Tag Archives: #InteriorDesign

Note to self…


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


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.


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.



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…






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.






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


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…


  • 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.




  • 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.



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 – In conversation with Alidad


The London Design Festival is a love fest of design that takes place over a 2 week period every year. This year a large number of exhibitions and several major trade shows such as Tent London, 100% Design and Focus took place all over London over 9 days from September 14 – 22nd.

Out of all the trade shows and exhibitions however, it is Decorex that I look forward to the most. Decorex is a trade show exclusively geared towards the Interior Design industry. All the major companies and suppliers associated with the industry take part and walking up and down the aisles provides one with a lot of jaw dropping inspiration and a feast on the eyes.

It is also here that I get the opportunity to watch and listen to some of the best Interior Designers in the world discuss and provide insight into a profession that I most eagerly want to be a part of. It is through the Decorex Seminar programme, that I get the most inspiration. This year I managed to attend several talks and I’m going to share my learnings with you over the next week or so.

The first seminar I attended in the series was an informal chat with world renowned Interior Designer Alidad. Giles Kime (Deputy Editor of Homes & Gardens Magazine) asked Alidad a series of questions around his life, work and design philosophy. Here are some of the key points I took from the conversation.



  • Alidad studied Computer Science. He then went on to complete a one year course at Sotheby’s and was then hired by the company and eventually became Sotheby’s youngest departmental director for Islamic works of art and textiles.
  • He believes that Interior Design is ingrained in mathematics


  • There are some things that just cannot be done, for example you cannot turn a North facing room into a sunny bright lit room. You have to have the confidence to say no to your clients.
  • Every client comes in with baggage. You need to work with and understand it. I learn a lot about the clients wants through conversations not related to designing their home. Understanding a clients personality and baggage will help you create the right home for them.


  • Always remember that first and foremost you are creating a home for your client. It has to have their things and show their personality.
  •  Regardless of the style or period you are trying to create, it still has to relate to a modern existence. These days, everyone uses technology and although a client might love an 18th Century style, they still live in a modern world that your design will need to accommodate.
  • Proportion is the most important element in a design. To the untrained eye something might seem slightly off, it is usually the proportion that is causing the problem.
  • Give everything a function, for example a veranda that was a derelict space was re-created into another room.
  • It’s not enough to make a room beautiful, you need to think about functionality, how will it work, what is it used for, the traffic flow of the room. Comfort and usability are just as important as looks.
  • It’s the details that show in the end.
  • There is always a lot of change within the design process and it is normal for trial and error to take place over and over again until you get the right scheme.
  • A lot of the time there will be architectural details or flaws you cannot change, in this instance scaling up furniture can help remedy the problem.
  • Listen to the story of the house, it has a lot to tell you. Look into the history of it and use it to help with inspiration of the design.
  • Always future proof and think about the longevity of what you are doing.


I found Alidad to be a very candid and passionate designer who designs first and foremost for his clients. His designs are exotic and ornate, however he did attest to also designing more minimal schemes based on clients needs. His genius is that he has the ability to mix many seemingly unrelated patterns and styles together effortlessly.  Information on Alidad’s work can be seen at Alidad.com. He also has just released a book called The Timeless Home.  I hope you enjoyed the first post in this lecture series. I’ll be back for more on Thursday. Till then. xD

Image Source: Alidad.com

Starting Again…


I realised recently that it will be one year since I wrote my first post on this blog in a couple of weeks time.

As a result, I decided to take some time to have a good think about what it was that I wanted to achieve both for this blog and for myself (this is a diary after all) during my second blogging year.  So I created a new mood board for the blog.

When I first started, it was a place to share my learnings. The focus was on understanding design principles, styles and learning to analyse a room to understand why it worked. I also used it as a basis for inspiration. The past year was focused on THEORY.

As I progress into my second year of blogging, I want to continue on the course of sharing my learnings, but I also want to start DOING. 

You can only learn so much by reading a book and taking notes. As in life, you need to experience things and invariably make mistakes to learn the important lessons. So moving into the next year, my focus on the blog and my life will be about EXPERIENCE.

I am taking the plunge from learning about design to bringing a design into the real world. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating and it’s darn right scary. It feels like I’m starting my life again, except this time I’m building a life around design rather than a corporate career.

I hope you will join me on the next phase of my foray into becoming an Interior Designer.


p.s. A new schedule will be in place starting next week, posts will come out Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Image Source: pinterest.com/interiornovice



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