Interior Design

Hardwood Flooring Finishes: What are Your Options?

Some of the Kia Designs Team recently attended a CPD presented by the Tile and Hardwood Flooring Supplier Domus. As well as getting to have a peruse around one of their amazing showrooms (we love a spot of window shopping), they gave some information about the different finishes and effects they can produce with hardwood engineered flooring.

Lacquer or Oil??

There’s the age old question, which is better, lacquer or oil finishing in regards to hardwood flooring? Both have their advantages and disadvantages:

Lacquer – Advantages:

  • It produces and instantly and extremely resistant floor, that is both difficult to scuff and scratch and very hardwearing.
  • The coating it receives means it will not need another coating.
  • Usually an even colouration
  • Although it is fully resistant when first installed, this will slowly decline over time

Lacquer – Disadvantages

  • When it does sustain a bad scratch or scuff, it cannot be spot repaired, which means that the whole area will need to be sanded back and re-lacquered
  • It produces a less natural looking surface, although this may be more desirable for some

Oil – Advantages

  • It has a much more natural looking effect
  • As it needs re-oiling every year, this builds up its resistance, which means the older it gets the more resistant and hardwearing it becomes
  • If it is damaged in one section, it can easily be spot repaired

Oil – Disadvantages

  • It is not as resistant or hardwearing as a lacquer coating after the first finishing
  • There may be a more varied colouration to the flooring

As you can see, both finishes have their pros and cons, but it usually depends on personal preference and also, the type of area in which the flooring is being installed. For example, a lacquered floor would be best suited for a commercial space, as it is instantly hardwearing. That being said both lacquered and oiled flooring are suitable for both domestic and commercial premises.

How timber is Sawn

The way in which the timber used in your product is sawn can change the appearance of your flooring.

Plain Sawn Timber

Plain Sawn: This what most people would recognise when looking at planks of wood, producing the semi-circle pattern of grain and is the standard and cheapest option. This is the traditionally the most unstable way of sawing planks and is most likely to warp, expand and contract.

Rift Sawn Timber

Rift Sawn: This creates a plank that has a very even appearance, with no semi-circle veins and with fewer knots. However, this is usually a little more expensive as it wastes more material.

Quarter Sawn Timber

Quarter Sawn: Quarter sawn timber produce the most stable and even looking planks. It also produces beautiful ‘rays’ that are very desirable to some. But this is also one of the most expensive ways of cutting timber due to the wastage.

Originally timber was sawn in different ways in order to obtain the most stable boards as possible. However, now with the wonder of engineered hardwood flooring, we can use the traditionally unstable Plain Sawn timber to create flooring that is as hardwearing and substantial Quarter Sawn timber. So it is purely up to your personal preference of which you think is best suited to your project.

Colours, Grains and So Much More

 There are a number of different staining processes that can produce just about any effect you can think of. Here are just a couple different effects that can be created. We suggest that its best to visit a showroom, as products always look different in the flesh (and there is just so many options!). Order samples of what you are attracted to and bring them into your home so you can have a better idea of what they feel and look like in situ.

Different Coloured Grains

The grains of the timber can be made lighter or darker depending on the order in which it is stained. If it is stained with a light colour first, then the grain will appear lighter in tone to the rest of the piece. This is because the stain that is applied first will seep the furthest into the grain of the wood.

Light Stain First

When a darker stain is applied first you get the opposite effect.

Dark Stain First

For more example of the effects that can be achieved ask your supplier or visit Domus’ website by clicking here. We hope that we’ve given you a better understanding of your options for your beautiful new flooring.

How to Make a New Build Feel Lived In: Part 3

Many people struggle to make new builds look homely and lived in. As the property itself will lack any sense of history or character, you’ll need to inject a bit of a sense of personality through your furniture and belongings.

Furnish from the past, present and for the future

If you don’t have any family heirlooms (no – your college billy bookcase doesn’t count), then try buying pieces which aren’t all ultra modern and contemporary in style. You can soften the look with a few older pieces, either faux vintage from somewhere like West Elm who specialise in mid century modern furnishings and homeware, or getting the odd item from eBay or a physical auction house. It will give the impression that the house has always been there, and that you have a history, rather than just feeling like the world started in 2015 when you got the keys. When you look at homes in magazines or go to stately homes or see character’s houses on TV, they will be dressed in this way and your eye will have become accustomed to seeing a variety of belongings in order to look natural. After WWII many people didn’t have any possessions left, or never wanted to be attached to anything that could so easily be taken away, so there was a trend to kit out homes entirely in the fashion of the time, so you might think of a super 60s or 70s home (shag carpet and orange flock wallpaper) but I think you’ll agree they don’t look like homes, more like museum or film sets.

This flat mixes vintage pattern fabric with a modern chair design, modern lighting and a rustic handmade stool

Other options include bold wallpapers on feature walls (accent walls which are darker or smaller, don’t just whack something colourful on the chimney breast. Don’t think feature wall)

Dubai: Interior Design Capital of the Future

Kia Designs is preparing to open an office in Dubai. The expanding and exciting hub is a perfect place for us to reach new and existing clients, as well as access the myriad of suppliers and manufacturers available in the gulf states.

In the modern age there is nothing that competes with the design juggernaut that is Dubai. They are bold, brave, brass and they certainly don’t lack ambition. Wanting to capitalise on hosting the 2020 Expo, the city is creating a design quarter to rival that of Chelsea Harbour in London.

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How to Make a New Build Feel Lived In: Part 2

In the second section of our 3 part series on turning your bland new build into a comfortable home, we look at altering the walls and ceilings to create a sense of history.

Create features where there are none

If the room is lacking in any sort of detailing, add some. Skirting boards and coving always make a room look finished. If it’s a small room, don’t go for anything too large or bulky, it will look disproportionate. Don’t go for anything too ornate if your property is very modern. Art deco styling usually works, because of it’s crisps, angular lines. Ceiling roses around lights in the centre of bedrooms or the living room also subtly introduce more detailing. 

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Knightsbridge Interior - Entrance Hall

Interior Design: From Dubai to London

As an International Interior Design Company we have many ways of transcending the geographical borders of the world, to create stunning, luxury and client-led design across the globe, from Dubai to London, and many more. Our completely online based system means that the team and the client has constant access to the projects details. Our project management system is also an online system, and completely mobile. This means that our team (and clients) can have access to the system and what’s going on in the project anywhere and everywhere, on their laptop, phone or any other mobile device. It also means that communication is as fluid as a conversation in person, with individual online discussions about the specific details. If it is not possible to meet in person, Design Presentations can be made over video call, and clients can have complete access to designs online.

We use the online system Basecamp to increase our mobility and accessibility

Many of our trusted suppliers are international and are based in various destinations across the globe. This make bringing your luxury items and design effortless, no matter where you (and your beautiful home) are in the world.

Whether you want to refresh your home, refurbish your home from home, or build a whole new, beautifully luxurious home from scratch, wherever you are, our international friendly systems and capabilities can help you create that dream haven you’ve been searching for.

Client Testimonials

David

‘I have worked with Kia on a couple of interior design projects in very different properties . Kia brings creativity, energy and attention to detail to every project as well a great ideas and attitude. I would work with her again in a heartbeat, she gets things done, understands what it means to keep to deadlines and budgets and would recommend her highly.’

Burhan

‘As this was my first experience working with an interior designer, I was completely overwhelmed with the task at hand. Kia, with her calm and affable nature, patiently listened to and took into account everything I had envisioned and came up with a design that was not only aesthetically pleasing but practical, comfortable, affordable, and liveable.’

Amrita & Aneesh

‘Kia provided an absolutely fantastic and personal service, and really listened to what we wanted for our apartment remodel. She provided us with regular updates on each step of the process and we always felt that she keep us well-informed and clearly explained all the steps involved. I would have no hesitation at all in using her company again for all future projects and feel that she offers a very professional, but also bespoke, service.’

The Wonderful Power of Paint

The Kia Designs Team often attend press releases for new products, schemes and collections, keeping our eyes peeled for timeless items and new and innovative ideas. Back in September we visited Dulux’s Colour Futures, that informed attendees of the up and coming trends forecasted for 2017.

We discovered one of their new collections, New Romanticism. A project that we were working on the design for around the same time had a brief that was aimed at bringing life and character into a new build that was lacking in style and overall homely-ness. Teamed with the colours from the Dulux Colour Futures, we had the perfect opportunity to inject some style and character on a small budget.

Project 108 Inspiration

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Specifying Wood in Design

Using And Specifying Wood in Design: What you need know, and a few extras bits…

Being a natural material, wood has so many different beautiful tones, textures and variations that can really add something special to your design. It is extremely versatile and has been used for centuries in our homes and buildings across the world. But there are many things that should be considered when specifying wood. When thinking about incorporating wood as a material in your design, whether it be hardwood flooring, commissioning bespoke pieces or even when thinking about the delivery of products that are in wood there is a lot to think about.

Hard and Soft Wood

One common misconception is the idea hardwood and softwood. Many people wrongly identify hard and soft wood from their physical properties, the fact that the wood feels more or less dense. Although this is true for many hard and soft woods, the term is actually given in regards to whether the seeds of the tree have an outer casing. For example, Ochroma, the tree that gives us bolster wood, the second softest wood in the world, is actually classified as a hardwood. Whereas, the Yew tree, which is actually harder than oak to touch, and know for its strong presence in graveyards to supposedly draw away the evil spirits, is a softwood. Now, although this might be rather dry, it is important to know what kind and the properties of the wood you need when you’re specifying for a design.

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Hidden functional design

How To Incorporate Functional Items Into A Design

It can be challenging to place some of the everyday, unsightly objects into your shiny new design. People who dream of clean, open, minimalist homes rarely envisage them with plug sockets. Your bookended marble bathroom might be marred by the inclusion of a toilet brush and spare roll holder. All the floating toilets and vanities will give you a lovely undisturbed floor – until you place a bin in the room. Sadly there is no clean cut solution to remove the everyday functional items from your home. You have 3 main options.

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Evolving a Design: Client Led Changes

After presenting a design to a client, there are often tweaks that need to be made. Here is the evolution of a small portion of a living room in a recent project of ours.

The initial brief:

To transform a new build 2 bedroom flat in Wimbledon into a contemporary, interesting, warm and characterful home. The modern apartment needs to feel grounded and lived in, with up-to-date furniture and styling. The young clients are not afraid of bold colour, but we’ll focus on lighter colours for the bulk of the rooms with dark trims and features. 

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How We Manage Costs: Indispensable Estimac

Most people think that the skill in Interior Design lies in creating stunning spaces. The truth is many people are capable of designing a stunning room. Experience in design will provide you with a lot of knowledge about ergonomics, fabric and furniture durability, range of products available etc, but the real skill (the expertise you are paying for) is transforming it from concept to reality. Managing your money and the logistics to get everything on to site at the correct time and in the correct order, and being fast thinking when something goes wrong and causes a ripple in the supply chain. And doing this comfortably within your budget.

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London Property Development

Where To Start When Doing House Interior Design For Small Houses

When you are limited on space it is very important to have a clear path forward when looking at the design. For most people when doing house interior design for small houses there is one priority: storage. Storage is so important when you are in a limited space. A well designed house with lots of storage it doesn’t mean that it needs to be soulless. Storage isn’t a design style. It shouldn’t be your first consideration or it will dominate the space. That is why when we are looking at small houses we first focus on the overall feel by setting our clients some homework.

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Life of an Interior Designer – The Inside Scoop

The life of an Interior Designer is an interesting one. People often ask me what my day-to-day job involves. How I manage to fit everything in. How I create a work-life balance that works. Honestly, it’s a lot to do with 2 things:

  1. Organisation
  2. Knowing your limits

Organisation

We use many tools to make sure we stay on top of our clients projects. Our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) means that every task is assigned to a specific person. These are easily tracked making sure that tasks are completely by the best informed person within a set time limit. This also means that we can work remotely as our CRM is completely online. So even if we are working on projects around the world our team can be adequately assigned.

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The Secrets Needed For Every Luxury Kitchen

Four things that every luxury kitchen needs and how we provide them for our clients in each design. This is a great place to start when creating luxury in a kitchen space.

Open Living Space Problems

As we open spaces between kitchens and living areas we need to have our kitchens work even harder for us. Especially when focusing on luxury kitchen design. Kitchens need to be as elegant as the rest of the house whilst also being practical. How we have worked around this in our knightsbridge kitchen design is through slide away doors. Open when cooking and closed when entertaining they turn the kitchen in to a serene space you will want to spend all your time in. It is a clever and elegant solution.

roundhouse2

Left: Kitchen Closed Right: Kitchen Open

Since for about a third of home workers their kitchen is also used as a working space (UK Houzz Report 2017) we find it useful to include plugs (hidden, of course!) as a way to make sure dining tables can double as desks especially for younger family members.

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The Compact Home Office: Revisited

In this age of mobility, with laptops, smartphones and online access wherever we go, it is vital that we have a space away from our offices where we can work. Whether you’re a work-a-holic, or just need to send a quick email, its great to have a home office to access and focus completely on the job at hand. The trouble is, with the majority of us being city dwellers, our urban homes don’t always come with that extra office-space square-footage.
Back in October, the Kia Designs team visited Decorex (among many other Design Fairs!). We discovered a number of great new products that help to create that ideal home office, without breaking the bank or the need to extend.These were perfect for a project that we were working on at the time, and are now towards the end of completion! See below some of the great products we found, and how we accommodated a compact home office into our design.

Compact Home Office Products

Hartô presented their beautiful Wall Secretary Desk Gaston, which we all absolutely fell in love with! Its made of MDF and Plywood, veneered in luxurious oak, with matt painted draws in a range of fun colours. Its curved edges and simplicity makes it sophisticated enough to appeal as the perfect compact home office. But its quirky and fun assortment of colours from grey to yellow means it would also look great as a kids study or homework station!

At 569.00€/£507.55 it might not be in everyone’s budget. So we had a bit of fun looking for some other unique ways to get that needed work space into your home. Here are a few alternatives that might get your creative juices flowing, just what you need to get you through that writer’s block…

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