Colour, Decorating, Final Reveal, Interiors, Make Over, Remote Design, Renovation, Wallpaper
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When remote design works… And why…

Munich Project After Farrow & Ball Downpipe

I wrote a post last year about the pros and cons of E-Design; what remote interior design actually was, how it works, who it’s right for, because it’s certainly not for everyone.

Today I wanted to show you some images from three remote projects i’ve worked on over the past year… and talk about why they turned out as well as they did.

The London Flat

Before

The is the newly acquired apartment of a young, recently married couple. A couple who couldn’t quite decide on how to put their stamp on their new home. Having differing tastes and a limited budget to completely re-do a living space, dining area and kitchen, this blank canvas left them feeling a little stuck. So we started with a two hour remote consultation, which is how all of my projects, either remote or physical begin.

Before

A two hour remote consultation works like this:

  1. First hour – I go through photos, floorplans, and Pinterest boards you’ve collated, and of course your brief. You have to gather and supply all of this info, as much as possible in order to give me a good grounding for the next hour.
  2. Second hour – A one-to-one consultation on Skype where we discuss everything i’ve seen so far, I get to meet you properly, albeit virtually, and I talk through my initial ideas and solutions.

Before

At the end of an initial consult, some people are happy to take it from there, but some need the whole thing sorting and continue to book design work by the day. It’s here where I come up with a design concept, floor-plan and shopping list and nudge people along their journey.

On this particular project, we started with the living space, which took me one full day to put together for them.

The Concept

It was now over to these guys to do the hard work and make it all happen. And by following the guidance in my emails, the to-scale floorplan, using the shopping list to source everything and this image above to keep focused on the end result, a few months later I was very kindly sent these photos when the living area was very nearly complete:

Making Spaces Remote Design After

During / Nearly After (ceiling light, curtains and a bit of faffing to go)

Making Spaces Remote Design After

I’m always so grateful when someone who’s never even met me, spoken to me for just one hour with some emails thrown in between, then goes ahead and trusts me enough to crack on with executing a design.

Making Spaces Remote Design After

Remote design is absolutely brilliant for those who don’t overthink (too much), trust the process and just go for it. This colour blocking technique is such an easy and cost effective way of zoning a large open plan space like this and these guys embraced it whole heartedly. So pleased they did.

Making Spaces Remote Interior Design After

Yes, that is the Samsung Frame TV. I’m very jealous indeed.

“Working with Karen was phenomenal. My hubby and I couldn’t agree on how to decorate our new place and so we brought in Karen to, essentially, mediate. She helped us figure out what we wanted in our living room and we both agree that hiring her was the best decision we’ve made together as a newly married couple. She was smart, very professional and came back with amazing furniture and design suggestions that fit our budget. Getting interior design advice from Karen made the whole process far less daunting, and now we love our living room. We recommend her to all our friends.” 

Midcentury style living

Relaxing in their nearly finished living space. And well deserved too!


 

The Arts & Crafts Family Home

Arts & Crafts Interior Design Before

Now this was a property I was meant to actually visit, over in the North West. But I couldn’t quite fit the trip in so we had to work remotely, which I was pretty gutted about as, I mean, just look at it! It’s an incredible building. Arts and Crafts is one of my favourite design movements…. so decorative, full of creativity and colour.

Arts & Crafts Interior Design Before

They’d already tackled a rather large project in their kitchen/dining space but this living room had lost its way with mis-fit furniture, a lack of focus and most importantly, function. It was my job to tackle the layout, give the room some purpose and decide what colour all of those walls needed to be. Not much then.

Two hours later:

Remote Interior Design Floor Plan

Based on the architects plans, I worked out the scale and got to work solving the layout. The space was HUGE and needed to accommodate a family TV area, kids play area and a space for the family piano. Only the walls left to decide upon. I knew it needed to be green, but I also knew it needed wallpaper, not paint.

So I made some suggestions, one of which was my “wild card”, Vine Verde wallpaper by Little Greene, a design with a definite nod to the godfather of the Arts and Crafts movement, William Morris. Turns out my clients loved that idea as much as I did, and despite wallpaper never being in the original plan, within a couple of weeks I was sent these pics:

Little Greene Vine Verde

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this. It was meant to be. The whole place just sings. And another massive tick for painting those radiators in peeps, white rads on dark walls are just f’ugly. Get your paint brush out!

during

The window arch still to be painted dark green here

Another HUGE tick for those who just take an idea and run with it. It’s bloody stunning isn’t it!? I was so pleased for them.

“The very talented Karen Knox helped – over skype – to design our very large living room and hall on a really (really) tight budget. She worked with my floor plan and photos to work up ideas for colour schemes and a room plan, and then we refined this during a skype conversation, with her sending me web links to furniture, rugs, wallpaper, a palette of colours for our home, everything I needed really. She took into account real life dilemmas all families have (what to do with all those coats and shoes) as well as more individual issues (how to store an orchestra of DH’s musical instruments). An email even popped into my in box a few hours later – she had taken the time to find an online store with reduced price wallpaper for me after the consultation – completely above and beyond what I had paid her to do. And the rooms are way, way better than anything I could have come up with, she gave us options in my comfort zone, then a wild card option we ended up loving and would never have thought of ourselves. Can’t recommend highly enough.”


 

The Munich Apartment

This project was my very first dabble at international interior design. Yep, this project between myself and a lovely German couple was all done via Skype and email. Let me show you some befores:

Munich Before

After moving into an apartment with furniture from their previous property, they couldn’t quite get it right.

Munich Before

They didn’t have a separate dining, living room and kitchen anymore, and their open-plan set up felt wrong.

After a two hour remote consultation and full day of research and design, a concept, shopping list and to-scale floorplan was emailed over to Munich.

After a couple more emails, including a little extra reassurance about the new wall colour, a few months later, I was very kindly sent these photos from my clients.

Munich Project After Farrow & Ball Downpipe

The Downpipe walls were key in creating a space that felt more them. With the kitchen’s mustard accents and the bold red accents from the dining table and chaise longue, that neutral, bland wall was killing this room. That and the layout.

Munich Project After

I think this room proves more than most that you don’t need to change a lot to make a HUGE difference. Some subtle furniture re-jigging and the right backdrop has transformed this whole room. It no longer feels like random bits of furniture squeezed into a space, it feels considered yet casual.

Munich Project After

There are still the curtains and a new red sofa to come, but all of the furniture in the photo above was theirs. After a lick of paint and a fresh layout, the whole room now makes sense.

Munich Project After

The Ligne Roset ‘Bloom’ light was one of the key pieces I suggested for this space. A dining table of that size and “stature” needed a pendant light to match. Both large and imposing, but with oodles of negative space to let the light pass through the open plan space. A perfect match.

Kitchen After

“We are so happy with the result and we felt so comfortable straight away. Thank you so much!”

Farrow & Ball Downpipe

“The colours were popping out, the pictures were more beautiful… Our room is on one hand warm and cosy, but also stylish/modern.”

That chair was there all this time, you just didn’t see it. And now you do. Nailing the backdrop and layout of your room is like having new furniture without buying any new furniture. You can’t get more cost-effective than that.


 

Huge thank you to my clients for letting me share their photos and stories with you on my blog. I hope these three casestudies have given you some inspiration for your own place. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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21 Comments

  1. Jill says

    These 3 rooms are all so different but all so much improved from the originals! The darker walls/ wallpaper work in all of them so well. I guess remote working doesn’t suit every client or room but I hope you’re going to be carrying on this sort of work for a year or so as I’m going to be running to you for help when we plan to do our living /dining room next year!

    • Karen Knox says

      Ha. Thanks Jill. And no, remote design isn’t right for everyone or every project, that’s for sure!

  2. Simon Mills says

    These rooms each look fantastic Karen, your & the clients must be delighted with how they’ve turned out!

    • Karen Knox says

      Ah cheers Simon. Appreciate that. I should have included your project as well shouldn’t I…
      I hope all is well with you and yours!

  3. Ursula in Cádiz says

    Applause! Applause! Thank you for sharing three such different spaces/solutions.
    As you say, the dark walls make the other elements stars: I hadn’t even noticed those yellow shelves in that kitchen, for instance, until the background changed. You are incredibly talented!

  4. These are SO amazing, Karen and just goes to show how bloody talented you are. All are so different with different challenges and yet each one shows how well they were able to interpret all of your guidance. The Munich apartment blows me away – so so good. That light fixture was pure genius xx

  5. What a fab service Karen! I love your mood boards and it’s so fun to see how much of a transformation is made from the before and after shots 🙂

  6. Elaine Mason says

    This is great. And surprising, because I’d have thought it would be impossible to give suggestions without having been in the space itself. But no! These are great – especially the Munich room, which looked so dull (sorry!) and now looks elegant.

    I have a question – one evening a few weeks ago, I followed a few links you’d posted up and ended up on a site with mural-type wallpaper. One was of a wild tree design over a bath, and there was another with a huge artichoke. Promise I didn’t invent this…of course, I can’t find the links now. What is this wallpaper company? Please?

  7. Love LOVE LOVE the arts & crafts transformation! That wallpaper is amazing. I’m looking for something like that to paper a bedroom in (we discovered that it had been papered in William Morris paper a few decades ago and sadly covered up / ruined) but it’s a big room and I’m not sure I can stretch to £88/roll. Can you recommend any other brands with a similar heritage feel which are more affordable?

    Love seeing before and afters and reading a bit about your process!

  8. Anonymous says

    Hi Karen – the downpipe wall colour choice in the Munich apartment is inspired, also the way you have zoned the first couple’s apartment with the dark green paint across only half the room is very clever. Quick one – what programme do you use to do your floor plans? Im trying to nail learning how to do floor plans and struggling on which programme to go for (assume I need one where the original floor plan from a client can be inputted and then furniture etc added on to it via the programme!) thank you, very inspiring. Leo (kinderdesign.co.uk)

    • Karen Knox says

      Hi Leo, I use Pages on my Mac for everything. I’ve still not mastered any software or programmes 🙁

  9. Love seeing the before and afters Karen, and you’ve worked marvels with those spaces. Love the way just small touches like the wall colour pulls the room together. You are so clever! x

  10. These are all such great transformations Karen. I’m always amazed at what you are able to achieve with your projects and that fact that you get such great results on remote projects is just testament to your amazing talents. Your clients are so lucky to have you helping them!

  11. Great work Karen, three different projects but all look brilliant. It can really work on the right project but more importantly with the right people at the other end of the skype call. Well done, these look great!

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