I have recently found myself helping someone design the interior of their newly acquired flat in a north London 1930’s mansion block. My client had previously lived in Manhattan and had fallen for the clean simple lines of modern loft living. Back in London she had found herself a little lost trying to furnish a property in a contemporary style that might seem a little at odds with its history. She wanted to get a clear picture of ‘the end result’ in order to understand where to start with her decoration and furnishing.
The best starting point for any design is to be inspired by the things you love even if you can’t see how they could work for you. Collecting images of rooms or spaces that appeal to you (even if they bear no relation to your home) is a good first step to help you wade through the process. Take a good look at those pictures and try and work out exactly what it is about them that appeals to you. It might be the colour palette of the walls, an individual accessory or a piece of furniture but slowly you will start to ‘unveil your taste’. Alongside collecting images, take a long hard look at the property you are furnishing and what features and styles you are planning to keep. In the 1930’s flat, the obvious ‘keeper’ is the rich oak wood block flooring, but other features include picture rails and a unique arched glass fronted cupboard. A modern colour palette and simple contemporary furnishings can work brilliantly in a period property with just a ‘nod’ to its history in maybe a light fitting, a lamp, a rug or a picture that is evocative of the building’s era. Enjoy making the most of any quirky original features but don’t feel as if a period property has to become a museum.