interior design

How to de-clutter your interior this January

With a new year, comes new year resolutions. Our Director of Studies Anthony Rayworth discusses the controversial KonMari method to de-clutter your home. Let 2016 be the year of change…

How to de-clutter your interior:

Let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year!

We often feel the need to surround ourselves will all our personal possessions we hold dear, but this can end up looking cluttered and disorganised within an interior space. Too many different clothes, objects, styles and mismatched colours competing for attention will detract away from any interior scheme. So how do we balance ones personal possessions with a stylish, minimalistic interior – by de-cluttering our interiors.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method, starting with your wardrobe and clothes - the order of tidying your home is important, image via www.mydomaine.com

Written by Japanese professional organizer Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up describes a simple method to de-clutter your life, from clothes to personal knick-knacks her methods will revolutionize the way you organise your belongings.

The method is based on the simple idea of joy that will not only transform your interior, but once you have de-cluttered your home her philosophy can also be applied to your whole life too “giving you more confidence, helping you to become more successful, and giving you the energy and motivation to create the life you want.”

The Idea of Joy

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method, dividing your objects into category piles will help to bring order to your clutter. You need to assess what you have before you can start getting rid. Image via Pinterest: Found on luckyshops.com

Compared to other organizing methods that make you consider an items purpose or question when you last used it, Marie Kondo’s method is even simpler. When it comes to any of the items in your house, answer this one simple question – Does it bring you joy? Marie recognises that a tidy home means you are less likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed by the negative impact of objects in your home that no longer bring you joy.

If you answer yes, you keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, you donate it or throw it away. The KonMari method is simple yet effective, and stops you spending a lot of time justifying how an object may be useful to you at some point and therefore decide to keep it. Marie’s direct yes/no question of whether something brings you joy is a simple, emotion-based question that can be answered almost instantly – That item either makes you feel joy or it doesn’t.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method is the way to a minimalistic, clutter free home. Image via www.imnotwordy.com

The Method

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method, keep small boxes to store small objects like jewellery. Image Source: Instagram user LuckyMaya.

1) Instead of tackling a room at a time, you are instructed to gather up your possessions from around the house and divide your belongings into separate piles. Her idea is to de-clutter by item type instead of by room, so whilst your instinct might be to move from sorting your bedroom then your kitchen, instead separate into product categories, i.e books, ornaments, knick-knacks.

Tidying in the right order is also key, start with clothes, then books, papers and then komono (miscellaneous, random bits.)

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method, asks you to divide your belongings into categories, before reorganising. Everything has a space in your new clutter-free home like komono (miscellaneous, random bits can neatly be stored in dividers and boxes within the same drawer. Image via Pinterest: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/tips/g2394/junk-drawer-organizing-ideas/?slide=2

2) Item by item, pick each one up and hold it out in front of you before asking yourself one simple question – Does this bring me joy? 

This decision making stage is designed to be fairly straightforward as you either feel joy or you don’t. Before long you should have separated your belongings into ‘yes’ ‘donate’ and ‘throw-away’ piles,’ and will soon start to see the real reasons why you hold onto things. With this method you are encourage to throw-away things that no longer bring you joy, meaning organising what’s left should be a lot simpler process.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method - items that don't spark joy don't have a place in your home. Left with fewer items that we love our homes are easier to then organise and keep minimalistic and clutter free. Image via www.blog.hgtv.com

3) Discard the things you are getting rid of before you begin organising objects you are keeping, bag up and throw away papers, clothes and knick-knacks. You must discard these first. Don’t put anything away until everything you are going to discard has been removed, then you can move on to organising.

How To Organize Your Home

Once you have discarded of objects that no longer ring you joy, you can begin organising those items you’d like to keep. The KonMari method teaches you how to store all items by type in the same place so that things don’t become scattered and lead to more accumulation of clutter.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method, asks you to divide your belongings into categories, before reorganising. Everything has a space in your new clutter-free home like any books kept that spark joy. You can begin organising  by colour. Found on apartmenttherapy.com

Once you learn the proper methods of how to store your possessions, you’ll be able to stay clutter free as everything will now have a specific place in your home. These methods can be applied to all aspects of your home, like kitchen cabinets, display shelving units and bathroom products that can be sorted and stored more efficiently.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method, once you've got rid of unnecessary items her organising methods can then be applied to all aspects of your home, organising cupboards and kitchen items within shelves and specific groups. Image via Pinterest.

Marie believes in organising objects by colour or type and only keeping items that truly ‘spark joy.’ If de-cluttering your wardrobe is your main goal – her illustrated folding technique has revolutionised how to fold clothes and save space. Her drawings are quite hard to decipher, but if you fancy giving it a go Goop have some great how-to videos here.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method, organise objects into piles, based on what items bring you joy. Keep ones that do and get rid of things that don't in order to minimise clutter and better organise items you want to keep. Image Source: Found on apartmenttherapy.com

Emotional Baggage

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method - items that don't spark joy don't have a place in your home. Left with fewer items that we love our homes are easier to then organise and keep minimalistic and clutter free. Image via www.apartmenttherapy.com

Guilt

The method isn’t based on throwing out or donate as much as possible, but to make sure that the things you keep make you truly happy. And sometimes we hold onto things for the wrong reasons. Like an item of clothing you’ve never worn or an interior item with the tag still on, or one you no longer like but perhaps you felt joy when you bought it or feel guilty about getting rid if you spent a lot of money on it, so keep it just in case.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method - items that don't spark joy don't have a place in your home. Left with fewer items that we love our homes are easier to then organise and keep minimalistic and clutter free. Image via: http://www.houzz.co.uk/photos/query/Man%27s-Office/p/64?irs=US

When it comes to the KonMari method, Marie is keen to address the feeling of guilt that often arises when it is time to donate or throw-away these items that no longer bring you joy. Think about when you bought the item, did it bring you joy to buy it.

Even if it was the thrill of shopping, the hunt or just thinking about what you intended to do with it that bought you joy, then Kondo says that the item has served its purpose – it brought you joy at some point. Now you can remember that and put it into the donation/ throw-away pile without feeling guilty.

Nostalgia

Some items that don’t bring you joy any more are easy to part with, whilst others create an internal struggle. We often hold on to items as they trigger memories and remind us of a certain time or place. Whilst we often accept we might never wear/ use these items again, we still keep them in an attempt to hang on to those emotional connections they elicit. The item is just an item, and we still have those memories with or without it.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method - items that don't spark joy don't have a place in your home. Left with fewer items that we love our homes are easier to then organise and keep minimalistic and clutter free. Image via www.thewhitecompany.com

Quality not quantity

It is better to have fewer things you like, than a lot of things you don’t – a saying that on paper is obvious, but is a life lesson we often forget. From our wardrobes to our cluttered interiors, we often buy items on a whim. Sometimes they are familiar (usually because we have several very similar ones already), whilst others we convince ourselves we need.

But sometimes it is about stepping back and accessing what we have and what brings us joy, and which items are just taking up space. By asking yourself if it brings you any joy, you will soon realise all the things you keep hold of out of habit rather than because it brings you joy.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method - items that don't spark joy don't have a place in your home. Left with fewer items that we love our homes will be minimalistic and stylish with just the key interior pieces on display, image via: http://www.dontcrampmystyle.co.uk/2015/12/pantone-colour-of-year-2016-rose-quartz.html

Often we think if we got rid of these items we would feel the need to replace them. But more often than not, once you realise the items that are important and mean something to you, you will start to feel content with what you have instead of chasing the feeling of needing something new. Once you de-clutter you’ll understand that key interior pieces will make more of a statement that all your unorganised clutter on display.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method - items that don't spark joy don't have a place in your home. Left with fewer items that we love our homes are easier to then organise and keep minimalistic and clutter free. Image via www.racked.com

It’s not about what others think.

It is human nature to seek approval from others, and this is something we need to ensure doesn’t interfere with the de-cluttering process. Just because someone else thinks an item of clothing or an interior item is okay doesn’t mean you should keep it. They may just be indifferent to it and this boils down to if it brings you joy, you have to feel it yourself as another person’s joy is no substitute for your own.

How to de-clutter your interior this January: The KonMari method means keeping items that spark joy but this doesn't mean throwing away other peoples items that don't bring you joy. Figures on a shelf can look organised and tasteful instead of cluttered in a home - image via: http://www.houzz.co.uk/

Now if you live with someone else, this doesn’t mean throw-away their stuff as it doesn’t bring you joy. It is about assessing what brings you job as a couple or as a family. If you, and others are indifferent to an item and it doesn’t bring anyone joy then bin it.

Whilst other items, such as your boyfriend/ husband’s star wars collection may not bring you joy but to them is a treasured item, should be kept and incorporated into your clutter-free scheme. There is some compromise in this method, and it is about assessing what joy an item brings to your lives. Such a simple and incredibly powerful question can be applied to all aspects of our lives, not just our home or clothes.

I hope this has inspired you all to start the new year by de-cluttering, whether it be your wardrobe, interior or other aspects of your lives. You can buy Marie’s book here. Until next time, Anthony.

References:

Websites:

Candlelight within an interior. (2015) [online] Available from: www.huldals.blogspot.com [Accessed 24.11.2015]

Decorating with Candles (2015) [online] Available from: www. indulgy.com [Accessed 25.11.2015]

Candle display for Christmas (2015) [online] Available from:www.tidbitsandtwine.com [Accessed 27.11.2015]

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2015) [online] Available from: http://www.popsugar.com/latest/the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up [Accessed 02.12.2015]

The Illustrated Guide to the KondoMari Method (2015) [online] Available from: http://goop.com/the-illustrated-guide-to-the-kondo-mari-method/[Accessed 03.12.2015]

7 tips to organising your home (2015) [online] Available from:http://www.drnorthrup.com/7-tips-to-organize-your-home-using-the-konmari-method/[Accessed 03.12.2015]

5 Life changing lessons the Konmari Method taught me (2015) [online] Available from: https://www.happier.com/blog/5-life-changing-lessons-the-konmari-decluttering-method-taught-me [Accessed 03.12.2015]

The Konmari Method by Marie Kondo (2015) [online] Available from: http://www.tidyingup.com/[Accessed 03.12.2015]

How to declutter with the Konmari Method (2015) [online] Available from: http:www.apartmentapothecary.com/[Accessed 01.12.2015]

NDA shares their favourite Statement Lighting inspirations to ensure your homes sparkles all year round
Sparkle All Year: Statement Lighting

With the new year looming, changing up your interior is a great way to go into 2016 feeling fresh and new. Lighting makes a statement, and by picking something that will last longer than the festive season it is a great way to transform your interior and start 2016 in style. We share our favourite statement lighting ideas for 2016.

January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, a time to throw out the old and embrace the new. So rather then searching for those fairy lights each year, consider changing your lighting and keep some Christmas cheer throughout the rest of the year. By adding a statement chandelier or lighting installation within your home this December, it will instantly add an extra touch of glamour to your interior and will transform an ordinary space into a statement space that lasts a lot longer than

Statement Lighting Inspiration from Sharon Marston

Sharon Marston, a lighting designer from a theatrical background draws on her fascination of fabric and light. Marston creates stunning bespoke pieces that would dress any interior with grandeur throughout the year and add extra sparkle for Christmas. As mentioned in her website ‘her work has fluidity, drama and sculptural quality which clearly sets it apart’. Introducing the Pleat light made of woven polymer and end emitting polymer fibre optics, this stunning design would take centre stage above any dining table.

Sparkle All Year: Pleat Light by Sharon Marston at Radlett House, Private residence: http://www.sharonmarston.com/Projects/Radlett_House.htm

Statement Lighting Inspiration from Tom Dixon

For a bolder statement, Tom Dixon Studio has a few bright, glistening options. A collection of the ‘mirror ball gold’, ‘copper bronze’, ‘lens pendant’, ‘melt gold’ and ‘silver shades’ creates a festive ornamental impression in season and a clear mixed metal trend infusion, arranged to be gazed on as a brilliant spectacle throughout the year.

Sparkle All Year: Tom Dixon Studio, New York, Soho: http://www.tomdixon.net/uk/nyc-shop.html

Statement Lighting Inspiration from John Lewis

Whilst the 3 LED Droplet ceiling pendant light in chrome gives a great impression of how a statement can still be made with a subtle gesture on a less grander scale. A John Lewis creation, this design offers sophistication with a touch of winter wonderland. Perfect all year round. Be inspired to keep a bit of Christmas alive all year round, with their subtle, snow globe-like appearance.

Sparkle All Year: John Lewis Droplet Pendant: http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-3-droplet-led-pendant-ceiling-light-chrome/p1866553

We hope we have given you some inspiration for the rest of the Christmas holidays and for lighting up your homes with a statement piece in the new year. Wishing you a happy & bright 2016!

The NDA Christmas interior Wishlist 2015
The NDA Interior Design Christmas Wishlist 2015

With Christmas just a few days away, we wanted to share the interior items that the NDA team are wishing for this Christmas. If like us, you are wishing for some luxury items, we’ve included our budget-friendly versions that might make it on your wishlist. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and hopefully there are a few welcome surprises under your tree this year.  

The NDA Interior Design Christmas Wishlist:

A Minimalistic, Modern Chair

The first item that has made our wishlist is a statement chair completed with a faux fur throw for a cosy, Scandinavian feel this Christmas – the iconic, classic style of the Vitra Eames DSW side chair in white is the perfect minimalistic choice for any interior. We would team a set of 6 dining chairs with a vintage dining table for a modern-contemporary look.

The NDA Christmas interior wishlist: We chose the iconic Vitra Eames DSW side chair as one of our wishlist items because of its minimalistic yet stylish design.

These can be quite expensive if you opt for the original versions, so why not invest in a replica Eames style DSW chair for as little as £27.99 a chair.

Glamorous Bookends

Next up is decadent, brass Pineapple House of Hackney Bookends. Again these are an extravagant item, there are similar high street or vintage versions available like the golden pineapple bookends from Graham & Green for £48.00 or vintage brass pineapple bookends from Ebay for £16.54 plus p&p.

Tesco also do a great pair of Gold & black pineapple bookends for £45.00, or try Not on the High Street for an ornate, white pair of pineapple bookends for £49.00.

The NDA Interior Design Christmas Wishlist 2015: Pineapple brass bookends from House of Hackney

A Classic Floor Lamp

A statement lamp is another essential item on our wish list this year. Cool metals and vintage, arco style floor lamps are a popular trend, inspired by the classic 1960’s design by the Castiglioni brothers is now considered a design classic.

The NDA Christmas interior wishlist: We chose the iconic Arco floor lamp by Flos as it is beautiful in both its form and function and it’s now recognised as a design classic.

The Arco Floor lamp by Flos is on our wishlist, due to its elegant appearance and beautiful marble base which would be the perfect statement in an office or living room scheme. But costing upwards of £1,422.00 it isn’t cheap.

We found cheaper, replica styles for under £200, like this Achille & Pier Castiglioni Classic Arco style floor lamp from Iconic Lights seen below, or try the Achille Castiglioni Arc Floor Lamp or Arco Floor Lamp versions to get the look for less.

The Iconic Chair

Whilst an original 1930’s Knoll Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s would set us back thousands, replicas can be picked up from as little as £229.00. With its sloping metal legs and relaxed style the Barcelona chair is an icon of modernism and would be an effortlessly stylish choice to sit back and relax in.

The iconic Knoll Barcelona chair is on the NDA Christmas interior wishlist this year because of its stylish silhouette and iconic design.

We found a real leather Barcelona Replica Chair from Vital Chairs for £229.00, whilst a faux leather version of the Barcelona Armchair with matching ottoman costs £491.90.

A Designer Sidetable

Another distinctive iconic design from the 20th century on our wishlist is the elegantly formed, height-adjustable Eileen Gray side table, £489.00. For a side table is carries quite a high price tag, but due to its practical multi-height function and beautiful, curved design it is a firm favourite and lusted after designer piece.

the NDA Christmas interior wishlist: We are lusting after the beautifully elegant, multi-functional Eileen Gray side table  design. This great replica is from Milan Direct.

We were amazed to find a very similar, adjustable Eileen Gray replica side table for just £65.00 from Milan Direct, seen above.

The Perfect Pouf

Adding texture and pattern is a key trend this Autumn/ Winter, mixing faux-furs & clashing animal prints brings a cosy, Autumnal feel to an interior scheme.

 NDA’s Christmas Interior Wishlist: Adding cosy textures and layers is key this Autumn/Winter. We love Amara Living’s luxury cow hide pouf but it is hardly budget-friendly, we found cheaper alternatives if this is out of your price league this year.

We especially love Amara Living’s Cow Skin Cube Pouff or their Amara Island Sheep Skin Cube Pouff in white. But at £250 for a luxury version, we think the high street have some great budget-friendlier versions like this cow hide cube here for half the price.

Or Nordstrom’s faux fur pouf here which is a bargain in comparison at £68.79. Next also stock a beautiful faux fur low bean cube available in either cream or grey for just £70.00 that will add instant texture to any interior.

A Bold Rug

Another favourite amongst the NDA team is the beautiful, statement Calum rug by Bluebellgray. With its bold statement mix of colours and abstract, floral design it is stunning, but for £1,300 it is a steep price to pay for a rug.

 NDA’s Christmas Interior Wishlist: The NDA team think Bluebellgray’s Calum rug is a bold, beautiful statement piece but is the beautiful, statement but comes with a big price tag. We found some budget-friendly versions online.

Less abstract, but with the same bold use of colours – these designs from Modern Rugs are a great alternative to get a similar look without paying a lot. Our favourite is the Helsinki floral rug & Malmo floral design which both come in at under £140.00 in comparison.

The Luxe Mirror

On the NDA’s Christmas Interior Wishlist is the statement Pols Potten Prickle Mirror in gold.

The Pols Potten Prickle Mirror in gold above is a bold, statement mirror that has also made it onto our wishlist. It would add an elegant touch to any wall, but at £282.00 it is definitely a pricier option.

We found great alternatives for less, like the large black mirror that could easily be spray- painted gold to achieve the same look for a lot less. As could this Metal Starburst Mirror also available from Not On The High Street, both for less that £100.

A Feature Ceiling Light

Last but not least, is iconic Danish lighting designer & architect Poul Henningsen, known for iconic lighting designs that feature multiple, concentric shades offering both a beautiful and practical lighting solution to eliminate direct glare.

On the NDA Interior Wishlist is the Poul Henningsen PH5 ceiling pendant, but we found some high street versions that emulate the iconic style for a lot less.

But with styles ranging in price from £300 to £13,500, the Louis Poulsen PH5 Pendant in white is a expensive choice for our wishlist. Beautifully designed, its multi-shade design creates a harmonious and glare free illumination within an interior space.

We found great high street, replica versions for as little as £125, like the Poul Henningsen Style PH5 Ceiling Pendant Light for £125.00. Or Made.com’s Lab Pendant Light which is a sculptural, modern take on the iconic style available in either; soft green, grey and pink or in mustard, grey and deep teal colourways for £169.00.

We hope you have enjoyed our NDA Interior Wishlist picks. Whether you splurge on the real thing or save with one of our budget-friendlier versions, we hope we have given you inspiration as to what to ask Santa for this year. Merry Christmas from the NDA Team.

The NDA chat to Suburban Salon
NDA chats to Suburban Salon + House Tour

As the nights get colder and darker it’s common to want to layer up, and not just our clothes but our interiors too. Layering natural, earthy elements with soft, textured soft- furnishings is a key trend this season. Championing all things cosy, we caught up with the talented Julia Eldon, the founder of Suburban Salon to talk about her business and the beautiful, bespoke soft-furnishings and furniture collections in all their furry glory. We also get to tour her amazing house that Julia transformed herself, and she discusses her personal Boho Glam Maximalism style!

NDA chat to Suburban Salon Founder, Julia.Chatting with Suburban Salon:

With the huge Autumn/Winter trend for minimalistic Scandi styling, think cosy, thick, knitted blankets, faux-fur cushions and throws teamed with natural, wooden elements, mid-century furniture and plenty of white, we were excited to talk to Julia, the founder of Suburban Salon whose luxurious collection of soft furnishings and furniture are the epitome of cosy, yet super glamorous interior style. Her beautiful faux fur pieces add instant texture, which teamed with minimal accessories or décor in accents of copper or warm, gold tones will warm any interior scheme this Christmas.

Hi Julia, When did you launch Suburban Salon?

I started working on developing Suburban Salon over a year ago although starting my own business was something I’d been dreaming of for a long time. My website only went live in May this year, but it took me 6 months previous to that to design, make and photograph the collections.

How have you found the first year of running your own business?

The last year has been a whirlwind, but probably the most fulfilling and enjoyable of my entire working career. I’ve learnt so many new skills, website development, photography and of course social media skills. Running a small business as a one-woman band means you have to do everything yourself, and there’s no doubt it has been challenging at times. There are invariably tasks, which are necessary, but you’re not very good at or skilled in; for me book-keeping comes to mind! Also, learning to switch off is important, which is tricky in the social media world that we live in, and I think it’s very important to take time out (occasionally!)

Giving up your marketing role to focus on your passion for interiors, at what point did you go from making them just for yourself, friends, family to launching Suburban Salon as a business?

I used to work in marketing full time before having children and I worked part time whilst my eldest child (now 12) was young. But I found when I returned to work, I just didn’t have the same enthusiasm, drive and ambition for that type of work as I had prior to having kids. I loved the creativity of my role, but the competitive and incredibly stressful nature of the environment I worked in was just not so appealing any more.

NDA chat to Suburban Salon, we talk to the lovely Julia about setting up her own brand and her beautiful faux fur product range of luxury interior furniture and accessories which fill her beautiful home. NDA get a tour of Julia's transformed home.

I started making the footstools following a few interior design projects. Texture and layering is the easiest way to make a room look lived in and for me is key to any great design scheme. I used to throw sheepskins over chairs, benches, footstools, tables – any piece of furniture really to create a very soft, snuggly and textured look. I had a vision of a footstool that was upholstered in soft fur, but found that it didn’t exist. Added to that, from my own personal experience, I knew that my children adore anything tactile, in particular snuggly, cosy fabrics that they can stroke whilst watching their favourite TV programmes or reading.

The concept of attaching a snuggly fabric to a bench, stool and chair was borne in my head and I researched the idea and realized there was nothing like this in the marketplace. I developed the product and started to experiment, first by up-cycling vintage footstools and then after realizing that I couldn’t create a consistent product this way, taking the plunge and making the entire footstool by myself.

NDA chat to Suburban Salon, we talk to the lovely Julia about setting up her own brand and her beautiful faux fur product range of luxury interior furniture and accessories.

I made prototypes for my own home, I think at one stage I had about 8 in our house and the reaction I got from visitors was very encouraging. My friend’s kids in particular used to fling themselves on them when they came over and plead with their parents to buy one – pester power works! I then started to get requests and orders and decided to turn my hobby into a business and Suburban Salon was created; I wanted to inject a dose of snuggly, stroke-able texture to a room with just one piece of furniture, but I also wanted them to look pretty cool too and I hope I’ve achieved that.

NDA chat to Suburban Salon and get to tour Julia's wonderful home that is filled with cosy, faux fur items from her range of luxury interior furniture and soft furnishings. Surburban Salon cushions add warmth and texture to her hallway chair.

In your free time you developed a whole new set of skills including; interior-design, soft-furnishings, designing and making children’s clothes, crafts and upholstery. How did you utilise your new found qualifications?

When I gave up my marketing career, one of the turning points was moving house. When the children were young, we moved from a too small but incredibly beautiful Victorian semi to a large, but sensible, 60’s box which needed everything doing to it to make it a home. It took us a long time to renovate (the exterior still needs work to this day, but it’s nice inside!) and it was during this process that I studied interior design and the house renovation gave me a huge practical opportunity to develop my own ideas and style.

NDA chat to Suburban Salon: We get a tour of Julia's beautifully designed home. Using her own interior design skills she has transformed their home that is now filled with Suburban Salon pieces dotted throughout.

I learnt how to sew initially out of sheer necessity. Not working, we simply couldn’t afford to pay John Lewis to make all the curtains and blinds that we needed as we would have previously done! It soon became a hobby that I fell in love with and I think looking back, because I was at home with the children it was a bit of ‘me’ time that allowed me to be creative and have a bit of time out from the kids!

NDA chat to Suburban Salon: Julia developed skills in curtain and blind making and interior design to furnish her own home, this not only confirmed her love of sewing but it also opened up new, exciting career opportunities for Julia.

I leant to make soft furnishings properly on a Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings course, dragging my best friend along too! I started with a Beginners course, found I loved it and then continued through to an advanced level. By the time I left, I was obsessed with interlining curtains, blinds, etc and for about a year after I made them for friends and family too. I enjoyed it, but being a bit of a perfectionist, I found it was a labour of love. Soft furnishings are very time consuming to make and I found just selling to people I knew meant I was always giving them ‘mates rates’ and as a consequence, I was not even earning a minimum wage! Back to the drawing board…

NDA chat to Suburban Salon: We get a tour of Julia's beautifully designed home. View of her wonderful kitchen she shares with her family and used her own interior design skills to transform.

I love fashion and have always been pretty creative, having a little girl and being able to sew by then it was a natural progression to start to design dresses for her. I loved the idea of making a dress with matching accessories such as a headscarf, Alice band or little bag. I created a label called ‘Ro Ro’s Garden’ (Ro Ro was and still is  my daughter’s treasured rabbit) and I made the dresses out of very vibrant florals and I sold them along with bunting and other bits and pieces at craft fairs. Again, a bit like with the soft furnishings, I did very well at fairs, but never managed to make it work commercially. I was basically making made to measure dresses and selling them for £30, when they took 3 hours to make!

The NDA chat to Suburban Salon and tour Julia's beautifully designed home. The bold bathroom in her home that she used her own interior design and curtain making skills to transform.

Interior design was something I just kept coming back to, because of childcare commitments I studied my part-time Diploma in Interior Design online, from home over 24 weeks. Studying online was very convenient for me as I could do it in my own time and around the children!

I used my new found skills and passion for interior design to decorate my own house and when our house was finished I got so much positive feedback. It was quite radical at the time of completion, 3 years ago. I have a yellow vinyl floor in my bathroom, my kitchen I tried hard to make it look like a loft space rather than a kitchen and in my children’s room, I wallpapered the ceiling to add character to a characterless room, which has since prompted friends to ask me to help them with their own Interior projects (seen in the photos throughout, a mix of photos of Julia’s house and others are from her friends home.)

NDA chat to Suburban Salon: We get a tour of Julia's lovely home filled with a mix of homemade interior pieces, curtains and blinds and we spied her own amazing Suburban Salon pieces dotted througout.

Although your new found skill set and passion for Curtain and Blind Making, Soft-furnishings and Interior Design started out as hobbies, had you already started to consider how your interior design qualifications could open up a career path for you in Interiors?

Soft furnishings and designing and making children’s clothes were hobbies but as I was a non-working mum, I was always thinking about my future career and what could I do that I am passionate about and earn a living from. That was always my ultimate goal. Although I had always been very interested in interiors, looking back it was a natural progression, learning to sew, soft-furnishings, dress making and then my own house renovations, doing interior projects for other people and then developing my own range of furniture as I couldn’t find what I wanted in the marketplace.

A lot of our students are interested in starting a career in interior design but don’t know how to turn their hobby into a business, from experience what advice would you give about setting up your own interiors business?

The main thing I’ve learnt is to take praise from others and be confident, which is not always easy! See yourself as a designer, as others do. Practice on as many room schemes at home and family and friends’ homes as possible and get honest feedback. Also take lots of before and after good quality pictures along the way to build a portfolio, photography is an art so learn as much as you can about light, etc. And although one of the key skills of Interior Design is to create a scheme that reflects the style of your client, I think it is also important to have a signature style of your own. I would call mine Boho Glam Maximalism!

Taking that big leap into business is very scary and not something that comes particularly easy to creative types. I was in a fortunate position with my business background, but it’s vital to build a following on social media – Instagram and Twitter are key for me, but Facebook could be more important for targeting a local market as an Interior Designer and YouTube is very important for showcasing your work too. Blogging is also key, it’s another huge opportunity to show your work and just as expected these days. It’s also important to remember that success doesn’t happen overnight, be patient and work hard!

Your beautiful collection of throws, furniture and accessories are all very tactile, what were your influences when designing the products?

My business is incredibly influenced by the classic Scandinavian style of using different types of textures to break up bare, sterile spaces and add warmth. I love how this style can combine smooth, rough, jagged, solid or transparent textures, more often opposing each other, to keep the design interesting. Having said that, unlike a lot of Scandi neutral only styles, I also adore Jonathan Adler’s glamorous design aesthetic of incorporating pops of colour and pattern. On a personal level, I’ve been inspired by my love of snuggling up with my children reading and watching TV together and observing their love of soft, luxury, snuggly textiles.

NDA chat to Suburban Salon. We talk to Julia about her collections. The Rabbit Alaska collection is a firm favourite with families due to its softest faux fur and versatile colouring that goes with most décor.

Do you make all your products yourself? Please tell us a bit more about the process and the bespoke nature of your products.

In terms of my faux fur footstools, I purchase all the component parts, the legs, the fur, the wood etc. and I craft the footstool and then upholster it with luscious faux fur! I have excellent, reliable suppliers which enables me to offer a bespoke service. Being a small business the bespoke element is very important and one of the key areas that sets Suburban Salon apart from competitors. I really believe that modern consumers desire the unique, the individual that will add a sense of luxury and distinction to their homes and I will endeavour to continue to do this even as the business grows.

Please tell us a bit more about your collections?

I wanted to curate a selection of inspirational, timeless pieces that are super glamorous but well designed and that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. I use only the best materials, the most luxurious and soft faux fur, handmade hairpin legs and I use as many components that are made in the UK as possible. At the moment, I have four core collections three faux fur and one wool, but I am constantly developing them based on trends and customer requests. I will soon be introducing a new Plains collection incorporating 12 new faux fur colours and a new Sheepskin Collection.

NDA chat to Suburban Salon, Julia discusses her core product ranges. Our favourite is the hair pinned legged Mongolian footstool.

Your products are luxe, quirky, unique pieces but are affordable. Are there any luxury or high street brands that have influenced your own interiors style?

If there is a designer that has influenced me it has to be Abigail Ahern. I always adored her shop in Islington way before she became an International Super Designer! Her design aesthetic, inky, dark, glam but quirky, was one that I always loved and was most definitely influenced by. I bought my first Abigail Ahern dog lamp about 5 years ago and it did raise a few eyebrows in the Cheshire suburb where I live!

The NDA chat to Suburban Salon, one of the core collections: The Shetland Wool Footstool Collection

Who would you like to think would buy your products?

I like to think my products are affordable luxury items and aimed at consumers who are confident enough in their style decisions to want furniture that is a little different from what’s out there in the mass market. I find my Rabbit Alaska collection is definitely a favourite for families. Children adore the faux fur as soon as they stroke it as it’s the softest and the most versatile as the fur has grey, brown, cream and black hues so will go with most décor.

NDA chat to Suburban Salon, Julia discusses her core product ranges, and her & her children's favourite is the Alaska Rabbit range.Whilst the longer haired Mongolian and Arctic Fox ranges tend to get more love from designers and people in the South East and the Arctic, being off White, is more for couples without kids for obvious reasons!

 NDA chat to Suburban Salon. Julia discusses the popularity of her Mongolian and Arctic Fox collections which is most popular with designers and people in the South East and the Arctic.

Out of your collections have you got a personal favourite?

Yes, the Rabbit Alaska as this has been my best seller and the one that gets the best reaction – and my children adore it!

What products can we expect to see from you in 2016? Are there any new collections you are working on?

Yes, exclusively revealed to your blog readers as these are not even on website yet!  I’m launching faux fur product extensions such as bean bags, floor cushions, a collection of star cushions in faux fur and faux leather just in time for Christmas, Black Sheepskin hairpin leg stools and I’m also looking to diversify into lamp shades as well. Here is a sneak peak NDA blog readers!

The NDA chat to Julia from Luxury Interior brand Suburban Salon. One of her new product designs: The Icelandic Sheepskin Stool with Copper Hairpin legs

The NDA chat to Julia from Luxury Interior brand Suburban Salon. One of her new exclusive product designs: star cushions in fur and leather

I am also launching a new luxe plains, faux fur collection in 12 new colours like the new Grey luxe faux fur stool with gold hair pin legs below or in a beautiful, Flame orange colourway.

The NDA chat to Julia from Luxury Interior brand Suburban Salon. One of her new exclusive product designs: The new Grey luxe faux fur stool with gold hair pin legs

The NDA chat to Julia from Luxury Interior brand Suburban Salon. One of her new exclusive product designs: star cushions in Flame orange fur

What advice would you give for incorporating your products into an interior?

NDA chat to Suburban Salon, Julia discusses how to incorporate her faux fur cushions and furniture into an interior.

All my stools are multi-purpose, use to relax your feet, extra seating or put books and magazines on. Although I’m not keen on anything too ‘matchy,’ my products do look great when coordinated with other furry accessories such as throws and cushions, but mix them up with other cushions in different sizes, colours and fabrics. Faux fur furniture and accessories are wonderful for adding quirky, textured fun to a scheme, but also look incredibly warm, elegant and inviting and are a key interior trend this Autumn/Winter.

Are you attending any interior shows/ exhibiting at any events in 2016?

Oh yes, I can’t wait! I will be attending Home, Top Drawer and Maison & Ojet and the Spring Fair at the NEC. I will also be exhibiting at one of the smaller events (tbc.) It’s a tricky one to balance as the business is expanding organically at the moment which I’m happy with, as I have complete control so I’m reluctant to exhibit at one of the large fairs and receive huge orders that I will struggle to fulfil. I’m going to have to make that jump soon though and it will probably be Autumn 2016 that I do.

Thank you to the lovely Julia for chatting with us, make sure to check out her wonderful products on her website here and make sure to follow her on social media to find out when her new ranges are available.

If you are interested in developing new qualifications or thinking about starting a career in either Professional Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings or in Professional Interior Design, we offer a range of flexible, part-time diploma courses that are designed to be studied around work, family and personal commitments. To see the full range of courses we offer please visit our course overview page or for further details contact us on: +44(0)1159 123 412 or email us at: .  

The power of lighting: NDA discuss the importance of lighting within an interior
The Power of Lighting

Light it up: Light, whether it be natural or artificial, as we know, has a profound effect upon the clarity, ambience and success of an interior scheme. We talk about the powerful effects of lighting and consider the different lighting sources available for today’s interiors.

The power of Lighting:

Natural light, for a time in the mid-20th century, was essentially seen as a hindrance to the success of architectural design and use. It was thought that artificial lighting (that supplied by electricity) was a far superior way to control an interior environment, however in the 1980’s, Sick Building Syndrome (or SBS) was acknowledged as a condition that affected many workplace employees, particularly those who worked in buildings constructed from the 1970’s to the early 1990’s.

SBS is caused by time spent in a certain building which often has a lack of natural light, opening windows and with little or no air conditioning. Symptoms could be such things as headaches and dizziness, fatigue and poor concentration. It is therefore imperative that we acknowledge how natural light has such a profound effect on not only the use of a building, but also the health and well-being of its occupants.

However, natural light, particularly in residential buildings will not be enough to sustain a successful interior. Whether this is artificial light to support a certain task, to highlight certain areas or to provide a much richer overall spread of light, it is the job of an interior designer to use light in its truest and most appropriate form.

The NDA discuss the power of natural light and the effect it can have within an interior. BHS (2014) Wood Jenen Pendent [Online Image]. Available from: http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/category/home-lighting-furniture-2565866/ceiling-lights-2809354 [Accessed 26/11/15].  Design Boom (2013) St. Moritz Church [Online Image].  Available from: http://www.designboom.com/architecture/john-pawson-sensitively-restores-st-moritz-church-in-germany-12-03-2013/ [Accessed 26/11/15].  Edison Light Globes (2015) Edison Collection [Online Image]. Available from: http://edisonlightglobes.com/Shop/tag/incandescent-light-bulb/ [Accessed 26/11/15].

Over the past few years, it is light (or more accurately, lamps) that have seen great change within both the residential and commercial sectors, purely from an aesthetic point of view. It is now not just about the light fitting (pendants, spot lights, sconces etc) that are considered when choosing appropriate fittings for our designs, but it is also the lamp that sits inside it that has become an important aspect of fulfilling our design intentions.

From the humble incandescent lamp, to the somewhat incongruous energy-saving lamp, we are starting to see real consideration for the look and style of new lamps. The forerunner of this new wave of design-led products is that of Plumen, “creators of the world’s first designer low energy” lamp (Plumen, 2015).

The power of natural lighting: Plumen are the creators of the world’s first designer low energy lamp. Inhabitat (2015) Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi [Online Image]. Available from: http://inhabitat.com/the-louvre-abu-dhabi-is-a-museum-that-is-its-own-work-of-art/ [Accessed 26/11/15].  Pinterest (2013) Buster and Punch cap [Online Image]. Available from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498492252475812713/ [Accessed 26/11/15].  Plumen (2015) Drop Cap Pendant Set – Copper [Online Image]. Available from: http://ukshop.plumen.com/products/copper-lighting-drop-cap-pendant-e27 [Accessed 26/11/15].  Plumen (2015) Drop Top Shade [Online Image]. Available from: http://plumen.com/2014/07/introducing-the-plumen-drop-top-lamp-shade/ [Accessed 26/11/15]. With the new, comes a return of the old.  The now ‘retro’ Edison lamps are being seen in many aspects of our design culture; from homes, to bars, restaurants and libraries, these lamps are a return to our industrial heritage yet still has a strong element of design-led aesthetic. The design collective ‘Scott, Rich & Victoria’ have created their own adaptation of a filament bulb to give a white, rather than a warm light (below, far right.)

The power of natural lighting:  Richard Meier (2014) Gagosian Gallery [Online Image].  Available from: http://www.richardmeier.com/?projects=gagosian-gallery-2 [Accessed 26/11/15]. Scott, Rich & Victoria (2015) Filament Lamp [Online Image]. Available from: http://www.scottrichandvictoria.com/ [Accessed 26/11/15].

The importance of effective utilisation of natural and artificial light is so important to the success of our interiors and now with the evolution of design-led products, it is now more important than ever to combine good light with good style.

References for images:

BHS (2014) Wood Jenen Pendent [Online Image]. Available from: http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/category/home-lighting-furniture-2565866/ceiling-lights-2809354 [Accessed 26/11/15].

Design Boom (2013) St. Moritz Church [Online Image].  Available from: http://www.designboom.com/architecture/john-pawson-sensitively-restores-st-moritz-church-in-germany-12-03-2013/ [Accessed 26/11/15].

Edison Light Globes (2015) Edison Collection [Online Image]. Available from: http://edisonlightglobes.com/Shop/tag/incandescent-light-bulb/ [Accessed 26/11/15].

Inhabitat (2015) Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi [Online Image]. Available from: http://inhabitat.com/the-louvre-abu-dhabi-is-a-museum-that-is-its-own-work-of-art/ [Accessed 26/11/15].

Pinterest (2013) Buster and Punch cap [Online Image]. Available from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498492252475812713/ [Accessed 26/11/15].

Plumen (2015) Drop Cap Pendant Set – Copper [Online Image]. Available from: http://ukshop.plumen.com/products/copper-lighting-drop-cap-pendant-e27 [Accessed 26/11/15].

Plumen (2015) Drop Top Shade [Online Image]. Available from: http://plumen.com/2014/07/introducing-the-plumen-drop-top-lamp-shade/ [Accessed 26/11/15].

Richard Meier (2014) Gagosian Gallery [Online Image].  Available from: http://www.richardmeier.com/?projects=gagosian-gallery-2 [Accessed 26/11/15].

Scott, Rich & Victoria (2015) Filament Lamp [Online Image]. Available from: http://www.scottrichandvictoria.com/ [Accessed 26/11/15].