Lets start at the very beginning
1 million pound, contemporary new build show homes just outside Oxford city centre.
Showhomes can be either too safe and boring, or too dramatic and blingy. Im neither of those, and this was my opportunity to showcase what I can do, whilst still being true to my aesthetic. I remember a prominent property agent saying that the first 11 seconds of any home viewing is when it sells, after that its an upward battle. So I knew I had 11 seconds to prove my point.
My starting point with any project is the client and their wishes. But since I didn't have a client here, I had to lean on the keywords provided by the developer via the production company. I applied these key words by putting them into the context of the building we were designing in, and the setting, facing the lovely lake.
But then I saw the actual furniture which was being rented for the space, and the bed was distinctly mid century, so I had to make sure that the bed and the design of the room connected. I decided that the headboard idea was not going to work and had to focus on creating impact via the space behind the headboard. Below are some of the ideas I was looking at.
While writing this blog, I am laughing, as my design ambitions are clearly very high. To achieve the level of design seen in these homes, you would need 10 times the budget and time that we had - still I had to try and achieve great things. So then I saw this photo... that was the perfect solution for my space.
So next I set about making sure the scale and proportions fit well within the space. I built a 3D model on my laptop and started placing all the elements within the room.
We had approximately three weeks from the day we were given the brief till the day we had to install it in Oxford. Just to give you some context, most designers need a minimum 2 weeks just for design development, spatial planning, mood boarding, material selection and presentations. Let alone procurement and delivery.
I sourced a lot of items from Facebook marketplace, online retailers and big-box stores (ikea, supermarkets, Dunelm, B&Q etc). Anything to try and get the look I wanted to portray, within the insanely tight budget. I wanted this room to look so good! All in all I spent £1495.05 and it was HARD! My two favorite pieces were the massive plant/tree and vintage table lamps which were super cute. After the show went live I was contacted by a prominent architect about those table lamps, and he believed they were a limited edition lamp that he had produced back in the 90s for his furniture company! Wish I could have them back!
As you can see on the initial drawings the slatted panelling was meant to go across the whole wall, but I ran out of money! So I focused my resources on finding a solution, which was to condense the slatted wall to just above the bed.
If you have ever seen a renovation or interiors installation there is always a huge amount of stuff all over the place. Its mayhem, from boxes with tools, products, all the trades kit etc. - add a filming crew on top of that as well and space immediately becomes a premium! Adding to that, our show home had a granny flat at the back which was used to house the production team. So our house was even more of a walk through - in fact I found footprints on my artwork, curtains etc all the time! That was frustrating!
Check out some of the photos below and a video of the walk through before we started work, and at the end of day 1.
I painted a black stripe to delineate the end of the corridor and the beginning of the bedroom space, this gave me a natural stopping point for the wallpaper in the bedroom and also helped to create a dramatic entrance into the space.
I purposefully propped these pieces of art in the room, rather than hanging them, because I wanted to create a sensation of a fluid art collection which I believe to be aspirational. Eluding to the fact that these potential clients will have an evolving art collection and are constantly acquiring new pieces of art.
I have had some questions about my panelling so here is what I did.
If I was installing something similar in a clients space I would recommend using oak batons for the slatted wall and an oak veneer on the lower half. I would also hard wire the LED lights and either make them remote controlled, or integrate them into a smart lighting system.
Day 2 was super intense, and really hot too boot! I worked on my curtains for most of the day. I knew I wanted more than just plain curtains but didn't know how to sew or couldn't afford a cutainmaker! So I wanted to improvise and create my own embellishment on the plain curtains I had bought. I am really inspired byJewel Marlowe who does the most incredible things with her soft furnishings. I wanted to create a simple border like the inspiration photo below, but with paint. How hard could that be?
I also replicated this feathered look on the edge of the white blind I installed at the other end of the room.
If you are hoping to do this properly here are a few pointers:
There are so many details to discuss, so I thought it would be better to just show you. Here is a walk around tour of the space finished and styled. I am so proud of this room and what I achieved!
Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below.