Friday, 27 April 2012

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that…*

Lighting can have a huge impact on the ambience of a space, both positive and negative – effective lighting can open up a space, make it a welcoming space (or not…), emphasise key features (both architectural and furniture/artwork) and, ultimately, bring an entire design to life. That said, many designs do not capitalise fully on the role that natural and artificial lighting can play as part of the overall design. Of course, there are many, many different ways that you can light up a space – in this blog I am going to focus on one of my favourites… One way to create a dramatic statement within your home is by using pendant lighting. These days there a huge number of pendant lights available, from what can be simply described as ‘the standard’ to the weird and wonderful – it’s those that fall into the latter category that can be used to make a design statement. And, just to be clear, I am not talking about attaching a pendant to the light fitting over the bed (i.e. in the centre of the room) – the fitting that builders typically wire a building to be able to support – this is about thinking cleverly and more creatively about how you can use pendant lighting within a space as part of an overall design. It’s worth bearing in mind that just because you have preexisting light fittings within a space, you don’t necessarily have to be constrained by them…

(Image from Marie Claire Maison)
(Image from

These images illustrate that you can break the deeply ingrained and accepted rules about lighting and achieve a fantastic and impactful outcome - whether it’s asymmetric ceiling pendants in the bedroom, feature lighting in the kitchen or multiple ceiling lights in the living room…

*Martin Luther King (used completely out of context in this blog… sorry.)

Monday, 16 April 2012

The new high tea – take it at 2pm instead of 4pm. Cake for lunch, basically….*

A Design for Life (my blogging adventure) is a year old this month and to celebrate I thought I would go for Low Tea at one of the many fabulous hotels around central London – it transpires that, according to the Sunday Times Style Magazine, the New High Tea is Low Tea and it is to be taken at ‘2pm instead of 4pm – cake for lunch basically’ – and apparently it’s super cool again… loving it! The image below might not accurately represent the somewhat rarefied experience of tea at the Dorchester or the Ritz, but it is a wonderfully glamorous illustration and the colours are amazing…

(Images from French by Design and Lushush via The Reluctant Fitness Princess)

On several occasions during the past year I have highlighted the importance of concept images when either selecting the colour scheme for a home or as the inspiration for the overarching style of the space. At the moment I am designing several houses and, to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t stress more the importance of having a clear understanding of the concept behind the design – the concept that is the basis for how you want the entire space to look and feel and to ensure that there is a flow between all the rooms. And, most importantly, so you and your clients have a clear understanding of and consensus around the design ambition you are trying to achieve.

It can sometimes be quite scary to play with colour schemes when designing a space, particularly when you are dealing with some of the bolder statement colours – but the above images prove that by rooting the design in a concept image you can actually demonstrate how the colours will work together (which will hopefully give you confidence to be braver when combining them…). Now, I’m not saying that every concept image works… practical design sensibilities still apply in all circumstances… but a concept image that you love and one that really works can be the basis for a very successful design… a design that may help to push the boundaries of your comfort zone as a designer.

*Sunday Times, Style

Friday, 6 April 2012

“I am the Resurrection…”* - well I’m not, but you get the idea…

It’s Easter and the start of new beginnings for all of us (unless of course you were ‘the big JC’). This time last year was the birth of my blog, ‘A Design for Life’, which is now one year old and still going from strength to strength (although in recent months I have decided to write shorter more punchy articles rather than the huge tomes that were a characteristic of the blog during its early days). I recall the nervous anticipation when I sat down to put pen to paper (or ‘fingers to keys’) for the first time – after quite some effort, redrafting, editing and polishing, the first blog was published/uploaded on the 11th April – and a year on, I still love doing it…. Not only does it force me to proactively keep abreast of what is going on in the industry, it also keeps my mind and brain switched on – these babies don’t write themselves – they involve quite a bit of research, particularly when searching for images to support the subject matter (this blog possibly excluded).

The past year has absolutely flown by and my blog has gone from very humble beginnings to being selected as a finalist in the Decorex Bloggers competition and then becoming the official blog for UK Interiors. Not only has it received recognition as a blog in its own right, it has also resulted in several large projects that have kept me busy during the course of the past year.

(Image from

I personally think Easter is a great time in the year to start something new, so why not set yourself a challenge for the year ahead and get cracking next week. You never know what it could lead to… I couldn’t have imagined the success of my blog when I came up with the idea… all part of my ongoing quest for global domination.

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter break…

* I am the Resurrection, The Stone Roses
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