Updated: Jan 11, 2020
Back in the summer of 2018, little did I know that I’d bump into someone so talented, lovely and likeminded as Alice at an Instagram meet up at Neptune in Birmingham. We instantly clicked when we realised we were both reaching for the same accessories and pointing out the same design details! So at the start of 2019 we sat down to talk about our ideas for running some interior design workshops in the Midlands.
Both working in the design industry, we had gained some useful experience and advice we wanted to share with those who may not be looking to necessarily employ a designer, but would like some guidance in certain areas. So #MyHomeStyleSeries was born, and after a successful first year, we are running it again this year back at Liv’s in Solihull (ticket information is at the end of this blog post).
As a mini celebration of the start of our second year, and also because Alice has some excellent tips to share, I thought it would the perfect time to feature her on the blog! We’re chatting about her design process, her own home and of course some of what we cover in the workshops. So, let’s get straight into it…
J: When you start designing a room, what's the first thing you usually focus on?
A: Some of my first questions for a new client are, “do you have a preferred interior style?” or “do you have a favourite Instagram interior account?”. Sometimes a client will know exactly their style but not know how to achieve it in their own home, whilst others may not even be able to identify what ‘their style’ is. Having a discussion about their style preferences is just one part of beginning to understand a client's needs to be able to create a base upon which to start designing their space. This is exactly why the first workshop in our #MyHomeStyleSeries is “Define Your Interior Style” where we talk through some of the main interior design styles and help attendees to establish where their preferences lie, and how to utilise that knowledge in the first steps of designing a space.
J: When we ran this workshop for the first time last year, it was so interesting hearing how our attendees described their style at the start of the workshop compared to once we'd talked through the different elements. A lot of them were surprised with the results but found it really helpful for taking the next steps with their designs, which is pulling together your inspiration.
J: Where do you turn to for design inspiration? A: Creators’ responses for this question is so often ‘nature’. Which of course is understandable when we have so much beauty on our earth. For me, my answer does include nature (yes, roll your eyes). However, more specifically, a couple of my favourite places to find inspiration are first, in the sky, especially when the sun is setting. It’s the combination of colours, the silhouettes of trees and buildings, and the contrast of light and dark, creating positive and negative space and the way the light reflects on buildings, billowing clouds or even birds in the sky, highlighting them. My second source of inspiration is architecture. Quite often, my husband and I will take a Sunday afternoon drive just observing all the different buildings and discussing the intricate details. Sad, I know!
J: Not sad at all - I'm totally with you on that. But then that says a lot about our design styles! It probably won't be for everyone! So once we have our overall style nailed, and inspiration board, we'll need to look at the floorplan next.
J: So, if you are considering a new layout for a room, what would you look at first?
A: Sources of light, both natural and artificial, need to be considered before first fix as additional lighting or windows may need to be added. Alternatively, if your project is on a smaller budget, the layout of your room may be predicted by the current placement of these light sources. Remember though, you can always add floor and table lamps for additional light sources. Likewise, the purpose of a space, traffic routes and flow of a space need to be taken into account to be able to design the best layout, before purchasing furniture or instructing builders.
J: Great tips! And likewise if you have existing furniture that you need to work around, to make sure you get all of those measurements to look at any alternative positions for them. In our workshop "Plan Your Space", we talk through drawing to scale, making templates, zoning and also some visual tricks of the eye you can look at using to make your space feel larger or cosier for example.
J: Do you have any favourite pieces in your home? A: Our concrete effect TV wall in our lounge and our West Elm light along with the dining table over which it hangs. We made the table ourselves from an oak worktop and a pair of metal legs from eBay.
J: How would you usually pick a colour scheme for a room?
A: The vibe you want to achieve from a space can influence colour choice. In our “Colour Your Home” workshop, we talk through how each colour can create different moods, and a range of methods to create a colour scheme that works for you and your space.
J: And the bit everyone looks forward to, creating your own mood board using everything we've learnt during the workshop. A chance to get creative and get all your ideas down, into one cohesive scheme.
J: Do you have any particular styling tips or rules you tend to stick to?
A: I think the saying “less is more” is true. However, as I love many styles, I can get carried away, adding more items on display. But when styling, I would always encourage one to step back and look at the view to check the forms work together and that you’re not adding too much. This may even mean leaving it a week or two and seeing how you feel when you come back to it. Our “Your House, Your Home” workshop covers a range of techniques you can easily use in your own home to get the right balance when styling your space.
J: What's the biggest interior design lesson you've learnt? A: Measure and measure again. Check not only the measurements of the actual space but also every measurement on floor plans and furniture details before you purchase anything. You don’t want to order a sofa only to discover it doesn’t fit in your space or even through the front door!
J: Because in some cases, the only way in is through the window! Thank goodness for acrobatic delivery men managing to get mine into a first floor flat!
J: Which room in your home do you feel most relaxed in and do you have any advice for creating a little sanctuary?
A: I have two spaces I feel most relaxed in our home. I absolutely love to chill in the evenings in our lounge. The dark grey walls, together with the warm tan leather sofa is so cosy. But I also, equally love our master bedroom. (Even though it’s not finished!) Our bedroom is in the roof space. It’s not a massive space, however we created a small walk-in wardrobe using Ikea Pax (which kept the cost down). Doing this has allowed the sleeping area to feel so restful because nothing else needs to be in this area except the bed and bedside tables. It makes for a very simple and calm space. I can’t wait to share it once this space is finished. I would recommend to anyone to really think about your bedroom space and could you fit a walk-in wardrobe, even if you are to create a fake wall behind your bed and have a corridor wardrobe.
-Define Your Interior Style: Saturday March 7th 2020
-Plan Your Space: Saturday 16th May 2020
-Colour Your Home: Saturday 13th June 2020
-Your House, Your Home: Saturday 19th September 2020
If you would like to come to all workshops in the series you can buy a ticket to all four for £96.00 before 7th March 2020 by selecting the special ticket available on the Define Your Interior Style page.
Testimonials from 2019 attendees:
"I really enjoyed the three #MyHomeStyleSeries workshops that I attended and learnt a lot in a short space of time. It was lovely socialising with like minded people and Jess & Alice are nothing but friendly and welcoming. Liv’s is a gorgeous setting too, full of interior treasures!”
- Ella Russell
“Alice & Jess are knowledgeable and passionate and created a great atmosphere to learn more about different aspects of interior design. Little touches such as take home resources, refreshments and goody bags added to the overall experience. Alice and Jess were happy to answer different design queries and dilemmas, and provide advice with your own projects. I would definitely recommend the workshops to anyone with an interest in interiors.”