Interior Design Project: China meets Switzerland

Interior Design Case Studies

Different Interior Design Styles

‘Interior Design Project’ is a blog post series, where I give you a glimpse behind the scenes of some of my interior design projects and where I share some insights into the design process.

Inspiration for a new design scheme can come from many sources. In some cases it comes from existing pieces of furniture, for example treasured antiques and travel memorabilia. Such was the case with this particular project, where it was all about mixing styles.

travel memorabilia

Grouping small items together on a tray or in a basket like here, are a great way to display them.

Having lived in 7 countries and on 3 continents myself, I fully understand how certain pieces can carry beautiful memories of places, moments and people and therefore must be integrated into our home. Essentially, if surround yourself by things you love, will not only fill you with joy, as one of my clients recently said, but it will also tell your story and truly create a ‘Sense of Home’. As I always say, interior design is the secret ingredient of feeling at home anywhere in the world. At the same time, mixing styles is not always easy, because it can quickly become ‘messy’.

Different Interior Design Styles

Project Description

My clients, an American family of four, had purchased a home in a new development in Basel. A modern style townhouse spread across three floors featuring a modern white kitchen, whitewashed wooden flooring and modern finishes. Both the living room and the dining area, however, are on the smaller side and have a somewhat unusual shape. This presented a real challenge for my clients. Particularly, because they had brought some rather large and bulky pieces of furniture from back home as well as from China, where they were living for several years before moving to Basel.

These items included beloved pieces of furniture, treasured antiques from China and travel memorabilia from across the globe. They all needed to find a place in the new home.

From the onset, I knew that I had to find a way to bring it all together. My go-to method for mixing styles is finding common denominators first and then build on those.

Client Brief

For a family who truly embraces multiculturalism and who has travelled extensively, they were bound to love a mixture of styles. Their possessions clearly demonstrated that.

In anticipation of their move to their newly purchased home, they were looking for support with regards to furniture layout, colour selection for the walls and how to bring it all together.

They also needed some additional pieces to complement the existing ones, but felt unsure as to what style, materials and colours would be best suited. I have to admit that as an interior designer it is a lot easier to work from a blank canvas, rather than working with lots of existing pieces. However, I really liked and resonated with this family and felt up for the challenge.

eclectic living room

Design Solution & Design Concept

As always, our collaboration started with an in-depth interior design consultation. Given the fact that we had to spend time at their previous and their new home, we conducted a full day interior design consultation. After thoroughly studying the design questionnaire, the photographs of the rooms of the existing house and the new house, as well as the floor plans the clients had provided me with, I headed to the client’s ‘old’ home with a suitcase full of ideas along with some fabric samples and my favourite colour fan.

During the first half of the day, we established which pieces needed to move to the new home and which pieces were optional.

eclectic living room design

The shades of petrol and turquoise, mixed in with the mauve accents pull together the entire room.

These were then documented, measured and photographed. We then headed to the new house and discussed the furniture distribution and furniture layout based on the family’s needs and using as much of the existing furniture as possible. At the end of the consultation the clients had a clear plan of action in terms of what they needed to move and which room to move it to.

They then hired me to source the missing pieces, such as the sofa, coffee table, side table, dining table, chairs and lighting, as well as soft furnishing and curtains.

Living Room Design

The existing vintage area rug featuring mostly petrol and turquoise, defined the colour scheme for the living room.

styling bookshelves with travel memorabilia

The petrol wall colour creates a beautiful backdrop for the wooden bookshelf, which in turn is a great place to display memorabilia.

The area rug, however, also contains accents of mauve and purple, which I was thrilled to also find in a large painting my clients had brought back from China.

This is how the colour scheme for this room was born, a beautiful combination of a cool and a warm colour. We painted an accent wall in a deep petrol that not only matches the rug, but also creates a nice background for the wooden bookshelves the clients already had. I selected a modern sleek sofa in a light turquoise to complement the lighter sections of the rug and to brighten up the space.

turquoise sofa

The turquoise almost ice blue sofa not only ties in with the vintage rug, but also helps offset the original Chinese artwork.

My clients had a recamiere, which they loved for its comfort and it also had some sentimental value. However, it was looking very tired and somewhat bland. I suggested re-upholstering it with a beautiful mauve velvet to match the accents in the rug and the artwork. The legs were painted in black to match the legs of the sofa and the other black elements in the room. As you can see the pieces was completely transformed and given a second life.

We had the recamiere re-upholstered with a mauve velvet fabric, colour matched against the accents found in the rug and in the artwork. The legs were painted black to match the Chinese desk. 

recamiere before re-upholstery

This was the recamiere BEFORE it was re-upholstered. It was looking rather tired and a bit bland.

To balance the colours, I then put the beige armchairs, previously in the client’s home office, into the living room and added taupe linen curtains with a mauve velvet border. Further, I selected sleek black powder-coated metal coffee tables and a side table and lamp combo to blend in and to match the black antique Chinese desk.

re-upholstered recamiere

It never ceases to amaze me how re-upholstering a piece of furniture can truly transform it.

Dining Room Design

The modern white kitchen with a large kitchen island and a large window front with sliding doors towards the garden, presented a neutral background.

In the open plan kitchen and dining room, it was also about mixing styles and even more so, about bringing old and new together.

dining room

In the dining room it really is about mixing old with new and where East meets West.

The two beautiful Chinese antiques, a sideboard and a bar cabinet, were placed at each end of the dining area. The sideboard in particular is quite an eye-catcher. The wooden bar cabinet is painted in black and therefore somewhat more neutral. I decided for a sleek minimalist black and white dining table and black leather chairs to bring it all together. To balance off the many corners and edges of the unusual shaped space, I sourced an oval-shaped dining table, which was custom made by a furniture designer in Belgium. The turquoise curtains add a bit of contrast and tie in with the living room.

In addition to helping my clients design and furnish their ground floor living spaces, I also helped them select paint colours for all the bedrooms and the home office.

For the wife’s home office we chose her happy colour – a beautiful shade of pink.

inspiring home office design

With the inspiring wall colour and the framed Karate belt, a symbol of strength, my client is set up for success when working from home.

This colour not only uplifts and motivates her, when she is working, but also creates an inspiring background for video conferences. In fact, I was very happy to hear that my client gets lots of compliments for her ‘Zoom background‘.

Client Feedback

This is what my clients said upon completion of their project:

“As an American family moving from China to Basel, our home, our furnishing and our design ideas were a big mixture of multiple cultures and continents. We liked many styles and we owned many styles and we needed to find a way to make them work together. Enter Simone from Global Inspirations Design.

Her Interior Design consultation was well worth the time and money and was hugely valuable in helping us sort out the set up for our newly purchased home.

She explored who we were and how we used our home and then offered advice on how best to layout our home to make the best use of it. She helped us to consider ideas we never would have come up with on our own. We are so grateful to have had that guidance before moving all of our belongings into the wrong location! Simone then provided us with personal shopping for the home and design consultations to help us set up and design of our unusually shaped living room and kitchen.

These spaces went from being our biggest headache to being our favorite places!

Thank you Simone for your talented eye for style and for sharing your wealth of local and international resources to source all of our various needs from furniture to curtains. Our home is far more functional and beautiful because of your help.”

Interior Designer Simone Aïda Baur

Interior Design is my passion, creating a sense of home my superpower and happy clients my reward.

Interior design is so much more than throwing a few beautiful things together, it’s about creating an experience, a lifestyle, in fact, it’s about improving your daily life.

When your home makes you feel safe and inspired, you can also be your best possible self.

This project shows that with partial re-furnishing projects and especially when mixing different styles, it is crucial to take a step back and look at each and every piece carefully, before adding the missing pieces.

I hope you enjoyed reading about this project. To learn more about the design process, I invite you to read other Interior Design Case Studies. If you’d like to (partially) re-design your home, but don’t know where to start, then please get in touch and book a complimentary Discovery Call.

Changing lives, one room at a time!

Simone xx


Photography: Lina Meisen


About the Author

Interior Designer and Blogger

Welcome to Global Inspirations Design’s Blog!

I’m Simone Aïda Baur and I invite you to embark on a design journey with me. My blog is your passport to global inspirations and where I share my passion and discoveries from the world of interior design.

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