Interior Design Blog

Kia is an award winning London Interior Designer based in East London. Her studio takes on projects from around the world. Our studio prides itself on being able to provide a hassle free Interior Design process that provides clients with a design that is perfectly tailored to their lifestyle

The trouble with designing bathrooms

Bathrooms can be one of the trickiest areas to design and it’s where professional designers really save you time and money. Designs can be limited by technical specifications, legal requirements, structural and drainage limitations. Having said that, they can often be the most exciting space to design. In small projects with budget limitations, bathrooms tend to be the place you splash (sorry for the pun) out, as you aren’t buying materials in huge quantities, you can get the extra nice tiles or go for slate floors. Or you might decide that since the downstairs cloakroom is so small and people in there will probably have time to look around them, you might go for that bold wallpaper and make the room more exciting and visually interesting. Clients who want a more unique or individual looking space often experiment with new and antique or vintage/found at market pieces. They can be a great room for displaying a collection, as long as your objects don’t mind getting wet. Or perhaps you’ve decided that you are going to get that hotel chic feel and go all out for marble and make a grand and relaxing space.

bathroom inspiration

A Deco inspired bathroom, full of personality, for a flat in Chelsea

Don’t be too swayed by fashionable or trendy images of bathrooms. The room has to be functional, first and foremost. A few years ago there was a huge trend for wooden floors, tabletops and detailing in bathrooms – they look great in pictures but can’t handle the moisture and you’ll find they look awful after a year and need replacing in 2-3 years time. It’s always best to ask a professional what works and how best to achieve the look you want. Likewise fancy gadgets like masticators. They may sound fantastic, a small machine that means you can place the toilet anywhere you like, no need to be near a stack pipe, but from experience they never work. They break constantly and are tricky to fix, and you will probably have to relocate the toilet back to solid plumbing within a few years. Bathroom electronics, such as TVs and iPads also suffer. If you’re having a steamy bath, the humidity may muffle the sound, or jacuzzi jets will drown it out entirely. No matter what the guarantee says, moisture always gets in and effects performance. There are tricks to minimise this, like piped venting, but that will involve a larger extractor. Attractive basins may not hold enough water, or may not drain quickly and clog easily.

Other problems to consider:

  1. Wet rooms. Some flat blocks and freeholders simply will not allow you to have one, and there is no form of appeal. In order to have a wet room, aside from the necessary access to good ventilation, you will need to raise the entire floor, so bare this in mind if you have low ceilings, or are likely to have to step up into the room. Also, you will have to make sure the drainage is very effective and that is shower is furthest from the door – or you’ll have soggy feet or slippers when you nip in to use the loo or do your make-up.
  2. Bath weight. A large metal or stone bath, when filled with water, can be extremely heavy and you might need to reinforce the floor, or position it over a supporting beam.
  3.  Water pressure. You might need to update your boiler system if you want a power shower or change the position of your storage tank if putting a bathroom in a higher floor or loft.
  4. No electrical sockets. It’s illegal to put any socket that isn’t a shaver into a UK bathroom. So if you really want to have your hairdryer in there you might have to be creative and build one in. You can get around this (although strictly, we would never recommend this) by putting an adapter into the shaver socket – that way you can charge your tooth brush etc in situ.
  5. Built-in features, like hidden cisterns look sleek, but if they go wrong you’ll be taking a sledge hammer to your beautifully tiled back wall the first time doesn’t fill properly if you haven’t left an access hatch. If wall taps are leaking internally, slowly, it can be a long time before you discover the problem and it will usually mean replacing a large area.

So a little professional advice will go a long way with bathrooms. Our next post will be on some beautiful rooms we have created for clients and how we overcame unforeseen obstacles.

Read more →

What Pelmets’ Installation Has Taught Us?

…about suppliers?

Pelmets not only hide the curtain tracks, but often create an interesting visual piece above the window. Depending on fabric you pick, they may be matching your cushions and pillows or trying to create a great contrast to your existing pieces. In general, they are a small accessory that can make a big change. 

But this blog post is not only about pelmets, but also about how those small details can become a very problematic situation. So what has pelmet installation taught us?

Interior Designer Mayfair

  1. Choose trustworthy suppliers.

Googling a company that has to install your pelmets may be not a best way to find trustworthy supplier, but sometimes the recommended company, or your favourite one is very busy or they are overbooked for months in advance and can’t be used. How to recognise then if the company you are looking to hire is actually worth it?

a)It is easy to contact them; through email and phone, you have a contact person assigned to your project.

b)They inform you about the progress of work. If there are items missing from production,  or you haven’t sent the detailed measurements, they will inform you in time to do so.

c)You don’t need to check up on them. They are calling when agreed, they are on site on time and do the work on time.  

d)They deal with the order from the beginning till the end. There is no external contractor, or a third party involve, they come in, take measurements, template and instal all the items when they are ready.

Our pelmet company arranged both the template and the pelmets themselves, and installed all of them on time, without any extra effort on our site. It made our life so much easier.

2. Choose the right fabric. 

This happens more than once, and not only in case of the pelmets. You pick beautiful fabric and you are excited about the item. You want to place the order and then…

fabric color selection1. fabric is out of stock, they are not sure when it will be back in production

2. the fabric is in stock, but it’s more suitable for sofas, chairs, sheers and pretty much everything else apart from pelmets.


Choosing the right fabric for the right item is key to well finished item. Read all the labels, check our blog post here, and ask all the sales assistants – they know a lot about fabrics.

Read more →

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.

We were recently faced with this situation in a 1 bed Chelsea pied-à-terre, which contained a very large hallway, filled with 6 identical doors, leading to a: cupboard, a W/C, a bathroom, a bedroom, the living room and a kitchen. We made subtle changes to the layout which not only made the flat feel a lot bigger, but freed up a lot more usable space and made the area more visually interesting. Firstly, we combined the kitchen and living room and thus removed the need for 1 door. We also borrowed from the overly generous entrance space to add to a newly combined and now much larger bathroom and W/C, which also left enough space to add a utility room with linen and winter sports store. Down another door. 4 doors still seems too many, so the bedroom door was cleverly hidden behind a full length mirror. This looked fantastic, was extremely practical, and made the bedroom a far more private space. This is an easy trick you can do in your own home (just check that your door can support the weight of a mirror and that it is firmly attached!). The client was still a little short on storage space, so our pièce de résistance:  the new utility room door became fully working bookcase, swung easily on reinforced steel hinges.

Secret passageway

2 of the rooms have been cleverly concealed behind useful objects

secret room

The bookcase easily swings away to reveal the hidden utility space

Another client requested bedroom access to a family bathroom, so we created a secret passage, along a walk-through wardrobe, hidden seamlessly behind the storage units in the master suite. We playfully referred to this as the ‘lover’s retreat’.

secret rooms



These weren’t particularly expensive solutions, and have great practical value. And they are super fun. Why not consider being more playful and inventive with your home…

Read more →

Why Should You Choose a Bespoke Items?

In most cases, your interior designer will try to match your taste and your expectation and translate them into stunning interiors full of unique and interesting items. We try to design the furniture that will fit not only to your space, but it will represent your style and complement the features of the room. One way to do that is to go for bespoke items. Tailored to measure furniture make your space look unique and personal. What are the other advantages of bespoke items?

Bespoke Rug1. They are made to measure. What does it mean? If you don’t have enough room for dining table, or the TV unit does not fit your tv, you can just order item that would be made to your requirements and measurements, making your space looking polished and finished.

2. They are mostly high end products. What does it mean? Maybe their price is higher, but it is usually caused by the quality of the material and the level of details. They are in most cases hand made, especially if order from a small factories.

3.You can customise them. In terms of fabrics, wood finishes, height and so on. Possibilities are endless and they allow you to make the piece very personal. No matter if you are thinking about sofa or desk, with bespoke items you can match your interior style as well as your needs, so don’t pick very fancy but too big sofa armchair, just because that’s the only one that fits in to your living room.

Bespoke items - storage

4.They deliver and assemble them. All of the companies that are producing bespoke items, are happy to deliver them to your place, as well as assembly (if necessary), so there is no need to worry about carrying them up to 4th floor, or trying to organise help and tools.

It usually requires more time to get a bespoke piece then ready of the shelf item, but they compensate it with timeless quality and beautiful fit to your home.

Read more →

Why the last week on site can be so painful

The last week on any project is usually the busiest, most stressful and most rewarding. Because there is a logical order to the last few days on site, any interference can topple your carefully orchestrated schedule like dominos. However well prepared you are, there are always things beyond your control and you need to be prepared to do some very instant and creative problem solving.

  1. Suppliers

It’s always best to keep on top of suppliers. You might feel it unnecessary to phone or email them once a week for updates, but lead times can be so long, that it can be 8 months between when you pay and when you receive the goods. You wouldn’t believe the number of times (reputable) companies present your order late, or worse, wrong.  If you have had a company say they are going to be late and deliver to the site on the last week, be prepare for lots of nervous anticipation and stress – if they turn up in the wrong fabric or with chrome legs when you wanted wood, there is no time to change it.

2. Snagging lists

Builders usually always need to return for minor touch ups – that bit of wallpaper that got torn, that light which is flickering, that tap which doesn’t run hot. Sometimes these take a few minutes to fix, and sometimes that need a day of drilling. If you are working in a flat this can be a problem, as you can only operate noisy machinery at certain times and it might disturb your schedule. If you

3. Furniture deliveries

last week

Unpacking a sofa

Make sure you have measured all the entrance and doorways in your building. Bed headboards and sofas are notoriously difficult to get into flats. Some companies send them in pieces to be constructed on site (make sure cleaners are ALWAYS booked after furniture deliveries – even if they aren’t drilling,  bits of cardboard and polystyrene get everywhere), but some companies will send them fully formed. The delivery men might well accidentally scrape the wallpaper, or bang a chandelier, or scratch the floor, so make sure items arrive with days to spare to put things right.

4. Foreign fittings

Even though you have bought a piece of furniture in the UK, that is no guarantee that it will come set up as such. Italian, French and German items usually come with European 3 pin plugs. American lights can require rewiring. A good example is a dilemma we faced on a recent project. A TV unit, purchased from British company Camerich, arrived with an Asian pin plug. You can’t change the plug, as that will void the warranty. You can’t not plug it in, as then your TV etc won’t have any access to electricity. If you use an adapter the unit won’t sit flush to the wall, which is very much the aesthetic it was selected for in the first place.

5. Delicate objects


After all the tradesmen have left, there will be bits you’ll have to complete, like stringing a chandelier, attaching lampshade or training curtains. These can be time consuming (large chandeliers can take around 4 hours – and they are very tiring on the arms so you can’t really do more than one in a day). These are often fiddly tasks that take twice as long when you are tired and stressed.

last week stress

Stringing glass balls for a light

final week jobs

attaching the glass balls

6. Cleaners and Finishing touches

Once everything thing else is sorted, the floor and carpet guards can come off and the cleaners can come in. No matter how clean the builders say they are going to be, you always need the cleaners to come in after. They can get booked up long in advance, so if other trades overrun it can be tricky to reschedule them. Now the fun part – standing back and admiring the design and adding finishing touches. This usually involves a quick dash to the shops for extra vases, fruit bowls, dishes etc, to make the place homely. Less fun if you haven’t left anything in the budget for it and then there are the things you’ve accidentally forgotten, and finishing touches like soaps and toilet paper. How ever well you have planned, seeing your design in the flesh will usually result in you wanting to tweak a few things.

last minute jobs

Final touches



Read more →

Shopping For Dining Tables

Dining tables come in various sizes and finishes. Starting from shapes, through legs designs and top material the choice is endless. But what to take in consideration when choosing this furniture to your home?

1.Space. Sometimes when shopping for furniture, we forget how important the context for each piece is. We’ve just fallen in love with a piece and want to buy it no matter what. And then we end up with a dining table that a) doesn’t fit our dining area or b)takes so much space that we can’t walk freely around and passing plates to guests and families seems like a nightmare c) is so small, we can’t comfortable have a meal there,or d) it clashes with everything around it.

Interior Design Paddington Dining Room Paddington W2

2. Places. Take in consideration how many people in most cases sit around it, excluding Christmasy and your birthday. Obviously, on spacial occasions there will be more people, but is it worth to buy 12 people seating table, if in most cases it’s you and your husband who are having a meal?

Project 5 - Angel - Image 5 Project 5 - Angel - Image 4

2. Dimensions. The table not only has to ‘fit’ in to the drawings and physical space, but you’ll need to add enough space to move around and push the chair out when you want to get up. Same concept with legs; If you would like to have a round table, it is more comfortable to have one leg in the middle so you can sit on each side without hurting your legs. If you are buying an extending table, check where the legs will sit once fully extended. The design might not actually work and your guests may have to either straddle a leg, or you’ll find the extra space is rendered useless by the fact you can’t fit a chair in the new gap.

DSC_0040 DSC_0035

3. Lighting. Chandelier or pendant light above the dining table create perfect ambient light for the evening meals. If you are completely refurbishing your flat, take that in consideration and include a source of light above the table to add a bit atmosphere to your dining area. Be aware that it won’t be in the centre if you are going to use an extending table.

Interior Design Earls Court Project 2 - Earls Court - Image 9

4. Seating. As in case of table, options are endless. Modern, plastic, low, with armrests and so on. What do you need to focus on when choosing your perfect dining seating? Comfort, especially when you and your family spend every Saturday morning enjoying breakfast together or Sunday roast. If you usually eat in the living room, comfort can go second, and you can add a bit of design touch to it. You can even mix and match various options, and add a minimalistic style to your space. Some fabrics and textures might look great, but remember there is food and drink around and some might stain easily. 

 Residential Interior Designer Swiss Cottage Interior Design

5. Breakfast bar. Great option if you don’t have enough space for a dining table, but still prefer to sit  comfortable while you’re having your lunch. That solution works perfectly when you have a kitchen island and can raise a part of the top. Bar stools vary in comfort so it’s a good idea to go and physically sit on any potential purchases, rather than getting ones off the net.

Project 9 - Pied-a-terre - Image 1 Project 9 - Pied-a-terre - Image 2

6. Bespoke pieces.

If none of the ‘off the shelf’ dining tables work for your space, you can always go for bespoke piece. For the project we have just finished, we designed a beautiful bespoke dining table. The wedge table has a unique pattern on the top and designers legs, also, it fits perfectly with the scheme. Just have a look yourself!

Read more →

5 things that 100+ interior design projects teach you

Check, check and check again 

Especially when working with new suppliers but even your most reliable can have a bad day.  It can be human error but it will be devastating if it happens at the wrong moment or when you are completely unprepared for it, not something you need on your interior design projects.

Leave enough run over

The ‘finish’ date is not the contractors finish date.  you are going to need a minimum of 2 weeks to clean, deliver, clean again and style before you want to move in.  It is a process that takes a lot longer than you would expect, we have spent many hours on site painstakingly putting together crystal chandeliers or threading murano balls for the perfect effect.  These tasks take time and ultimately require a mostly clean and empty site – you don’t want to be unpacking these items with a full building crew on site!

Kitchen Installation Knightsbridge

Trying to finish a design project

Decide how finished you want your project to be

A lot of our clients want a home that they can turn up to with a suitcase and very little else.  This can require all the extras including kitchen items, towels and completely stocked bathrooms.  If you are doing your project yourself you will want to leave enough time, budget and energy to get these time consuming tasks finished.

Everything ages, let it

If you’re specifying wood, marble or any other natural surface you will need to live with the natural beauty and delicacies of that product including its ageing process.  When wood gets scratched for the first time it can be heart stopping however it is a standard part of the life cycle of the product and it should be embraced rather than shied away from.

The end is always the most painful and nearly always the most rewarding

You will often need to set clear limits for all your contractors and don’t be afraid to push them on these limits.  Check in and make sure that you are doing all you can to support them whilst offering them a decent amount of urgency – this is your home and you do want it back eventually!

Read more →

How to prepare for your first design meeting

interior design inspiration

Gathering images that you like is a crucial part of getting your ideas across to a designer

The majority of people who contact us looking for interior design services are on what we refer to as ‘second wave’ research. That means they have already spoken to several designers and then gone away and done further research and gathered all the necessary documentation and then sort out new designers. This is a bit of a waste of everybody’s time. A designer can’t really tell you anything unless you know of and can provide certain details, so you won’t get anything out of the meeting. And once you’ve gathered all those items, you rarely go back to the original designer (nobody knows why, but statistically this tends to happen. Probably because once you’ve really thought about what you want you might find a designer who looks a better fit, or because you were disappointed that no one could give you a proper quote or solid information). Often clients will come to us before purchasing a property, so by the time they have actually managed to get the keys and decide on a budget, they might well have forgotten which designer they liked best. On average people see 6 designers before settling.

So what are these key things which interior Designs require:


Rough ones are fine. Estate agents drawings are rarely to scale, but they are fine for basic quoting purposes. You’ll want something that highlights where service hatches and structural walls are located. These can often be untouchable, and so will influence what your designer and builder can do.

2. Inspiration

We recommend setting up a Houzz account, as it is the most interiors driven site. Pinterest is also useful, as are scraps from magazines. Getting a good idea of the style and finish you are trying to achieve is very helpful for us when quoting.

3. Information about your building

When you tell us your address at initial contact, we’ll do some primary research on the area, but it’s much better if you can also let us know if it is a listed building, in a conservation area, in a portered flat with no parking access etc. This is more helpful for timeframes than quotes, but it will influence the design and there will be cost implications.

4. A realistic run down of how you live and how much stuff you have

Completely remodelling your house will not change how you go about your life. Great home design (the only kind we offer) understands the way you live and adapts to that, making everything easier for you. But it won’t turn you into a morning person, or suddenly make you a top chef, or make laundry fun. Clients often have the idea that they will throw everything out and start a fresh, and this time they will be neat and tidy and not accumulate  so much junk. But in a year’s time it will all be back because that is how they live. If you never move your dirty clothes from the bathroom back to the laundry basket in the bedroom, we are going to put a laundry basket in your bathroom, or better yet, a laundry shoot that goes straight to a dedicated utility room.

5. Budget

People often want to come to us in order to hear what something is going to cost, and then set the budget from there. Building and design works can literally cost anything from £1000-1M for the same space, depending on your tastes and plans. We are happy to give you a quote, as long as you have provided the above information and have a clear idea of what you want from your property (i.e. extra bathrooms, more storage, bigger kitchen). Many interior designers will be hard to pin down on this issue. We make a point of being as transparent and upfront about costs as possible.
The easiest way for us to work is for you to provide a set budget. We can then work within that framework to outline your desired look and give a far more accurate idea of what is achievable.
What we often find is that clients tend to have a ‘natural’ budget that fits their taste. They will settle on a figure that is as low as they can get it, then when it comes to looking at furniture they’ll change their mind and say, no, this sofa is more “me”, i don’t care that it’s 3x the originally budgeted price.

So before you contact a designer, gather up and have a think about these 5 things. Then you’ll be several steps closer to getting the home you have always dreamed of.

Read more →

New Tile Trends 2016

It’s trade show time again. This week we’ve been looking at new trends in tiles and at the various wares on show at Surface Design. The big eIMG_3272merging trends are more geometric shapes, lots of hand-painted effect tiles and imprinted porcelain. Whilst we never really go in for “trends”, as nothing dates a property faster, we do like keeping up with the latest in manufacturing techniques. As the trend for strong geometric styling continues, advances in technology means the interlocking mechanisms have become simpler, and the tile panels larger, meaning they will be far more affordable to ship and install. Just as we saw with parquet flooring and engineered wood, chevron tiles in pre-made blocks are also becoming very popular. It’s an easy way to achieve a luxury finish, either as a wood effect throughout the house or a more visually arresting way to arrange marble in a bathroom.

Patterned tiles have become a little more adventurous, through the introduction of varied tones in sophisticated pastels that have a more subtle effect and appeal to those who would normally shy away from anything too loud or detailed.

What goes around comes around, and (you might shudder to hear it) 1970s led designs are still continuing. Crazy pavement is back, but it’s had quite the make over. Coloured grout is also growing in popularity. Grey, white and coffee coloured tiles are particularly lifted with orange or teal grouting.

Feature tiles are still going strong, this year will see more 3D tiles entering the market as they continue to be very popular. The other big trend in features tiles is to have an arrangement of back lit stones, or coloured perspex, as a focal point in a bathroom or hall.


Feature tile trends

tile trends

Patterned tiles

tile trends

Patterns and tones available in 2016

Read more →

Building timescales: Minor Construction Work

As mentioned before, the more work you are doing to a property, the harder it becomes to predict a finish date. Unforeseen problems have a habit of snowballing and have a knock-on effect on every other line of work. We’ll break down some of the more common problems and give basic timescales when redesigning a property.

We generally class minor construction work as moving a few walls, changing the location of a kitchen or bathroom, or rearranging their contents. Turning a bathroom into a wet-room, changing the floors or creating a new room entirely.

building works

What lies beneath?

The biggest variable here is usually getting the permissions. Councils and building management can take months to reply to you, and might require you to make minor adjustments and resubmit plans.

Because construction work is noisy, your hours of allowable work will be limited (usually 8-5pm but blocks of flat can impose their own restrictions to protect other residents). This can cause a lot of spill over if something isn’t quite finished one day and you have to come in and do 10 more minutes of angle grinding and then 1 hour of packing up and tidying before setting up for the day’s tasks.

Once you start plastering or waiting for adhesives to dry the weather will come into play, as damp or cold weather will slow it all down, even in a fairly regulated apartment block.

It seems very basic, but the timescale will also depend on how many builders you have on site. Obviously the more people you can throw at a build, the quicker it will go (within reason – there is still a set order to do things and certain things will have to dry before anyone can move on) but that’s usually not financially viable.

Usually when people do a large refurbishment they want one or two bespoke pieces of furniture, which can be time-consuming, but even getting a sofa or  headboard covered in a fabric of your choice can take 2 months.

Don’t forget when drawing up a plan, add a generous contingency. Don’t assume that when stuff is delivered it will ready to go. It’s not just Ikea furniture that arrives short of parts. Even the most prestigious brands have been known to deliver sofas without legs or upholster in the wrong colour. Items, like splash backs, can also often be damaged during installation.

A basic timeline for our services:

construction timescale

Medium build timeline

Read more →

How long will my build take? Basic refresh

In our last post we mentioned some of the major variables that determine build time.

We can narrow it down depending on what type of redesign you require. We generally break our designs into 3 categories: Design without construction, Some construction work, and full renovation/new build.


Minor construction work

For a ‘design without construction’ project, we are usually just injecting some life, or refreshing an existing layout. This can include putting in a new kitchen and bathroom (if the current arrangement isn’t changing too much), but generally doesn’t involve moving or removing walls. It can also include laying new flooring or reaccepting, but sometimes the entire floor can be transformed with a bit of buffing and different finish (from say, varnished to waxed). Because this work can be done relatively quickly, we will calculate the finishing date based on the longest lead time (the product with the slowest delivery date. Either because it has to be made from scratch or shipped from afar). Plus time for installing, cleaning, styling and some added contingency days. So that you/and us aren’t sitting in and waiting all day, every day for a stream of deliveries, we have everything delivered to our warehouse so it can be transported to your property all in one day. If you are having all your products ‘off the shelf’ we can turn the project in a matter of week, but usually these projects take about 3 months as most distributors and manufactures simply do not have the space to stock multiples of their designs, so it usually has to be assembled and shipped from their factories, which are usually on the continent. Likewise, a lot of lights and chandeliers are manufactured in multiple bits and when you buy one, someone at the factory starts work screwing it all together into larger pieces, which are then securely package and sent to you, where further assembly is required. That usually takes about a month.

So this is a rough guide to our timeline for non construction projects:

flow chart

Process time flow chart


Next we’ll explore basic timescales for minor and major building works…

Read more →

How long will my project take?

design plans

No amount of planning or design will cover every variable a building site throws up

The most common question we get asked by potential clients is “how long will my project take?”. The answer is something akin to ‘how long is a piece of string’. The design process has so many variables it’s always hard to give a general idea, and each endeavour is unique. Highly personalised designs will always take longer in the planning stage and the procurement of bespoke pieces, where as doing a property up to sell or for rent will be a very straight forward design and require less time sourcing specific pieces. The original state and age of the building will influence time scales, as you might need to spend 6 months repairing structural faults before you even get to knock down a wall. Any building that is listed or in a conservation zone will need months of paperwork and planning consent added to the build time, and the location and accessibility will influence delivery time and contractor working hours. That’s before you’ve even settled on the scale on the redesign, which could be anything from a month long refresh to 1 year’s total transformation.

building site

Building sites can lake longer and be messier than expected

Building projects usually take more time than most people think. Because there is a logical, and generally unchangeable order to works being carried out, any delay will cause all future works to be delayed, and if each aspect of the design runs over 1 day, you can easily end up adding months to your original finish date.
Builders will always give you an estimated finish time based on what they can see. It is up to you to add contingency time to their quote, as nearly every building will throw up something unsuspected. Although the risk is always greater with older properties, we’ve had a few cases where newly built flats have been so poorly designed we’ve had to reinforce load-bearing structures and rewire and plumb.

Whilst it’s a hard question to answer, we are, after all, professionals and can give you a rough idea of what to expect. Our next post will contain a flow chart to guide you through the building process and give you a (rough) idea of times.


How Long Will My Design Take?

Read more →

Read All About It… The Angel Resident

kia designs interview Angel

The Angel Resident magazine, part of The Resident chain of publications, which provides luxury inspiration for discerning Londoners is featuring Kia in their artist-in-residence section. It’s a great article that highlights Kia’s enthusiasm and passion for great design, as well as noting our super modern, efficient and paperless office. It’s well worth a read and you can pick up a free copy from any local estate agent or independent coffee shop.

kia designs press Angel

Read more →

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.


Art deco coving

In the bathrooms ceramic tiles create bold mosaics in geometric motifs on the floors. Contemporary moulded basins are paired with hexagonal mixer taps. Marble lines the walls and all fixtures and fittings are in chrome. In the master suite a feature, back-lit, slab of translucent onyx creates the most luxurious of statements.


The kitchen area is more focused on the 21st century, with a clean, scandinavian feel. A large marble-topped Roundhouse kitchen in Farrow and Ball chalk paint with contrasting bronze fixtures, is the focus of the room. Handleless cupboards, mitered edges and state-of-the-art appliances combine symmetry and balance with a high level of comfort and technical innovation. Key philosophies of the art deco movement. Nods to deco are introduced through the mirrored splashback, which adds glamour and light, and through the hexagonal floor tiles, which cascade spectacularly into the wooden floor in the dining area.

Read more →

Electrical Plan Design for Small Apartment

Electrical plans are a crucial part of tender documents. They include position of light sources as well as socket and switches. A properly solved electrical plan design will make the movement around your home effortless and help you create a functional and atmospheric home. There are a few important elements of a good electrical plan design. 

Here are a few tips for your electrical plan design

1.Lighting sources. Lighting can influence the mood of the interior in a very dramatic way. Setting up light sources in the right places well impact the colours of the interior as well as the mood and feeling of the space. This is why electrical plans are so important. Designing the layout with lighting in mind will allow for your zones to be greatly enlightened and those special features will be even more visible, whilst hiding those which should stay of sight. There is a huge selection of lighting and you are not limited to only pendant and table lamps. In our recent project, due to the ceiling structure, we focused mainly on working with wall lights and floor lamps. With the diverse range of lighting available today you can create a bright and interesting interior even with only two types of light sources.


2.Types of sockets. Since technology is moving forward so quickly, even the humble socket has changed. They are multifunctional now. For example, sockets can include a USB plug, allowing for charging a mobile phone, or any other device.

  • 5amp sockets. You want all those table lamps to light up when you switch the light on? Install the 5amp sockets. If you add this to your switch plate, all the connected table or floor lamps will turn on at once.
  • Built-in sockets. Currently, to fit our clients need we incorporate sockets in kitchen units, shelving or even dining benches, so when you want to sit down with your laptop on the window seat you can easily plug it in.

3.Switches. To make the interior design look coherent, pick the switches from the same series as sockets. In terms of sockets the most important is their position. First of all the height; there is a standard height for those, around 120cm from the floor level. However you adjust it to your preferences. Try to think how you move around the flat, where you come in or where you go to bed, so you can easily turn on and off the light without running around the house. Plates can include between 1 and 8 switches, however to make it more accessible, at Kia Designs, we use maximum of 4 switches at one plate.

Electrical Plan Design #102

4.Location. When marking down locations of sockets you have to keep in mind not only appliances like a kettle or toaster, but also those that are connected permanently like dishwasher and oven. And don’t forget that hoover needs to be plugged in as well! It is worth having a low level socket in every room so you can vacuum the room without dragging the cable from other parts of the house. Remember, when removing the walls how the movement will flow around rooms, and mark where the switches will be most intuitive.

5. Aesthetics. Sockets and switches can become a part of your interior décor. With current selection of finishes and plate materials, you can find anything from simple, transparent switches up to marble and brass finish, so it can fit all the styles you can dream of. It can be hidden or create a statement, whatever you want.

Read more →