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

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 a 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, left 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 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 necessarily 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.  Then, 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 emphasize 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!

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

Ask Décor Diva: Living Room Dilemma

I just love it when our readers write us to assist with their interior décor and design dilemmas!  It gives me the opportunity of sharing my experience with them.  So, please friends and readers, if there is a question or a dilemma you have that you know you could do with some professional advise, don’t hesitate to write, no matter how simple you may think it is.  We will all benefit from it – and just to sound real cliché – never fear Décor Diva is near.

Just recently Jaajal wrote in about her living room dilemma. Jaajal writes:

I’m sure this must be a common question perhaps. But in any case here goes.  I have recently just sold an old 4 piece lounge suite, and we kept the sleeper couch (image “1”) we don’t want to rush and purchase another couch, instead we though perhaps getting 2 occasional lounge chairs would be sufficient. We bought about four scatter cushions previously (image “2”). Do you think those cushions will go with these chairs?  (image “?”) and with the sleeper couch we have.

Décor Diva says:

What I really appreciated was that Jaajal has made our response to her query easier by supplying the images.  We could see what we had to work with and where her thoughts were heading.

There are so many ways of skinning this cat, but to answer your question in sequence:

{1}  Two occasional chairs are always easier, since most folk prefer to inhabit a seat of their own, rather than sharing – given the choice.  Two occasional chairs have more flexibility in terms of moving the furniture around.

{2}  The scatter cushions work very well with your existing sofa and what I like about them is that it seems to be a textured stripe. In the future, when purchasing your scatters, try to mix it up a bit more. Instead of all 4 scatters being the same pattern, size and colours, you could mix stripe with floral or geometric patterns, or maybe even a plain fabric. The element that holds it all together would be the colours.  That is where harmonious blending comes into play.

While we are talking accessories – a full bodied textured throw to accompany the scatters on the sofa will add further depth of the décor.

{3}  The style of the occasional chairs- again the object is to find harmony in terms of the fabric finish and the style of the existing sofa. In this case you have a high back sofa, with a shallow buttoned design and 90’s style specific metal feet. The chair that you are inclined towards is quite a departure from your existing sofa, more particularly with the very dark wooden base and feet.

My personal décor style strength has always been eclectic. The fact that eclectic style is currently trending is such a pleasure for me. But there is a real knack to good eclectic styling. Ultimately it must sit comfortably in the eye of the beholder.

In your case, I would suggest a few options to work into your existing sofa and cushions:

[1] Existing Sleeper Couch…. [2] Eames Chair Replica – @Home…. [3] Additional Scatter Cushions – Loads of Living…. [4] Haldane Martin Poof – 5rooms.com

{A}  Let’s start with Mercedes class of chair – the Eames Lounge Chair, or a more affordable replica like Norman Relax Chair with Footstool in white for @Home Furniture. This is a mid-century modern classic that could work with that eclectic style I spoke of. I like it because it has the same features as your sofa – high back, shallow buttoning and metal base. It is pricey though. And if after due consideration you go for it, I would only buy one. It has a footstool that can be used for additional seating. Instead of the 2nd chair, think of adding in big leather textured ottoman like this one from 5Rooms.

{B}  Please don’t be put of by the price of a really good piece of furniture. I have always encouraged folk to have at least one really quality piece. It may mean saving towards it and having to live with delayed gratification, but that piece will be with you for life. It is certainly worth the wait.

{C}  Furthermore, I will leave you with a few images of occasional chairs that I would consider for your living room décor. In terms of the fabrics for these chairs, I would veer towards a plain textured fabric, such as linen, or textured faux leathers.

Intra Armchair from 5rooms.com
Armchair A-728 from Sevens
Retro tub chair in choc brown leather from @Home

The colours for the chairs – working in with your skin coloured suede, it would be best to look at tones of grey. Slate Grey is a nice contrasting colour. Alternatively soft dove grey or medium shade of warm browns, such as milky coffee colour.

Remember that one of the critical factors to consider when purchasing furniture pieces – ensure that it fits the size of your room. Too many times have I encountered friends, family and clients who have bought oversized furniture without taking the time to check out the dimensions and planning beforehand.

Enjoy the journey of working through your décor dilemma towards a suitable solution. I hope that the tools we have furnished here will come in handy.

As always, yours in service of interior design

Love, Rose  x x x

Ask Décor Diva: How Can I Give My Fireplace The WOW Factor?

Elizabeth recently contacted The Design Tabloid to ask our resident Décor Diva some advice…

Elizabeth asks:

I moved into a 1960 home that has a marble fire place. I will never use the fire place and I have cream colored leather furniture with lavender and pink pillows, and shams. The fire place has white marble around it. HELP I WANT IT TO BE A WOW FACTOR WHEN I WALK IN AND I LOVE BOLD COLORS!”

Décor Diva says:

It’s a little difficult to give specific suggestions without knowing exactly what your fireplace looks like or what your personal style and taste is. I will, however, mention several possibilities and share a variety of awesome inspirational images I sourced around the web.

A fireplace has such wonderful attention-grabbing potential and turning a fireplace into a room feature can be quite easy with the right inspiration.

It gladdens my heart to hear that you love bold colour as I do too, and the sole act of painting a fireplace in a brave colour can immediately change it from drab to a striking feature. A bold painted wall would be a brilliant contrast to your white marble fireplace. You can also consider a daring wallpaper – geometric, floral or textured (whatever suits your style best). If you are unsatisfied with your fireplace surround and mantle you can always paint that a bold colour and leave the fireplace wall a neutral colour (there are a few nice images illustrating this below).

A fireplace wall is also an excellent space for a “gallery wall” – a grouping of photos, art and framed prints. OR maybe just one big bold statement piece – a gorgeous work of art or a big ornate mirror (if you are a lady who likes glam). I have also recently seen a gorgeous interior where the fireplace wall was hung with a collection of mirrors in various shapes and sizes – it looked seriously cool.

The fireplace mantle can be used to display your treasures – make small groupings of interesting things. Play with the scale of the objects but be careful not to overload your mantle – keep balance in mind.

Since you are not going to be lighting any fires you can use this area for additional features. Fill the space with candles or collectables. This can also be an awesome spot for some potted plants. Another option is to board the opening up – the gap can then be tiled, painted or clad in mirrors. Below is even one or two images of fireplaces converted to house books!

I hope one or more of these ideas or images have piqued your interest and served as inspiration. Take the time to source objects that speak of you and your home. Good luck with the process and have some fun!

Love, Rose  x x x

Click on the images below to be redirected to the relevant image sources:

  
  
Get The Look - Nautical Bedroom - The Design Tabloid

Get This Look: Nautical Bedroom

By Marica

Get The Look - Nautical Bedroom - The Design TabloidI know what you are thinking…blue AGAIN?! I promise it was purely accidental (but isn’t it pretty?)! One of my favourite elements in a good nautical designed interior, apart from the various shades of blue of course,  is the use of stunning bold stripes. Whether thick, narrow or grouped, nothing says “nautical” like stripes. Other elements that compliment a nautical interior are rustic and distressed timbers, beautiful coloured or  blasted glass, a blue/sand/white colour palette (maybe even with a splash of red) and ocean-inspired baubles. One must however be careful when creating a nautical interior not to venture over the “tacky” boundary – avoid adding to many bits-and-bobs.

GET THIS LOOK:

1. Tie-Dye Scatter Cushion – Woolworths has recently added this beautiful range to shelves – tie-dye has never looked so attractive!

2. Striped Scatter Cushions – can be ordered through us!

3. Nautical Print Scatter Cushion – can also be ordered through us.

4. Sand & Blue Striped Throw – @Home

5. Another current trend that can also compliment a nautical interior is industrial elements this beautiful industrial-esque pendant light is from Le Grange Interiors.

6. Use stools as side tables and don’t be afraid to use more than one on either side of your bed. These gorgeous rustic stools are from Le Grange Interiors.

7. Invest in a beautiful piece of sea-inspired fine art or prints. I have seen some beautiful abstract seascapes to compliment a more contemporary setting. I found this photo of Marieke Prinsloo’s Sea Point sculptures on Times Live – wouldn’t it make a stunning framed print?!

8. This beautiful coral-like ceramic vase is from Pezula Interiors.

9. I love the subtle blasted effect on these beautiful coloured glass vases from Pezula Interiors – it reminds me of sea glass.

Nautical Bedroom Image via

 

New Vintage

By Marica

You may recall the Cara Saven‘s beautiful Aqua Floral photographic series we featured on The Tabloid a few months back, well the wonderfully talented lady has done it again…

We were quite excited when Cara mailed us her latest series aptly named “Vintage”. The image range consist of various funky vintage & retro objects – my favourite is the old squash rackets. Cara has once again managed to produce something exceptionally beautiful and in keep with the nostalgia, vintage and up-cycling trend that is currently doing the rounds. Brava Cara!

Here is a quick preview of the series, for the whole range please check out Cara’s website: here.