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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Photography: Interior Designer vs. Photographer

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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The difference between Principle and Agent in Regards to FF&E Supply

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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Presenting To Clients

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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Spotlight On: Lago

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.

slide shelf 1

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

36e8 kitchen 1

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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Spotlight 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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3D Visual Aids

Recently, we had a project nearing completion where the clients were unsure of the lighting choices within an open plan lounge/dinning room. Many clients get nervous as things start being put into position in projects as they cannot always visualise the final result. Our job, as designers, is to reassure the clients that once everything is in place it will all work very well together, and if the clients have a larger issue, to find a resolution before the project reaches completion.

In this case, the clients were worried that there was not going to be enough light in the area. The area hosted a dining table with 3 pendant lights hanging above. There was also a dark wood panelled chimney breast and a drinks cabinet in place. At the time that they saw it, there was only 1 bulb in the lights above the table, and no lights in the rest of the (large) room at dusk. We explained to them that the combined light from around the room, paired with the dimmable pendant lights would provide the perfect light for entertaining around the dining table. There would also be a large mirror hung on the chimney breast which would reflect additional light which would make an impact.

I took the floorplan that Kia drew up into Autodesk Revit, and created some 3D Visualisations to show how the area changes with the addition of different factors. The space/items are not exact, but is a good representation, therefore it would help the clients understand how it would all work together once completed.

Dining Layout

Plan for featured section

Firstly an image to show what the clients saw so that they have a point of reference to compare with the completed look:

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What the client saw and was worried by.

I then turned on all the lights above the table so that they could see the impact with no other supplements. This image shows only the lights in this area with no daylight:

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Artificial light for that area only

I then introduced the lighting around the house which would all contribute to the amount of light in area creating a more diffused look. I also added in the mirror which will be hung on the cladded wall which reflects additional light from around the room, in addition to making the space look bigger:

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Introduction of primary lighting and mirror

To show the impact that the mirror can have, I turned all the lights off showing the effect of just daylight. This first image does not include the mirror:

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Daylight without mirror

The second image includes the mirror, you can see how the area appears brighter due to the light reflected from the TV area opposite. The pale walls help with this as it provides a contrast to the dark wood cladding and adds depth to the space:

095_gf_1.rvt_2015-Apr-09_11-10-54AM-000_DINING_daylight

Daylight with mirror

Finally an image to show the artificial light paired with the daylight. The space becomes very bright and the reflections upon the table top create a lovely classy affect and the light bounces of the bashed metal pendants:

095_gf_1.rvt_2015-Apr-09_11-13-30AM-000_DINING_artifical_and_daylight

Artificial and Daylight combined

These helped to reassure the clients that there would be enough light in the area. 3D visualisations are extremely useful for showing how a rooms look can change at different time of day. For example, the clients were not keen on the positioning of the floor lamp, however we advised them on how it would be useful when watching TV as you do not always want a bright space due to glare. It is nice to create a cosy area using secondary lighting, the images below demonstrate this.

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Daylight

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Both Primary & Secondary lighting

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Primary light only

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Secondary light only

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Why Curtains Are So Expensive

When Kia said she would show me how to draw up and order curtains I thought it would be a piece of cake. I could not have been more wrong. There are so many different things to consider when choosing custom curtains which can make such an impact upon the finished look.

First thing to consider is the rail/track type.

There are plenty to choose from, some of which have various names. The main ones are as pictured below:

Hook rail:

source: John Lewis

Source: John Lewis

Eyelet rail:

eyelet rail

Source: Aspire Curtains & Blinds

Corded track:

Source: Curtain Rail Suppliers

Wave track:

wave track

Source: S-GS

Lath & Fascias / Pelmet:

lath and fascias or pelmet

Source: Merrick Day

There are a few things to consider before choosing your rail:

1. Weight of material

2. Depth of space

3. Heading type

4. Budget

Once you’ve chosen your rail/track type, you chose the position/length.

This very much depends on the window/doors that you’re covering. Most of the time the track/rail will be attached to the wall face, whereas if you were doing full length or recess curtains you may wish to attatch it to the ceiling. You also need to decide on whether the rail/pole will be visible or if the curtains while hide it, This must be taken into consideration when choosing heading type, position and length of material.

The length will normally extend past the window/door so that the curtains can be stacked away from it allowing the light in. Often 1 cm from the wall edge (if it is near a wall edge) is a sensible distance to give it a neat stack back. You also need to consider whether the curtains will stack back to one side or to both sides and this will effect whether you position it centrally.

Often tracks are telescopic and so each has a different range (eg. 200-300 cm). You can also buy curved tracks, however these tend to be more expensive due to custom requirements.

If you’re installing two sets of curtains (for example sheers in addition to curtains) then you must remember the depth of the rail.

Moghul Interiors

Source: Moghul Interiors

You then choose the heading type.

This is where the various different names for the same type of heading come into play. Each heading can create a very different impact and also varies in level of effort/skill to make, and amount of material required.

drapery connection

Source: Drapery Connection

Above are the various type of pleat that you can choose (there are 6 pages of these on the Drapery Connection website) Pleat headings tend to use the most material and are fuller than some of the alternatives.  The most common heading styles are shown in the image below:

curtain-headings - original interiors

Source: Original Interiors

Fullness is determined by a ratio (normally between 1.5-3). Say the Fullness was 2, this would mean that the amount of material needed was the length of the space to fill x 2 (1:2)

Example:

Window size: 2 m

Fullness: 2

Amount of material: 2 x 2 = 4 m

The hem allowance must then be added on which is usually 6 cm.  (2 x 2 = 4 m + 0.6 m = 4.6m)

And if you were to have floor to ceiling curtains, you would be buying material say 2.4 m x 4.6 m. 

This is why curtains can be extremely expensive!

Furthermore, when it comes to buying material, if they drop (height of curtain) is more than the width of the material, it is sewn together in panels so that there is not a horizontal seam. However, if the drop is less than the width of the material, it can be railroaded. This is when the pattern (if there is one) is rotated so that the width of the material can hang vertically. This creates a more seamless hang, so it is often worth looking for double width material if you can!

Stack back.

When the curtain folds back agains the wall, you must consider the space it requires to do this as it means furniture cannot be placed too close to the wall in some cases. In general, Eyelet and wave fold back tightly and neatly.

Eyelet Stackback:

source: dune-mill

Source: Dune Mill

Wave Stackback:

curtain rail suppliers

Source: Curtain Rail Suppliers

Whereas pleated curtains tend to take up more space (both width and depth) and often require a tie back to allow enough light to come through the window when not in use.

French Pleat Stackback:

source: pretavivre

Source: Pretavivre

 Finally, the material. 

Different racks can support different weights of material. Obviously there will be heavy duty variations of the weaker tracks, although these may not be as discrete and have a huge price tag. Sheers work well with both wave and cord tracks and heavier materials work well with pleats.

Sheers & Certains (Double Heading) in one of Kia’s Projects:

kia curtain

Kia Designs – Baker Street

 

 

 

 

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Decorate With Refreshing Flower Prints

Romo Fabrics

Saphira, a beautiful contemporary print collection that comprises graceful, colourful blooms on an indulgent cotton-satin and a versatile cotton-linen. The delicate touch of watercolour creates a montage of hazy florals and striking magnolias in a fusion of colours. Cascading stripes intertwine an array of shades and a luxurious viscose velvet featuring a medley of rich brushstrokes creates a textural sensation.

Harlequin Fabrics

IMPASTO Dramatic, uninhibited and vibrant, Impasto has been inspired by the free, painterly style and light-reflecting techniques of the Impressionist movement. These techniques have been beautifully and sympathetically interpreted onto shimmering silks, cottons and sumptuous eye-catching velvets and weaves. Burgeoning florals, abundant blooms, abstract geometrics, ombré stripes, graceful hummingbirds come together in this thought-provoking, eye-pleasing, sensory delight of a collection.

KALLIANTHI FABRICS Clarissa Hulse is a bright star in the British textile world, uncompromising in her passion to deliver the ultimate combination of colour, print and texture. Her name has become synonymous with beautiful and luxurious home accessories, wallpapers and fabrics.

Clarissa has teamed up with Harlequin to produce Kallianthi, a breathtaking collection of fabrics and wallpapers with a botanical theme which encompasses her trademark style and distinctive handwriting.

View the complementary Kallianthi Wallpapers here

Designers Guild

MARIEDAL FABRICS Powerful digitally recreated pure expressions of flower

Digitally printed florals make an impact unlike any other. The detail and vivacity needs to be seen to be beloved. Some clever techniques are employed here by our studio, such as muted variations which single out key colours and give an overall neutral feel full with subtle and true pattern.

KIMONO BLOSSOM FABRICS, Tasteful painterly prints

Essences of the orient, this collection draws influences from decorative Chinoiserie tradition, often characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary china, by asymmetry in format and whimsical contrasts of scale. This statement collection of printed designs on fine linens and cottons offers original calligraphy and watercolour artwork sensitively reproduced, along with some more graphic floral designs, and a truly sublime digital print. Fresh, modern, and sophisticated.

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Interior Design: Baker Street

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Interior Designers often get known for a specific project, for us it is the Notting Hill Penthouse Interior Design, it’s an extremely striking project with a fantastic back story (that you can read here on Houzz).  We are now going to break down a lesser known project that certainly needs to be given it’s due. Many people know and talk about the Notting Hill Interior Design as it features a show stopping floating bed, however not many know about it in this project even though it also contains the exact same bed. This project shows how it can look amazing in a completely different style of bedroom (if you would like to read about the Luxury lounge design we have a breakdown here for you, Interior Design Baker Street)

Once again the bed is a large feature of the room and really lifts the design. It also allows you to admire the floor since the bed isn’t wasting valuable floor space. There are many aspects to this design which you would not be able to recreate without the help of  an Interior Designer.

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Inset Framed Bespoke French Art

Firstly,  the floating bed required us to build the wall out to allow for the appropriate fixings into the wall so that it would counterbalance and not collapse when weight is put on it. We felt that we needed to find a way to justify this, as it is a lot of work to secure a bed when there are freestanding alternatives. Since the wall was to host a beautifully bespoke piece of art commissioned from France (the artist of which Kia discovered on a trip to Paris) we decided to give this piece a very special frame. The frame is inset so that the art work is set back into the wall. We also inserted LEDs into the corners of the frame which not only creates a beautiful lighting effect within the room, but also enhances the artwork greatly, picking out the depths of the grain.

LED Lit Frame

LED Lit Frame

The colours in the piece complement the rest of the tones in the room which have been brought through from the lounge design. This we especially picked out through the rug which looks so soft you just want to sit there stroking it.  The texture of this rug when the hairs are brushed in different directions complements the artwork surprisingly well.

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Silky Rug & Soft Shadows

The long, elongated shadows cast upon the wooden floor make the room appear bigger as they frame the bed well. These shadows have been softened by the sheers which are brought through from the lounge. The black wire bedsides carry on that illusion of floating by keeping the lower level light weight. A number of different types of lighting have been considered in this room, with light being provided through: bedside lighting, wall lights, frame lighting, floor lamp, fire and pendant light. This allows you to light the room best depending on the task/time of day. The curtains allow you to completely black out daylight if you wish to sleep during the day yet allow light to flood in when open, making the most of the natural light provided through the large windows.

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Beautiful Contrast & Organic Shapes

The organic shapes within the art work have inspired the light pieces which feature rich reflective tones and are pieces of art in themselves. The clothes stand also inherits this organic shape which adds some functionality in a very aesthetic way (when clothes aren’t piled on top of it). They look rather powerful with the contrast created by the windows. To brighten up the right hand corner we introduced a cream round sofa which complements the linen on the bed bringing additional contrast to the room. This is also picked out within the painting which is hung above the fireplace.

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Reading Area

Towards this end of the room we have created a cosy area which would be ideal to sit and read a book. The fireplace wall provides perfect alcoves for wall mounted book shelves on either side. Each is made up of 3 pieces, two walnut and one wenge which is in keeping with the bespoke wardrobes opposite. The artwork above the fireplace we have balanced out on the chimney breast by adding centralised wall lights. This helps to even out the proportions but also light the area so the artwork can be fully enjoyed. The bold frame of the piece also helps to even out proportions in relation to the fireplace, which is helped by the slate which is set in to the flooring where the previous hearth used to sit, it also helps in drawing your eye towards this area.  The round sofa, which has been used in projects since allows for slouching back with a book in the evening, while being lit over head by a floor lamp positioned behind. We chose a round sofa to complement the organic shapes within the artwork above the bed, but also to give the room a feminine touch.

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Bespoke Wenge Wardrobes

The bespoke Wenge wardrobe on the left side of the room work perfectly across this wall. They are full height which not only provides maximum storage space, but also allows us to continue the cornice along creating a seamless finish. The walnut and wenge are featured throughout the design within this room subtlety as can be seen in the frame above the bed. The mirror on the last panel next to the window is not only practical, as it allows you to see your full outfit, but also enhances the light flooding in through the window, and makes the room appear bigger.

DSC_0167 cropped

Textures In Perfect Harmony

To bring the room together, we paired a number of textures together that work in perfect harmony. The crushed velvet curtains which are a variant of the ones featured in the lounge work exquisitely with the wenge wardrobes and the rug. The contrast with the round sofa with its raised texture is very refreshing, which is then paired with reflective leather and quilted cushions.

We tailor our interior design service to creative the perfect balance in your home, balancing light, colour and texture to create a scheme that feels like home the moment you walk in.  Want to work with us on your project?  Give us a message to discuss your interior design project now.

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Porta Romana Dedication To Perfection

It costs how much?!!

A problem that Kia said she stumbles on quite often is clients being gobsmacked at the price of certain items that she pitches to them. Often they will have the reply ‘I’ve seen that for half the price in…. ‘ but what the clients are not aware of is the process which that item has undergone to justify such a high price tag.

Porta Romana Gold Leaf

In progress application of gold leaf

 

At London Design Week 2015 at Chelsea Harbour there was a demonstration in Porta Romana as to the process, which was completed to produce one of their hand crafted mushroom mirrors.

Each mushroom mirror is individually cut in sections then given to a team of finishers to apply one of hundreds of different finishes. This particular finish that they were demonstrating, had 6 stages to it and was applied front and back. Each piece would require drying time between each stage, which makes the processes even lengthier. The finishes were not just average varnishes either. The first stage is embossing. Second stage a base coat of special formula developed by Porta Romana themselves description. They then apply a gold foil and stages Four and Five are developing the colour depth. The final stage is shading the corners with acrylic and a soft brush, which is the finishing touch.

Porta Romana Finishes

Some of the final details are truly a work of art

 

All the work that goes into these products by extremely skilled people is why they have such a high price tag. Many high-end products are priced highly for that same reason. A talented individual has put a great deal of time and attention into each item, the finishes are not bog standard, materials are from good sources and the detail is intricate. There are however a few exceptions where you are paying for the name, but they key is to spot the difference between the two so your money is going to the correct cause (which is why you hire an Interior Designer of course).

Sometimes it really is worth paying that bit more for something of quality and value as its going to look 100x better than something you might pick up in Ikea.

 MUSHROOM MIRROR - MAYAN GOLD

The Finished Mirror design

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Interior Design Baker Street

Interior Design Baker Street

Interior Design Baker Street

This project in Baker Street is definitely a favourite of Kia’s and myself. We designed the space to create the perfect place to relax after a days work while still having a touch of sophistication. You would not recognise it from the before photographs if it wasn’t for the beautiful floor and doors which we kept, and used as a starting point for the rest of the design.

Bronze Wall Covering Reflecting Light Beautifully

Bronze Wall Covering Reflecting Light Beautifully

 

We kept the base colours in the lounge warm but neutral which provides a great opportunity for piecing together with bold colours. The large window here floods the room with light but to add some privacy we hung some delicate sheers. The light then bounces off the beautiful wall covering highlighting the shimmery pattern and texture which we chose to add depth to the room. This warm bronze feature wall is complemented by a slightly cooler and fresh light beige on the remaining walls.

IMG_1998

Original Fireplace

The fireplace which was previously featured in this room we removed and replaced it with a more contemporary alternative which really lifted the room to give it that edge. In order to do this permission was required from the council and building management, this is due to the property being in a conservation area and theses properties having been built to specifically maintain a more historic look. The wall was built out to accommodate this and a bespoke bookshelf built around the corner to maximise the utilisation of space. We chose a warm walnut wood as it creates a nice contrast to complement both the walls and flooring.

DSC_0068 ed

Fireplace With Bookshelf

We placed a Eames chair with footstool upholstered with black leather with walnut trim, adding a masculine touch to the room and the perfect spot to watch TV from.  This complements the black introduced into the room through the fireplace.  Each part of the design slows and precisely layers on top of another to create a finished scheme.  The corner sofa beautifully balances out the room providing plenty of space to entertain but also to kick back and relax. It even has electronic head rests that can be worked by a discreet plate on the inside of the sofa arm.

Eames Chair for Ultimate TV Viewing

Eames Chair for Ultimate TV Viewing

 

 

The bespoke rug (designed by Kia) brings a splash of colour into the room elegantly. We felt that it is important that it is such a large piece due to the wooden flooring to partly soften sound so the room so that it does not echo but also to be in-keeping with proportions.

Kia Designs Classic Rug

Kia Designs Classic Rug in Electric Blue

 

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Beautiful curtain texture

We finished off with some beautiful design pieces which provide practical purpose also. The coffee table located next to the sofa catches the light while delicately adding a feminine touch to the room with the organic curves. The wall light casts light both towards the ceiling and the floor which creates softer light, as due to the height of the ceiling, it is important that the whole room is lit. Furthermore, the richly coloured cushions positioned on the end of the sofa bring the textures in the rug, curtains and wall covering all together nicely. The curtains are a beautiful crushed velvet in a warm beige which create a beautiful depth of tone which works that works wonderfully with all the shades within the room. It is also a very luxurious fabric which looks stunning when they are both open and closed. Since they are floor to ceiling curtains we felt it was important to make a statement with them.

 

Dining Table Area with Drop Lighting

Dining Table Area with Drop Lighting

 

We placed the dining table infront of the second window to make the most of the light flooding in.  The dining table is a smoked glass top with a chrome (almost mirrored looking) frame which reflects the light beautifully. The contemporary white leather chairs pick out colours from the wooden flooring and the skirting. We took the texture of the sofa and recliner chair into consideration when choosing the material of the seat covering to bring it all together. This however was practically a good choice as leather is hardwearing. The pendant lights were specially commissioned for this project and suspended from the ceiling add some height to the area to balance it out, drawing your eye upwards. These pendant lights co-ordinate with the floor lamp which is located in the diagonal corner. They also complement the fireplace which is located to right of the table. There is no artwork placed above the fireplace as there are already a number of things the eye is drawn to on the higher level in this area, and so the room may look too cluttered by the addition of a piece here.

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TV area

The TV is mounted centrally on the wall above a large cabinet so that all devices can be stored away out of site preventing clutter. The angles within the room draw your eye naturally towards the TV which will create maximum comfort. The cabinet features smoke glass strips which co-ordinate with the dining table. It also reflects light making the room appear brighter in addition to the white lacquer cabinet which reflects the light also. What I particularly like about this, is how the blue rug is reflected in the glass which adds another glimmer of colour to the room subtly, while also providing the practical purpose of allowing remote signals through so the TV will work without having to expose any additional equipment. The sheers which hang over the large windows provide the perfect level of light diffusion for glare to not be an issue upon the tv. The large leaning floor lamp adds that extra element of  style, softening the corner and adding that extra soft lighting of the evenings.

As you can see, a great deal of consideration goes into every design decision. Everything is done in a certain way for a reason and is something that could not be replicated on a DIY project.

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