Sunday, 5 June 2011

Evolution of Design

The design process never predictable. Its an ever changing roller coaster ride of twists, turns and second thoughts. Take for example the carved wood mirror featured in the mood board from the last post, which was originally purchased to be hung over the fireplace.

As soon as I saw it in its new "home", I knew the scale was all wrong. Though balanced in the middle of the wall, it seemed too high and the empty space beneath it was enough to give me even more sleepless nights. (Apologies for the two following photos that were hastily snapped on my iphone.)

I began my search then and there for a replacement. I am a massive fan of the Moroccan style fretwork panels, as well as Asian carved wood panels, but I knew for the size I needed it was near impossible to get something similar in London at an affordable price. So I turned my attention to filling the space beneath the mirror, just until I found a better alternative.

It happened purely by accident. I was intending to cover the mantle with candles of all sizes to anchor the too small mirror and attempt to fill the space beneath it. I grabbed a few empty beer bottles from the recycling to cluster on the mantle, just to gauge the height I needed...and that's when the Eureka moment happened. I really liked the look  of the bottles on the mantle. I decided then and there, that they would be my "candle holders". It was also then that I started drinking a lot more beer as well as sifting through my neighbour's recycling bin.

The mirror and growing bottle collection remained until a trip to Thailand where I stumbled upon a little bit of heaven: A massive market in Mae Sot, featuring a number of shops filled with carved wood panels. Round or square, painted or natural, it was wooden panel bliss. Realising that I had to take anything purchased back to London with me, I bought 9 12"x12" panels - small enough to fit into luggage, but with the idea of hanging them in a grid to create one big piece.

I decided to keep the panels natural, as opposed to painting them as I loved the warmth of the wood next to the bright green hue of the bottles as shown below.

Photography - Derona Moss
The scale of the panels is just right, I'm pleased with the overall look which defines the fireplace wall as the focal point of the room. Also, not to worry, the mirror is very happy in it's new home, which will be revealed in the next post.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Let the Games Begin

The design process is so exciting that it can easily consume one's life. It may be because I'm a perfectionist...or simply because I'm a tiny bit obsessive compulsive*, but once I get started on a project I just cannot get it out of my head. 

After drawing up the existing plan for our flat in all its 392 sq ft glory, I found myself unable to turn off my brain, especially in the middle of the night. I was constantly making "to do" lists in my head and knew I needed to organise myself. So, I created a furniture plan, in order get my head around what we would actually need to purchase. Off the top of my head I knew we would need a TV console, mirror for above the fireplace, shoe storage (for the entry) and a plant (no room is complete without). I added the generic furnishings to the plan to get a feel for the space.

Then came the fun part: furniture sourcing. Lets just put it this way, I probably spent a total of 5 consecutive days searching the internet - nonstop.

You name it: Ikea, Gumtree, Muji, Zara Home, even Amazon. I'm an equal opportunity shopper. I came across so many accessories I decided to document everything that caught my eye in a sort of inspiration mood board. It included a lounge chair that I thought would fit neatly in the corner once we had settled into the flat, and also a pair of wall hung fish bowls. The bowls were the subject of much debate - animal cruelty, using creatures as art, you name it. I just thought they were cool. Sue me.

In the end Ikea reigned supreme thanks to its affordable, clean line (yet ubiquitous) pieces. I selected the PS Cabinet, palm plant and white shoe cabinet from the flat packed giants and a lovely carved wood mirror at TK Maxx, UK equivalent of the American version TJ Maxx (How they decided the distinct difference in name is one of life's great mysteries.) I also coveted the new H&M home collection and added a few throw pillows that I had my eye on to complete the neutral scheme.

I then amended my plan to 3D, stripping the room of its asymetrical mismatched shelving (leaving the shelves up only on one side of the fireplace), replacing the old short curtains with new drapery and blinds (to be chosen at a later date) and built the furniture in 3D as selected (excluding the lounge chair for the corner, which was just a tad over the immediate budget).

It was after this full that I was finally able to sleep through the night without brainstorming mid dream.
**I'm actually MASSIVELY obsessive compulsive!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

So Close. Yet Worlds Away...

After signing the contracts for the flat, I suddenly realised just how much work there was to be done. I set to work on creating a floor plan and 3d rendering for planning purposes. I also, being the dork that I am, started researching the area, and the history of the building that was to be our future home.

I found some information online regarding the year the building was erected (1823) as well as interesting war anecdotes, but what REALLY caught my eye was the ad for the house next door. On the market for a cool £1.8 mil, the 5 bedroom house is spread over five floors occupying the entire building, whilst our building is split into flats.

The house has pretty much the same layout as our building with the added bonus of a lower ground floor, extending into a full garden as the plans below show. (Our own garden happens to be a tiny slice of the original space. A minuscule oasis - the result of a great garden massacre to create tiny multiple green spaces for the flats above ensuring maximum rental income.)

As I nosed around I noticed the floorplan for their second floor. Our flat is also on the second floor, and as I compared the two plans, I could only laugh for fear of crying. What is our entire flat, is just one bedroom next door.

Oh how the other half live.

Soaking it up!

How exciting to be featured on Design*Sponge, one of my all time favourite design sites! If you missed it, check it out here: 

Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Flat With the Red Door

The minute we saw the ad for the flat I fell in love. There weren't many photos, which was a bit suspicious, but the location, nestled between quirky Clerkenwell and bustling Angel was perfect. Situated in a sea of stunning 18th century Georgian terraced mansions, the flat was on a quiet street opposite a square. As we approached the bright red door, I thought "This is far too good to be true"...and it was.

The flat was tiny. Teeny even. We were showed into the kitchen / lounge and it got worse. It. Was. Filthy. The smell - indescribable. There was stuff...EVERYWHERE. The fireplace wall, which was conveniently left out of the photos in the ad was a very badly painted bright red. The curtains stopped short at the sill, which although is common in the UK, is also against my religion. Too add insult to injury, the sink was filled with filthy dishes.

After my initial shock at the state of the lounge, and a tour of the rest of the flat which was of a similar state, the designer in me came to life. I thought of this as an opportunity. My glass was half full. I looked at the original hard wood floors. I ignored the smell. I looked at the high ceilings. I ignored the dirty curtains. I looked at the big ceiling height sash windows. I wanted it.

I was lucky that my very lovely boyfriend trusted me. I'm convinced he was skeptical, but somehow very nervously, we put an offer in. A few hours later it was accepted.

In the next few posts I will share the process of making the space livable. In the mean time, cast your eyes upon - *drumroll* THE BEFORE:



Hi All,

Welcome to the (long overdue) blog, in which I hope to showcase freelance interior design projects, as well as explore current, past, and future design trends. Enjoy!

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