Amazing Architecture

Before and After

We often get asked to provide before and after photos on our website. We’d love to do so, but it’s problematic. On the one hand, without showing how we have transformed a space, we can’t get full credit for it. For all you know, looking at the finished picture, we might have just put up some wallpaper and curtains and slapped a vase on a console table. In reality that space may have originally been a boarded-up, decommissioned dumb waiter shaft. But on the other hand, some people have a hard time translating before and after images, as we have changed the space so much it becomes unrecognisable and the photos bear very little or no resemblance to each other.

For example, here are 3 areas of a project we have recently completed (although the “after” photos were taken a few weeks before finishing). Even though the transformations are quite dramatic, the images are taken from the same position and you can see that some features remain.

before and after bathroom

See more of the transformation

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Ever Wanted A Secret Passageway?

‘A house with a secret passageway’ tops most people’s “lotto win dream house” list. They feature largely in the children’s literature and adventure films that dominate people’s formative years. Later in life you might really see the appeal of being able to sneak out a lover, bump someone on the head and make a swift exit, or you might want to be ready to conceal a priest at short notice…

A more 21st century friendly secret passage usually leads to a private bathroom, office or walk-in wardrobe. It’s more about uninterrupted clean lines and reflective spaces than secrecy. On the occasions we are commissioned to build a secret room, it’s more likely to be for shoes than a 50 Shades of Grey style chamber. Pity.

At Kia Designs, we’ve used hidden rooms in several builds as a means of problem solving. Older fire regulations usually stipulated that you need a door between each room and the main entrance, and before open plan living became popular, entrance halls were all the rage, even in the smallest flats. The combination of the two tended to result in a hall of doors, all identical and very confusing for guests. We also can’t tell you the number of flats we went into that would have a large storage cupboard in the hall, covered by a “room door’, designed to give the impression you have another bedroom. This style of layout is impractical and aesthetically unappealing. It’s also wasteful in small spaces.

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Art Deco Influences in a Knightsbridge flat

Our current refurbishment of a large, period mansion block flat in the heart of Knightsbridge, incorporates key elements of the deco style through use of exotic woods, geometric motifs and strong vertical lines, but toned down with added softer, more modern silhouettes and furnishings and state of the art technology and materials. The result will be a stately and timeless home with distinctive drama and elegance.

en suite floor

Art deco inspired mosaic floor

Pocket doors in bold smoked oak, with inset chrome flush pull handles, slide away to reveal unimpeded views throughout the entire flat and allow the client to really open up and make the most of the floorspace. The skirting, in tulipwood, allows for a smoother finish, as the fine grained texture rarely results in knots and burls. The skirting is also higher than usual, making the most of the generous ceiling heights and balancing nicely with the stepped cornicing, reclaiming the room’s original, grander, proportions. Likewise the plaster architraves are all generously deep and create framed vistas throughout.

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Putting In A Spiral Staircase

London projects are often short on space for everything, and this can include even staircases for this reason spiral staircases are becoming a more popular choice. The design of them can range from the extremely inspiring to the downright dull and everything in between.

Every item in a design doesn’t have to be a feature piece, imagine wearing all your favourite items of clothing at the same time and you can imagine how horrific that would look, every item of the design needs to provide a sense of balance and all help to serve the same end design aesthetic.

This video from CANAL architectural shows just some of the care and attention that is put in to the design and manufacture of a stunning bespoke staircase.

In one of our projects this is particularly important.  The project is in Baker Street and had previously been part of a larger building. It is a Grade II listed building located within the Dorset Square Conservation Area. The building forms part of a long terrace of houses constructed as part of the Portman Estate during 1815-20.

spiral staircase in london

Spiral staircases are a great solution for tight spaces

The project is on the top two floors of the property and was created during a conversion in the mid-1970s. It is believed that at this time was stripped of almost all its period features and so it doesn’t have a huge amount of interest.  At this time the original staircase was taken out and a spiral staircase was put in, this was a necessity of the design because the space is now extremely small.

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How to use lighting in a bathroom

Design Essentials – Lighting 

Lighting is literally the life blood of a design; it can make a design shine (pardon the pun!). Interior Design is all about making the absolute best of every space, and bathrooms can unfortunately be sadly overlooked when it comes to lighting.  This is a huge shame as it can create some of the most dramatic bathrooms.

Project 1 - Mayfair - Image 12

This bathroom was designed for a gorgeous town house Interior Design in Mayfair.  It needed to work within the more traditional design of the house, but with a slightly more contemporary feel.  We needed to replicate the original cornice that we had retained throughout the rest of the property; this had unfortunately been removed from these two levels during a 1970s renovation, however was still present on the other 4 floors of the house.

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One of the best design shows in London…

September is always a really interesting time of year in the design world; together with the change from flip-flops to boots we are invited to attend a whole host of amazing design shows.  One of my favourites of these shows is Tent London, held in the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch this show always produces something wonderful that gets you instantly thinking of how you can push your designs further, make more of your space and widen the choices you offer clients.  This year’s tent was no exception; in fact it was by far the most inspirational yet.

This year I was super impressed that Tent actually took over the ground floor area of the brewery which was transformed beautifully from its normal market stalls and gorgeous food to a sleek and modern design show – the space was almost unrecognisable!  The show really made the most of the different levels available to it and it flowed together from level to level very easily – I loved it!

These are a few of my favourite selections from the show…

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Behind the white on white design

This design was the Finalist in the Living Space design of the year only recently and we are constantly getting questions on how to re-create parts of this wonderful white on white design.  Here we break down a few of the amazing features of this design

The aim of this bathroom was to have some glitz and glamour whilst still having a completely usable space…and of course it HAD to be white! Mosaic by Bizazza Floor tiles by Surface Bath and toilet by Living House.

Project 3 - Notting Hill - Image 8

1. Did you used the same tile on all walls?
The wall tiles are two different colours of Bizazza Tiles, the beautiful splash back is actually inlaid with white gold to create an extremely glitzy finish. They are called ‘Narcisio’ part of the Shading blends

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Why bespoke wardrobes are best for busy people

Wardrobes are wardrobes, right? Wrong! Bespoke wardrobes add value to your property, make your rooms look gorgeous and they even save you time! They are a fantastic investment for you and your property.

Project 1 - Mayfair - Image 8

Most of our clients are extremely busy people who run their own businesses, they are CEOs and Directors, they don’t have time to waste and, let’s be honest, fashion isn’t always the top priority in the boardroom. However, everyone likes to look their best and creating a wardrobe storage system that is tailored perfectly to you will allow you to look your best and may even give you a few extra minutes in bed (we can’t promise that however!)


House Build - Girls Bedroom - sm

This wardrobe system was created for a client that had a teenage daughter, the wardrobe is actually triangular and contains a larger variety of different internal storage so that there is a place for everything! Just the way it should be!

Looking to have your home re-designed? Want a unique approach that doesn’t waste your time and creates a home that not only looking amazing but works for you?

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Why You Should Never Try And Colour Match Paints

Specifying paint colours is always more of an art than a science.  What we tend to do for most projects it pick a colour for the initial design and then when it comes to fully specifying it we are insistent that we order at least 3 samples for each room. Lighting will always affect colours however it can often be very dramatic and so putting up 3 similar tones can often produce wildly different results.


On a recent project we had a slight dilemma, we had originally specified up the entire house in Dulux paints. As they have a selection of over 20,000 colours they offer a remarkable selection of whites and off whites.  However, a bit of miss communication with the German house builders and we were told that we could in fact only use their own eco friendly paint…which can only be made up in colours from NCS colour system.

Well I am sorry but that just doesn’t work for me, white is not just white, we went through over 50 different dulux colours on site so that we knew we would be completely happy with the end result and there is simply no way to colour match a white from one company to a white from another.  I did give it a go


But as you can see the tones are ever-so-slightly off and unfortunately ever-so-slightly is more than I would be able to stand. So after many a debate we have decided to aim for perfect but not so eco-friendly and have gone with the original Dulux colours.

Have been really happy with how they have all turned out! You’ll get to see more in the big reveal in a few weeks!

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Creating A Bespoke Piece Of Art For A Client

For me interior design is so personal, every room we create is created especially for that person in mind, it is created to full fill their brief and to create a space in which they can live comfortably and happily.

A huge part of any design should be art work, we often work with clients who have extremely large selections of artwork – a client recently had one of the most beautiful collection of MF Husain artwork I think I have ever seen, we could probably start an amazing gallery with their beautiful artwork collection! However, this is not always the case and so for some of our clients we create artwork that perfectly fits the designs scheme rather than being the initial inspiration behind it.

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This quirky design should be award winning!

We go to a lot of design shows and a lot of different showrooms, but every now and then there is a product that just stops you dead in your tracks. This year the product was “Venus of Cupertino.”

Your eyes do not deceive you.  That is exactly was you think it is: a fertility goddess holding an iPad. And yes, she is naked.  Not only is she holding the iPad, she is actually charging it! Described as a, “sculptural docking station,” Venus gently cradles your iPad to her bosom and looks after it until you need it . You will never misplace your iPad again!!

All images from  and you can now purchase online here

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A very special armoire

Every now and then, you will stumble across a product that stops you in your tracks[G1] . For me, this armoire from Alexander Lamont is one of those products.  An extremely elegant piece, it was inspired by the idea of light beneath the ocean and the surface is actually covered with parchment – this gives it a quite fragile and weathered look.



Of course the highlight of the armoire is the handles; they are simply stunning and were made especially for the piece. I am especially excited about this piece as it is from a Thai company that we will be visiting at the end of the year – I cannot wait to see all their gorgeous products in-the-flesh!


For more information visit Alexander Lamont 


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The dark days of a project…

A wonderful quote from one of my favourite movies is, “They say there are only two days you enjoy a boat: the day you buy it and the day you sell it.” Thankfully this doesn’t ring true of our homes; however, it can seem like it when you are in the middle of a huge building project!

You start off with an amazing set of plans and such a huge choice of, well, everything, that your eyes become glazed with all the amazing possibilities.  For me. the beginning of the project is so exciting! We get to find out how our clients are actually going to use their home.  This project is a complete new build so we started off with some gorgeous plans from the architect. However, we were still able to make a large amount of changes when we were in Germany with the clients specifying (how cool  is it to be able to move a wall just because you want the dressing room 20cm larger?!)

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