18 Apr 2014

Interiors and Design

About a month ago now (I'm so behind with my blogging!) I, with my two youngest, drove the 1.5hrs to Oxfordshire.  We emerged from the deep and thick fog of Gloucestershire into a glorious sunny spring day.  After months of anticipation and waiting, we started the internal design work.  The babes were happily deposited with their Grandmother, for a day in the garden (how handy that she lives in the same village as Charlie!(more).  


We had just a few hours to blast through a massive amount of design.  We did the 1st draft electrical layout and lighting design. We discussed the materials we would use for all the internal joinery and the palette in general.  We discussed the possible flooring choices for the upper floor.  We designed the staircase (which has become a library - it's gorgeous).  We did some playing with the kitchen design. We started on the bathroom designs. We talked about the sliding doors and how they will look and work.  

A day of lightening fast design choices left me feeling pretty punch drunk and exhausted but also very, very excited.  The living space that we will inhabit is really starting to come to life and become real, and that is an amazing thing! Of course, nothing is final yet and there are a million more design decisions to come. Once you have some concrete ideas to work on though, it is possible to think more carefully about how the spaces will be used, and work on refinements in the design. 

I have to say that I am growing in confidence about design as this process goes on.  It was fairly overwhelming to think about before- how do you begin?  With a blank slate there is a lot of pressure!  I wasn't sure that I knew what we wanted aesthetically, but I did know that we are strongly opinionated on a practical level of how design has to be useful not just beautiful.  However, I've discovered that I do know what I like, it's just that I might not know what is possible... 
Of course I have Charlie and everyone else at CLD to hold my hand and Charlie is very, very good at design - so I'm being mentored and guided in this process.

I can't explain my style in words, and Pinterest has been an amazing tool, I never fail to find inspiration. If you look at my boards there are a diverse range of styles but I've found that if I just pin what I like and find interesting, eventually a theme emerges which helps crystallize what I am most interested in.  On my flooring board I repeatedly 'pin' hexagon tiles, parquet flooring and pale wide wood floors, so that really helped me to clarify what I wanted. 

Follow future simple passive's board Flooring on Pinterest.

Like everyone else there are lots of things I admire and like but not all of them are going to make it into this house.  So I've realised that I am starting to create some rules.

1. Do I get excited about it...
I need to have a visceral reaction.  If it's just OK, then it's not the one!  It's so easy when, for example, you are in a lighting department to just find the one that you like best, or hate least, if you are me. But that's not good enough, the few choices I have made so far have taught me that when I see the right thing I know it - i get really excited.  I just have to be patient...

2. Creativity using low cost items
I, like everyone else, lust after those big ticket items.  For me it is the PH Artichoke pendant lamp in brushed copper, by Louis Poulsen (in fact Danish lighting design in general rings all my bells).  But at £6,500 it's not going to happen!  I want to try to use my (and everyone elses!) creativity and not cash to make a beautiful home. 

3. Limited palette of materials
After months of looking at Pinterest and subscribing to Remodelista (which is amazing), I've started to come to some understanding about "design", or at least design that I like (i don't claim to be an expert).  The most relevant at the moment is keeping your palette of colours and materials limited and repeated throughout. So we have decided on pale wood, concrete, brushed stainless steel and birch ply joinery - oooohhhh!

4. Be brave
I worry that the house will feel like someone else's, a bit too grown up, and a bit too safe and boring. So, I want to be playful and brave.  I think I would probably prefer regretting going a bit too far than not going far enough.

It's very easy to put pressure on yourself to get it right, after all it all costs money.  I've lost count of the number of people who have told me that we will make mistakes.  That's fine, but I'm going to do my damnedest to minimise those errors!  Does that make me a control freak?  According to Charlie, I've got control issues...I think I'm just thorough!

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