Monday, February 6, 2017

# TIP 26: BEFORE & AFTER, A HOME TO EXECUTIVE LOUNGE MAKE-OVER

HAPPY NEW YEAR DEAR SUBSCRIBER !

I've been away at various locations and with various designers working on projects and doing what I love best : interior design and decor that's positively changing lives in the process ! 

Allow me to share with you a make-over of a residential home done a month ago. It is possible to make that second home an informal office ala lounge - a comfy locale where you can not only run your day to day business but have a comfortable meeting with clients and friends alike. 

We rebuilt the entire kitchen, bathrooms, converted the balcony to a sunroom, rebuilt the floor, created an extra cloakroom in the laundry room, replaced all internal doors and furnished the entire 3 bedroomed apartment.

Here is an overview of the space and thereafter a step-by-step summary guide on what we specifically did to transform the space from drab to fab :

CONTEMPORARY MODERN was the theme we gunned for during this project

1) OUTDOOR PATIO - converting an idle balcony into a sunroom in paradise
The above pic is the before view of the outdoor patio. A lot of unrealised potential with the space. We put in light fixtures and then we worked on the flooring and topped it off with soft furnishing and elegant furniture. The green colour was chosen to bring the outdoors indoors.


View 1: Bare balcony space now is a functional hosting area
View 2: Lighting and secondary partition totally transformed the dead space

2) ENTERTAINMENT AREA - converting a bland plain white space to a zen of luxury
When we came across the plain white partition in the middle of a parqueted floor we had a million ideas for what to do with the space. We got rid of all the parquet and replaced it with wide floor boards to give an essence of depth and space. We than reworked the partition with gypsum to create grooves, accented them with patterned wall paper and then added niches for a wireless electronic entertainment system. Around this we grew our design - the furniture choices and colours, the lighting and the wall hangings, with the central focus being : space. 

Entertainment area with a revamped central column around which the whole design theme revolved

3) CABINETRY - making your storage space chic
We removed the entire storage area and put in our own factory designed and fitted units with appropriate cladding. 
Storage space that looks beautiful even when empty

4) DOORS - from plain Jane to classy Clara
All doors in the apartment were replaced with heavy mahogany doors. The space around the doors were enhanced with wallpaper and wallhangings and then adorned with overhanging chandeliers.

Replacement of all doors brought about a much needed change to the corridors


5) LAUNDRY AREA - spic and span
We created more storage space in the laundry area and replaced the tap and sink with modern alternatives. We then added an extra cloakroom for the walk in-walk out guests. A sliding door was incorporated to save on space. Isn't the mosaic we picked for this room just beautiful?

Laundry area with beautiful back earthen coloured splash tiles

6) BATHROOM SINKS - and how the right tile combination makes all the difference
For the bathroom sinks we removed all the old fixtures and set about replacing them with a more modern look - we put in floating cabinet sets and modern faucets and chrome accessories.


Previous sinks occupied more space but were less inspirational than our end product
7) CLOAKROOM & SHOWER CUBICLE - checkerboard to Pergo flooring
Traditional cloakrooms were boxed in and the colour choices did not make for reducing the claustrophobic nature of the space. We introduced soft lighting and nudes to give an airy feeling to the space and we also opted for a glass shower cubicle to replace the old bathtub design. Notice the gypsum ceiling with recessed lights for that modern touch complete with a 4 inch cornice?




8) KITCHEN UNIT - old school to new age
We completely redesigned the home kitchen and created more storage space as well as incorporated in-built kitchen appliances. An overhead hob, built in fridge and cooker as well as ceiling lights completed the modern look.



So there you have it, the quick overview of a before and after experience of one of our projects.

Would be good to hear from you so feel free to get in touch if you've an interest in having your space or the space of a friend go through the rejuvenating experience that only a comprehensive interior design and decor make-over can create !

Have a wonderful week ahead!
Daphine

Monday, July 25, 2016

# TIP 25: 10 SIMPLE RENOVATION IDEAS TO UPGRADE YOUR OLD HOUSE

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 !

'ADD' MORE SPACE
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 walls...no. 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

LIGHTS
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  

CABINETS
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 

WINDOWS
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.

OUTDOOR ROOM ?
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. 

LANDSCAPING 
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
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

BATHROOMS
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.

MAN CAVE
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 !

SCARED ? JUST CLEAN AND PAINT
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 !
Daphine





Wednesday, July 13, 2016

# TIP 24: IMPORTANT QUESTIONS YOUR INTERIOR DESIGNER SHOULD ASK YOU

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,

Daphine


Monday, April 4, 2016

# TIP 23: SO YOU WANT TO START AN INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS ?

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 inc.com 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 info@elleinteriordesigners.com and we'll see how best to offer the business mentorship opportunity that works for you.

Till next time,

Daphine

Friday, April 1, 2016

# TIP 22: COLOUR TIPS A CLICK AWAY

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.

Seriously.

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 !

Daphine

# TIP 21: ECO-FRIENDLY INTERIOR DESIGN

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 !

Daphine

# TIP 20: USING THE RIGHT MEASUREMENTS

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 !

Daphine