‘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 share insights about 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 was the case with this particular project, where it was all about mixing styles.
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’.
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. 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.
For a family who truly embraces multiculturalism with extensively travels, they bounded themselves 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.
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, I offered a full day consultation to them to get us started. After thoroughly studying the questionnaire, the photographs 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 as well as some actual samples.
During the first half of the day, we established which pieces needed to move to the new home and which pieces were optional.
These were then documented, measured and photographed. We then headed to the new house and discussed the furniture distribution and 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.
The petrol and turquoise coloured vintage area rug defined the colour scheme for the living room.
The rug, however, also contains accents of mauve and purple, which I was happy to also find in the large Chinese artwork. This is how the colour scheme for this room was born, a beautiful combination of a cool (petrol) and a warm (mauve) 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.
The 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.
The recamiere was re-upholstered with a mauve velvet fabric, matched against the accents found in the rug and in the artwork.
To balance the colours, I then added the beige armchairs, previously in the client’s home office, to 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.
In the kitchen and dining room, it was also about mixing styles and even more so, about bringing old and new together.
The modern white kitchen with a large kitchen island and a large window with sliding doors towards the garden, presented a neutral background. Their two beautiful Chinese antiques, a sideboard and a bar cabinet, were places at each end of the dining area. The sideboard in particular is an eye-catcher. The wooden bar cabinet is painted in black and therefore somewhat more neutral. I decided for a sleek black and white dining table and black chairs to bring it all together. To balance off the sharp corners and edges, I sourced an oval-shaped dining table created customly by a designer in Belgium. The turquoise curtains add a bit of contrast and tie in with the living room.
In addition, I also helped the clients select paint colours for all the bedrooms and the home office.
For the office we chose my client’s happy colour – a beautiful shade of pink.
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 is getting lots of compliments for her ‘Zoom background’ these days.
This is what my clients said upon completion of their project:
“As an American family moving from China back 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 design is so much more than throwing a few beautiful things together, it’s about an experience, a lifestyle, in fact, it’s about improving your daily life.
If your home makes you feel safe and inspired, you can also be your best possible self.
This project shows that even with partial re-furnishing projects and especially when mixing 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 cases studies in interior design projects. If you have been thinking about (partially) re-designing your home, but don’t know where to start, then please get in touch and book a free discovery call.
Changing lives, one room at a time!
Photography: Lina Meisen (www.linameisen.com)
Posted by Simone Aïda Baur, a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate award winning international interior designer and award-winning blogger with a background in the luxury hospitality industry. Meet the designer, learn about her story and connect with Simone on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube.
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