Interior Design Blog

Kia is an award winning London interior designer based in the South East. Her studio takes on projects from around the world.

Inspiration For A Knightsbridge Interior

One of the most exciting parts of a project is hearing what inspires our clients. Whether it be a trip abroad, how they live with their family, the types of colours they like it all helps us to build a picture of what their new home should hold for them.

Images are often a fantastic way of doing this as they can convey to us more than just the basic requirements but also the tones and feeling that our clients hope to achieve with their new home.  There are also often themes within the images that they pick that they might not consciously know all contains the exact same design aesthetic, showing that they are drawn to either those kinds of products or a feeling in the images.

 

 

 

It is this that often inspires us when creating a design scheme, we are able to take all the inspiration that the client has and combine it with over a decade of design knowledge to create a scheme that oozes personality and functionally works.

Each of these images gives a small amount of detail of what we will be looking to input in to the designs.  We want hardwearing surfaces like marble together with clever lighting and beautiful finishes that draw your eye to them and complete the spaces. We are also looking for innovative ways with bedroom design and ways to be able to pull together not only many different sleeping arrangements but to be able to do it in a way that works well with the rest of the design.

Colours in general are very neutral with hints of coppers, greens, and golds.  We will also be adding in some deep teals and bronzes to give the whole scheme more life. We want each of the spaces to feel comfortable and relaxed, we don’t want a riot of colour taking over each space. We want it to be measured and add to the design as a whole.

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Designer Spotlight: Malabar

Malabar as a recently established furniture design brand with a distinct luxurious style that is  a bit on the quirky side. The company originates from Oporto in Portugal starting up in 2012. This area is renowned for its beautiful artisanal handmade furniture, which Malabar has built on by modernising this style.

There is emphasis put upon ’emotional design’ throughout the website, which is obviously one of the main values behind Malabar’s work. The collections are ‘comprised of seductive pieces that tell a story, we make use of the noblest woods, different crafting techniques, and above all, Portuguese heart, soul  and tradition.’ Each item that Malabar sell is not referred to as a product, but as a piece, as each is a piece of art. The combination of traditional artisan techniques and experience with the innovation brought by new technologies truly does combine to create beautiful pieces of art.

Wanderlust Table.clipular

Wanderlust Dining Table

The dining tables have to be my favourite pieces from the collections. They are just exquisite pieces of art on their own, which stand out even when surrounded by luxurious materials and furniture within a room.

Pilar Dining Table.clipular

Pilar Dining Table

Gold is a very difficult colour to work with, especially with the varying tones, yet in the piece above, it has been used so delicately to create a stunning table which is very elegant and contemporary while incorporating antique elements.

Duchess Dining Table.clipular

Duchess Dining Table

Materials are chosen very carefully and are what really make the tables stand out. If you imagine the table above made out of walnut, yes it would be a beautiful table, but not exquisite as it is made from marble. Each of these tables would differ a large amount through the unique pattern and tone of the stone, an element which makes this table even more precious.

Horizon Sideboard.clipular

Horizon Sideboard

The sideboards are equally as beautiful and make a bold statement within a room. They would work fabulously in both contemporary minimalist and traditional styled rooms. The deep colours brought through walnut root and lacquered wood contrasting with the sheen of the gold leaf base is divine. I love the description which Malabar have put with this piece, it really helps you to understand what the artistic piece is about and the story behind it :

‘The Horizon sideboard recalls the tales of the Portuguese maritime exploration, retold by ingenious poets and common people alike for many centuries thereafter. Inspired in the divine vision of a new land sighted from distant waters, this contemporary sideboard was designed with the organic contours of a coastline in mind. The piece combines walnut wood root with black lacquered wood. The luxurious base matches the interior drawers with its luxurious gold leaf finish.’

Sagres Sideboard.clipular

Sagres Sideboard & Melodie Mirror

The angles and texture to this piece really fascinate me, with the asymmetric weighting it really plays with your eye. Pieced together with their melodie mirror, the combination balances the angles out.  What I also love about this piece, is that it is not only quirky, interesting & beautiful but also practical & functional. The designers have not lost sight of the purpose of this piece, and used all the angles included ingeniously to use the space to its maximum potential.

It is not only their large furniture pieces that are beautiful, but also the smaller accents. These stools adopt some beautiful organic shapes to form a very useful piece that simply looks beautiful. The combination of colours and wood pattern which makes these the perfect final touch.

Fe Stool.clipular

Fe Stool

fe_stool_v3The beautiful pattern created by the walnut combined with the rich tones works in perfect contrast with a very bright, white room which has become increasingly popular. Although a subtle piece, it is a great provider of sophistication which may be required to complete a room.

 

 

 

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Tamma Design: Solid Spin Lamps

3+lamps+med+quality

Young Estonian Designer Johanna Tammsalu has designed a collection of beautiful lamps, of which shapes were inspired by some very common every day objects, which would would never expect. She has used a very unusual technique to create these shapes which can be made in various finishes/colours. She creatively used items that no girl would leave the house without on a sunny afternoon… keys, sunglasses and high heels!

the+outline+of+the+spin

But even after seeing the lamps, its still impossible to see how these items inspired the shape. It only becomes clear when you see her design drawings. The Outline is formed using slipcast moulding by spinning the glasses using the shape that they create to form a smooth and interesting pattern. The lamps are made from a ceramic and porcelain mix with a glaze on top to give it a matte or sheen effect.

Solid+Spin+Lamp+for+BE+page+6-439
“They were designed two or three years ago, but the project took years – and countless broken lamps – to finish as they were so technically complicated.”

Johanna for Icon

Solid+Spin+Lamp+for+BE+page+6-4312You can see the process that Johanna went through when coming up with the design, working out how each part would fit together to create perfect connections and interesting shapes. It is also clear to see the detail that Johanna goes into when considering the design, and how difficult it is to get a shape which will work perfectly.

White+lamp+s

Shoe Lamp

The project began as more of a curiosity of what would happen if everyday objects were used, but then developed into something more design based when Johanna found that the shapes formed were pretty interesting.

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Key Lamp (& the Designer)

“I moved onto spinning the objects on 3D software, around their own axes and others, and also stacked in groups. This created interesting results – and a more precise outline.”

Johanna for Icon

1408300630052+150ppi

Shoe & Sunglasses Lamps

 

Johanna has showed her work at a number of exhibitions in addition to being awarded the following design awards:

Pure Talent Contest Selected, Cologne 2015
SÄSI Young Designer nominee, Tallinn 2014
The Clamp project, Creative Diary, Milan 2012

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All information, quotes and images sourced from:

Tamma Designs

Icon Magazine

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Smart Home Technology

After recently attending a CPD course about ‘Smart Home Technology’ held by Cedia, it inspired us to look into ways that we could incorporate this into a current project.

They talked about a few different ways and systems that can be integrated within the home in order to be more efficient and gain more control. Lots of these systems we thought would work extremely well for this current project, however there was a number of drawbacks which meant they would not be suitable.

Daisychain vs Star

Source: SW-EM

The first thing that we were informed about was the basis which it all runs from. This is a central location within the house where all wires, systems ect. run to. In most houses there is what is called daisy chain wiring. This is where a wire will run through each component to reach the next one. This is not a good way of wiring, as, if there is a fault in one of the earlier components in the chain, it will effect the end ones also (much like dominos). It also means that the connection weakens as it gets further down the chain. To avoid this star connections should be used, where each component has a separate wire leading back to the central point. This also opens up endless possibilities in controlling things separately.

Although this is something that we were already aware of, this added knowledge means that we will now ensure that all the wiring is done in this way.

Nest

Source: Trusted Reviews

One of the main systems that they were pitching to us was ‘Nest‘ which offers a thermostat and smoke alarm with a difference. Nest products take these every day systems and push them to the next level. The thermostat has an app which it connects with allowing you to control the heating from everywhere with a wifi or data connection, as well as being able to control it from the stylish thermostat itself. It also allows you to set the temperate to an exact degree and set schedules. Another awesome feature is that it senses when no one is home and so automatically turns off the heating due to the motion sensors (which are also installed in the smoke alarms). It also allows you to view your history and learns your habits, with a green feature telling you when you’re saving energy.

Source: Mac Sparky

Source: Mac Sparky

The Nest Protect is a smart smoke/carbon monoxide protector. Instead of making an annoying beep, it notifies you through speech when it picks up of a threat before setting off the full alarm, which you can ‘hush’ through simply waving, or through the Nest app. It uses colour as well as sound to notify people which is great for people with hearing impairments. Furthermore, every alert is sent to your phone through the app so you can be notified of a problem in another room or the home when you’re not there, and each alarm can be named so you know what room it is in. As previously mentioned, it has motion sensors included which work with the thermostat to tell it when you’re home, but it also acts as a night light at night projecting a soft white light. All very safe, and whats more, it even tells you when its batteries are low through speech and an app notification rather then that famously irritating beep.

Source: Apple Insider

Source: Apple Insider

The Nest protect is one thing that we would recommend to our client. However, as the thermostat does not work with underfloor heating, we are unable to incorporate this into our design. This is the one downside to Nest. It is an attractive, innovative, easy to use advance in technology that everyone renovating/building a house should look into. But, it does come with the huge downside of not being compatible with underfloor heating, of which is becoming increasingly popular. Underfloor heating is a fabulous invention, as it works with the theory of heat rising while giving you added comfort of warm feet and suppressing the need for ugly radiators, and so it is such a shame that it is not compatible.

Source: Cedia Flyer

Source: Cedia Flyer

Other systems that can be incorporated into this central location are audio, audio visual, security and light. Audio and Audio Visual can be wired to this central location, allowing you to control the music & tv in multiple rooms from one remote (tablet). This can be paired with lighting, meaning that all lights, including side lamps, can be controlled from a tablet. Presets can be created, which include all aspects so you can create custom scenes, so there is no hassle of trying to create the perfect atmosphere for a dinner party. This is also a great way to overcome the 8 gang plates which can come about when creating sophisticated lighting design, and means that they can all be controlled without getting up off the sofa.

This would work well for the clients we are currently working with, as they have a number of different types of lighting in each room (cornice lighting, spot lights, pendant lights, standard lamps in the open plan living area alone). With the lights be operated through a combination of standard switches and dimmers, the 6 gang plates begin to look a little messy. Having a central control system/app for a tablet to control this could not only tidy up the switches creating a cleaner finish, but also enable them to create scenes suitable for the different activities/times of day, especially with having a young child, this could be extremely useful. Their daughter also loves music, and is always turning on their current sound system, which is very basic, so a more integrated system could really appeal to her.

Source: Crestron

Source: Crestron

Finally, more recently, security systems are becoming popular in integrated homes. There are now security cameras which can be viewed from a tablet and motion sensors can be installed throughout the home which all link back to this central location. This can also include ringers which include cameras, where you can view who is wishing to enter your home through the tablet rather than a small screen connected to the phone. Security would not be such an issue within the clients project we are working with, but is definitely something that we would look into in future projects, as it would be especially useful for clients who travel a lot, or use the house as a second home, so are not there for the majority of the time.

An example of a home ingrigration system pictured above is Creston, which offer a number of different ways of controlling home integration, through apps, tablets, panels and remotes. There are also so many products that nest can work with, one being ‘hue’ by philips which controls individual light bulbs. To see what else does, have a look here.

Integrated systems would work extremely well in this project, it is just very unfortunate that the underfloor heating is not compatible with nest, and so perhaps the most useful system cannot be installed. However, having everything wired back to a central location with a star connection will definitely be used, with the possibility of light & sound, depending on customer budget and choice.

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Blind Choices – Problems With Roman Blinds

We’ve recently had an issue with the blinds that were installed into a newly completed project where light is peering around the edges of the blinds into the rooms in the morning. Although ordering blackout blinds which are designed to block all the light out, this was still an issue due to the uneven windows which are often in older properties.

These are the images which the client sent through to explain the issue:

bruno room

1 – Blackout Roman

flavia office

2 – Roman

master bedroom

3 – Blackout Roman

As you can see, the blinds are installed with just a few millimetres either side at the top. yet at the bottom there is a much wider gap. The clients asked if we could return the blinds and get them replaced with ones slightly wider, however blind companies do not accept returns due to them each being custom made to fit the window with the chosen fabric/ lining for one, and for another, it was impossible to make them wider and fit them in the same way. The reason this is impossible is that blinds can only be as wide as their shallowest point, otherwise they would not open/close properly. As the mechanism is set into the window frame, this also meant that we could not extent them past the window from itself without moving the position of the mechanism.

Blind

Source: Blind Superstore (how to measure a blind)

So here are the suggestions which we came up with to solve this issue (and the pros & cons) :

1.  Make the blind wider and mount the mechanism above the window frame. 

Pros

  • Should block out more light/diffuse the light more
  • Can keep the choice of material for the blinds

Cons

  • Be expensive to replace Roman blinds
  • Some window positions will not allow for required additional width on both sides
  • Will not get rid of all the light

2.  Put a piece of velcro along the window frame/sewn into blind backing

Pros

  • Would not need to replace blind
  • Should block out most light

Cons

  • Would look ugly
  • Blinds must be professional stitched
  • May not work as a long term solution

3.  Put a roller blind behind the Roman Blinds

Pros

  • Can keep original blind
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Not quite so expensive as replacing blind as rollers are cheap
  • Should block out the majority of light

Cons

  • Only works if the window is deep enough
  • Requires 2 mechanisms

4.  Change the Roman blinds for Roller blinds, mount above window, 10cm wider either side & reverse rolled

Pros

  • Blind will rest against frame flat – reducing the angle allowing light through dramatically
  • Width will help diffuse the light
  • Be a cheaper alternative to replacing with Roman Blinds

Cons

  • Cannot choose fabric, only select colours
  • May not completely solve the issue
  • Not so aesthetically pleasing

The options we chose for the client after in depth discussion was for one room, where the window was deep, to install a roller blind behind (#3) so that it hung closely to the window, diffusing the light minimising what seeps through. The cord for the roller blind would be installed on the opposite side so it would not tangle with the other cord and would be in a similar colour to the Roman bind already installed. (picture on left above) This could only be done as there is enough space to install 2 mechanisms. The other 2 problem rooms, the windows are shallower so another blind would not fit behind. We decided it was best to go with the last option (#4) where we took down the Roman blinds and replaced them with Roller blinds which are mounted above the window frame, 10cm wider either side. The mechanism would be set back from the frame slightly as it sits proud, which means  when the blinds are installed reverse rolled they lie flat against the window frame removing the gap caused by the width of the mechanism. This should completely block out the light due to there not being an angle for the sun to shine through.

reverse

standard

Source: Poles and Blinds

 

The new blinds have been ordered so we shall see if our solution works when they arrive and will revisit it at a later date.

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Kia Sunda Annouces BIID Member Status

Kia Designs is the only new years resolution I have ever kept!

We are happy to announce that last week Kia Sunda became a member of the BIID (British Institute of Interior Design), they are the foremost organisation for interior design here in the UK. BIID Members have at least 6 years of experience and education as interior designers and are considered fully qualified, having passed the strict criteria of our Professional Pathway to qualify for membership.  So it is kind of a big deal, especially as it co-insides with 2015 being Kia Designs 7th year of business (the business was incorporated on the 31st December 2008)

_DSC0221 (edited 1)

Being a member of the BIID sets you apart from other interior designers, BIID members needs to adhere to professional practices that you may not find in none member designers.  Entry requirements are rigorous and assess not just a designers training but also that experience (you have to have a minimum of 6 years of it) as well as their professionalism.  You know that you are not only getting a designer with the qualifications but also with the experience to be able to handle your project from start to finish in a professional manner.

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Members are constantly developing their skills through Continued Professional Development on a whole host of products and techniques, from creating smart homes to how bespoke rugs are created in Nepal.  When you look for a designer you are not just looking for (and paying for) someone who can create a enticing mood board, you are looking for someone who can take that mood board through to a fully finished property that is ready for you and your family to live happily in for years to come.

A designer has years worth of experience and expertise to draw on when creating a scheme for your home and when you employ a BIID Member you know that they have the highest of professional qualities and will be able to bring years worth of expertise to your project.

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How Colour Changes Design

Same design.

Three different colours.

Three different effects.

Kia Designs - Classic Green - Cut Out - Low Res Kia Designs - Classic Grey - Cut Out - Low Res

From this one rug design there is potential the potential to create vast varieties to suit whatever space. Above is the sample shot of 2 variations of this colour, which can be colour matched to the fabrics featured in the client’s home.

Classic Blue Rug

Classic Blue Rug In Contemporary Lounge

The images above and below feature this classic rug by Kia in blue; this is a big contrast to the neutral colours within the rest of the room which makes it stand out more. In addition to this, the difference between the wool pile to the blue silk pile is quite large which increased the depth to it. The contrast in colour between the wool and the silk helps bring the room together as the wool picks up the tones within other elements of the room such as the wall lamp, and the textures from the wall covering and curtains where the textured surfaces reflect light. Furthermore, the size of it helps to keep the room in proportion so it does not feel too empty.

DSC_0003

Classic Blue Rug In Detail

The bespoke rugs are hand made in Nepal using silk and wool. This ensures that they will be extremely high quality and will not wear quickly, making the investment worthwhile. Each rug is designed to personal preference. They take 12 weeks to arrive from the time of ordering so it is important that it is perfect.

DSC_0178

Classic Green Rug Catching The Light

The green version of this rug has a much softer feel to it as it catches the light. It has a similar pile to the blue rug yet the soft tones allow it to subtly catch the light in the silk adding depth to the room. Again, the wool pile colour picks up on the neutral tones in the room. This rug is also a lot smaller than the blue one so it is more of a complementary piece than a feature with the pastel tones.

 Classic Green Rug In Detail

Classic Green Rug In Detail

Colour matching is a huge part of the design as it makes it personal to the client. The length of pile (as previously mentioned) can make a huge difference to the overall look of the rug. Above is the ’embossed’ rug where the wool pile and silk pile are different lengths. Below the pile for the wool and silk is the same length. This almost gives the effect of being negative (like film) as the light catching the silk gives it the effect of being slightly set in.

_DSC0183

Classic Grey Rug In Detail

The direction of the silk has a huge impact upon its look. In the image above, the photo is taken with the silk running in one direction, in the photo below, the other. You can see how it appears a very pale shiny grey above, and a dark grey below. This effect cannot be noticed as much with the other rugs shown here as the pile is varied. However here with it all the same length it creates a very interesting effect.

DSC_0389 copy

Classic Grey Rug in Sleek Bedroom

Each rug is carefully designed by Kia taking a number of different factors into consideration. Rugs are a brilliant way of balancing out a room by tying together a number of different textures, tones and colours within the room. As designers, we are able to pick up on what can do this a create a piece which will fit perfectly into a space, which cannot always be achieved by buying one on the hughstreet.

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The Dirty Little Secrets of Interiors Photography

Residential Interior DesignerPhotographing a previous project of Kia’s was an interesting experience as I hadn’t seen the project before (apart from one small room downstairs to measure up some blinds). Usually Kia will do all the photography herself, as she knows the different elements of the design which she specifically wants to display in her portfolio. Although Kia’s photographs are always great and show off the designs extremely well, we decided to let a professional photographer (friend) photograph this project firstly so he could add to his portfolio, but also to see how differently he would capture the space.

Residential Interior Designer Swiss Cottage

…think outside the box, on how best to light with it looking too artificial…

We only gave him a few pointers on things we would like, after he had done ‘his thing’ to make sure we had everything we needed. There were also a few challenges for him, for example photographing an all white room. This isn’t easy as everything gets washed out, yet he managed to take a beautiful photo where shadow defines all the angles perfectly.

Swiss Cottage Interior Design

Things that Interior Designers look for:

  • Detail – various textures, patterns, materials, lighting ect. that may go un-noticed to the untrained eye.
  • Texture – make sure there is depth shown, so the images don’t look bland and washed out. 
  • Light – both natural and artificial, especially if a feature has been made of this within the design.
  • Truth to colour – theres nothing more annoying than something coming out a different tone to what was intended, we want a true image of the finial project. 
  • Proportion – this is always something hugely considered in the layout of a room so it is equally important that this is considered in the photography. 
  • Symmetry / Direction – things are designed to be viewed for certain directions and angles, there is no point photographing from a position no one would view the room from. 

The Aim is always simple, to create the best images to show off them design and plan of the room(s). Also it’s good to paint a picture (or tell a story) to the viewer, so they can see and follow the flow of the layout of the property

Things that a photographer looks for – as specified by Aaron  Charlton from AJ Charlton Photography:

  1. Light – namely nature light, I look at where the windows are and how best to utilise them as a light source. 
  2. Space – sounds strange but how the room is spaced out often helps give a good flow.
  3. Details – the key features in a room (or rooms), such as a walk in wardrobe. These subtleties help give a sense of a path, and help the viewer imagine exploring the property..
  4. Negative Space – the trick is not to fill the shot(s) with everything; space is your friend… You can deliberately leave negative space in an image to show off the space of the room.

Although Aaron picked up on the majority of things that an interior designer would wish for, the last point of negative space would need to be used carefully. An interior designer would consider the space that they had available and comprise the layout to put it in proportion or balance the area nicely. This needs to be portrayed in the portfolio as you would want someone to walk into the project and not feel deceived as such.

Swiss Cottage Interior Design

Another point that Aaron highlighted, was the preference of natural light. Although artificial light can be used incredibly well within an interior space, this is often very difficult for a photographer to capture realistically as the settings needed for the camera can involve long shutter speeds, which requires an extremely still camera, and a lot of test shots! This is why often photographers will completely avoid artificial light if it is possible, although Aaron said that he likes to ‘think outside the box, on how best to light with it looking too artificial.’ 

Thank you to Aaron Charlton for his input and beautiful photography.

His website: AJ Charlton Photography

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Client Procurement: The difference between Principle and Agent

Interior Designers can offer their FF&E (Fixtures, Fittings & Equipment) to a client in two different ways: as an agent & as a principle retailer. This can heavily effect the way a designer charges & works with the client and so is important to know the different.

Definition of an Agent:

An Agent of FF&E is a person who works in-between the supplier and the client. There is less risk for an designer acting as an agent than for a principle retailer, as if the supplier does not supply items which match up with the description or breaks the terms, it does not link back to the Designer but the client due to a contract of supply.

This is an agreement where the designer purchases for the client rather than sells to the client.

By acting as an agent, the trade discounts that a designer is entitled to get passed on, saving clients money, however to pay for their services they will charge a percentage fee on the purchase.

Definition of a Principle Retailer:

A Principle Retailer of FF&E is a person who acts as a retailer to the client. When acting as a principle retailer a designer must comply with the Sales of Goods Act. Which means if there is a faulty item or terms are broken by the supplier, the designer is responsible for clearing up the mess.

As a principle retailer of FF&E the designer is effectively purchasing the items (with trade discount if offered) from a supplier and selling them onto their clients. This means that there is both a purchase order & a sales order, where as working as an agent, there is only a purchase order.

 

Kia Designs works as an Agent. This means that we pass all the prices we provide our clients with include trade discounts and fees. Often, even with the Fees added, the prices will still be below the price you would pay if you were to buy items yourself. By doing this Kia Designs invoices you for the items that you select and so organises the payment and delivery for you so that the project runs to schedule.

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What A Design Presentation Looks Like

Yesterday evening I accompanied Kia of a client meeting where we were presenting the design proposal. Although I had previously attended meetings with clients, including this client, I had not experienced a meeting where the design concept had been explained, so was very interesting to see how the client reacted and what kind of questions they asked, in addition to the way that Kia talked them through the reasoning behind the design.

Proposed Option 3

Proposed Option 3

To introduce the spacial plan (which was the main task considered with these clients as they had recently renovated their flat) Kia showed different variants of layout that we considered. She also explained why certain elements of these designs did not work, in addition to how moving existing items and introducing new items would enhance the space. This was also a good way to see if the clients followed the choices and understood folly so they could make the most of employing someone with expertise.

Once we had got confirmation from the client on the layout, we moved onto the full design, breaking it down into different areas. We began as you walk into the flat, explaining the different pieces, why we chose them, the proportions, the finish they are in, the colours and how they work with the rest of the flat. The clients would make a few comments about individual pieces so that they can be clear. It is usually a better sign if the clients are making comments than if they are silent, as then we can gage their thoughts, yet if they are silent, we have no idea if we have explained sufficiently or if they even like it.

Sneak peak of the designs

Sneak peak of the designs

We then looked at the opposite side of the same room, again explain proportions, items, positioning, function, always linking back to the brief to show how we have answered it. This gives the clients a good idea of what the room would look like if they stood centrally and rotated.

We then moved through to the living room which is the only other area we were asked to work on. This room was the more challenging area as they have existing furniture, which is all excelled quality and has a great style, but did not feel quite right or use the space particularly well, especially for entertaining. This was the main aim of the area, to make it suitable for entertaining, so we looked into adding additional seating without simply plonking it anywhere. We explained how the new pieces would work well and how people would use the room when visiting. The far end of the room was currently surplus, so our aim was to make this area part of the room by adding unusual shelving/cupboards suspended from the ceiling. These however were just inspirational images so we could gage their reaction before spending time finalising design and getting prices from the supplier as it is a bespoke piece. We also chose a chair and side cabinet for this area to store drinks & provide a separate area to sit so you are not secluded but can participate in a different activity to those in the sofa area. We explained to the clients how this would work and make the space functional yet stylish. Many of the imagery however would not be in the chosen finish/colour, so we had samples on hand to help demonstrate the correct finishes so the clients could visualise it more easily.

Once we had explained the whole design, we asked the clients if they understood it all, and if they had any queries or simply hated any of the chosen pieces. Thankfully, in this case, they approved of everything! There were a few pieces which one of the clients was questioning slightly, which gave the indication that he was not particularly stuck on them, which gives us the subtle hint to possibly find an alternative.

Files Uploaded in to Basecamp for everyone to review and comment

Files Uploaded in to Basecamp for everyone to review and comment

After this has all been discussed we explain how all the presentations that they have seen will be put onto Basecamp so they can review it at any point, along with the quote. This means that they can work what they can afford if they are on a budget and decide to purchase through Kia. All the prices on the quotes include the mark up price, which means there are no additional calculations to do.

We then explain that for each query they have about an item, they can start a new discussion on Basecamp so there are no crossing of wires. Furthermore, a discussion can be created to list all items that they decide to order so the invoice can be written up and sent through rapidly.

Each client is different, each project is different, and so evidently each meeting will be different; but this gives a good idea of the format of which initial design meeting run.

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House Design London

House design in London can often be a tricky thing as we often need to meld together old and new, especially when doing refurbishments.  That was the case for this house design in Mayfair, the TV area of the large townhouse in Mayfair hadn’t been refurbished in 30 years and was showing a very dated look.

Pine Panelling

The Pine Panelling Before Works Took Place

The pine panelling, although in very good condition, had yellowed with age and the room didn’t work well with the light and airy feeling that the clients were hoping to achieve.  It would have been almost impossible to get the look and feel that the client has asked for without seriously addressing the panelling in this room.  We had two choices; try and work with it or remove it.

Yellowing Wooden Panelling

Yellowing Wooden Panelling Wasn’t In Our Client Brief

Having looked at the clients requirements the layout of the room still worked for them, radiators or electrics didn’t need to be massively modified (they were all up to spec and the house had bee rewired not too long before) so it looked more and more likely that removing the panelling wasn’t a necessary part of the process.  However, was it still needed to create the look that we wanted?  Not if we got creative with what we expect wooden panelling to look like, there is always the option with wood panelling to refinish and stain it but that would have produced either a darker finish or would have still had a possibly yellow tinge to it.  So we decided to go a little more radical and to go for a paint finish (and no, we are not talking about rag rolling of the 90s!).

Work In Progress of Painting the Panelling

Work In Progress of Painting the Panelling

As you can see with the work in progress shot above, the effect was instantaneously more what the client had been searching for.  The space quickly felt open and brighter, it took many more hours and a lot of highly trained professionals to get it to the wonderful finish we see in the final design but it was a marked improvement already.

Painted Wood Panelling

Painted Wood Panelling

 

This finish worked beautifully to keep the more traditional look of the room but still managed to keep the design light and open, no where near as oppressive as the previous finish.

Mayfair Interior Design

The Finished House Design is Light and Airy

 

If you would like to see more of our Interior Design in Mayfair you can visit our Design Portfolio.  You may also be interested in reading about  our Luxury London Interior Design or The World’s Most Expensive Desk 

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Interior Design: Swiss Cottage

This project wasn’t just about the interior design as a major part of it was very architectural, something that was at the forefront of the client’s vision. They decided they wanted to rip the house down to its shell and completely re-work the interior, changing the layout, which included moving the staircase. The new staircase was designed to be a huge feature within the house, creating an atrium up to the top floor where there were also roof lights. This flooded the whole house with light, and created an amazing view when you looked up/down from whichever level. To emphasis this, the walls in the hallways/stairway are all completely white, and extremely neat creating interesting shadows where the light hits the angles. There is however some subtle texture added to the ground floor stair area which creates additional interest through textured white wall covering. This provides extra surfaces for the light to bounce off.

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The flooring is all oak which provides a warm contrast to the white walls while keeping it very minimalist and contemporary, not detracting the attention away from the architecture. The contrast however and direction of the wood grain helps your eyes follow the staircase round creating real depth. The diagonal angles at the turns of the staircase also help to break up the ‘squareness’ of the building which is also done through the choice of furniture in the various rooms.

Residential Interior Designer

Although the architectural work was not Designed by us, we responded to the space which had been created using the clean angles and smooth surfaces to inspire our design. The kitchen was designed by another company, but we designed the dining area, which complements the Kitchen extremely well.

Residential Interior Designer

The length of the central pendant light mimics the length of the room, balancing it out, as a smaller pendant would look lost in the space. The wooden table top adds an additional warmth to the room while being paired with the contrast of the black legs. This however is brightened up with the dining tables, which are a mix of taupe and cream chairs of one type, and two cream and wood chairs of another. Mixing up the chairs does not make them appear messy and thrown together, but breaks up the sharpness of the room. If all the chairs were the same, there would be a danger that the space would appear too clinical. The colours also all work very well together, the taupe chair even co-ordinating to the pendant. The voiles hanging over the large windows keep the room very light and open while providing an element of privacy, especially as there are a number of tall buildings surrounding.

Swiss Cottage Interior Design

In the lounge, there has been some colour introduced, firstly through the slightly warmer wall colour – grey. You can see the colour peeping through the doorway and window from the hallways to the lounge, which draws you in.

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The bold colours which have been used within this room are not only the client’s favourite, but are also a combination which work amazingly together. The green brings through a hint of nature, while the purple provides warmth. There are two areas to this room, an open sociable lounge area, and a cosy tv corner. Although these areas are divided slightly, the open backed sofa provides a break which brings the areas together nicely.

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Kia’s bespoke rug, which is featured in both the areas, really finishes the space off, giving it that cosy feel that you want in a lounge to make people feel relaxed and at home. The splattered marble effect also provides a break from the perfect clean lines which are featured throughout the house. The coffee table, which is a designer piece, works well with the dining table below with the warm wood giving the room an extra little boost.

_DSC0068 (edited 1) The Italian designer furniture which is featured in bold colours add an element of fun to the room, but also allow you lean back and relax as you find the relining chair sweeping you off your feet. The beautiful cushions help to pull the colours together adding a bit of texture adding to the luxury. These pieces really stand out and just look simply fabulous together.

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The TV side of the room features a built in TV unit providing plenty of hidden storage for devices & DVDs. The corner sofa provides plenty of space of people to cosy up and watch a movie together. This area is also slightly darker, as it does not have windows on both walls, which provides the perfect space for a TV as you do not want too much glare. The tall standard lamp positioned behind the sofa adds that warm level of secondary light when it is required making the area cosier in the evenings. The wired base chair which is upholstered in green, purple and white twill, which is not only hardwearing up pulls the colours within the room together nicely once again. The sofa, which is in a warm brown, also softens the room slighting providing a break from the bold colours, wish pulls the walls, flooring and tables together nicely. The footstool/side table is a little reminder of heritage, preventing the room from becoming overly contemporary, but also acting as a piece of art.

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The addition of the furniture and furnishings has turned a cold room, into a comfortable entertainment space, where the room actually feels bigger with furniture in, than without (which is incredibly unusual).

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The main feature in the bedroom is the hidden walk in wardrobe. This is concealed within a built in wardrobe wall and looks like a standard wardrobe until you open one of the doors. This leads into a slim closet with plenty of storage. The wardrobe doors are covered with a lilac grey tinted lacquer  which co-ordinates with the en-suite bathroom cabinet.

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There is also access to the hidden closet through a door onto the hallways. This doorway looks incredibly impressive with all the angles leading into it and the balcony which overlooks the staircase. It is also a very practical design, as it means you can get ready for work, while your partner is sleeping without disturbing them.

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The contemporary architecture paired with bold colour and soft patterns creates a real impact and uses angles, light and texture effectively to create a space which is not only a very stylish house, but also a home.

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Houzz: A Great Tool For Students

After taking some tips at a Houzz event last month (on the first day of my Internship with Kia) at Sofa.com, I thought it would be a great time to upload some of my own work onto Houzz to see how useful it could be to students. At the event, one of the Houzz team members spoke to us about using the site to gain maximum benefit. This included being active within the site, commenting on other peoples work and creating idea books in addition to uploading your own work.

What is great about the website, is that you don’t have to upload images of completed projects (which could be very difficult for students as the majority of our work is concept based). You are able to upload drawings, photos of spaces, before photos,  and products. This means that we can create a portfolio online of our work where people can comment and save the images to their idea books.

Since I am now nearing the end of my Internship with only a week left (I’m so sad! Don’t want it to end) It seemed like an appropriate time to upload some images of things I have worked on during my Internship, and thought it would be a good idea to create a blog post about it to encourage students to upload there images onto the site also.

So here’s a Step by Step of how to add your work & why it’s so great:

Step 1: Sign up to the site… It’s so quick and easy, especially with Facebook.

Houzz (click here to open site in new tab)

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Found on Homepage of Houzz

Step 2: Make sure your profile is all up to date with relevant information/custom banner.

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My profile as seen by Public

Step 3: Search something that interests you & Follow a few people/companies.

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Search for ‘Scandinavian’

 

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Nest Interior Design on Houzz (demonstrating follow option)

Step 4: Create a Project, Add correct info & Tags.

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Upload Images to Houzz Process

Step 5:  Drag & drop or use File browser to upload images.

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Step 6: Edit each image giving it an appropriate title & additional tags.

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Step 7: Add project Description & Check all images are correct from thumbnails.

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How public view your project… they can comment & save the image to their Ideabook.. you can also add a link to your website; in this case I have linked it back to the blog post which I wrote for Kia on the use of 3D Visualisations. This can be a great way to draw people to your website to view more of your work.

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The more images you post, more more you’ll get recognised… tag products if you can, be specific with categorisation and get yourself recognised! Once you find yourself a job you can simply convert your acount to ‘Pro’ so you can get reviewed and generate business.

My Houzz Page: Lowenna Cooper

Kia Designs Page: Kia Designs 

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Not Just A Floating Bed Manufacturer

Lago offer tons of innovative design solutions at the top of the market. They work mostly from a modular base which can be customised to really make your home pop!

One project that we designed in Notting Hill features many items form Lago and has is a supplier that provides the quality service to match the quality products.

5 Favourite Products:

1. Skin Basin – Wall covering that detaches like a skin

skin basin 1

This cutting edge design is extremely sleek and equally puzzling as the water appears to just disappear. It is available in either resin or mosaic in various colours. Both styles are incredibly elegant.

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2. Slide Shelf – A shelf built on a trapezium-shaped module

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This geometric style shelf can be put into 6 different Lago compositions, however there are endless combinations to form patterns allowing for ultimate customisation! Each piece has 1 open side and is slotted together to form some funky shapes. Again, this product comes in so many different colours which are made of lacquered metal.

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Designs can be very bold pulling colours together, or slightly more neutral and complementary. They are the perfect way to break a wall up in a fun way while providing space to store your books, DVDs ect.

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3. Kinoki Table & Chairs – The warmth of wood and the solidity of steel

kinoki table and chairs

These steel wire framed, wildwood topped items of furniture provide a brilliant light weight addition to a room. The octagonal table is extremely functional seating up to 8 people while executing form perfectly.  Japanese inspired design paired with Italian craftsmanship is a wonderful union.

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The frame comes in either painted white of graphite. The wildwood is extremely delicate at just over 2cm thick mounted on steel of 1.2 cm diameter. The design is also available as a stool.

4. 36e8 Kitchen – lets personal creativity run free

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Winner of the 2009 Good Design Award, This kitchen comes in so many different formats but is all based upon modular shapes forming 16 different patterns. The name is formed from the grid of 36.8 x 36.8 cm square which is used to form all the patterns. In addition to the variety of patterns, there is an array of different finishes, components, depths, fitting types and colours. Lago also have products which are sold separately designed to enable you to integrate appliances.

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This kitchen product allows you to show your personality while designing for your needs, and whats more, they all look amazing! And to put the cherry on the cake, you can guarantee none of your friends will have the same one!

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5. Flutta Bed – the worlds first suspended bed

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This bed gives the illusion of floating (especially from certain angles). It is done by using a single leg centrally positioned to balance the bed and a wall anchor to allow it to support the weight of two (pretty heavy) people.

Baker Street project

You may recognise this bed from 2 of Kia’s projects, Baker Street and Notting Hill. Kia has won many awards for the Notting Hill project, and its clear to see why. The clean lines are nicely broken up by the bed, with all the emphasis put upon it within the room.

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Notting Hill project

This product however also comes in a circular variation, which is awesome! Much like most of Lago’s products the bed is customisable, with the choice of headboard available and adjustable height. Its also brilliant for people like me who are constantly bruising their shins from kicking the bed frame since this bed has no exterior frame.

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Designer Focus on Chuck Elliott

Art, some people ‘get it’ some don’t.  For our clients art is extremely personal, it can make or break a project.  Specifying items that pull together a design scheme can be extremely rewarding, we have even had artwork created specifically to pull together the colours of a room (you can read that here, Creating A Bespoke Piece Of Art For A Client)

When a series of number patterns are overlaid and multiplied, the geometry moves in more freeform ways, so there is a sense of discovering more naturalistic sequences, the kind that generate growth in the natural world.” – Chuck Elliott

In order to do justice to these ideas – and to produce effervescent images that ultimately speak to the heart as well as the brain – Chuck has developed a particular printing technique. This involves using Lambda prints (where photographic paper is exposed to laser light) presented in a Diasec mount (in which the print is sealed between an aluminium backing sheet and a Perspex face). The effect re-defines the term ‘pin sharp’.

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There is no artist more committed to his craft than Chuck Elliott. He’s been refining his vision since he jettisoned his design career in 2004 to explore his own unique vision, allowing him to use the digital tools he’d employed in the commercial world in a far more experimental manner.

Today, eight years on, Chuck is at the height of his powers, bursting with ideas, and constantly evolving his understanding of how to realise them. But ultimately, we hope you’ll agree, the images speak for themselves.

 

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Sometimes we build a design scheme around a piece of art and these pieces would be glorious to build a design scheme around some of these stunning pieces from Chuck Elliott.

Mondial, 100cm Diameter

Lucid : RMX

Exhibition catalogue available now

Catto Gallery have published a new catalogue to coincide with the opening, with a foreword by Tim Green. If you’d like to receive a copy in the post, please email Imogen at the gallery, and she’ll send one out to you.
Email Imogen here >

Alternatively, you can view the catalogue online here.
Lucid / RMX exhibition catalogue online >

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