Why I love being an interior designer

Why I love being an interior designer

interior design Cambridge Cambourne UK

Hello, darling!

Long time no speak.

I know, I know, I’ve only had myself to blame. Call it creative block, call it writer’s block. But it’s interesting that it seems to happen each winter, don’t you think? (Hint: Husband, let’s move somewhere warmer!)

The part I’m going to cover in this post is pretty lengthy, so do make sure you’re sitting comfortably, preferably with something nice to eat and drink..

In the past few months, I’ve really been working on gaining exposure. I’ve been featured in Cambridge Evening News’ paper twice (go me!) and I’ve had a couple of wonderful clients. 2016 really has started off with a bang, and I’ve been so incredibly blessed.

But, along the way, as often can happen, I’ve got side tracked.

As much as I’ve tried to focus on working with my ideal clients, and being true to myself and who I am, I’ve ended up being influenced by others. Going to networking events that haven’t been of any benefit to me, although I’m grateful that I’ve attended to test the waters – I’d rather live my life with “wow wasn’t that a nightmare!” than thoughts of “What if I’d pursued x y and z opportunity?”

In the last week, during the Easter holidays with TBT I’ve had (some!) time to think. (I say SOME, because, hello! Preschooler?) and I’ve realised more and more what my mission in life is.

To be an interior designer that changes lives.

Simple as that!

Does it make me sound cocky? Quite frankly, I don’t care.

My designs are never going to be the most ostentatious, most expensive, or most “out there” in terms of style. I’m not going to aim to become the William Morris of our time.

I’m going to work with you. Alongside you. And guide you. Show you how you can make changes to your home that will make it go from <sigh> to <silence>.

Don’t know what I mean by that?

Let me put it another way.

Our brains are forever busy, thinking, working, observing, absorbing. All our five senses are continuously stimulated every day.

Do you ever get home from work and find that you’re exhausted beyond all recognition, but your brain still won’t let you switch off? Maybe it’s the pile of junkmail on the staircase, or the stain on the carpet you still haven’t sorted out, or the wine glasses left on the coffee table from last night as you tried to silence your mind after a long stressful day at work.

Maybe it’s the volume of toys and complete carnage after a day with the kids.

Maybe it’s neither of these, or both at the same time.

Do you know something?

You’re worthy of silence.

You’re worthy of stillness.

You’re worthy of relaxation.

You’re worthy of feeling content.

How exactly does my home contribute to that

I hear you ask?

Darling, it’s simple.

When you’re not surrounded by overflowing toy boxes, you relax.
When you’re sitting on comfortable seating, you relax.
When you feel soft and comfortable fabrics, you relax.
When the walls have soothing colours, you relax.
When you’re surrounded by belongings that make your heart sing, you smile. And then relax.

That’s why I do what I do.

That’s why I’m an interior designer.

How clutter clearance works in interior design

How clutter clearance works in interior design

You may be thinking “I thought this was an interior design blog, not a clutter clearance one?

I know, I know. I’ve been getting increasingly heavy on the clutter clearance (no pun intended!) recently, as I have come to realise just how revolutionary it can be for you and me.

“But what’s the big deal? A bit of mess can’t cause any issues, surely?”

You may be surprised.

Think of it this way:

You walk into a friend’s living room with beautiful furniture, but you can’t see them for all the pizza boxes and beer cans lying on the floor. Would you really notice the beauty of the room then, or would you more likely be repulsed by the days-old pizza boxes and combined smell of stale beer and pepperoni?

Or, another example: you walk into the same living room, and, although you see a beautifully well-designed wall cupboard, it’s surrounded by a scratched old glass table that’s seen better days, a sofa that’s so worn you decline the kind offer of taking a seat, feigning some excuse about a long journey there so you’d prefer to stand. You know, just by looking at said sofa, that it’s going to hurt your back, and be impossible to get back out of.

What if your friend then confides in you that the pizza boxes and beer are from her teenage sons’ get-together they had two days ago, but your friend has HAD it with them being so messy, they’re in a stalemate about whose responsibility it is to clear it?
As for the uncomfortable sofa, what if your friend told you nobody ever wants to sit in the “damned thing” but she feels too guilty to get rid of it, as it was an item inherited from her in-laws?

Have you ever held on to items that no longer serve you, no longer are of use to you, or you don’t even find visually appealing anymore (it’s OK to express vanity!) for the sake of others, in fear of upsetting them?

2016 is going to be one hell of a powerful year, trust me on that. Mark my words. To some of us, that’s going to fill us with fear, which is what happened for me in January. I had to retreat into my sanctuary, and plan this all out in my mind before sharing it with you. I’m still finalising the finished product, but I want to share something with you.

I’d love to help you establish the connection between your interiors and clutter, and how it affects YOU as a person. Yes, you. The human being reading this.

“Oh yeah, and how exactly are you wanting to do that?” I hear you ask?

Simple:

I’m offering free consultations (yes, completely free!) on Skype for 15 mins where you can talk about anything to do with interior design and clutter.

“There’s got to be a catch…”

Well, you’ve got me there.

What I would love for you to do is click on the button below, which will take you to a survey. At the bottom, let me know your email address and I’ll ping you an email within 48 working hours with instructions on how to book the Skype consultations.

Oh, and the other catch is – you have to put up with me. For 15 whole minutes. Chatting with you. Being me, being authentic, letting you ask anything under the sun.

 

Sound good?

Count me in!

The story of our home

You never quite forget your first home on the property ladder.

Husband and I had decided we were going to get on that ladder. Oh yes. No ifs or buts, we were going to make it happen!

So, off we went.

We looked at properties in Cambridge city. WAAAAAY out of our price range. By an obscene amount in those days. Now, we couldn’t afford a postage stamp in that area. Whew.

We looked at properties in the surrounds, but for one reason or another, didn’t feel like it quite fitted.

We came to the Cambridge suburb for a day; had booked two viewings and knew there were houses still being built, so planned to view their options, too.

  • Home no.1 was nice enough, currently lived in by a family of four, upsizing but still planning to stay in the local area
  • Home no.2 was a repossession and I hated it the moment I stepped my foot in. Every house I’ve ever been in has a spirit, or personality, of some kind. This one had nothing. Dead as a dodo.
  • Home no.3 was the show home. Complete with a “wow!” kitchen, stunning 3 bedrooms, lovely bathroom facilities. I fell head over heels in love! As I walked around the space, I knew exactly where I’d put everything, what our lives would be like living there, and how much I’d love my garden that I was going to design.

We asked my parents to come and view the show home too, for a second opinion.

Only, Husband made the mistake of mentioning Home no.2 to them as well.

Repossession, you say?

Been on the market six months, you say?

Good area, you say?

Words like “great investment opportunity” were being thrown around in conversation.

I sat back and watched as Husband and my parents seemed to want to conspire against me.
They clearly hated me.
I mean, did they not see the “wow!” kitchen?!

Six weeks later, we moved.

Into Home no.2.

The one that was dead as a dodo.

As we repainted it, its pulse began beating.

Its personality came out.

It wasn’t dead, it had just been dormant for all this time, waiting for someone to come and take good care of it. Being empty for six months during the winter period will do that to a home.

Six years on, and we’re still here.

I don’t hate it, I never did.

Is it our forever-home? No. But it’s been a loving home so far, that’s supported me through CFS/ME, depression as well as my random cough last year (4 months of the damn thing on my chest) and a healthy pregnancy leading to TBT coming into the world. For the Husband, it’s supported him through six job changes, four in this year alone (2015 has been hellish for our corporate careers!).

 

The importance of authenticity in interiors

The importance of authenticity in interiors

As I’m typing this, my fingers hover over the keys.

I’m not sure whether I’m ready to share this with you, but I feel it’s time.

It’s time for you guys to know my story, and why authenticity matters so much to me in interiors.

Most of you will recognise me as this:

I don’t take myself too seriously nowadays.

If you saw me walking down the street, I’m not smartly dressed or made up; I’m just me. Casual.

But I’m also a Cancerian.

You know, hard on the outside, but soft and gooey in the middle.

Only, my middle is a lot more gooey than other peoples’.

From a young age, I suffered with feelings of inadequacy, lacking a sense of belonging, and I’m realising now that it was because I struggled to settle.

At the age of twelve, my family split up.

Not in the “normal” way, but by my dad getting an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the UK, my sister being one year away from completing the Swedish equivalent of High School, and my brother already having moved out as he’d joined the Army.

So, it meant my parents taking me and my younger brother with them on the move to the UK. Leaving our family home in the Stockholm suburbs for an entirely different life altogether.
The school was now a 45 minute bus ride away as opposed to 10 minutes.
Closest friends I made lived over an hour away.
I had absolutely no clue who the kids were locally. If there indeed were any.

But, the biggest issue was the home.

There was nothing particularly wrong with it, just that we didn’t belong there. It was only ever intended to be a home for us for the duration of the UK stay, anticipated to be 3-4 years.

Understandably, while my parents settled us and themselves in to the new lifestyle, the house remained unchanged.

Horrible, horrendous flowery border on the walls throughout the house.
Shower only in the en-suite and not in the family bathroom (trust me, Swedes are not as keen on bathing as the Brits!)
Carpets everywhere. Literally. Including the bathroom and kitchen.

While our Swedish home had been filled with joy and laughter from morning til night (family of 4 kids, plus my mum was a child minder so even more kids during the day!), this one felt strange and awkward.
Sounds bizarre perhaps, but I’m a firm believer that every home has a personality. That house was, and felt, very much of a hybrid. It was an expensive-looking house, but with incredibly cheap finishes (once we discovered that the pipes under the kitchen sink were sellotaped together. Yes, you read that right).

What it failed to do for me, was to give me the grounding I needed. Provide the support I desperately craved as I was learning the English way of life.
And, seeing as this was the days before the internet <dinosaur> it meant I had very limited ability to keep in touch with old friends. New friends, as I already mentioned, lived over an hour away.

When I eventually moved out of there, we’d lived in the same house over 15 years.
We never moved back to Sweden.

Insane, non?

By this time, the bathrooms had all been redone. Kitchen was gutted and refitted. Bedrooms swapped around a couple of times (well hel-lo, walk-in wardrobe!). Flooring relaid throughout the house, in each and every room.

The house ended up being way more supportive to my parents at that time than at the beginning of their stay.
Still, I hate to say it, but I never felt like it really was us.

My brother and sister would rarely come and stay; in part because they didn’t really have bedrooms that would’ve worked for them, but I’m wondering whether they, too, felt the same.

I’d love to say there was a happy ending to this story.

Sadly, the couple that bought the house when my parents emigrated in 2012 tried to make it fit them:

  • Moved the staircase so lost two bedrooms
  • Changed the kitchen from a country style to minimalist
  • Created an open-plan feel for the entire downstairs part of the house
  • Put on a large conservatory on the back

Well, what’s the sad part about that?

I hear you say.

They lived in the house for approximately 18 months, before selling it and moving to another house on the street.

The home that could have become a loving and supportive family home felt doomed from the start.

It seems like that house is always going to be one that is a go-between for people desperate to live in the area, and are willing to settle for the time being, until the right house comes along.

I hope that, one day, someone will see its potential and live there happily for many years.

Do you feel your home doesn't represent you?

Find out how I can help today

Somehow, the words aren’t coming to me right now.

I started off so well with the blog posts, and then they peetered off.

Yet, this morning I woke to this:

Hello Suzzy, 

I’ve been giving some creative thought to my room and spent some time in a local fabric shop last Friday and found some wonderful fabrics for window blinds in a coastal theme and my colour scheme.

Music to my ears.

Not only have I left my client feeling self-assured and helped her establish her own design style, but by doing so I’ve helped her unleash her own creativity.

That, darling reader, is what I’m all about.

Helping you establish your own design style.