So drilling down your own look and getting your into your own style groove is something I’m really passionate about. God forbid we all follow trends and become little design auto-bots so I’m always up for helping people get in touch with their inner design guru. So when I was contacted by Hillarys earlier this year to get involved in the #iwantthatstyle campaign I jumped at the chance. The idea was to ask four very different design professionals to be involved in the design of a room scheme that reflected their personal aesthetic. I was to be joined by Kate Watson Smyth the top blogger from Mad About The House, Daniela Tasca York the recent winner of The Great Interior Design Challenge and interior stylist and best selling author Emily Henson to be a part of a project to design a room four ways. As designers we all have a very different signature styles and so I was excited to see how this project was going to show the amazing diversity of interior design taste and style. Here we take a look at the design process.
First up I was invited up to Hillarys in Nottingham to view the new Autumn Winter Collection to pull together a series of fabrics that I think would work in a scheme of my style. I do love a sneak preview and the table in the design studio was laden with fresh new prints and plains for us to ogle at. While Kate Watson Smyth chose an oh-so-sophisticated delicate pale pink for neat Roman blinds, and left it at that, I went away armed with a bevy of clashing patterns from stripes to toile’s, florals to geometrics. Part of my signature look is to mix patterns with gay abandon and I was going to specify them for curtains, blinds and cushions. Secretly envying Kates less is more approach I know I never make it easy for myself!
Back in my studio I used these swatches as a spring board to pull together a Pinterest page of inspiration. Pinterest can be a real rabbit hole but I think its most effective if you approach it with some focus. The fabrics I’d collected from were pinks and navy’s with some yellows so I used this as my colour palette while searching for relevant images. You can view my full Pinterest page here.
Next up I pulled out a few key images to make up my mood boards as these were going to be used by the team to design the room set. This is a good way to consolidate your ideas and make notes. You can either print out your pictures in colour and mount them to a board, or I often use an app on my ipad called Mood board as it’s so quick and easy and then I can email it off instantly to the client.
So then the photography team at Hillarys got involved in designing the room set- as well as sourcing products that were similar to my mood boards. The design board had sketches which showed how the product would be placed within the set and an idea of the angle for the photographer. It also bought together all the styling ideas and product suggestions so everyone could approve the design on paper before it all gets collated. From this board I was able to approve the design and the stylist had a clear vision of what items needed to be sourced.
The shoot was held in Manchester at a photographer’s studio, made up like a set so the rooms could be made to look identical for all four looks. Unusually for me I was’nt in control of picking out the props for the shoot or styling up the image on the day but it was a good excercise for me to hand it over and see how someone else interprets my style.
So here it is, my pattern clashing, colour loving style realised by Hillarys. Let me know what you think!
1 Clash Colour. I love to clash bold colours together as they create real drama and impact. It works when you use bold colours together as you get that great burst of energy which is what I really love.
2 Mash patterns. I get a real thrill from mixing patterns together and seeing how they jostle next to one another. The way I do it is to restrict myself to a colour pallette otherwise it all goes a bit mad. Next make sure there is a mixture of large scale and small scale prints and some plains for balance. I love to mix modern gemetrics with flouncy florals so its the clash of styles that really works for me.
3 Gallery walls. I love to collect artwork and a group of framed prints all collected on one wall creates a really pleasing focal point. It also looks super striking against a dark coloured wall as the art really pops out. I talk in more detail on how to achieve this look on my How to hang art post.
4 Mix styles. The eclectic style has long been heralded as I thing but it’s at the heart of every scheme I design. I’m positively petrified of the overly matchy-matchy so I like to see different design genres and styles together as it gives a room personality. It also suits my hunter gatherer instincts as it means I can keep adding pieces over time that capture my eye.
5 Think floors and ceilings. It’s a given that colour and pattern can be applied to walls but all too often the floors and ceilings are completely overlooked. I like to show them a bit more love and always think to use the surfaces to add more colour. In my view oversized rugs (big enough so the feet of the furniture can sit ontop) in a bold pattern are a great way to create a feature floor, and ceilings should never be white.
6 Have curtains and blinds. I love to see a window really well furnished which is why I often opt for a combinaion of curtains and blinds. Its a great way to add more colour and play with different patterns.
For more about the #IWantThatStyle project and to see the other room sets inspired by the other designers, hop on over to Mad About the House blog here
Read my interview about the project with Hillarys here
Come and discover your own unique style by signing up for one of my colour workshops here