A little manifesto for anyone in a design conundrum

I’m in a conundrum with a particular design its not totally working. Back and forth I go tweaking this that and whatever and still in my head its not right. Part of the problem is being a perfectionist always thinking I can do better, never quiet satisfied, wanting to push it further, onwards, upwards, outwards!  Each morning I get to my desk and think today I’m nailing it and yet each evening I haven’t. I run through it with everyone else and they think its fab but yet, but yet but yet.

Enough on my problems, today by the way I’m nailing it, not leaving this desk until I do!

My antiques market trawl yesterday was a bit of a disaster the weather was against us so no sooner than we made a quick trawl round the grounds the heavens opened and all the stuff got covered up. I did find however 2 very sweet little 1950 French chairs (made for a hair saloon apparently for £120) which are for perfect for the above project. I secretly want to bag them for myself but I shall be professional for once, so in storage they sit!

If you are in a conundrum like me with your design may I suggest once you’ve scoured pinterest, blogs, online mags, waded through every reference book you have, including magazines going back to 2000 write a list. Write a list of how you want your space to look it will help refine it. Here is mine:

Decorating requires bold strokes not tentative gestures

Trust your gut, ALWAYS

A little decrepitude goes a long way!

Ditch the budget, style has got nothing to do with money: repaint, repaper and where needed reupholster

Mix, mix and mix styles, eras as many references as possible its only then that magic happens

Don’t over think it or over design it, remember the show home look is your enemy!

Lastly but most importantly I’m thinking:

Its OK to not completely finish let the design evolve over time.

So there you go my little design manifesto above, and an inspirational image below of Nikki Tibbles, West London pad. A great reference for bolts of unusual colour, thinking outside the box (covering a super sleek modern sofa in a chintz trad fabric is genius), layering and messing around with scale!

Enough procrastinating my end I’m getting the hell on with this design, no more backwards and forwards. Today is the day!



16 thoughts on “A little manifesto for anyone in a design conundrum

  1. Hi Abigail,

    Good luck getting your design nailed!

    I bet it’s fab already though. Be Interested to hear what gives you that’ aaah that’s it’ moment.

    Happy nailing! Sarah

  2. Great post Abi. I am in the middle of decorating my new home and so I know exactly what you mean. I have an idea already in my head but when I am sourcing certain things are never quite right and I just wont settle no matter what! I also have another obstacle, the hubby haha! I have to try and compromise sometimes my choices but for now it all seems to be working out – wait until I choose the soft furnishings 😉

  3. Hi Abigail,
    Love your design manifesto, so true about decrepitude !
    Always look forward to reading your blog on the train each morning. Thanks for all your inspirational ideas.

  4. If it’s any comfort, I’m having a week like that, and several others are too – maybe it’s the moon!!! I’m still struggling to find a new name for my company/site – sigh/groan! Good luck x Hattie

  5. hello abigail. first thing i do every morning is reading your blog. i really love it and wish i would be more secure about my ideas too. i am making big rugs and want to sell them although i am scared they re not good enough. i do not know if it is possible but could you give me your opinion and some advise how to handle this? i adore your style and think you are a very authentic person on top of it! i am just a dutch woman with an addiction on decoration and dreaming of doing something with my ideas. i live in the south of spain and have no income , otherwise the first thing i would do is fly to london and join your classes….!!!
    lots of love, (sorry but its like i know you personely)

    • Hi Lida, firstly you have got to believe in yourself and stop the self doubting. I used to self doubt all the time and it slowed me down big time. So ditch being scared (I know this is easy to say but if you can it will help enormoulsy) Next you need to figure out the type of retailers you would like to stock your rugs, take some images and then send them to the buyers. Aim high if you think they would look great in Merci in Paris for example email the buyer at Merci the shots. The images themselves do not have to professionally taken, I get hundreds of products a week sent to me many are taken professionally but not all and buyers can determine if a product is good enough. Then think about getting some editorial coverage if you can by emailing magazines some images it will help your brand and make the outside world more aware. Obvioulsy you will need a website and if you can do a trade show like Maison Objet in Paris you will speed the business along big time (its the coolest show in the world) plus on your door step over 5 days hundreds and thousands of buyers from all over the world, there to spend! Having said that its quite expensive to take a stand but it could be something that you aim for longer time. Hope that helps

      • hi abigail. thank you so much for your great advises. you really helped me with your wise words and great ideas how to get started.! it´is amazing that (most people) we block ourselves so much with negative thoughts and then, when nothing seems to go right , we wonder why !!!
        thanks again for the strength you ‘ve given me…

  6. Liebe Abigail,
    love your blog! I am reorganizing and decorating my home (my husband is out of town for ten days) and after having had 100 ideas and I was really sure how to paint my new dressing room yesterday I decided to go back for my first idea – Abigail-Style. Well! “london clay” was bought and tomorrow we will paint the room all over. So, what I want to say is, that often the first idea is the best, as too much thinking makes you stand in your own light.
    Liebe Grüße Dorothee

  7. Love your blog. Been reading it since April 2010 and still haven’t sorted my bland front room. Point is this… Can you write a post for those of us with sticky fingers, scribble on walls, rice crispies embedded in carpet – kid grime – households? Must be like having dogs without the nappy bit. Thanks, would love to hear your thoughts.

    Major elements are, no space, toys everywhere, no time and probably no design style.

    P.s the pictures do take me breath away.

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