Naturalistic Gardening is very much trending at the moment. Seen in the last couple of years at the RHS Chelsea gardens this style of gardening fits with strong built architecture. Plants with structure and texture can also provide this much needed architecture that grounds and supports the naturalistic look.
It also fits with the times of encouraging more wildlife into our gardens so think loose planting in your borders with blousey, relaxed shapes.
Now you may think what does holidaying in the Uk have to do with Interior Design? Well a lot in fact! It is now recognised that us Brits are definitely daring to spend some, in not all, of our precious vacations in the UK. Think - no more taking 24 hrs to get there, being at the mercy of French traffic control or struggling with a different language or currency. Yes, the great British vacation is back with our increasing consciousness of our carbon footprint and a desire to perhaps take more mini breaks, which when staying in this country, is easy to do.
So when we do go away and self catering is one of the most popular choices, we want to stay in interior spaces that make us feel good, fantastic infact!! Gone are the days when holiday home owners can 'get away' with anything that shouts 'old fashioned', 'dreary', stained (cringe) or frankly past it's best. I am championing the cause for holiday home owners to think about that whole experience for your clients and in doing so elevate your business to be the best it possibly can. Raising standards for holidaying in the UK can only serve us all well, both clients and business owners.
Never underestimate the importance of capturing the right scents in an interior space ..
Although often underused our sense of smell (one of our five keys senses) should also be a consideration in the design process. We all have our favourite smells which is why they are so individual and will have different impacts but if got right can give a much greater sense of wellbeing.
Take for a carefully considered view from a window could also include the aroma from a nearby flower or plants, for example fragrant roses or delicate jasmine which comes into its own on a hot summers evening. These smells can often transport you back to a fond memory of maybe holidays or childhood. The sense of freshly mown grass can also elicit memories of long hot summer days.
The interior space can have designated areas where favourite smells will be used for example baking bread in the kitchen or a chicken roasting in the oven. Also natural materials used can have the right or the wrong smell from floors to a leather chair.
Get the aroma's right in your space and you will find your mood boosted as soon as you walk into your home.
Make a tablescape with fresh green foliage from the garden and some room scents to add a summery feeling to a space..
Always good to see what you have already lying around the house and garden. Try and keep to a monotone colour palette so it doesn't fight with your interior decor.
Spring is a great time to start planning those renovation and decorating projects. One of the new rooms or spaces that is gaining attention in our homes is the lounge or living area. This is yet another hardworking space that if it is to work needs to accommodate all the activities you do in the space. As well as now watching TV it is commonly used for exercise, accommodating extra guests (day and night), eating, socialising, reading and quiet alone time.. to name just a few.
So where do you start on that planning journey. Well one of the first things to do is to identify what will be the big players in the room? Are you thinking of introducing a statement fire surround with fire and TV or something unusual such as a piano?
Start with the big items first. Often this is the sofa.. who will it have to accommodate, and what shape will fit the room? By getting these key structures right, the rest will fall into place..
I find when I start my design projects it is always a case of educating my clients in how construction or any design project actually works. I find that providing a copy of the RIBA Plan of work always helps. RIBA stands for the Royal Institute of British Architects who back in 1963 developed this definitive UK model for the building design and construction process. It has since been updated and at the moment we are following the 2013 version but the fundamentals have stayed the same. No matter how big or small the project all quality projects should be following this 7 stage plan.
I like to mix the pieces up with a combination of quotes, family photographs, textured architecture and beautiful images of nature. I also use a number of mediums including swatches of fabric and wallpaper. These all add colour and texture to a space. The most important thing is they need to be relevant to the space they are to sit in and be personal and meaningful to you. Lastly, try and create a relationship between the artwork and objects near it. This could be picking up a colour or texture, line or form of a sofa or lamp near to the artwork. These then tie the two pieces together rather than two random objects. Trial and error is the key,
Then here is an example.. Here I am putting a colour scheme together for one of my lovely clients. There is a lot of shuffling/sorting/analysing that goes into a colour scheme. It is always best to limit your palette that way it creates a flow through the house rather than a riot!
Dreamers and Schemers
Gold Diggers Pushers and Junkies
..were all words associated with the projects of architects and entrepreneurs Urban Splash. 'It will never work' has been their call to action rather than a discouragement. The company's maverick presence on the development landscape of the North has changed the way we live, work and play in our cities. Urban Splash profess to have started without a plan but saw something in the old industrial buildings and brownfield sites of the North which were lying unused and unloved. Now celebrating 25 years in business which has been marked by a brilliantly curated exhibition at the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) which I managed to get along to this week.
The exhibition tells the story of their journey narrated with what was going on politically at the time (the decline and closure of northern industries then heralded by the promise of Tony Blairs New Labour) and how they have turned troubled and abandoned urban sites into homes and communities in our city landscape.
Below is one of Urban Splashes projects Parkhill Flats, Sheffield. The black and white images and how in its hay day it was a community that later became a 'no go zone' with vandalism and youth crime. Today the colour pictures show how, rather than being pulled down, the now listed building serves the newly created community for Sheffield.
One of my favourite pastimes. Capturing the wonderful textures and colours of the old architecture. These buildings just get better with age.. love them..
My aim here is to capture moments or thoughts around design. I am constantly inspired by the London design exhibitions, photography and design publications. In fact I get my inspiration from so many places.. By sharing these experiences and thoughts with you I hope to both educate and inform.