I have a confession. I never read interiors magazines. I may flick through US Elle Decoration and I once subscribed to World of Interiors, but on the whole I avoid trends and can only name a handful of interior designers (Terence Conran, Kelly Hoppen, Abigail Ahern).
My inspiration comes from childhood memories. Still lives by David Hockney, colours from Picasso prints, the numerous Nordic homes belonging to friends and relatives. Current influences are from TV. Shows like Danish drama Borgen (yes Danes really live like that) US reality TV series, music videos and the rooms created by Abigail on her TV show which re-ignited my passion (cool lighting, Vivienne Westwood influences, fake fireplaces and not a cushion or curtain in sight).
I’ve always been able to put a room together, because my mother knew how to entertain. You can’t host a dinner party or festive gathering without first creating an inviting setting against which to make your guests feel welcome.
Uptight homes are a mistake. They might be worth admiring, worthy of having royalty to tea but the rest of the year you’ll be sitting home alone admiring your perfect interior on your lonesome. Without the sparkle of conversation, the merriment of life and messiness that goes with having family and friends over, great interiors are pointless.
I don’t think I have an eye for design, (I don’t care about interior design), it’s about creating a welcoming, atmospheric setting. It has more to do with acknowledging what makes you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome when you walk into a room and then correcting it.
I don’t follow rules, just instincts. Some rooms make me feel nervous and want to leave the moment I arrive. Some leave me standing shiftily even though there’s chairs and sofas a plenty. I do things to rooms the owners rarely disagree with. I don’t radically change or redesign them so much as improve what’s already there and have a sense of what’s missing. I make them ebb and flow and feel inviting.
It’s little more than pointing out the obvious but for those I’ve helped (among them REAL interior designers) it’s life changing. Dead space becomes magical, tired things gain a new lease and lust for life. I lounge in hallways I’ve created, work on upholstered dining tables that double as offices and make every room multi-functional, multi-faceted and fabulous.
I take a similar approach to floral arrangements (although I hesitate to call them that). A friend of mine who began her career as a florist, but is now a successful interior designer, once declared all florists to be control freaks. When I asked why she said “well ultimately you’re trying to control nature”. That’s why I love the silk variety. They never wilt or die, have sturdy stems that stand upright in anything. I love wild bunches of wisteria, casually thrown tulips and champagne buckets flowing with soft pink roses. When I do attempt flower arrangements I throw interesting colours together to form nonchalant arrangements of the flower’s own choosing.
Which brings me to the point of today’s post. Embrace your talents whatever they may be and wherever they may lie. Do a course if it gives you confidence to be creative. Pursue the things you love if only you weren’t blindsided by life’s impediments to achieving goals that aren’t expected of you. Take a risk on something you believe in. Start a business you are passionate about. Live authentically and don’t make material wealth your one and only goal. Am I deluded thinking I can create a niche luxury interiors brand when every focus group will tell you black things don’t sell? . . . Probably.