That’s Clever!

Stunning Bespoke Embroidery Art

New Designers, held every year in the Business Design Centre in Islington is a fantastic platform for up-and-coming talent. We go every year in search of fresh, innovative designs and emerging trends. This year we were particularly taken by the intricate work of Bristol based textile artist Jacky Puzey, whose digital embroidery and layers of laser-cut sheer fabrics create luxurious tableaus of urban wildlife.

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Jacky does bespoke commissions and we are hoping to use one of her unique and stunning pieces in our upcoming Knightsbridge project. We particularly love the textures created by her stitched mixed media – she often incorporates feathers, fabrics, wallpapers, dried flowers and leathers. The hyena above uses goat fur and feathers. Jacky’s preferred base is a thick organza, traditionally used for kimonos, which is transparent and when framed gives a slight hint as to the surface behind the work, with visible shadows from the embroidery, creating an extra layer.

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Creating A Kitchen That Isn’t A Kitchen

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 13.46.35One of our current projects has a very exciting feature – a kitchen that blends seamlessly into the lounge. The client loved the large open space, but didn’t want to feel like they were sitting in or relaxing next to the kitchen.

The first thing to do when integrating or disguising any object is to break it up into little parts. We’ve used different materials to clad different areas of the design. The island has been clad in a stunning burl wood, and is on raised feet, making it look far more like a dresser or sideboard. The sink unit is then painted in lighter colours which blend in more with the wallpaper, and the marble surface actually goes all the way up the sides of the window, cladding out the whole box, rather than just having a splash back. We’ve made the most of a quirky bit of space, where the building window juts out, and madScreen Shot 2016-06-30 at 13.45.56e it part of the design, throwing out conventional proportions.

The cupboarding is clad in a polished metal, which is very unusual in kitchens – intact our kitchen company, Roundhouse are making the finish specially for us. It will be highly durable and light reflective, so should make a stunning, unique surface. Inside the cupboards is more countertop and surface area, hidden away so that you don’t have acres of marble top visible in the room. A whole coffee station complete with quoter tap and appliances waits patiently behind the doors, adding to the clutter free look of the space.

We’ve used lighting that would more commonly be found in a lounge or bedroom. But not using function specific lighting, you can really change the mood  of a space. Here it instantly looks for informal and relaxed. If you were looking over from the sofa, you would just think this is an extension of the same room.

The island countertop is very special. We’ve gone for a mixed blue marble, which reminds us of a Van Gogh. It balances nice with the large oil painting which will go on the wall behind it. The blend of tones in the stone is quite remarkable, and it’s a bold colour most people would find too dominating for a kitchen.

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Behind the kitchen will stand a wall of mosaic tiles in a flower pattern, akin to a dutch still life, to continue the art theme. This will be the dominant feature of the room and you’ll completely forget that you’re making scrambled eggs in your living room and think you’re in a great grotto somewhere in Southern Italy. We’ve enjoyed placing it in such an unusual setting, not only for the attention it will receive, but also for the amusement it should bring.

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Using a Professional Photographer

We’ve recently shot our latest project with a super talented interiors photographer Anna Stathaki.  One of the most satisfying parts of finishing a project is getting it professionally photographed and sending out the glossy snaps to the press and public. The lovely comments start rolling in and you forget about all the dust and hours you spent arguing with building control.

Doing a professional photoshoot can be a long and arduous task, and pre planning is key. Photographers aren’t cheap, so you’ll want to have a very good idea of what shots you can get yourself (if you’re any good – be honest!) and which ones only a very skilled snapper can capture. Our Knightsbridge project was full of mirrors and reflective surfaces, so we made the most of Anna’s expert lenses and photoshopping skills to remove the image of the camera from all the images. There are  couple of things to remember when booking a photo day:

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The Fool Proof Carpet

We’re often visited at our office by sales reps who have come to show us their new wares and demonstrate their products. It’s great to see what’s in the pipeline before it hits any showroom, and it’s always good to have a library of innovative products in mind when listening to clients concerns.

A recent visit that most impressed us was Sylka Carpets. They are a multi award-winning carpet manufacturer that produces manmade fibre replicas, very accurately. The result is a super high quality product at a reasonable price (ok, they are closer to the top end, but far more affordable than the real thing), which is far more durable and easy to maintain than their natural counterparts. And we struggled to tell the difference. Think silk, cashmere of wool carpets without the wear (the fibre structure is incredibly hard wearing and won’t breakdown), without the pilling (as they are spun from single threads you won’t get any fluff) and impervious to most stains (the fibres aren’t porous, so unless you coat it in a painting substance, it shouldn’t hold any staining). So we’re talking a thick, white carpet you can pour red wine all over and leave no trace. And even better, if you do stain or damage it (a client dropped her red nail polish) instead of having to replace the whole room, you can simply cut around the damage segment and patch in a new piece, which will blend in seamlessly. For this reason, the company suggests buying a few extra meters, as the dyeing of each roll can be slightly different and this will guarantee you an invisible finish.

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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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Basecamp and The Art of Project Management

All our projects are run through a web-based interior design project-management tool called Basecamp. This is our one-stop-shop for everything to do with your interior design project. It makes a quick and easy reference tool for all parties who are involved in any part of the design or construction of your beautiful home.

The main menu is broken down into the following parts

1) Latest Project Updates

Here you see a brief overview of the most recent activity within the project, with the author and time clearly labelled and a link to the specific post. This, combined with the ‘Events’ tab will keep you fully up to date with how the design is progressing. The Events tab can be accessed via the right-hand-side button.Upcoming events and important dates are also noted here. Clients, contractors, suppliers can all see the schedule and add to the list at any time. It’s your own personal calendar and all dates pertaining to the project will be there, including when you, or your designer may be out of the country. This can be handily synced to a Google or iCalendar.

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Interior Design in London

Storage Solutions

There are certain challenges the Interior Design in London brings you.  Even in the most luxurious of houses space is usually an issue which means that storage is also an issue.  Most of our projects tend to be in London so we get very good at building in storage that is both pretty and functional

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This looks like your typical cloakroom however, those cupboards underneath the sink are actually housing a washing machine and dryer.  We designed the room so that all the doors can also come off easily so that both the washing machine and tumble dryer can easily pull out (avoiding the toilet nicely) for ease of maintenance.  The sink was also specially thought about, we wanted something that didn’t look too small on the vast work top so we picked a sink design that was low line but very wide so that the proportions worked perfectly.  We used the same measurements for the mirror above the sink and used wall lights so give the room beautiful light.  The cupboard above the toilet holds all the usual items you would need in both a cloakroom as well as everything needed for the laundry but is all nicely hidden away.

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Daring hotel in Vienna

Within cities, there are always a number of hotels popping up left, right, and center.  A lot of the time they are built on relatively small sites and need to be extremely unique and eye-catching if they are to gain any real traction.  This hotel in Vienna succeeds on both counts:

The sleek, curvy design stands out in contrast to the surrounding architecture, but somehow manages to fit in seamlessly.  The curved nature of the hotel also works nicely within the interior:

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Item of the day: John Houshmand Coffee Table

There are times when you see an item and it quite wonderfully brings together two very different dynamics.  Traditionally, coffee tables were made of wood and people did not much question whether this was the optimum material for such a piece of furniture.  Moving on in history, we started to see far more glass coffee tables which ranged from super-sleek to appallingly naff, but I believe this item takes the best of both worlds:

The imperfection of the wood mixed with the seamless nature of the glass is very eye-catching and something that I could very much imagine in a lobby (although it would also make significant waves in a large enough living room!)

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Customised swing!

There is likely nothing that instantly transforms people into ‘big kids’ quicker than an indoor swing!  We have wanted to put an indoor swing into many projects but they are very much dependent upon having ceiling joists in convenient places (chance has been against us each time in this regard!).  However, if you are going to go for an indoor swing you have to get something really special (not just a plank attached to two pieces of rope!).  Perhaps something like this …

What I really like about this product is how you can customise the swing to fit in with your own personality.  The seat, for example, can be altered:

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Radiators Can Be Funky Too

Whenever you can add a bit of additional interest to a primarily functional item it adds a level of intrigue to any design.  This product by ‘The Radiator Company’ incorporates LED lights into the radiators acrylic cover:

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 Not only does this liven up what can otherwise be a relatively mundane item but it also provides a very useful secondary lighting which would be ideal for a late night visit to the kitchen!
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Unique ceiling unit

Recently it seems that we have been forever searching for chandeliers and general ceiling lighting and, after a while, it can seem that you have seen it all.  Having said that, this piece really captured my imagination given the fact that I have seen nothing like it on the market (and certainly nothing as elegant in such a style):

 

 

For me it is the intricacy of the piece which stands out; such intricacy will no doubt provide a soft ambient light which, combined
with the sleek design, creates a fantastic overall impression.
Credit: Designer Lights
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Products at Clerkenwell Design Week: Part 2

A lot of the time Interior Design can become very serious, overly so in fact, and it is necessary to lighten the mood with a more ‘fun’ product.  During Clerkenwell Design week we found some very cool lamps that are made out of action figures/toys – take a look:

The company in question (there is a link below) can make these out of one’s own childhood toys or can create a bespoke piece which fits your own specifications:

I am also impressed with, aside from the unique appeal of these pieces, the classy shade which would allow a piece like this to (cheekily) work in conjunction with more classy pieces:

Overall, I am very impressed and my start looking through my own toy box!

Credit: Evil Robot Designs

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