Inside the world of Interior Design

Creating A Tropical Home In East London

We often get clients who aren’t afraid of colour and most of our clients are well travelled if not international. So when we had a client come in and fearless look at jungle prints exclaiming that they felt like home we knew we were going to be having a lot of fun on this project. I want to start with the disclaimer that we are not going to be using all these at the same time but these were the initial pieces that we have looked at for how to bring a little bit of tropical jungle in to your home. So he’s a few pieces that can help you start creating a tropical home too!

Singita, which means ‘Place of Miracles’ from Cole and Son. Product Code: 109/7035

Using Wallpaper

Colour palettes are drawn from the natural landscape: from the chalky, ochred desert plains and sun-bleached shimmering outcrops to the vibrant fresh greens of water-kissed rainforests and exotic colourings of native flora and fauna.

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Spotlight on: Bisazza

Luxurious Industry Leader

Bisazza is the industry’s leading producer of glass mosaics and tiling for interior and exterior decoration.

Established by Renato Bisazza in 1956 in Alte, Vicenza, Northern Italy, the company has become a trailblazer, marked by a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit, a mastery of modern technologies blended with the charm of craftsmanship and custom design.

Kia Designs mosaic

A close up of the Bisazza mosaic wall

Bisazza stock tiles to nearly every country in the developed world, and have flagship stores in London, NY and throughout continental Europe. Their work appears in over 700 of the world’s top 1000 hotels as rated by CN Traveller. They also appear in many of our projects as their quality and flare make them our go to brand for mosaics and bathroom design. They are a brilliant addition to any surface, and look equally good as small highlights as they do as grand murals.

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Interior Designers Guide To Glamping

What Happens When An Interior Designer Designs A Glamping Tent

The Best Way To Camp

Heading to a festival this year? Everyone has a different idea about what it’s like to “rough it” and if you’re someone who shudders at the idea of sleeping outdoors on the cold, lumpy ground without the luxuries that you’re used to, why not make your tent a true home away from home with our recommended designer items.

Glamping is the perfect combination of enjoying hotel luxury while experiencing the great outdoors. The great thing about this recent craze is that you can personalise your tent to suit you whether you want to bring the outdoors in with a few hanging plants or enjoy laid-back luxury with a simple, minimal approach.

Of course, you’re going to have to pack the essentials, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with nature in style by adding throw pillows, battery powered fairy lights and even a boho style rug that you can place at the door to keep the mud outside where it belongs. Opt for decorative furnishings with different textures that are bound to introduce some much-needed comfort into your camping experience. Indulge in your bedding and pack an air bed before adding a duvet over your sleeping bag to create that homely feel. You’ll find that these extras will make all the difference to your time away.

The Designers Guide To Glamping from a London Interior Designer

You might be out of your comfort zone but who said you have to leave technology at home? Keep up with your social media and pack a solar charger for your phone and add light to your wigwam with electric candles – safe and eco-friendly. You might even want to keep the party going after hours with a portable speaker that will connect to your phone.

So, when it comes to looking for inspiring items for your festival experience, Kia Designs has a team on hand to give you a fresh perspective.

Fine Finishing: An Interesting Conversation Piece

Art is a very emotive topic. We are all moved by different pieces of art and we all have a very unique appreciation of it here at Kia Designs. This piece I stumbled across spoke to me personally. I could see it working well in lots of different schemes. It’s soft colours are soothing. The layering of the piece provides a lot of depth. These pieces seem particularly peaceful yet still vibrant and appealing. I was instantly drawn to them as an interesting conversation piece.

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Spotlight On: Naked Kitchens

New Kid on the Kitchen Block

Modern kitchen design fall into 3 categories:

1) Traditional. Usually handmade and bespoke. Think luxurious woods and inflame design.

2) High Street. Global trends in manufacturing make them cheaper and quicker to produce and more modular: easily changed, altered and replaced. They can be as bland as possible, for resale or tenants, or as trend focused as you like. Ikea is largely responsible for driving demand.

3) Luxury high tech. The space age kitchens with the latest in hands-free sensors and clean, perfectly honed lines. These tend to be the more stylish and sophisticated models, although can can apply to inflame designs too. You’ll always know one by the price tag. They tend to use advanced manufacturing techniques, usually developed for something else (think metal drawer fronts that repel kitchen grease because they use the same finishing techniques as on spaceships for re-entry {true story}).

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That Light Bulb Moment: An Idiots Guide to Light Bulbs

So, the extremely exhilarating topic of the technicalities of the light bulb. It may sound dull but since working for Kia Designs I finally had diffused my fear of light bulb shopping. I had always put off buying bulbs for that light that had blown, because, although I ended up with the right one in the end, the amount of codes and names always confused me. You go down the lightbulb isle in the supermarket and the amount of different, shapes, sizes, wattage etc glares back at you, and what makes it worse, many different places use differing names. And it turns out, many of our clients are the same, and we are often asked ‘what bulb do I need to get for my lamp, and where can I get it?’. I believe I am a step closer to becoming a light bulb pro. And I am here to share my knowledge, starting with the bayonet and the screw fitting… the excitement is palpable.

 

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A House Or A Home?

Creating The Feeling Of Home

The feeling of home can often be hard to put your finger on but time and time again this is what we create for our clients. When people buy a house that’s often how they describe it “We’ve bought a house”. Even when they’ve moved in they often still call it that until they are able to turn into a home. Their home. Not a picture postcard of a home, not a brochure for a home but something that works for them each and every day. Everyone has a different idea of what their home should feel like, does it need to be open and yet still cozy? Does it need to be technologically advanced whilst still maintaining a facade of old school elegance?

These all sound like ideas that don’t mesh together very well. However, good design pulls these ideas together flawlessly. So that you almost don’t notice how well designed a space is. Until you stand in it and we show you all the small finished details that make it perfect for your day to day. Whether it be for a busy life with young children or a more relaxed holiday home that needs to work for only short periods throughout the year.

Completely hidden storage

Every project requires fantastic storage, being able to put our possessions away in places that make the most sense to our life is so important. It can remove the feeling of anxiety that can rise from not knowing where something is. It can help to unclutter your mind as we declutter the home. Leaving you feeling more relaxed and at ease in your surroundings.

We don’t just create beautiful houses or spaces we create homes. From large to small, every detail is curated to be able to create a polished interior that suits you. 

What Size Art to Use? A Definitive Guide to Space Planning

Create a Polished Looking Interior With Stylish Art Pieces

Badly hung art can ruin the look and feel of a room. You might have pieces that you treasure and love, but you have to be ruthless about where they fit in the scheme. You can always find a place for your desired objects, it just might not be centre stage above a sofa if it’s an A4 frame.

kia designs artwork prep

If you need to make artworks look larger, you can be creative with framing. This frame in our Baker St project sits completely independently from the painting, adding volume without being overwhelming.

 

The main culprits:

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Creative Bathroom Design: Get The Look

Translating Client Dreams to Realities

The current bathroom in one of our projects is lacking in style and character. By adding fun tiles and and interesting collection of artwork, the space will be injected with the much needed charm and fun the clients are after.

Updating your bathroom can be one of the most satisfying amendments you can make to your home. It’s a room you spend lots of time looking around. It’s also a room that gets dirty and mouldy easily and one that we really associate germs and necessary cleanliness with. In short, people like and expect their bathrooms to look fresh. 

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A Room With Many Functions: Multi Purpose Living

How To Make Your Tiny Flat Do More For You

Our current Spitalfields project requires us to create a guest room that also functions as a TV room, a gaming room, an office, a yoga space and a storage haven. Not much to ask…

Here is the brief from the clients:

“The current office and spare room will be redesigned to be a truly multifunctional room. It will provide a production space from which to work from home, whilst also working as a room for guests to stay. On top of this, the room will be able to be completely adaptable to free up floor space for yoga and other exercises, and also provide a relaxing space to cuddle up for movie and games nights.”

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Meeting the Brief: Spitalfields Challenge

From Shabby to Chic

Another month, another new project. Our latest is a lovely young couple to want to turn their apartment into a proper home. They have ambitious plans for multi-functional rooms and lots of entertaining. Our brief was as follows:

To inject the clients fun loving personalities into their slightly worn and dated 2 bedroom apartment. A complete refresh and slight adaptation of the interior spacing will revitalise the already much loved apartment into a home that can multitask and work hard to give the clients what they need. With large bright windows and charming open-plan living, the space will be much better suited to the clients’ needs for storage, study requirements and room for visiting guests.

Kia Designs living room design

The open-plan living space will be adapted to cater to the clients, who love to cook and regularly entertain friends and family. Household items that have been bought and loved over the years will be carefully sewn into the overall design. These will create the basis for a design that is organically put together, where each piece builds on one another and creates a number of different textures, rather than an extremely curated and calculated, showroom feel. This will also help the room grow with the occupants over the years, allowing pieces to be switched in and out without compromising the design.

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It’s All About Creating Internal Views and Vistas

Don’t forget about the spaces in between.

Focal points anchor a room, but it’s not the only view a room offers. Designers have to consider how you move through the space, which items should come into view when. The aim is to draw you into and around a room, teasing with a glance of a room beyond but never revealing too much. Then there are aesthetic blocks, when you don’t want to show someone access to something, but don’t want them to realise it is shielded. This is usually the case for the kitchen. Most people want to eat nearby, but don’t want to see the dirty dishes.

Knightsbridge Interior Design - Twin Bed Shower

The corridor or transitional areas of homes often gets overlooked. It’s not an area you’d traditionally invest in professional photos for, so

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Is it Ever Worth Going to Design Shows?

Valuable exposure or vanity event?

Yes, they are fun, but is it time well spent? Let’s be clear, this post doesn’t refer to trade shows. Those are only open to industry professionals and are the main means of keeping pricing competitive (no one is going to your stall if you offer a 20% discount and everyone else is offering 30%). We’re talking about the crowd pleasing design weeks, of which there are several (Focus, Clerkenwell Design Week, London Design Week (Chelsea) etc). They are largely attended by journalists, a few designers and well off 30 somethings who want to browse and invest in the latest products, but run a mile when they hear the pricing.

Kia Designs Design Week

Design Week utilised all the open plan spaces in and around Clerkenwell

Renting space at the events can be phenomenally expensive for up and coming designers, so you get a very selective view of what’s

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The Zaha Treatment

Try not to have your products overshadowed by their surroundings

Visiting the ROCA showroom in London’s Chelsea Design Quarter is quite something. The 1,100 sq m facility was designed and installed by Zaha Hadid’s architectural practice in 2009. The project took 2 years to complete and cost (but you didn’t hear it from us) in the region of £2.5m.

Inspired by water sculptures and the brand’s inventive heritage (they invented the wall hung toilet), the Hadid designed interior is almost entirely fluid in design, with no sharp lines or angles. Roca’s commitment to design and innovation is key to it’s identity and the building does an excellent job of conveying that. The movement of water is the overriding theme in the Roca London Gallery – flowing and merging exterior and interior spaces. The interior is made up of hand sprayed and finished concrete panels (each one completely unique). State of the art lighting connects each of the different areas whilst serving as a central axis running through the gallery that the staff refer to as the “spine”. The interior is fabulous, functional and flexible, featuring cutting-edge, modern, audiovisual, sound and lighting equipment. This technology provides interaction with the brand and the opportunity to discover the company’s history, its landmark achievements and the values on which all of Roca’s work is based: the commitment to sustainability and particularly to innovation, design, wellness and saving water.

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How To Write an Interior Design Press Release

An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

There is an art to writing a press release. You have to be short and snappy, interesting but dry, eye catching but modest and personal yet professional. And it’s difficult to write one for your own work, just as it is difficult to interview yourself. When you are personally involved with a project, it is difficult to be objective about what is, and isn’t interesting. You are also too aware that the purpose of getting your work into the press is to tell people about you and your company and thus generate more business, but that is never the goal of the journalist, who only wants to entertain, inform, enlighten or illustrate their own point.

It’s notoriously difficult to get your work into the bigger publications

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Guide to Installing Glass: With and Without a Crane

The Pros and Cons of Including Large Panel Glass in Your Design

Light, after floorspace, this the most desirable quality in a home. Most people dream of having light drenched rooms and unhindered views out. Glass technology has come on leaps and bounds. Triple glazing is now often more insulated and efficient than some exterior walls. Glass itself has also comedown in price and lead time. But the ability to produce large format panes comes with the challenge of installing them. What savings you make on the glass, you spend on the installation.

Let there be light

Your options are to either have the glass put in by hand, or craned. 

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Wimbledon: Before and After

Check out how we transformed this worn flat into a sporty city pad

We’ve now completed our Wimbledon Project, and as it didn’t involve any building work this was a relatively quick turn around. We think the before and after photos are a great example of how a little bit of considered design can transform a space.

The brief was to transform a new build 2 bedroom flat in sporty SW19 into a modern, interesting, warm and characterful home. Areas for studying to be introduced to both bedrooms and improved storage throughout the property. Being a new build, the property suffered the typical attributes of bad sound insulation, layout and featureless rooms.

Kia Designs before and after nook

Before and After: The window box in the living room is now a cosy nook

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Why Write an Interior Design Press Release

A handy guide why it’s worth getting your work in front of a journalist.

Pinterest is fun. Instagram is full of swoon-worthy interiors. Facebook is ablaze with people reposting interesting products. But until you are mentioned in and recognised by the mainstream press, your work is not legitimised. You might have 1 million likes on a pin, but that is just people liking an image. They aren’t necessarily going to buy your product. They might like the products, but not how you have arranged them. You might have included an image of the kitchen, which you repainted and changed the lighting in, but didn’t design. You might have pinned something you don’t actually have any rights to. It’s just not trustworthy.

before and after regents park press

Read All About It: Complete transformation

Having your work featured in a traditional news source is key to promoting your business. A well respected journalist who validates your work by saying you produce a desirable product and reliable service is worth more than 500,000 followers on Twitter. Whilst your client avatar, say a wealthy business CEO, probably won’t read World of Interiors, it will help build your profile amongst industry insiders. Links from popular sites will send your website soaring up the google ranking, where your ideal client is searching. And backlinks pay dividends over time. Having a press section on your website allows clients to see that you work is interesting enough to write about and has been independently endorsed, and it assures other journalists that you are a professional and worth writing about.

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Spotlight on: Heathfield and Co

Quality lighting with a creative edge – Heathfield

Heathfield & Co are British designers and manufacturers of decorative lighting for luxury residential and commercial projects. Established in 1977, the company designs and manufactures all products in the UK and as such provides extremely competitive lead times and can be extremely flexible. Their range currently includes table lamps, floor lamps, pendants, chandeliers and wall lights and IP44 rated for the bathroom.

They have long been an Interior Designer favourite. They are brilliant at listening to feedback and producing items that clients ask for. Design inspiration stems from all over, but particularly stems from influences from the Art Deco and Mid Century Modern era, but produced with a very modern feel. Recent collections have had a distinctly Middle Eastern twist. They feature heavily in both design press and renown designer’s work, and are well known and respected throughout the industry.

As well as the luxury residential market Heathfield produce lighting for swanky hotels over the world, such as the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, the Ritz Carlton Dubai and the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam. You can also catch their work in restaurants like Pho in London and Dirty Martini Edinburgh.

Kia Designs used Heathfield lighting extensively in our Knightsbridge project

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Technology in the Home: Hellish or Heaven-Sent?

There is a lot of mixed opinion around the use of integrated technology in the home. Some find the possibilities extremely exciting, whilst others are frankly terrified of the prospect. We have a number of clients how have started drooling over the thought of a fully integrated cinema room, where you can control the speakers, dim the lights, and close the blinds, all at the touch of a button. Meanwhile, others are just happy to have a pretty, straight-forward light switch that turns, well, turns on lights.

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