Hello and welcome to my show notes for the fifth episode of The Great Indoors podcast, series 12. We have a jam-packed show in store but before that, a quick message from our sponsors, Geberit who are proudly Europe’s leading bathroom manufacturers and experts in creating your very own wellbeing retreat. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has had a huge impact on our mental health and we have spent more time than ever before in the confines of our homes. So finding joy in our homes day after day has become more important than ever. As we edge closer to getting back to some kind of normality it’s vital that we continue to look after ourselves and relax in places that make us feel happy. The bathroom is the perfect place for this and I have to say it is my tranquil retreat.
In terms of design, it’s all about creating softness with tactile finishes and pleasing textures like stone and wood and natural materials like cotton and linen – don’t forget the plants, which can add softness to a space which normally full of hard edges.
Geberit has a whole host of options to enhance the sensory experience in the bathroom, including products with built-in orientation lights which automatically come on such as mirrors, cabinets, and even loos. Head on over to Geberit.co.uk for more sensory inspiration.
On with the show… today we chat with the boys of 2LG Studio, Jordan Cluroe, and Russell Whitehead and we’ll be chatting colour curves and cult TV show Changing Rooms. We zoom in on wallpaper and how pattern is well and truly back and I reveal my top tip for renters – peelable wallpaper.
Lets’s dive straight in, Russell and Jordon are the geniuses behind 2LG Studio a name that was inspired by their postcode and a name that must stand for 2 Lovely Gays. Having left their acting careers behind them the duo add a theatrical flair to their design, with a bold use of colour paired with elegant shapes, resulting in a really distinctive look. The next step in their amazing career is hosting the revival of 90’s TV show Changing Rooms.
I first met the boys back in 2013 when they were competing on a lil’ well-known BBC TV show, The Great Interior Design Challenge. Now here they are hosting Changing Rooms and I am already hooked and could not wait for this comeback as it was quite a seminal show for me when it first aired in 1996 as it jolted people out of their beige boxes and feel inspired to decorate their homes.
Was it a big deal for you too?
“We were huge fans, and we say we were children of Changing Rooms and was an important part of our growing up. There was something very validating about it, you saw these flamboyant characters painting walls pink and was the first time we realised, wow I can be a designer and that’s a job. As Lawrence said, it was the first reality show – real people in their homes. When er heard it was coming back we said, this is a train we have to be on.”
You go through a very in-depth process for your clients and Ching Rooms is the opposite. How did it feel to let go of that level of control?
“It’s been really lovely for us to really indulge ourselves and have some fun and really go for it and it was really liberating. We take design very seriously but not ourselves, we love to have fun, shock, and surprise and do exciting things and this was an opportunity to really go there.”
“Because of Instagram and how we have positioned ourselves with a minimalist approach to interiors, still full of colour and pattern, there is a misconception that’s it’s about perfectionism. It was lovely for us to dispel the myth about perfectionism on the show and see whether things will work.”
I think it’s timely that Changing Rooms has come back during this time of Covid as we want to find joy in our homes. How important do you think Interior Design is to make us feel better about the situation at the moment?
“You’ve hit the nail on the head, more than ever now, we are all focused on the spaces we are living in and they are more strained in terms of requirements. It really can change the way you feel and you need a space that makes you feel good. Bold colour can have a massive positive impact.”
What can people do to feel more confident about using colour and bring a bit more joy to their space?
“We get asked this a lot, people ask us what colour should I paint XYZ. We can’t answer that for them, they need to look to themselves and that can be the hardest thing. Take a step away from things online, Instagram and Pinterest – things that we love – but you need to stop and think about what you love. Look at your wardrobe and what makes you feel great. If you love a colour, introduce it slowly if that feels more comfortable. On the show, we tried to make sure the rooms reflect the person.”
Back in the day, Changing Rooms was game-changing and got us thinking about design. What do you think will be the next big thing?
Jordan: “I’m hoping it’s going to be individualism, a move away from mass-market trends.”
Russell: “A return to mother earth – for me anyway, I’m very interested in natural colours, from the flowers to the earth and sky. Earthy tones are really big for me at the moment.”
A huge thank you to Jordan and Russell, I’m loving the series so far, so do look out for it on Channel 4 and don’t forget to check out the boys on Insta @2lgstudio and of course I’m @sophierobinsoninteriors.
Wallpaper has been having it’s moment for a few years now, so it’s nothing new but I’d say using wallpaper in our interior schemes have been very much cemented. We’ve said that pattern is back for a while, but this time it really is back and we’re seeing more wallpapered ceilings and lots of textured designs.
There are so many options out there, including printed, digital printed, hand-printed, peelable, murals and of course the textures. These can really transform a space – taking a classic Victorian-Esque Lincrusta or Anaglypta design and painting in gloss or satinwood will help capture the light beautifully.
If it wasn’t for my husband Tom I would wallpaper the whole house – nothing would be safe including all the ceilings! The ceiling is actually a good place to start if you’re unsure about taking the step into the world of wallpaper. Go for calmer walls and go for a bolder choice for the ceiling – you won’t be looking at all of the time and will add a flash of colour and pattern without dominating the space.
Onto some top tips…
⋅ Ordering a sample won’t help you visualise how it will look in the room especially if you’re sent a sample with a fraction of the pattern in one corner! Many companies will offer some kind of visualiser online to give you a better idea of the scale.
⋅ The fashion at the mo is to wallpaper the whole room which not only can be daunting but can become very expensive. We certainly wouldn’t advise a feature wall on the Great Indoors so think about within an alcove, above a bed or within a panel – either traditional panelling around the room or one large panel behind a sofa.
⋅ Keep an eye on trends for inspiration. Have a flick through a glossy interior mag, even the ads will offer some hints of forthcoming trends.
⋅ Murals are a fab way to add a visual impact and technology has come on leaps and bounds so the cost has come down considerably. You can get a bespoke mural for around £250 which I think isn’t bad for a one-off showstopper.
⋅ A small loo is the perfect place to start your wallpapering journey – you can go mad with the colour and pattern as you’re not looking at it all day.
⋅ If sustainability is key for you, many companies will now state that they use water-based inks, low VOC and PVC free. Although do lookout for kitchen and bathroom papers as they may not be PVC free.
We had a query from Poppy via our fabulous Facebook group about how she can add colour and pattern to her white-walled rental flat. There is a product called decorator’s peel which you paint on the wall, let it dry and then wallpaper as you would normally – then you just peel it off to remove – clever eh?
A huge thank you to 2LG for taking the time to chat with us, our wonderful sponsor Geberit, and to the fab producers at Feast Collective.
Image at top: Bougainville by Cole & Son.