Division adds up to right solution
IF YOU'VE never used an interior designer before, it's quite natural to be a little nervous. I met this particular client on the school run and we got to know each other informally. She runs her own business and, although keen to redecorate her lounge, she was always short on time.
It's important that when I take on a new project I start by listening, so that I can fully understand the client's taste, likes and dislikes, and what they expect.
I also need to understand how each space is used and I quickly established that this room is mainly for relaxing and watching TV, but also for entertaining friends and business associates.
The key point here was to design a scheme that was formal, but comfy at the same time.
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I also discovered that the client had a love of animal print. Fortunately, there is a wide choice of fabrics available, which means it can be incorporated with style, rather than appearing tacky.
Initially, the client wanted to keep her original cream corner sofa and, while on many occasions we can work around existing furniture, in this instance I really felt it was important to find a substitute if we were going to achieve the desired look.
The new sofa is from a London supplier and upholstered in soft, luxurious velvet. It is positioned in the larger section of the room nearest the fireplace.
For the walls, I was keen on a textured paper to help the room feel cosy and, although the client was nervous about depth of colour, I managed to persuade her to opt for a shade darker than she would normally choose. The final colour works well to create ambience.
There were already two Neptune cabinets positioned in the alcoves either side of the fireplace, but this made the room appear smaller than it actually is, so I moved them to the narrowest part of the room, which had the effect of creating two distinct areas within the space.
I added a third Neptune piece between the two existing cabinets and placed two leather chairs with stud detailing at this end of the room, to create a formal reading area. This area is the darkest part of the room and required extra lighting. I opted for two striking and tall wall lights either side of the door, which look like torches and make quite a feature.
If a room has very little natural light and no ceiling spot lights, it's a good idea to bring in lamps, which can help to create a soft glow in the evening. Lamps can also add interest, or become a focal point.
Two console tables were custom made to fit perfectly in the fireplace alcoves and on top of each I placed a metal sculptured lamp – great for adding soft light and a clever way of highlighting these spaces.
The client had a picture frame, which matched a mirror over the mantel piece. I took out the picture and switched it for a mirror so I could place the now matching pair in the alcoves, which helps to reflect the light.
Facing the fireplace and the sofa is a large rug with an upholstered poof on top, which together soften the space and make it a more inviting area for entertaining.
In this area, the positioning of the sofa was very important because it acts as a room divider. Tables placed immediately behind the sofa provide the perfect place to showcase sculptures, which add chic style and help to section off a previously awkward space.
Cushions are great way to add texture and I went for velvet and silk fabrics, while also managing to incorporate the all-important animal print in the poof upholstery.
The use of neutral tones here helps to keep the scheme subtle, but there are ways to add highlights and splashes of colour to complement the background colour. My preference is for neutral schemes, but if you yearn for colour, try adding it with cushions, art, flowers and accessories.
In this case, I was able to use a lot of the client's own ornaments and I sourced some artificial, but very realistic, pink hydrangeas from local florist, Sarah Tynan. These happened to be one of our client's favourite flowers.
Contact David Hutton Interiors on, 01275 840315, or see www.davidhuttoninteriors.co.uk