Showing posts from 2010

How I am Coping with the Christmas Rush

How I am Coping with the Christmas Rush

At this time of year, all I want to do is throw my hands in the air, find a rock to hide under and wish Christmas would come and go while I was catching up on some sleep! Unfortunately, that is not going to happen, I will have to decorate the house and the tree, buy and wrap all the presents, write Christmas cards, entertain people, feed people and pander to my children who are on holiday from school and the demands from them have already started.

I wish we could hold our breath and go back in time when life was simpler, children were thrilled to have a (yes just one) gift from Santa, have Christmas dinner with family, sing a few carols, spend time with each other and relax.

Now we are all competing to see who has the best decorated house, whose Christmas tree decorations topped last year's designs and if we can beat the gifts we purchased for our loved ones last year.

Or are we?

I don't know if the global recession has hit you, your fam… is going green

I don't know if you have children and have heard of "Bob the Builder" and his catch phrase "reduce, reuse, recycle" well, I have heard it non stop for the last five years at least and I think I am totally converted!

Now I feel I should convert the website and spread the word about reducing, reusing and recycling. The best way to do this is by educating us, the interior designers to make well informed choices on what products we specify in an interior. Take more notice of what products are made of, where they come from and how they can be recycled or reused when they finish their life cycle. There is so much to learn about this part of interior design and how we can make a change for good in our environment, that I thought I would ask you what you want to know, so I can get a website written to help us all improve our product choices and keep our environment green.

I would love it if you could fill out a very quick survey to let me know what y…

How to Keep A Designer Bedroom Look

How do you keep your designer bedroom looking good?

This is a problem I find in all areas of design, when you complete the job, the room looks great, you go back two months later and it looks like a jumble sale! So how do you keep the bedroom you have designed looking great?

You need to plan well and make sure that there is room to store all the things you require in the bedroom.
Make sure there is enough wardrobe space. If there isn't then advise them to store out of season clothing and rotate it with the seasons. This means the wardrobe won't be spilling out into the room and finding the clothes will be easier. Use shoe racks to maximise the usage of space and make the wardrobe more ordered.Select side tables with a drawer or two so you can put the little things you need beside your bed every night somewhere out of sight. Have decorative boxes of varying sizes to store things in, like jewelry, scarves, magazines, hats (hat boxes work well for storage), hand bags. These can be…

How to Stop Yourself Going Insane When You are an Interior Designer

How to Stop Yourself Going Insane Being When You are an Interior Designer

How long have you been working in the design industry? Are you a beginner and full of enthusiasm and passion, or a long term burnt our professional who doesn't want to pick up the phone when they think it will be a certain annoying client!

I don't want to sound negative here and pour water on any one's passion and enthusiasm for design, as obviously, that is what I encourage in our students everyday as it realizes fabulous creativity, but sometimes you get one client who just burns you out!

I suppose what I want to express is how to prevent this happening in your life. I will give you my experience here and tell you how I should have handled it, instead of nearly going insane and not answering the phone!

I had a long term commercial client who wanted to build a new house. Chris designed the house, and I was helping his wife with the interior design. Unfortunately, I took her with me and gave her opti…

Earthquake hits home in Christchurch

This is a personal blog post about the last five days. Chris and I live in Christchurch, New Zealand with our three children. On Saturday morning at 4.35am we were woken up with a roaring nose and the whole house shaking. An earthquake. Then it was pitch black, we were all ok, frightened and apprehensive about what would happen next and what to do next. We grabbed the kids, torches and blankets and sat on the sofa, under a very large beam and rode out a lot more after shocks. It was awful. Daylight arrived and we had no power and no water. This was ok, the house was in one piece and we were all safe. There was glass broken all over the floor, and we had filing cabinets spilling out all their contents in the garage, but overall we were lucky.

It has now been five days and we are still having after shocks, they come in all shapes and sizes and you never get used to them. It feels like you are sea sick as the ground always seems to be moving under you. We haven't seen much of the dev…

The Importance Of Research in Design

I have just visited a lodge with the look at undertaking the refurbishment. I am very open minded when it comes to looking at design, and appreciate good quality design when I see it, but boy do I get annoyed when I see that designers have used totally inappropriate products in spaces.

Here is an example. In a high traffic cafe they have used a timber veneer floor board. It hasn't withstood the high foot traffic and now looks disgusting, it cannot be sanded back and refinished like solid timber floor boards and to replace it with timber floor boards, the timber would have to sit in the space for at least a month to acclimatise to the environment before it can be laid. This will definitely not work, as the business has to keep functioning.  That was mistake number one.

Mistake number two, using a paper wallpaper in the rest rooms. It has a lovely design, but you can just imagine what it looks like around the wet areas, basically there is no paper there anymore and where horizontal …

How Many Colors is Too Many?

How many colors should you use in a color scheme in a room?
This is a very popular interior color question from our readers. So I thought I would share my ideas with you.

My  usual reply is that there are no hard and fast rules, (here it comes) BUT more than five in one space will tend to make your interior look too busy and not pleasing to your eye.

I am not including a small color highlight in a sofa fabric as a color, or the ten different shades of green on a landscape painting on the wall. I am meaning five large areas of different color.

In this photograph there are about five large amounts of color, because of the style, it works, any more colors and it would definitely be too much.

In this tropical bedroom, the fabric alone has more than five colors, do I need to say more?

This combination of fabric patterns has more than five colors, but they are balanced by using texture, pattern and the subdued tones of the hues.

I have shown you some examples of  design using more than fiv…

Transform a Room with Wallpaper - Don't be Afraid to Ask for Advice

Wallpaper can completely transform a room.

I recently visited a friend who had purchased an older home that had been renovated and painted throughout. It looked clean and crisp, but it lacked something. My friend got to work and "went to town" with wallpaper.

What a transformation. It reinforces my ideas on using pattern, texture and color. The rooms all took on a look or theme, the pattern gave the room depth and provided movement for the eye. New curtains were also added and highlighted the wallpaper.

She was stuck with one problem though, her existing sofa just didn't work in her new look living room. It was mustard yellow with rust and blue motifs. The fantastic wallpaper was colored red rust with a large silver vine type design. The curtains were silver, and there was a silver mirror over the fireplace. The wallpaper was used as a feature wall and when walking into the room it looked fantastic, but the room did not look right to her eye. (This is why she asked my…

Accessories - The Key to Good Design

Accessories are the key to good design. Why? Because they are often the focal points of a room or what people's eyes first focus on in when entering a room. But who chooses them?

Interior decorating can be overlooked as a skill. Interior designers get precious about creating spaces, Architects about creating form and function. All of these features are vital with any interior, but there is still the finishing touches skill that is the icing on the cake of these designs, and the ability to do this with expertise requires enormous talent.

There is a lot of banter about in the design industry about qualifications, industry standards, and people passing themselves off as designers when they aren't. It is very difficult when a lot of countries don't have the design industry regulated. It can be frustrating for qualified individuals to compete in an industry with others passing themselves as something they are not. The only way to look at this without getting all puffed up about…

Don't forget about the trees!

Don't forget about the trees?

After recent discussions with my wannabe interior designer daughter (all of seven years of age), on the interior design for her new bedroom, which by the way is not as nice as her old bedroom (before we started), boy life is tough!
She told me not to forget about the trees!
What, trees in a bedroom, what on earth has she designed?

I sat down with her and looked at her design concept. I think she must have been doing the interior decorating ecourse because she had sorted out what she needed, listed it up, drawn sketches and had a definite theme that she was adamant required no input from me!

You will never guess her theme, so I will tell you. The Sound of Music. For anyone too young to know what this is it is a book and movie made popular years ago with Julie Andrews as the star singer, she played a nun/ nanny (Maria) for a family with no mother and a lot of children and I think from memory it was in Germany or Austria, I need to read the book again.

When is a designer right or wrong?

When is a designer right or wrong?

I recently was contacted by a contractor on a project that was almost complete, I had allowed the client to make a change, she wanted a feature wall in the corporate color (lime green) in the reception area. It wasn't what I would have chosen, but being an isolated area I decided to compromise the design concept and let the change happen, it wouldn't upset the flow of the remainder of the building.

Well, when the rest of the staff saw the color they all wanted it in their offices. Lime green overload! The contractor had gone ahead with this, even though I had not given him the instruction, and when I saw it, it was worse than I thought. Chris came with me and calmed me down, he thought it was bright and funky. The staff loved it and I was the only one upset.

Unfortunately as designers we do get a little precious. We can go through the entire process of taking the client brief, creating a beautiful workable concept, get the project underway and …

Design has no Age Limits

A colleague of mine has been taking home design magazines from our office for her mother to read. She is at home all day on her own and loves to have something to do with her time.
She is in her 70's yet she can still get excited and passionate about learning design. My colleague said she walked into the room recently and could hear her having conversations with herself as she browsed through the magazines and was astonished with some of the design "oohing" and "aahing" at some pieces and was thinking about situations to use some of the designer furniture and was pretty much having a great time.

So it just goes to show you that you are never too old to learn about design or to appreciate it.

The same can be said for children. They can be quite pedantic about how they want their bedrooms to look, what colors they like, and where they want to place their things in their room. They are also very good at having a designer shopping list! I don't leave design magazi…

The Luxury of Carpet - Tips for Choosing Carpet for your Home

The Luxury of Carpet

Whilst house hinting this week, I was reminded about what a difference carpet makes to an interior. I walked into a house and instantly felt the plush softness with a little spring underfoot. Luxury and quality jumped straight into my head. It felt really great. We have a very strong and very durable loop pile wool carpet in our home and it has been fantastic over seven years with three small children and pets, it still looks as good as new, but it doesn't have the "bounce" that high quality cut pile carpets have especially with a good underlay.

I will talk a little about carpets, and refer you back to because we have extensive information on carpet there.

In the New Zealand residential or domestic market we predominantly use 100% wool carpet or a 80% wool 20% nylon mix. After all we are one of the top producers of wool in the world. Wool has so many fabulous qualities that it is an ideal fibre for making carpet.

This was the case fo…

Function vs Beauty in Interior Design

Function vs Beauty in Interior Design

We are currently staying in a beautiful apartment on holiday and it has reminded me that too often as a designer you can get bogged down in the function of a space, making sure it complies with all the rules and regulations and forget about the fun part of interior design - the beauty or decoration of the space. You get so used to looking at plans in black and white, making sure everything works on paper that you don't leave enough time to focus on making the space look beautiful.

Staying here has reminded me that it is equally important to focus on the beauty of a space because at the end of the day this is what really makes you feel good. Lets face it, you feel good when you are in an interior space that looks opulent. It makes you feel comfortable and at ease, provides luxury and most importantly puts a smile on your face.

The purpose of interior design is to create a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, well balanced, functional interior sp…

Tips for a Tidy House

Tips for Keeping a House Tidy When you are Selling

We are currently in the process of selling our house. Sounds easy enough, but it is the opposite. Trying to keep the house looking great is almost impossible.

Here are a few things that we have done to try and make the job easier, I thought there may be others who are also sharing this experience or are about to.

Firstly, clear out all the things that you don't need. The less there is to tidy the easier it is to keep neat.

Box up all your things that you use once a year and store them somewhere else, or decide if you really need them, and make a decision, keep and store, sell or give away.

Write up a list of who is responsible for keeping certain areas tidy. This way it keep individuals focused on their space.

Eat out! No, just kidding but wouldn't that be an easy option. Make sure that you clean up after each meal, don't leave it to accumulate. Who does that you say? Kids who love to snack do this, they make a quick sandwich, l…