Interior designers have quite a tough job. I know from the outside it looks and feels like the coolest gig on the planet but as a designer you have to juggle many balls in the air. You have to listen to your client (most importantly) and interpret what they want but also push them to think outside the box. One of the reasons clients hire you as an interior designer is because we bring to the table a whole different way of thinking about a space. It takes a bit of skill getting clients on side (sometimes its easy sometimes its not). Occasionally there might be a bit of hair pulling and stamping of feet (all in a days work) but the whole process should be collaborative I consider myself incredibly lucky these days because clients come to us because they like our aesthetic – there’s no ‘can I have a white minimal space” requests, so battles are few and far between. In the early days when working as a designer in the States it was a whole different ball game.
I got sacked from a zillion projects; one couple wanted leopard throughout and were baffled when I couldn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t do it. Another family wanted the chintz English country look (help me God) I think I got fired from more projects than I actually completed. Luckily I had two of the coolest bosses ever, who liked me and would propel me off such projects without actually firing me. Not quite sure why they didn’t fire me, but I loved them dearly. They had the best way of getting clients onside without being as blunt as me and saying ‘ are you nuts’. They would say things like ‘how married are you to this’, or there might be some taste level issues with that piece! I They put their voice across, if at the end of the day the client wanted to go their own way they accepted it. They didn’t have a tantrum or have a sleepless night I write an essay on why such and such was so wrong. They moved on and they created beautiful interiors.
What is my point – ah yes my point. The coolest interiors for me at least don’t look stylised nor do they look decorated to within an inch of their lives. You can’t quite tell if the designer has been in or not – they are coolest interiors. The interiors challenge you, make you curious, enlighten you and make your heart pound just that little bit faster but in the subtlest of ways. They look and feel lived in and loved. Commune Design do that, they bring to the table a relaxed vibe to all of their interiors. Based in California they have designed residential and commercial projects all over the place including the Ace Hotel chain. A couple of images from their portfolio to inspire. If you are in condundrum with your decorating decisions one of the coolest ways to be inspired is to check out the work of interior designers that inspire you and make notes on why you love it. Very soon a pattern will come shining through and get you on your way.
I’m soooo late, have been here rabbiting so long to your guys I am the latest ever for a meeting. Gotta fly x
See you tomorrow.
Fab feature on Moi which has just gone live in Mercedes Benz magazine thank you MB. Brought an old Merc a few weeks ago and am besotted with her its so much fun to drive.
Lonny Magazine, an online decorating and lifestyle publication I must say beats many of the US publications hands down, way more relaxed and less uptight in feel it bridges the gap rather well between modern and classic. The key to a good magazine is in spite of tough economical times having read this do you want to immediately make your apartment,your house, your home feel special and redecorate and the answer is very simply yes.The houses they feature are creative and individual and they inspire. I was recently blown away with this garden room, its so sweet and comes back to what I was saying recently about making your outside space look and feel just like your inside space. Think upholstered chairs, softly glowing lamps, clusters of flowers everywhere – its adorable. I have a desire for something similar in my garden but instead of the fabric cabana I was thinking more of a little wooden cabin so no matter what the weather (if its cold you light a little fire) if its warm you fling open large doors and hang out on the terrace but as hubby pointed out we have enough rooms in this house already that we don’t use. Why build more (except I kind of want too)!
How sweet and adorable is this outside space.
Taking risks in design is practically my mantra – we constantly push the boundaries with our collection and our interiors. Sticking with one look or going for an all matched scheme in the world of AAA is a major faux pas. So if you want to up the style ratings in your pad consider adding the odd animal inspired object. Designers throughout the globe punctuate their schemes with animal inspired objects as they add interest and depth to a scheme – think Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler. In fact my affinity with the animal kingdom inspired me to design a collection of animal lights that brings an original sense of glamour coupled with a tongue in cheek twist. It’s a collection that’s sensual yet accessible at the same time, highfalutin yet informal.Living without animals is like living without love I say it’s the feeling they emit. Whether that’s our lights or say Ben Di Lisi’s fab animal cushions for example they not only serve a purpose they tell a narrative emit a feeling, enliven an environment. Whether it’s a flea market find or from a luxe showroom it doesn’t matter – what matters is they add an irresistible twist to a room.
Photography Damian Russell
Photography Graham Atkins Hughes
Couldn’t really write a post on animals without highlighting our very first collection of lighting now could I?
Ahh pattern –it’s a toughie for me at least.Don’t have enough of it at home and veer away from it which is weird because pattern really is the 5-minute face-lift of the decorating world. It instantly perks up a room and steals the limelight like nothing else. Well that’s all about to change. My dear friend Lisa Whatmough of Squint made me one of her fabulous mirrors to cheer me up when Molly my fox terrier died and it’s completely transformed my downstairs space. In so doing I have decided to come out of my plain Jayne shell (I mean one can only have so many chairs and sofas upholstered in velvet, or mohair or slubby wool) and I’m now fully into embracing pattern big time.
The pros like Lisa fuse with aplomb – see her fabulous pieces by clicking on her website Squint Limited. The key thing like everything else in the interior world is to have confidence and follow your heart. You can start small by pumping up the interest in a room by bringing it to life with a cool collection of cushions with a whole fusion of different patterns. Or you can go straight in at the deep end and opt for a sofas, chairs, tables, rugs and mirrors the list is endless. With a pinch of creativity you can turn your pad into an Aladdin’s cave of gorgeousness.
Convinced? Yep I thought so!
PS – typing this in my very new tartan pjs –see I’m hooked
Diane Bergeron’s pad in Australia cuts a dash of panache with this sweet little upholstered chair and below her living space fuses pattern with plain beautifully.
Playing around with scale can stop a room from feeling bland, depressing and drab. So think out of the box a little and opt for pieces that have been stretched or supersized. I call the trend neo-nonsense – its all about illusion and fantasty with designers drawing on the early 20th century surrealist art movement for inspiration. We saw a little of this a few years ago in Milan with Marcel Wandes gigantic lamps, silent bells and Delft eartherware, and Studio Job’s gigantic pieces for the mosaic tile company Bisazza not to mention their fab paper lights, tables and storage systems for Moooi.
You can also go the other way by mixing small furnishings in large spaces ( think Alice in Wonderland and you immediately get the idea). I have done both in my pad teaming a supersized flocked anglepoise lamp next to two little tub chairs I picked up from a flea market. Every time I walk through the door the combination makes me smile!
I am I must confess a little obsessed with stars at the moment, and I’m coming across them everywhere. The supremely talented Miss Sarah Bailey makes fabulous super sized star cushions wrapped in velvet (we stock them in store) and they fly out like hot cakes! Paul Smith has designed a star rug (see below) and perhaps best of all is this star light which screams instant Hollywood glamour.
Stars in all their sizes and installations transfix and transform rooms. They are one of those stand-alone statement pieces that are designed to simply impress. I love how things from the past lend ways to new ideas – and if your interior is feeling a little too serious or formulaic try throwing in a star – it lightens the mood adding a humours touch. Funny can be cool you know!
Truly the most exciting trend in interiors right now is embracing eclecticism and mixing and matching an ever-changing array of items. To me this is what interior design is all about – a totally unsnobish way with design – its that off hand European kind of casualness that I love, whereby its never about the latest thing its more about whimsically mixing desirable objects that we cherish in a stylistic way. One such space, curated with passion and filled with soul is the living room below. A stylish sanctuary in which to unwind – its got oodles of charm with its stacks of books creating a visual art display in themselves as well as being elegant, glamourous, and eclectic. Love it!
Adding a dash of unconventionality here and a dash of eccentricity there is the magic that binds one’s space together. In the image above gloss (the staple of every girl’s handbag), reflects beautifully off this coffee table and adds a touch of instant glamour. Glamorous touches are the trend of the moment and create a truely electrifying effect. Although buying lacquered furniture can be expensive you can (dare I say this again) do it yourself by spraying something your already have in a fabulous hue. Taking something a tad bland and then giving it a bit of a tongue in cheek makeover creates a startling effect. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again adding glamour doesnt have to cost big bucks – its all about reinventing, embellishing and reworking!
It’s the finishing touches that add the va -va – voom to one’s pad. By opting for some groovy looking items which have been turned on their head with some outlandish punches of colour you can enliven your space in a nano second. Forget anything beige or magnolia or cream the more eccentric your choices the better. Think groovy, think wow factor and think fun. Take a leap of faith and throw out anything you don’t love. Fill your dream house with groovy elements that shout instant Hollywood glamour, none of which needs to cost the earth. Habitat below has done a wondrous job of enlivening an occasional table with a serious dose of colour. At the higher end of scale B&B Italia have turned a very ordinary side table into an extraordinary side table by colouring it canary yellow! Of course anything at home can be given the Girls Guide makeover by spraying a fabulous colour – it will invigorate you and make you far happier than any cup of coffee – promise!
Its back with a bang– no longer reserved for cheap motels and suburban living rooms. Think instead hand printed trompe-l’œil photographic images – stand alone statement papers designed to impress. New into the store and selling like hot cakes are these beautiful wallpapers just in from NY (see below) as well as our book shelf wallpaper ladened with weighty tomes bold, sassy and uber cool. Use it on a great expanse of wall like my pad (see below) or in small spaces adding instant impact and diminishing drab wall syndrome for ever.