On our Perthshire Half Built House, the building and design works had to get going at the same time though even thinking about things like colours, fabrics and finishes may seem premature when you’re trying to address a building site! All the decisions tie up together at the end, so must be thought through as a whole from the start. There was SO much to do.
At the start of each project I’m given some information about the homeowners’ design likes and dislikes in the form of links to interior images. There’s no lengthy consultations, no endless chats and deliberations over coffee, it really is a challenge for me to get a handle on the personalities of our contributors and come up with the perfect design solution for them and their home. I don’t want to simply copy and recreate the images sent, which are often quite eclectic anyway, but really find a way to create a totally unique and personalised look. The rooms we tackle are important ones which must be loved once the cameras stop rolling – kitchens and bathrooms are expensive installations and should reflect an individual or family’s design aspirations. For me it would be appalling to install the type of kitchen, for example, that I liked but that homeowners hated and wanted to rip out six months after we’d gone.
So I start with some images. Then I have a nosey around the house! In Perthshire it was clear that nature played a massive role in inspiring the created artwork and also other interior design touches around the home. Natural looking timber, purples and blues, slate were mixed with funky interior products…. I felt I could be a bit brave with my choices. Lots of things in the house were purple, the floors, stairs, towels, bedding, even the garden studio therefore I wanted to avoid adding even more of that regal hue and opted for blues, some calming and some invigorating. On the images there had been lots of stainless steels and greys – brilliant for creating a real chef’s kitchen, but a danger in an old Scottish cottage of creating a super-clinical and cold design which just wouldn’t have looked or felt right.
With the help of the lovely local Perth Kitchen Centre who helped us out amazingly on the cost of the kitchen (thank you guys), I decided on a design scheme for the kitchen of deep graphite grey gloss for the doors and a natural whitewashed / limed effect for the end panels and unit carcasses. The images given had been very contemporary and the owners wanted something easy to clean after years of dust and grime, however too many steely greys can be very masculine and industrial looking. I’d firmly decided on a super sleek stainless steel fabricated worktop (though had yet to bring project manager Nick round to my way of thinking about that decision…), but needed to soften the whole scheme. The inside of the front doors had been whitewashed and the owners said they loved the look of pale timber. I thought it would be fabulous to carry that natural feel through to the kitchen with the panelling. Paint colours in creams and mushroom shades added a softly organic feel to the walls.
I felt a few true blue surprises might give the family that funky twist to their new ground floor space and bright blues featured in artwork all around the cottage, with bluebells and small forget-me-not type flowers blooming in the garden. Not to mention those endless amazing blue skies which we were so lucky to have whilst we were up there working. Who says it always rains in Scotland?!