme to be up on instagram while still in the shop. This change in pace has significantly impacted the industry and the way designers work today.

What are you thoughts? Do you agree that the design industry has changed significantly? How has it affected you? Have a lovely day and I’ll be back later in the week. xD

Image Source:  thestudioatharrods.com


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