Standing the Test of Time - Part One


I'm just carrying out one of my occasional reassessments of my working methods.  Ideally I'd undergo some kind of peer review but as I'm self-employed and don't have any colleagues that's a little difficult.  I thought perhaps a good way to proceed would be to consider the key things I try to achieve in my work and attempt to measure the extent to which I succeed.  One goal that most interior designers and their clients share is to create looks for rooms that will stand the test of time.  With this in mind I pulled out and examined the first ever scheme/mood boards I created around 8 years ago.  I wanted to see if I'd included things that would now look rather dated.  I'm only sorry I don't have images of the rooms that arose from those schemes.  This was from a time before I appreciated the value of a good photo.

I'll let you be the final judge (or can that only be the client?) but I was not too horrified.

The image below is of a scheme for a family room.  The brief was for it to be child-friendly but smart and light and airy. The L-shaped sofa was an existing piece that the client was keen to retain.  I agreed that was a very good idea given that it was to be used by 4 small children as well the adults.   We removed the wall that separated this room from the kitchen.  The client was a little unsure about how they'd cope with an open-plan layout so wanted to have in mind an option for doors should she decide they were necessary.  I still really love the look of those doors but as it turned out they weren't needed.  The armchair was previously used in a bedroom in the old house but I thought it fitted well in this scheme so it was promoted.

From the off the Louis Ghost chairs looked like being a future classic and I think that is being borne out over time.  I still specify them in certain settings.  I've had one in my own bedroom for the past 8 years and still love it.  However, I'm reluctant to use them in the main dining area of a home simply because they are so very popular.  I prefer to find things that are less ubiquitous but maybe I'm being picky.

The table was Ikea's budget version of the Saarinen tulip-style table.  Such a simple yet pleasing shape was a fairly safe bet - it is unlikely to ever look naff, even if it has been through a period of being a little overused. 

The capiz shell light was available at the time through Graham and Green (still quite a cool shop) and Laura Ashley (never cool and yet the source of the odd gem).  This is a lovely light and is wearing well, partly due to the intrinsic beauty of capiz shell, and partly because of its generous size.  It worked particularly well in this setting because I teamed it with a rather whimsical vintage French chandelier of similar proportions over the kitchen island, which was at the other end of this room.  I must admit I used the original French chandelier in part because in my interiors I like to use things that can't too readily be copied.  The scheme would still have worked well with a pair of the capiz shell lights but perhaps not be quite so interesting.

I'm really happy with the use of pink as the key injection of colour - as used in the classic Roberts radio, client's own deco lamp ( I snaffled it from a bedroom), the Habitat blossom lights and the lovely vase holder adorned with pink roses.  It's such a beautiful and cheering colour and, if not overdone, need not be sugary or overly girly.  I must admit I'm having something of a blue moment in my current interiors schemes and I'm loving that but I'm certainly not feeling that pink is passe.  As recently as December I used glorious pops of pink in a largely grey hall, stairs and landing. 

The image of the different coloured dinner candles was to demonstrate the use of some small injections of tutti frutti colours - could've illustrated that with an image of some actual tutti-frutti sweets but I would've eaten them, possibly before the photo was taken.

The gilt frame on the right in the picture and the gold coloured letters spelling CAKE on the left were my suggestions for the introduction of some gold.  People are often a little reluctant to use gold because they fear it will look glitzy but if used with care it just adds a little bit of glamour and gives a room a lift.  Gold never goes out of fashion, it just has to be handled with care.

The colour I used on the walls was Paris Grey by Zoffany.  It worked beautifully.  It is more of a stone than a grey and at the time I thought I'd use it a lot in the future.  As it turns out, I've hardly used it at all until last week when I specified it in two rooms of the same house because it is a perfect complement to the wallpapers I wanted to use. 

Well, that's my assessment of that scheme.  What's yours?  I'd love to have your impression via my comments section.

In my next post I'll examine a couple more of my first schemes and explain how my boards have evolved and, I think, improved over time.



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