Building a Nest

Building a Nest

Five weeks ago, our bundle of joy, Baby Thomas, came into the world. A whole 7 weeks early. I won’t lie, it has been tough. Probably one of the toughest we’ve been through as a family. A month on NICU, breathing difficulties, infections. The list goes on. But this post isn’t about that. It’s all a little too raw too process right now, if I’m honest. And anyway, let’s face it, you’re here for the interior chat!

This post is about nesting. 

Not of the avian type, but the third trimester urge to create a nest for your new baby (or as it usually presents itself in my case, writing lots of lists, furiously sorting out cupboards and drawers and generally becoming a regular at the tip and charity shops after a massive declutter. All to the horror of my on-looking husband). 

Recently, I’ve noticed that my Instagram feed is full of beautiful mamas putting the finishing touches to their gorgeous nurseries. Poised with their 40 week bumps, and the glow of anticipated motherhood. The trouble with the Instagram algorithm is that it thinks it knows what you want to see. But when life goes off-piste, it seems that Instagram takes a while to catch up.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for all these expectant mamas. Honestly. And I love looking at the beautiful rooms. But is there a little part of me that envies them? Absolutely. I didn’t get those last 7 weeks of pregnancy and I often feel really cross about it.

But, before you all think I’m being superficial or self-indulgent here, I know more than anyone that none of this matters. I’m lucky (in an end-result rather than process kind-of-way). I have a healthy, happy baby and I’m doing fine. It wasn’t the “Mother & Baby doing well” message I’d hoped to send following delivery, but we’re getting there now. Whether or not I have a nursery perfectly styled for Instagram makes not one jot of difference.

Yet on another level, the fact that I wasn’t ready, that my home wasn’t ready, has had a massive impact. I didn’t have a chance to nest. And it’s this process of preparing a space, a room, our home, that I’m talking about here. 

I’ve thought about this a lot over the past week since we brought Baby Thomas home. Apparently, so the theory goes, Nesting is a process which ties us to our ancestral past. It helps to ensure we provide a safe environment for our babies, and this helps to promote family bonding and attachment.

For me, not having the nursery done wasn’t about having missed the opportunity for an Instagram snap with bump. It was about feeling like I hadn’t prepared for my baby. It was so important for me that everything felt ready that I found it difficult when it all happened out of sequence. And when I did get to bring him home from hospital I just wanted him to have his own, safe corner of the house. For him to belong.

He clearly does belong. And his nursery is now more than a room full of boxes. It’s very nearly finished (blog post to follow), and I’m feeing much better about it all. Although it was one of those things that felt unimportant compared to everything else we’d been through, it bothered me. It shouldn’t matter, but it did.

Our homes are (or should be) our safe space. The process of spending time to create that family space, to nest, should never be underestimated. And, although I can’t show you a 40wk bump with pregnancy glow, I can show you a little squidge of a baby. I’ll spare you my exhausted face though. For now.

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

I’ve never really had an issue naming things. I had my children’s names all ready for when they were born. Jotted down at the back of my diary just in case I forgot?! The cats, the dog. They were all named within minutes. 

But naming my business? Well, that’s a whole different story. Just ask my husband, children, sister and graphic designer. They all became implicated in what became a relatively painful process! The trouble was, because it didn’t come instinctively, the more I thought about it and the harder it became. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea, only to google it and find out someone else had got there before me.

When I first set out on my own I used my own name. Well, my first and middle name. My surname was just too long and awkward to do anything with. It kept it personal and, ultimately my business is me, so it made sense for it to take my name. 

Over the years, my business has grown, I’m growing a small and informal team around me and it feels time to up my game. I wanted to create space for development. And although I don’t hold anything against my parents, I just don’t really like my name. Or rather, I don’t like being called Caroline Ann which is what started to happen. Caroline I’m fine with, but not my middle name too. 

So I decided to find a new business name. How difficult can that be?! 

I wanted a studio name which was modern, authentic and expressed what I do. Ultimately (hopefully without sounding too pretentious) as an Interior Designer I create homes and spaces which tell the client’s story. Through my blog I tell people’s stories; whether that’s the story of design, the story of brands or small businesses or my story. The concept of storytelling seemed fitting. 

So I had the concept. But the exact name was a little trickier to pin down. Eventually, with a little help from my graphic designer (@lauracrompton) Storylines was born. In Laura’s beautifully succinct way, she described the heart of a story as the storyline, the narrative, and that is exactly what I replicate in designing the interior. I also like the architectural reference to lines. 

Although the studio no longer carries my name, I’m still there, behind the brand, articulating the stories. Storylines is just the next chapter, I do hope you’ll keep reading…

Design Edit: Guest Bedroom

Design Edit: Guest Bedroom

So you’ve done your Christmas shopping, ordered the turkey, and sent the Christmas cards. Of course you have! But have you sorted the guest bedroom for all the lovely family and friends you’ve got coming to stay over the festive season?!

As much as I love a full house, I’ve declared no room at the Inn for us this year (with the kids, the dog and the cat we already resemble a zoo)! There’ll be plenty of folk coming in and out for dinner and drinks, but we’re not hosting anyone to stay. However, if you are and your guest room needs a little refresh, then here’s a handy edit for you. All you need to create a welcoming room for those festive friends.

#1 My absolute favourite. Linen bedding does not get any better than this. And just look at this deep teal. £155 for a King Size duvet cover, from Piglet in Bed

#2 Of course you make your guests a cuppa in the morning, yeah?!! Well, if you’re feeling generous, this pot for two is just divine. Celine Tea for Two from Anthropologie

#3 Nothing beats listening to the radio in bed (although perhaps that just shows my age). Anyway, this Roberts Radio looks the part too, £100 from Urban Outfitters

#4 I first discovered Charlotte Rhys products when I was in South Africa and I use their Pillow Spray every night. Utterly gorgeous scents, now available to buy in the UK. £17 from Charlotte Rhys

#5 If you don’t have a chunky knit blanket you need to get on to it! Mizz Knits has the most fabulous range of colours to choose from and, although you may have missed the cut off for bespoke blankets, there’s time to get a couple of cushions to add a pop of colour to your guest room. Blanket prices vary but chunky knit cushions are £40 from Mizz Knits

# Nothing gives your guests the green light to relax and snooze-in like a pair of sloths. So cute! Sloth garden pot, £42 from Anthropologie

Design Edit: Bar Trolleys

Design Edit: Bar Trolleys

Is it really Christmas until the Bar Trolley is fully stocked?! The perfect entertaining companion, and a fabulous opportunity for a bit of festive styling, the Bar Trolley is your Christmas friend.

So, if you’re in search of the perfect bar trolley for the holiday season, then look no further. Below I share my top picks, all of which (at the time of writing) are still available for delivery before Christmas.

#1 Swoon worthy to say the least. Make a statement with this circular brass bar trolley, £375 from www.grahamandgreen.co.uk 

#2 No one said bar trolleys have to be shiny. Work the industrial look with this cool trolley from www.roseandgrey.co.uk (£155)

#3 But if you want glitz, then here it is. Just look at those curves. £375 from www.oliverbonas.com

#4 Stunning art deco style, with a gorgeous green marble top, £249 from www.swooneditions.com

#5 Now isn’t this fun?! A mix of ash wood, yellow leather and rust coloured metal. Yes please! £399 from www.made.com

#6 Or keep it elegant with this stunning gold drinks trolley from www.sweetpeaandwillow.com

Colour Conversation: What’s your favourite Colour?

Colour Conversation: What’s your favourite Colour?

What’s your favourite colour?  Interiors: How colour makes you feel. 

I’ve been working with the very talented Garden Designer, Melissa Morton recently. Back in the summer she did some work on my garden for me and I helped her out with some interior design. A neat little skills swap! Working with another designer as a client was really interesting and it has been fascinating to discuss our respective design processes. And, not only does Melissa have super green fingers and an eye for detail, she also has a background in colour science, which means we’ve had some really interesting conversations over the past few months. 

These discussions were the starting point for this collaborative series of blog posts which explore concepts of colour and design in both the home and garden. Melissa has started the series with an analysis of colour theory. Her first post “How Hue Can Influence Mood” can be read here. Her next post will explore Saturation and Value.

In this post, I explore how colour influences mood in Interiors; the basics of Colour Psychology. 

What’s your favourite colour?

It’s a question asked to, and by, many a small child. From such an early age we are beginning to identify that everyone has an emotional response to colour. And that everyone’s response is different.

When I start working with a client, one of my first questions is how they want the space to FEEL. Obviously we work through the practicalities of what the space needs to do, discuss style inspiration and budget, but fundamentally, I need to understand what they want the room to feel like. Without that the design can tick all the other boxes, but it just won’t feel quite right. 

Colour is powerful. It evokes feelings subconsciously. Yet there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to colour. I love midnight blue. It feels calming and reflective and has a real energy to it. But I know clients for whom the same colour is drab, draining almost. It’s very personal. So, whilst I’m about to give a run down of how colours are more generally perceived, it’s intended as a way of making you think about how you respond to colour. If you find yellow leaves you feeling anxious, then painting a room yellow is not going to be the uplifting, self-confident experience I suggest it could be!

 

Purple

Dark purple shades are dramatic, powerful and sophisticated. Historically the colour of royalty, it can evoke feelings of strength, quality and luxury. In softer tones, purple often suggest a calmness and serenity. To some, a mystical quality. Thoughtful, provocative and creative. 

Ultra Violet was Pantone’s color of the year for 2018. And a recent love for all things velvet has paved the way for a luscious combination of colour and texture. Yet, purple initiates somewhat of a Marmite response in people. It seems, you either Love or Hate it in interiors. Used in bolder shades, it’s definitely a statement colour. This doesn’t mean you have to use it sparingly but you need to know the effect it’ll have. And if you just want to dip your toe in the purple water, then just use it as an accent (perhaps a footstool, a cushion or within some wall art).

Blue

Blues can make us feel productive, intelligent, calm and serene. Deep blues can work to give a feeling of sophistication whereas bright blues can provide a sense of clarity and vibrancy. As for lighter tones, they are often described as making a space feel calm, soothing and serene. 

Personally, I love surrounding myself with rich midnight, navy and cobalt blues. I find them warming, enriching and energising. As for light blues, I find them too cool to have in my home. Yet I’ve done schemes using soft blues which my clients find soothing and calming and they love them. It’s all about personal perception and association. 

Yellow 

The sunshine colour. The colour of primroses and spring. But does it make you feel confident, happy and extrovert or does it leave you feeling anxious and self-conscious? 

Bright yellows create bold, confident accents. One of my favourite combinations is to use it with a bold blue or strong teal. Softer lemon colours can create a feeling of spring time, of optimism and lightness. This is where colour association really strikes a chord for me though. As a child, I remember having a bedroom painted in lemony yellow. For some reason, I disliked it and now an abundance of soft yellow in a room leaves me feeling uneasy. There’s no logic to it; it’s simply my response to living with softer tones of that colour. On the other hand, vibrant tones leave me feeling energised and creative.

 

Green

Melissa has written about green in her latest blog post. The colour of nature, of abundance, of growth. One of the reasons I love styling with plants is the freshness and vibrancy of colour. It’s a reminder that our spaces are not static, but living-breathing spaces. It gives a sense of balance and harmony. 

Rich, earthy greens will make you feel very differently from the vibrant, zesty lime greens. And, for some, green is a colour which induces feelings of stagnation. If that’s you, a green living room is probably not the way forward!

Pink

We’ve seen a lot of pink recently, showing that pink is most certainly not just for girls. Blush, nude, millennial, hot, neon. The list goes on but there’s certainly a shade for everyone and every room! Has millennial pink had it’s day? Probably, as does every trend, but pink is certainly an adaptable colour, here to stay.

It’s generally perceived as a warm, reassuringly optimistic colour. Associated with love and happiness and a colour which sits easily in many a colour scheme. Although of course to some it may have associations of childishness, evoking feelings of silliness.

Black 

Technically the absence of light, rather than a colour, black is bold, powerful and glamorous. A show of sophistication and elegance at black tie events but symbolic of mourning at funerals.

For some, the intensity and contrast created by using black in an interior scheme is indulgent and dramatic. For others, the use of black in a scheme is too much. Too heavy, too intense, too draining. How you respond also depends on how it’s used. Layered with other dark colours (charcoals, indulgent earth browns) it can create a moody, dramatic scheme which you may (or may not) love. Used as a contrast colour for other softer or more vibrant colours creates a different feel altogether. 

White 

Clean, simple, pure to some. Clinical and stark to others. A pure, brilliant white is difficult to work with but whites with a hint of colour create a palette of soft whites which work more authentically within a space. How much white you choose to surround yourself with depends on whether white spaces leave you feeling calm and energised. Or just a little cold and empty. 

So there you have it, my very quick run down of colour psychology. I know, orange, brown and red don’t get a mention and I didn’t even touch on grey (that gets a post all of its own). But the discussion of colour psychology is lengthy, and what I wanted to do is start to build on the science of Melissa’s post and show you how colour plays such a big part in what a space feels like. What it really comes down to is how you respond. Your perception. Your association. It’s yet another reminder that you need to decorate and style your home for you; to surround yourself with colours that you love. 

So, what is your favourite colour?

Behind the Brand with Kirath Ghundoo

Behind the Brand with Kirath Ghundoo

Effortlessly cool, with an utterly stunning range of luxury, non-repeating geometric and bespoke wallpapers, Kirath Ghundoo has a design studio to watch. It’s no surprise then that she has worked on projects across the world and was nominated for an Elle Decoration British Design Award. I love the concept behind the mix ’n’ match collection; no repeat, no matching – you just start one strip where the last one finished and can mix up different patterns within the collection, allowing you to create a truly unique design. I’m certainly on the look out for the right project to use these in. 

Read on to find out more about Kirath’s inspiration and work, and do follow her on Instagram to see what she’s up to. Blue Bathroom Unit-Alpha_LowRes.jpg

1/ What was the main driver behind setting up your design studio?

I graduated from Leeds College of Art with a degree in printed textiles and surface pattern design and went on to become a university lecturer.  This love of teaching design inspired me to set up my own brand as having my own business was always something I wanted to pursue. In 2011 I completed my MA in Textiles at Huddersfield University and spent the year setting up my brand. I launched my first wallpaper collection at 100% Design in London in 2011 and the response was overwhelming. I’ve been trading for 7 years now and what a journey it has been! I am inspired by pattern and colour everywhere and my design work allows me to represent my interpretation of the world around me.

2/ What do you love most about your work? 

I love the creative freedom of my job and how I express myself as a designer without adhering to trends. I like to break the rules of conventional design, which is exactly what my wallpapers do. They allow the user to create a unique feature wall which is dictated by their own preferences.

Colourful Wallpaper

3/ Where do you find your inspiration?

I can be inspired pretty much anywhere and especially the most bizarre and flamboyant places. My main inspirations comes from travel. I spent this summer in Miami and Puerto Rico and it is a designer’s dream! I have just designed a new wallpaper based on Miami which has just been released!

4/ Describe your work/style in 3 words?

Spontaneous, quirky, bold

5/ Where’s your favourite place to work?

I love my office space and spend most of my time working there. However, being mobile means I can work anywhere, including the beach…

red geometric wallpaper

6/ Do you ever suffer from a “creative block” and, if so, how do you deal with it?

Yes I do! If this happens the best way for me to deal with it is to do something else. This lets me recharge and come back to it later with a new perspective. 

7/ What do you think are going to be the next trends in your field?

I don’t follow trends and certainly don’t design to them. There are always certain colour trends that come around within interiors which I am conscious of, however these rarely impact my design work.

geometric wallpaper

8/ What are you the most proud of?

I was nominated for an Elle Decoration British Design Award which was pretty special but I also love seeing the positive impact my work has on my clients. It feels nice to brighten up their spaces!

9/ What’s next for your studio?

I am in the middle of designing a new range for the KG Basics 19 collection so I’m busy working on that. I have some exciting commercial projects in the pipeline for some fabulous feature walls and I’m hoping to do Decorex 2019!

Check out Kirath’s collections at www.kirathghundoo.com and be sure to follow her Insta page @kirath_ghundoo