work in progress
With having been on my travels for a couple of weeks I don’t have a guest poster lined up for today’s Five on a Friday. So today I’m going to indulge a new direction that I’m going in - moving some of my designs towards interior design applications. I’ve hinted at this before , and been “cooking” the idea for a while, but fresh from the energy boost of the retreat I have moved this up my priorities. It was always there in the background whispering “my turn” and I was always too busy attending to some other element of my photographic work . But now I have made space in my timetable to develop a range.
I think it is partly inspired by moving house after renting for a while. I am quite particular and can often not find quite what I am looking for. Anyway, selfishly starting off with the things that I would like myself, I’m starting to build a range – and hopefully some other people will like them too !
Although I don’t have any formal training in interior design is has been a “side interest” for a very long time. When we sold our first house the buyers asked if they could just buy the whole lot, they liked the mood of it so much. Then later ,doing up a crumbling old house, from the floorboards up, I learnt “on the job”. I studied the effects of paint on walls, learning how to make big rooms feel cosier. Now ,in let’s say, a more “bijoux” residence , I am exercising the other kind of skill – making small spaces bigger ! And it also demands more restraint in terms of how many items are in the house so I am increasingly ruthless, editing out things that no longer please my eye or are appropriate to the space. I will never be a minimalist but everything has to earn the right to be there.
Over time I’ve realised that the things that give me most pleasure are the things which have some kind of story attached. The little wooden plank that my Oma had in her house to keep her keys and purse on . The green ginger jar that one grandmother gave to the other. An unusal green painted blown egg I was given in Romania. The rather forbidding carved wooden figure I bought from an amazing sculptor in northern Romania. Of course, I buy things for colour or shape or function as well – but they never achieve quite the same level as the “story” items.
I’ve digressed a little – my intended “Five” was a round up of past and present interior inspirations.
1. Tricia Guild from Designer’s Guild.
Around the time I did up the first house she had just launched a range for Next. It was very pale and faded and stood out against the harsher colours or overly floral chintz elsewhere. From then on I’ve followed her career. Visiting her shop was always a treat if I was in London and her books a more accesible resource. Inspiration is a favourite – especially if I’m looking to jump start a new colour combination.
2. Jocasta Innes – The other designer who influenced me at the outset wrote a book called “Paint Magic” ( published 1982 – goodness !) and went on to develop a wonderful range of paints , which, I’ve been sad to discover are no longer in production. But maybe her books are still available. The second book “The Thrifty Decorator” ( 1993 ) was also ahead of its time, in restoring old furniature and reviving old skills .
And then zapping along to more recent inspirations …
3. VT Wonen – This Dutch interor design magazine really appeals to my liking for “crisp and clean” styling. But with contemporary unfussy shapes or bold use of colour. I pick up a copy everytime I am in Holland and keep meaning to set up a subscription. In the meantime they have a great website ( which is in Dutch , but the images are great if you’ve not needed to master that language).
4 ETC by Sibella Court -I’ve written about this book before, but I keep returning to it. I love how she writes about colour palettes and suggests creating palettes of ten colours and then using them in various combinations as a way to unify the style of a house.
5. And a new discovery for me – who is suddenly appearing all over the place -Sania Pell. She has written a book, The Homemade Home, which I’ll make a point of peeking at next time I am in a bookshop, but for now I’ve enjoyed her new blog, site and interviews, amongst others the one on the Do What You Love site. I am delighted to see that there is an Edinburgh connection as she has studied and taught at Edinburgh College of Art.
By the way , if you want to join in this round of the Do What you Love ecourse – I think today is the last day to sign up.
I am planning a few changes with my Etsy shop and website in the next wee while – if you’d like to be “in the know” you can subscribe you my Studio Newsletter here. And if you’d like to contribute your “Five on a Friday ” just let me know.