Monday, July 25, 2016


Today morning I got a call from a lady who needed a quotation for renovation works for her space ( with the understanding that she'd do the renovation work herself; see she just needed a quotation for bench marking purposes ). She's just acquired an Old English home which had aged considerably.

We began talking on what the quote would entail and then she opted to let me not only quote but do the actual work as well. This because she realised renovation - as all things interior decor - goes beyond money, it's also about practical aesthetics.

Put yourself in her shoes and allow me to advise you on how to renovate that old house...
I've included some of my work from past projects here to illustrate my points further....enjoy !

Space is an interior designer's best friend - not only does it ward of feelings of claustrophobia, it creates that essence of 'freedom' we all are searching for in one form or another.

By 'creating space' I'm not talking about knocking down Here are quick ways of doing it:
- Get rid of big, bulk furniture and replace it with more functional pieces
- Re-arrange cabinets or movable pieces
- Install mirrors on the walls...get creative....the mirrors can be cut in strips or cool shapes
- Re-claim unused space and make them into storage areas to manage clutter

Lighting done well will bring your space to life!
- Buy stand-alone or bedside or table lamps
- Replace current light with antique pieces
- Use warm, strategically placed bulbs  

Give your cabinets a new look with minimal changes.
- Change handles and knobs with cool antique pieces
- Repaint darker furniture in warm, off-white hues so that they don't swallow the space 

Quite easily the most overlooked house item, a lot of people struggle with how to make windows unique and inspiring.

I'll let you in on a secret : windows need to be dressed! This is especially so if you don't have that scenic mountain or ocean view to wake up to. So be bold and try out :
- geometric curtain panels
- patterned or gauzy white sheers,
- a minimalist look with bamboo shades
There are numerous ways to go about this. TIP : Ensure there's harmony between the window treatment and the surrounding space colour.

Another overlooked space can be those outdoor areas like balconies, front porches or backyard spots. You can create a relaxing spot with some creativity on your part.
- name the space and research on  ideas from the net
- add a couple comfortable outdoor chairs and throw cushions
- how about a small fire pit?
- some dangling string lights ?
- a sign board 
- some tuft grass to simulate an evergreen garden 

You're basically looking to create a get-away spot around your home. 

While not all of us have been blessed with green hands, it shouldn't be too hard to invest in a a couple raised garden beds, miniature trees, sculptures, potted plants and some flowering shrubs.
- research, do some leg work and visit your local greenhouse
- understand the plants, environmental needs, pest control and soil preparation
- engage a landscape architect if need be
- have an idea/ design of the final outcome before starting off the work

Wallpaper has come a long way - there's 3D wallpaper and themed wallpaper, poster art wallpaper and luxury wallpaper, texturised and velvet mimic wallpaper. From the tacky to the utterly fabulous, the rang is mind boggling....and it doesn't have to be expensive either.
- theme your space before choosing wallpaper
- reasearch on the broad range available - make Google your friend
- be clear on the type you want : floral, patterned or base
- get wallpaper that's easily installed and removed

Begin a bathroom overhaul with a thorough cleaning.  Once clean:
- look to change the outdated knobs
- fix new light fixtures
- upgrade cabinets
- repair leaking or broken 
- replace mirrors
- replace shower curtains

By simply changing out one or two of the most outdated items, you can make your bathroom look modern and new. A coat of paint ( anti - bacterial to prevent moulding from the shower steam ) can really go far in a bathroom, as well.

A man cave is a great addition to a space. Psychologically it helps the man of the house 'escape' ( whatever that means! ) and functionally helps manage those gender boundaries as far as space is concerned. While some of us girls don’t get it, men really like to have a man-cave to escape in, a room to call their own, a room to drink with the guys and watch the game in peace.
- Firstly - find that abandoned, practical space in your home that you can use
- decorate it : add a TV/ a pool table/ a fridge/ a bar/ comfortable chairs/ rugs / pillows / music

Your bachelor pad in a family home !

Overwhelmed ? Frustrated ?  Perhaps a small step will get you inspired.
- Start by simply cleaning-up your main living space
- Colour scheme your space and then paint it

A deep clean and a new coat of paint can go a long way when it comes to revamping space without breaking the bank.

Till next time !

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


The day is here ! 

You've finally decided to work on your space and found the perfect interior designer to  help out with the design ideas. 

At this point he or she is bound to ask you some of these questions:

What is the purpose of the space?
How you answer this will give your designer an idea of what exactly he/she is working with and how to go about designing the space. Is the space multi functional/ an entry way/entertainment room etc. ?

What do you really love and/or hate that is currently in the space? 
By picking out what you love and hate the designer gets a better understanding of your taste and knows what pieces to keep, allowing them to work around these items during the design process.

What colors do you love and hate? 
If the designer knows what colours you love, it allows them to work out a color scheme that will favor you and that will resonate favourably with your personality. It also gives them a great idea of what colors to completely avoid !

A dining area done by my team recently. Such colour combinations need the client and the interior designer to work together 

What inspiration do you draw from to inform your design idea? 
Most times a client has a rough idea of what they would like their space to look like.This idea is often inspired by an array of stuff such as a picture that holds sentimental value, a favourite colour or fabric, even a piece of antique furniture.

Knowing the source of inspiration of your design theme gives the designer a more informed approach towards developing ideas and schemes that work appropriately for your space.

What particular design look or style do you like most? 
You may be stumped when asked this question as you may not necessarily know the exact name of interior design styles or themes. In that case you'd have to use pictures of spaces that you admire to help the designer understand the type of space you ultimately want.

Combining different design looks can be tricky and would require the professional input of a qualified interior designer no less.

An office project I completed earlier this year based on an 'Old Country Home' concept

Are there any special needs that should be considered for this design? 
I always remind my clients that interior design is a marriage of aesthetics and functionality. The functionality bit covers that aspect of usefulness and safety of the design set and pieces.

It's worth considering if the client has allergies, a physical disability or is of advanced age when designing a space, for example. 

What is your budget? 
The BIG question. Many of my clients are initially reluctant to give me an answer to this question since they think interior design or decor must be an expensive venture - a sad misconception.

From all questions, this is the MOST important one to ask - in my opinion. The budget will determine how much of what has been requested from all the previously asked questions can be accommodated in the actual design work. It also helps define what sacrifices can be made and what agreeable compromises can be worked into the design.

Better yet, you will now know how to phase your interior design project based on availability of funds.

There you have it - 7 questions any serious interior designer should ask you before embarking on changing your space. Keep them in mind and use them to help your interior designer help you!

Till next time,


Monday, April 4, 2016


Everyone wants to be their own boss one day, right ?

To run their own business and live life on their terms, visit exotic locations and profit from what they are passionate about. And there's nothing wrong with that, really.

How we go about it, how we bridge that chasm between a secure, employee based life to a radical, entrepreneur lifestyle is where the challenge is.

There are tonnes of ways to go about starting your own business, an interior design firm no less. The internet is full of them. I chanced upon this particular gem from which rings true about starting one's own business:
  • It's likely that 30% of all new businesses won't survive past 24 months and that number rises to 50 percent after five years. 
  • The success rate of mentored small businesses compared to those without a mentor is stunning: 70%  of mentored businesses survive more than five years, double the rate for non-mentored small businesses over that same period! 
 If you catch on fast you'll see where I'm going with this : start your business without a mentor at your own peril. Your chances of failure without a business mentor are unfortunately, quite high.
  1. A mentor will help you find weaknesses in your business model. As an entrepreneur, it's easy to become overly attached to a business plan or to have tunnel vision as to the best way to achieve your goals. A mentor can help you look past your original scope and see the weaknesses in your model. 
  2. It gives you the opportunity to expand your network. A mentor may not have all the answers, but he or she should be willing and able to connect you with other people who can help.  
  3. It will still be your business. Your mentor won't be "taking over" your business. A good mentor supports you and brings out the best in you without trying to make you build your company in 'their image'. 
I began a Business Mentorship program in October last year and I'm in the process of mentoring 40 aspiring interior designers. They are smart, driven and focused but best of all, they opted to be mentored.

Interested in starting off on the right note ? Drop me a line at and we'll see how best to offer the business mentorship opportunity that works for you.

Till next time,


Friday, April 1, 2016


Colour. We live it, breathe it, eat it, sleep it.

It is so woven into our life fabric we can't imagine life without it.

Most, if not all - of the people I mentor in interior design business always ask, ' When do we get to the colour bit ??' It's the core of interior design it seems - it's the most universally grasped concept of interior design across cultures. It has its place in religion, culinary arts, clothing, occasions and even emotions.

A colour can be the tipping determinant on whether you get that job interview, get stopped by the traffic policeman, get that business contract, attract a potential lover, increase traffic to your website, eat more or less, be calm or agitated, heal from a disease....yes, it's that powerful.


Fun colour facts....

  • Men and women see the color red very differently, this boils down to our DNA which is intrinsically unique between the sexes owing to varying number of X Chromosomes between the two
  • Silver-colored cars are least likely to be involved in an auto accident, since they are most visible on the road and in low light 
  • Pink is a palliative color, commonly used to splash the walls in prisons and mental health care facilities to assist in subduing those who are out-of-control 
  • Yellow and orange are not recommended for use in kitchens, as they are known appetite stimulators 
  • The reality is that colour does not exist at all - it’s all in our heads and the illusion of colour is something created by our brains to interpret light signals it receives from the outer world
We've included thousands of these tips and more in our FREE Mobile application Greencow available on Google playstore.

By tapping the 'Colour-tips' tab, you are taken to the screen above that gives you access to various fun and cool colour tips that can be practically used during your projects.

Have fun !



Interior design is not just an aesthetic and functional art - it also is hinged on environmental sustainability.

Great interior design can be made even greater where the environment is concerned. Green decor is not just a mantra anymore; in some countries it is actually a legal requirement. Done right it not only contributes to saving the environment, it can also save you money in the process.

Water, electricity, fuel, paper - just about most if not all materials used in the course of interior design are in short and dwindling supply. Believe it -it's true. The more aware we are of these shortages and how best to quantify and qualify their responsible use, the better off we will leave this planet for our children and their children.

Green decor is here....

  • Switch all (or at least a few) your light bulbs to energy saving light bulbs. About 20% of energy used at the home comes from lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) require 75 % less energy than incandescent light bulbs
  • Make a point of fixing all your leaky faucets today! Repair leaks as soon as they are discovered. A seemingly small leak can waste 70 - 100 gallons of water per day
  •  Isolate your fridge, for its own good. If your fridge is beside a vent, stove or dishwasher (which give off a lot of heat) it will have to work hard and use more energy to keep its cool. If possible, keep the fridge isolated and reap the financial rewards
  •  Buy biodegradable pots for your home and garden using materials like clay, bamboo, coconut, rice or wheat fiber, rather than plastic. This will go towards eliminating another step in the recycling process

We've included thousands of these tips and more in our FREE Mobile application Greencow available on Google playstore.

By tapping the 'Eco-tips' tab, you are taken to the screen above that gives you access to various eco friendly tips that can be practically used during your projects. Further, the tips come with interactive videos and links to key resource websites.

Help play your part in preserving this beautiful Earth - it's all we have.

My next blog will be on the Colour tips tab.

Till next time !



Before developing a quotation for your project and the associated costs for material always make sure your measurements are accurate. This can save you ( and your wallet ) a lot of heartache.
  • Conversions : square metres or square feet ? Use a uniform measure and be consistent
  • Treatment : when it comes to items such as painting consider wall treatments and the number of coats of paint to be used on the wall in question - not just the size of the wall
  • Factor in labour charges and relevant tax charges in your calculation
  • Tiles : whether floor or ceiling, consider the size of individual tiles, estimated best-fir for a space and how to accommodate those hard to get areas. Always use qualified work-men.
  • Supporting material : never look at an item in isolation e.g. for gypsum consider cost of filler, paint and aluminium frames
  • Ensure your math is right - always cross-check the working against an Excel spread sheet
  • Currency : consider going currency and possible future difference in exchange
  • Curtains : consider sheers, measurement lingo and % of gathers on material
These are just a few of the measurement pitfalls one faces and should be keen on when developing a quotation

A calculator app that eliminates your heartache....

So once again I opted to find a way of making life easier for you. My team and I developed a mobile application that does indeed cover an array of calculations so that your brain is less taxed as you develop your own quotation

I've automated this process and included it in my FREE Mobile application Greencow available on Google playstore.

The Calculator function found in the Greencow mobile app allows the use to determine measurements of various decor items

By tapping the 'Calculator' tab, you are taken to the screen above that gives you access to various calculator options for tiles, carpets, wallpapers and paint. Determine the amount of material you need for any size of room and don't depend 100% on your work-man's estimates!

Download the application and give the Calculator function a few tries.

My next blog will be on the Eco-tips tab.

Catch up with you soon !



One of the biggest challenges when setting out to design or decorate a client's space is : determining their taste, what moves them, what makes them who they are.

Get this wrong or come up with a design that's far removed from their persona then you stand a high chance of putting your interior design project in jeopardy.

How Personality and Design can work together....

When I started out as an Interior Designer I had a Personality Q&A which was really just a sheet of paper with multiple answer questions that I'd ask a potential client to fill up for me.

How they answered the random questions helped me understand their hobbies, likes, dislikes etc. and gave me some insight into their personality which in turn helped me understand the colours, shapes, and themes that best resonated with them. This in turn informed my customized interior design plan for them.

I've noticed this to be a sure winner before starting out on any interior design project. Understand your client - really do.

Good news is that you don't have to develop a Personality Q&A. I've automated this process and included it in my FREE Mobile application Greencow available on Google playstore.

Once you download the app, it has 4 other apps within it :

1. My Interior : a Personality app
2. Calculator : for your interior design measurements
3. Eco-Tips : A tonne of tips that can be incorporated into your interior design projects
4. Colour Facts : Fun tips that will come in handy as you colour scheme spaces

Progression flow from the welcome screen to the My Interior screen

Example of personality output from the Greencow application screen

By tapping the 'My Interior' tab, you are taken to the colour palette illustrated above that will attempt to determine your favourite destination, food, animal match and best of all : personality !

This can also be a useful tool for the interior designer who can't quite put a finger on their customer's personality.

We've also placed an Eatser egg in there. Beyond determining your personality we can also help you access thousands of interior design inspirations for kitchens, bathrooms, living and dining rooms and home office spaces based on that precise personality. Have a look at this screen-grab :

Try it today - it's free, fun and functional !

My next blog will be on the Calculator tab. Be sure to read up on that too to get the most of the Greencow app.