We were recently asked to transform a new build 2 bedroom flat in Wimbledon into a modern, interesting, warm and characterful home. A designated area for studying to be introduced to both bedrooms and improved storage throughout the property.
Having lived in their new build flat for 18 months, the clients have struggled to make it truly feel like home. They wanted to make it a more characterful and useable space but were trepidatious about getting it wrong. The limited storage available isn’t adequate, and there is a concern that adding more will result in a cluttered and busy looking apartment.
We’re often asked about our design process, and how best to display and present your Interior Design to our clients. We’ve already blogged about why we don’t use 3D visualisations so let’s talk about what we actually do.
Having spoken to the client and established what they need and want to get out of the process, and having seen a selection of images they like and established a sense of their taste and lifestyle, work beings on creating a scheme. Functionality comes first – there are set requirements to fill and problems to solve. Then we look at decorating and filing the space appropriately. We have an extensive portfolio of suppliers we work with often, who we know to be reliable, excellent quality, deliver on time and on price and suit a variety of budgets. We also always attend trade fairs and have a list of new suppliers we are interested in forming relationships with. Where we research depends entirely on the client. At the moment we are looking for a client who wants items completely in keeping with their Victorian mansion, that look very English. We’re looking at vintage pieces from places like Christie’s Interiors auctions and at reputable antique dealers, but keeping the budget under control with other pieces from Coach House Antiques. In contrast,the design brief for another project we have calls for more glam, unique items, where the look and feel is the key determining factor, not budget, so we’ve spent more time on 1st Dibs, LuxDeco and the glossy showrooms of Chelsea Design Harbour.
When we’ve selected a few key items, the rest of the scheme comes together fairly fluently. The fabric and style of a sofa usually has an overbearing influence on everything else in the living room, for example, it will dictate the size and height of the coffee table and rug, so that will drastically narrow the field when you are searching products. We also use this time to push clients towards items they might not have considered or have previously dismissed. A current client said she liked the wooden venetian blinds currently in her flat and would like them replaced with something similar. When we asked why, she said that fabric blinds get too dirty (she is above a busy road) and plantation shutters cut out too much light, and she couldn’t think of any other options. We can, however, think of lots of other options, so it’s always worth understanding why your clients do and don’t want items in their new home. Sometimes the clients isn’t always right – “I don’t want a fabric sofa, I spill tea on it and can’t wash it” (ok, you spill tea – we’ll get you a fabric sofa where you can unzip every cushion and wash to your heart’s content).
So when we think we’ve come up with a suitable design scheme, we put together a presentation (slide show) and talk through our plans and the furnishings for each room. The client usually mulls it over for a few days and then often makes a few changes (sofa too low, wallpaper too blue) and then we make adjustments accordingly. We also give them a complete costing sheet. That also helps them make decisions about the design – “I’m not keen on those bedside tables and they are more than I’d like to spend on something I’m not sure about”. Below is a presentation we have just given to an actual client. We’ll post again after they have come back to us with the necessary amendments and we’ll show you how the design evolves.
We recently had a brief for a client who seldom cooked, and had no interest in the kitchen. The property is also a 2nd home, rarely used. The problem was we were planing on changing the layout of her property, from a 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom and required the room currently housing the kitchen to become that 3rd bedroom. The dead entrance space was perfect for the new kitchen, but would then be open plan and become the main view from the front door and living room. So in order to please the client, and not drop a conspicuous kitchen next to her lovely lounge, we teamed up with the talented Magnus at Roundhouse to help us disguise the kitchen so that it fit seamlessly into the room.
Completely restyling your home can be daunting if you’re just unhappy with its current state but haven’t given much thought to how it should look. Lots of professions can be called upon for logistical help, or you might have clearer ideas on how you use the property and what doesn’t work, but don’t know how do you go about coming up with a design scheme.
The best answer is to research. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, and you don’t need to go out and buy lots of expensive glossy magazines. Look around your current home, which items do you most like or cherish? Why? You’ll probably be keeping them so they are a good place to start. Next, a quick browse through an image collective, like Pinterest, should help you narrow in. You don’t even need to set up an account (though doing so will be very helpful later, as you can share it with your designer and builders). The tags on each image should help you develop some design vocabulary. Now you’ll know that you like ‘shaker’ style kitchens and ‘mid-century modern sideboards’. A good designer can create a whole scheme based on 1 or 2 images and an eloquent client. It won’t be time consuming, they’ll go away and do drawings based on your initial conversation, and then meet back with you and tweak anything you aren’t happy with. You can be as involved as you like to be, but we find once most clients start seeing things they’ve liked adapted to their own home and way of life, the process flows very smoothly and even the most design unconscious, colourblind clients get very excited.
One of the most satisfying parts of our job is finishing a project and then looking back over the initial brief and inspiration to see if we’ve achieved what we set out to. When we are pitching to a client, we create mood boards, based on all the inspiration and ideas they have given us, mixed with our own thoughts and specific product knowledge. From creating these mood boards and presentations to actually seeing the finished product can be well over a year, and quite often you find that a design has matured and developed along the way. Not so with our recent big project, when we went back over the presentation notes we were quite taken aback at how accurately they represented what materialised. For examples, the hallway:
3D visualisations became a huge part of the design industry, starting from architecture and interior design and finishing on homeware and cars. The reason for that is pretty simple: clients want to see the finish product before purchasing the service itself. However, this may be really tricky. Read on to find out why we are not doing 3D visualisations:
1.Time. Preparing 3D visualisation is time consuming. The HD image, that looks like a photo, is based on 3D model build in special software. Building the model takes weeks if not months, depending on the scale of the project. Our emphasis is on designing the interior itself.
2. Perspective. To prepare a good visualisation you have to think about the final outcome, like a photograph. What does it mean? It means that in some cases, the shots are taken from very bizarre places(like inside of a fridge or on the balcony) to get a good angle of the room. However, none of us will see the interior from that position. The crucial thing here is that the image never represents the room the way you see it, as the camera spectrum is narrower, so be prepared that what you see in 3D Visualisation may not be the perspective of the room you will ever see.
3.Lighting. Lighting plays a very important role in both photography and 3D visualisations. To get very sharp and visually interesting image, in same cases lights in the model have been adjusted or moved around to get this very effect, which means in natural conditions, in cloudy London, you may never see the space in that way.
4.It’s disappointing. To sum up all the points above, you get your expectations really high after seeing a 3D visualisation, and your interior may never look like that or you will never see it that way. The light won’t be the same, or the angle you are seeing the room is not the same, or maybe the stool has a different fabric, overall this is not what you expected. It may look much better, but it just won’t be what you expected.Images tend to represent the design scheme in some way, but they are not show the exact space, so just trust your designer and get ready to be surprised. After all this is the fun part of the process!
When designing for properties in central London is is always important that you make the most of the space, this makes the spacial design extremely important. Here we are redesigning a duplex apartment in a Grade II listed property in Baker Street, it has been used as student accommodation for years but now the clients want to revitalise it and turn it in to a jewel. It’s the classic diamond in the rough, this property has a huge amount of potential but it has been used and abused over the past few decades. We will be taking you through many different parts of this design however the most important starting point is the floor plan, good space planning will mean that the design will come together effortlessly.
Simple start from the existing to the proposed. However, it wasn’t quite right.
Yesterday evening I accompanied Kia of a client meeting where we were presenting the design proposal. Although I had previously attended meetings with clients, including this client, I had not experienced a meeting where the design concept had been explained, so was very interesting to see how the client reacted and what kind of questions they asked, in addition to the way that Kia talked them through the reasoning behind the design.
Proposed Option 3
To introduce the spacial plan (which was the main task considered with these clients as they had recently renovated their flat) Kia showed different variants of layout that we considered. She also explained why certain elements of these designs did not work, in addition to how moving existing items and introducing new items would enhance the space. This was also a good way to see if the clients followed the choices and understood folly so they could make the most of employing someone with expertise.
The chandelier is described by the makers as “A revolution in crystal chandelier design, the Geometrix collection from Schonbek offers glamour, radiance and color second to none. This chandelier is comprised of lily-cut Strass crystal crafted in Austria by Swarovski. Each highly refractive crystal is cut and polished to perfect optical clarity. Paired with six halogen fixtures, this showpiece offers incomparable shimmer.” It certainly does have a fantastic radiance and the refracted light would be ery similar to the light coming through the arch – basically it’s perfect.
The sofa is classic and has the softness that the picture has, you feel like you want to curl up in to it and the colour works beautifully to set off the bright purples and lilacs – not every piece has to jump off the page at you (but the cushions on it will add some vibrancy) The sofa will also work perfect opposite these stunning chairs! These side tables certainly do jump off the page at you, there colour is bright and the pattern has nature spread all over it named the ‘Celestial Cloud stool’ is is actually inspired by Asian ink paintings. The coffee table is made from Bone Veneer, it adds another gorgeous texture that is subtle but also works as a gorgeous centre piece. The main pattern is added through the beautiful wallpaper that perfectly picks up not only the subtle changes of colours in our inspiration but also the type of flower (that was a real masterstroke!) and the mirror brings in the structure that is beautifully holding the arch in place from our inspiration – that bit of rustic against some of the other smooth textures will make this really shine. One of my favourite pairings in this scheme however is the side tables with the lamps – so many textures and quite different styles but they will work in perfect harmony.