Ask Décor Diva: Where Do I Start With My Interior Project?

Chris writes:

“I am wanting to remodel my flat and I have all these ideas floating in my head about what I want but cant string it all together. Help! How do I know if I am doing the right thing with the space? I’m going for the whole exposed brick and concrete, wood and modern look but I don’t know were to start… can you suggest some tips?”

Décor Diva says:

Firstly – thank you for writing in and giving me the opportunity of being able to give you some input into your flat remodelling project. I am grateful for your expression of trust in us.

It sounds like you are feeling very overwhelmed right now. You are not alone, Chris. Boy do I know that feeling well! Been there, done that and got the T-shirt. You are probably feeling like you have an huge elephant standing in front of you right now. You know you have to eat it, but where to begin? Ear, trunk, tail, right leg, lefty leg? While this elephant is standing there, casting this look at you that makes you feel more of a fool, waiting for you to get going, all you want to do is take your knife and fork and go back to doing what you do best.

Whilst I was going through one such a spell, a wise lady told me that I have to stop and discover exactly what this elephant of mine looked like! Did it in fact have three legs or four? Did it have a rough or wrinkled skin? It took me a while to realise what she was saying – listen, stop the panic and just define what you have in front of you. When I began to do that, I actually discovered that what I perceived to be this huge elephant, was in fact a completely manageable baby elephant. One that I could embrace and enjoy.

In your case, I assume that a large part of your dilemma is that you have this jumble of images in your head. Your very first step in defining your remodelled flat would be to take those images out of your head and put them in front of you. You can do this by creating a moodboard. This means that you have to take the time to “do the laps.” Put a bit of time and work into crystallising your dream flat.

In brief the recipe for the moodboard is this:

I love this moodboard by Decor8’s Holly Becker. It’s illustrates how uncomplicated and fun creating a moodboard can be. {image: thorsten becker}

Define and own your style.  In your case it sounds like modern industrial style, or Manhattan loft style living.

Collect images. Grab as many magazines as you can that will reflect this style you want to embrace. Tear out all the images that APPEAL to you. This should include images of wall finishes, floor finishes, kitchen finishes, window treatments, furniture styles, light fittings, art, rugs, accessories, paint colours, general colours, bathroom finishes and layouts.

Browse the net. Include into your research images that which you can pull from the internet. Sites like Tumblr, Pinterest, and interior blogs like Freshome, Contemporist, and other blogs are excellent sources for valuable images and content. Once again when you do your research, be specific in each category. Take it one category at a time. Be specific and relative in the wording of your search. Try not to get distracted.  Stay focused on your specific requirement.

Once you are done, pop these pictures that you collected into a scrapbook, plastic sleeves, or boxes that are marked per category. Be specific. When you feel that you have enough images to work with, it might do to begin that process of elimination. Spend time with your collection of categorized images and just remove those that have lost their appeal. Focus on the images that speak to you intuitively and those that correlate with your research material.

Remember that this is all ABOUT YOU AND YOUR STYLE. You need not necessary be a total purist to the style.  If you see something that really tugs at your intuition and it is not necessarily in accordance with the style genre, then include that.

Budget. While you are going about the business of doing this research and development, you should be tackling the matter of your budget at the same time. This is not a step that you want to miss. It forms the scope you can operate within. Again, I would suggest you break it down into categories and make a list of the various items you will need to spend money on.  The next to each item, put a do-able monetary figure.

In doing it you will be able to set your priorities and map out which tasks to tackle, over what period of time.

Moodboard. Thereafter, it is time to get down and dirty so to speak. Haul out a big board, some scissors and some glue. You can include things like buttons, ribbons, shells, bits ‘n bobs, drift wood, cement bits, decorative paper or such resource material to add depth and texture to enhance the mood of the board. Let your imagination run riot. Then begin the fun bit of placing all these materials, so as to form an overall picture /vision of where you would like to go. Once you are okay with what is in front of you, you can firm up and glue down.

A lovely moodboard Holly Becker of Decor8 put together for Anthropologie. {image: will / bright bazaar}

Measure, measure, measure. I cannot emphasizes enough how important it is to measure. It is imperative to know how much space is available to work with – I have had many a friend and client stuff oversized furniture into a too small a room because they did not space plan. Measure your room – draw a little plan with the basic dimensions on it. Then, when you go out to shop for furniture be sure to jot down the size of each furniture piece. Go home and see how the proposed items will fit into your room plan. Do this BEFORE you buy anything!

{image: nullplus via istock}

Source. Now that you have a more defined vision of the finishes and mood you want to create, it is time to set out and source the items. You may not get the exact stuff or finish, but go for something similar. Visit your local hardware store for paint swatches; your local retail décor outlet; your local tiling outlet, a fabric house or two or whatever finishes you need to pull in. Always remember to refer back to your budget.

And action! Then when you have all your ducks in a row, go out and DO IT!

I know that this sounds like a tedious and lengthy process, but I can assure you that it is well worth it. Plus it is so exciting!!  If you are like the Hare in The Hare and The Tortoise tale, (like I am) then you will be keen to move on out of the starters blocks as quickly as you can. But like the Tortoise, I can assure you that slowly-but-surely is the way to get there.    Otherwise, I can almost assure you that your dilemma will continue to reel around in your mind. And that Big Ole Elephant will become a permanent resident.

BE FOCUSED, BE SPECIFIC AND ENJOY THE JOURNEY, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IT IS.

Yours in service of interiors,

Love, Rose  x x x

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About The Design Tabloid

The Design Tabloid brings you the latest gossip concerning South African design talent. It’s our aim to showcase local interior design, architecture, furniture, décor, & related suppliers and feature the gifted designers behind them. Also, providing a platform to young emerging designers and added exposure to unknown established companies. We strive to be an interactive online source of design innovation, information, and inspiration. The Design Tabloid is brought to you by Design Monarchy; a Cape Town based Interior Design & Decor Company under the expert guidance of Rose McClement, an interior decorator/stylist with more years of industry experience than she cares to mention. We hope our passion for design inspires you. We are Proudly South African, celebrate with us!

Posted on August 6, 2012, in Ask Décor Diva, Décor Diva, Decor, Design, How To, Interior Design and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi Rose. great advice! my mistake is always taking measurements. it has cost us a few times. i have never done a mood board before.. i can see it being a help but that takes tons of time which i don’t have at the moment with 2 small kids..
    food for thought.. thanks

  1. Pingback: Ask Décor Diva: From Bare & Cold To Coastal Cosy? | The Design Tabloid

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