Well I have had a week of self discovery. I have been on a short interior design course at Juliettes Interiors a top end furniture retailer and design studio in London’s Kings Road.They asked all the participants to focus on a room that they wished to redesign. As my cousin was kindly putting me up for the week and my own house has been very thoroughly ‘done’ I planned to work on her living room. We were asked, in advance, to bring before photos and measurements – which I did of course – roughly, see below –Any professional interior designer probably needs to look away right now, unless they want to give themselves a really nasty headache. I hardly measured anything – just took a rough idea off an estate agents website of a house for sale on their street. I did not measure the width of the fireplace, the alcoves, the height of the skirting – no sirrrr – they have all been pencilled in afterwards if you look carefully!
I have now had my incredibly inexact ‘it’ll be fine’ attitude to life officially confirmed.
I am eager – I am not a ‘the dog ate my homework’ type – I ‘do’ things with great enthusiasm – the village panto scenery, making my nieces wedding cake, selling french clothes and launching the Interior Design Toolkit – all while working full time on a very demanding business. You name it – if I say I will do something – consider it done.
The only problem is that when I get started I realise that to do any of these things well, actually requires military precision and preparation. I then go through a sort of pain barrier, because, if I say I will do something – I do not ‘not do it’ and very public things like my nieces wedding cake for 120 guests and the village panto scenery, have to be done well. Of course I quickly realised that interior design for other people, even a close relative is also very public and unless you give it a lot of consideration and address every detail really carefully, is a complete waste of time and a bit embarrassing!So my envisioned week of swanning around London, lunching with friends and drinking in the latest interior trends, between coffees and cocktails, sort of happened: I packed a lot in but these activities were sandwiched between some serious moments of concentration and effort. We were shown how to do plans and elevations to scale, source fabric samples, draw up a report, specifications and costs and we all created a mood board.Juliettes studio is small: we were a group of four, the maximum would be five. This was perfect: we had the constant attention of a wonderful tutor, Tanya Hudson, a professional designer and extra input from Juliette herself, an experienced retailer and dynamic entrepreneur. Her appearances on TV shows such as Millionaires Mansions are legendary. Here she is, below, Stacey from The Design Sheppard and all of us are enrapt with her stories of launching the business and nurturing her growing practice.At the end of the course, you are able to buy fabrics furniture and wallpaper through Juliette’s at a generous discount, so if you are doing an ambitious project, this instantly offsets the cost of the course. Plus you are getting a week of guidance from a top interior design team with exceptional knowledge and years of experience, all in all making the experience very good value. I was privately treating the course as a sort of ‘interior design retreat’, my aim was to absorb and immerse myself, as much as possible, in colour, pattern, trends, fabrics and materials and I certainly did that. Below we are exploring the design centre, seeking inspiration for our mood boards.The group bonded instantly, we all had different objectives and very different approaches, but far from clashing we all loved swapping notes and sharing our experiences – it was like an interior design retreat. Juliettes can help students travelling from afar with accommodation. It really is a brilliant way to experience a week in London and absorb the art and culture that locals probably take for granted. We came away feeling very nurtured and inspired and totally equipped to tackle our projects.Did my cousin like her design? Next blog post I will be giving a review of her just published, first novel Reparation and she will be giving me frank feedback on my design. Watch this space!