Well it’s been a while since I posted about this one hasn’t it? A project I introduced back in June 2019; ya know, the one with those ceilings. It’s time for the final reveal of The Georgian Apartment. Whoop!
Before – May 2019
All the major works for this room were completed in time for Autumn 2019 with a list of smaller, fiddly jobs left to sort before it was #instaready. Then 2020 arrived… say no more.
Back in June 2019, it all kicked off with the wall coming down between the tiny kitchen and the main living/dining space. This really opened up the space, creating a greater sense of width whilst allowing light and views from the wrap around gardens to enter from two aspects.
As the works were already underway during my initial consultation, I had a week to come up with the design, specification and plan for first fix electrics and plumbing for the living space and kitchen. The new homeowner, let’s call him Mr B, was set to move in by the end of the month. No pressure then.
For reference, here’s my recommended process, which I refer to as “The 5 Stages”. It’s something I now include in my working agreements for all new projects so clients understand how the interior design process works, for me any way. All designers will have slightly different processes, but this be mine:
Stage 1 – Initial Consultation
Two hour meeting with the client at the property to ascertain the brief, expectations, timescales, budget and to discuss initial ideas. A site survey will also be carried out.
Stage 2 – Initial Design Concept
Colour scheme, layout and floor plan, room drawings, and skeleton shopping list. Presented in another meeting before moving onto Stage 3.
Stage 3 – Concept Development and Feasibility
Revisions to initial concept, samples requested, shopping list finalised, technical drawings produced where necessary and meetings with specialist trades and contractors to confirm feasibility and cost for works. Another meeting to sign off the completed amendments before moving to Stage 4.
Stage 4 – Implementation
Schedule of works planned. Site visits, liaising with trades, dealing with orders. Some clients choose to project manage themselves, in this case, we will perform the role of ‘project co-ordinator’ to ensure works are carried out as planned, in the correct order and to a high standard.
Stage 5 – Project Completion
Snagging, final installation, styling of the room(s), project signed-off and photography.
It’s fair to say, I had limited input with this project, completing Stage 1 and 2 but the timescales didn’t allow time for Stage 3 which made me nervous, especially with a kitchen. And Stage 4 was already underway during my initial consultation (Stage 1). Have I lost you yet? Basically, it’s not how i’d recommend working as missing out on chunks of the process means you are already implementing a scheme before it’s been fully formed. A bit like starting to bake a cake before you’ve bought your eggs and flour.
So, given the tight schedule and my reduced contact, I kept the overall design and colour palette simple; monochromatic with clean, definitive lines. This allowed the architectural features to truly shine. The statement ceiling being the real star. Nothing I could put in this room was going to top that, that and those huge sash windows.
I selected Paint and Paper Library’s Perse Grey for the ceiling, which is a dark grey with violet undertones, and Masque for the walls and woodwork, an off-white with pink undertones. Going monochrome can sometimes make a space feel cold and clinical with a lot of greys/off-whites appearing blue in natural light (which I didn’t want) but with these warm pinky undertones, it helps to make this minimal colour palette feel warm and cosy – as cosy as you can in a room with 3.6m high ceilings anyway!
The room was calling out for a feature pendant light over the dining table, but I didn’t want to disturb the original plasterwork on the ceiling. No siree. We’d also have needed to take some floorboards up in the flat above to access the ceiling below. Not an option. It was important for new ceiling light to be light weight as it would be getting fixed directly into the plasterboard – no heavyweight chandeliers allowed.
Working with what we had, I suggested we use one of the old wall lighting points to wire in our new ceiling light. This required over 25m of fabric cable to swag and hang from a five point lighting rose onto a three way hook on the ceiling directly over where the new dining table would be.
And I think it worked rather well. A pretty cost effective way of getting a feature light too.
All of the lighting components and bulbs were from Dowsing & Reynolds where you can configure your light exactly how you’d like it. This took some planning with some long ladders, lots of string, my trusty laser measure and tape measure.
Oh and because i’m sure someone will ask, the TV stand is from Amazon. I originally suggested the Samsung Serif, because Mr B didn’t need a media unit for all of the associated TV paraphernalia, and ya know, they’re bloody beautiful televisions. But in order to save money and use his existing TV we sourced a simple black tripod stand from Amazon for about £150. Looks pretty cool doesn’t it?
Onto the kitchen:
Mr B works in the trade and was set on using Howdens for his kitchen. So off I went to their website and put together a list of finishes for cabinets, door/drawers fronts, worktop, and flooring which was to run throughout, none of which i’d actually seen or touched. No time for samples either (Stage 3)…. did I mention this was all pretty stressful!?
Yes you did Karen, stop going on about it.
Because i’d kept the kitchen fronts, cabinets and worktop in the simple greyscale palette, it all worked out (phew!). Would I make changes? Sure. But let me give you some context here, I am HYPER critical of all of my work. Whenever I see the finished shots, my “critique glasses” go straight on with my beady eyes going straight to the bits I’d like to twiddle with.
What bits would you twiddle with Karen?
I’ve ummed and ahhed about whether to include my twiddley bit list or not, in fact I chatted to Mr B about it first. He didn’t mind me mentioning them on the blog, as on the whole he agrees with me. I feel it’s helpful to give you guys a heads up on some stuff you might not think about (or necessarily notice) but the kind of stuff I do. So this is not me being a moaning Minnie, i’m just sharing what my annoying detail focused eyes see:
- Upstand – I didn’t specify an upstand, but those worktop peeps sure do like ’em, because it means they don’t have to scribe the worktop as accurately into the wall. That 20mm depth upstand hides a multitude of scribing sins. I remember when we had our quartz worktop done, they suggested I have an upstand 8 times. I said no, 8 times. If you’re having a tiled (or A.N. other material) splashback, you don’t need an upstand. The tile can sit directly on top of the worktop. This just creates a cleaner line with one less horizontal line to jar your eye.
- Gone for a darker wood wall cabinets – if only Howdens had offered them… alas they didn’t. If the timescales allowed, i’d have probs suggested bespoke door and draw fronts as opposed to off the peg options. There are a few companies that offer fronts for Howdens carcasses now (Naked Doors, Husk… easy enough to find if you search online).
- Gone for a timber or Heritage frame patio door – not UPVC.
- Tiled around the corner boxing in – Mr B, do you have any tiles left? 😉
- Tile trim – used an anthracite grey (see how annoying I am!?)
The reality is it’s a cracking little kitchen and Mr B is really happy with it. So in that sense, my work here is done (and all that jazz). I just would have loved to have gotten my hands on samples first and been let loose on some site visits. Basically I am a control freak who wants things to be perfect. There I said it.
The lights above the peninsular are actually wall lights that we fixed to the underside of the new boxed in steel. I think they were from Wayfair… look reet, don’t they?
The small work station with counter stool provides a dedicated spot for a laptop.
(kind of) After
Now i’ll tell you a secret, there’s not actually any artwork hanging on this wall. I had to do some jiggery pokery to get this beauty in this photo. It’s Forms Study 01 by Formworks and measures a whopping 1m x 1.5m – just what this wall needs! Mr B is still looking for his perfect piece, possibly commissioning something just for this room, but currently saving up again after just finishing the bathroom – next blog post! And for those wondering where the door is… I was too! Looks like Mr B has taken it off, so you get a glimpse into the mustard hallway with front door painted the same colour as the living room ceiling.
So that’s your lot for today. I hope you like how we transformed this space. It does feel super cool in here now and Mr B is enjoying his newly designed flat very much, which is splendid and tremendous. I’ll share the bathroom with you next time – it’s bloody lovely!