Carefree decorating

I fell into interior design in a round about way and oddly enough when asked recently by the press whose work I admire I listed designers who sort of did the same thing. Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, Roman and Williams were the guys I named.

Roman and Williams started off in set design, Adler’s a potter, Wearstler breaks rules continually which got me to thinking that there is a certain freedom in their designs which makes them utterly unique and striking. Carefree, unconventional yet beautiful, intriguing, surprising they weave a story, a narrative through their designs that draws you in.You don’t get that with many designers, maybe because they have been in school to long, maybe and probably more likely its easier to come up with a formulaic approach that you can bang out for each and every client time and time again.

Their way of decorating and my way of decorating takes a little time – you can’t go into anyone store and buy the whole look. After all it’s about marrying vintage pieces, high end pieces, high street finds and throwing them all together so they look harmonious yet tantalising. That however is the fun side. As a result we turn down more design jobs than we should, if I was being commercial I would take the money, bang out some sort of half hearted look and be on boat right now in the south of France with the two M’ s. Regrettably I can’t do that, everything we take on I have to love, I’m involved in 100 per cent which I realise its a very fortunate place to be.  So in order to take on a project I have to love that project then I immerse myself in it barely coming up for air. Obviously it wasn’t always like this I have done some ghastly projects (not naming any names) and lets not go there, way to early!

The point you ask, yes sorry the point. You don’t have to have studied design in order to put together a totally cool space. You just need a carefree attitude. If problems arise think around them. Lets say you have a space which you can’t afford to accessorize.  Simple – go buy a big canvas paint it out in one colour and hang. For inspiration Google Ellsworth Kelly, whose simple blocks of coloured canvases will give you some idea of what I mean.

About to decorate the bedroom then the biggest tip I can give you is to decorate if for nighttime not daytime. Sludgy colours with a yellow base work wondrously well in bedrooms! So many people decorate bedrooms for daytime YET  unless you are extremely fortunate to be lounging around in bed all day nighttime is when they need to come into their own. I walk into mine and I feel like it wraps me up in the squishiest of blankets so snug and cosy it is, and its all to do with the tone.

Imperfectly arrange stuff, it doesn’t have to match or be symmetrical just go with your gut. From experience when I listen to my head I mess up, when I listen to my heart or my gut I don’t. I mean things might go wrong or slightly askew but if something doesn’t immediately work out pick yourself up work out why and move on. Decorating from the heart produces much more of a carefree vibe, it has a certain freedom you don’t learn that from books or from school it comes from within.

On that note I shall leave you, have a lovely day!



10 thoughts on “Carefree decorating

  1. Hi Abi, love that second image. Couldn’t agree more with you, I am someone who came from a Fine Art background, worked in fashion retail display initially, then taught art in schools for years before realising my passion was and always was interiors and I went to study Interior Design…… I have spent the past ten years trying to disregard almost everything that I was taught there. Formula is not what makes wonderful intriguing spaces. Thanks for verbalising that so well you are so inspiring xx

  2. In my opinion, not all designers have your “heart”, your generous spirit, your ability to exPRESS your “heart” so understandably, and your God-given talent. You’re the best! “Carefree attitude” is what I’m working on here at Gatescroft 🙂

  3. I fell into interior design too, trained as a graphic designer which has helped immensely with visualising but no formal training in interiors, best way I think. Also Kit Kemp is another designer not trained in interiors. Love your tips Abi

  4. i wholeheartedly agree designing from the heart is the key & rules are meant to be broken, but i sometimes think there’s a bit of a misinterpretation about what is actually taught in design schools too… i studied interior design because i wanted to learn how to harness the ideas in my head & be able to articulate them in a professional manner (through technical drawing, etc.) in order to bring them to life… design schools (at least the one i attended) don’t tell you what’s right or wrong in a design itself as that is so incredibly subjective & thus impossible to do… they merely instruct you about the principles of design to use as a springboard (be that following to the letter or disregarding completely) & give you the tools to make your visions a reality…

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