With my new blog series ‘Interior Design Project’ I would like to give you a glimpse behind the scenes of my full service interior design projects. Even though I typically work with busy expats living in Switzerland, each project is different, because each client is different in terms of their needs and preferences. It is crucial for me to take the time to get to know my clients and their lifestyle and find out what makes their eyes light up. This way I can ensure to create a space for them that not only reflects their personality and tells their story, but also a space where they can truly feel at home. After all, luxury is not only about the outcome, but also about being able to lean back during the process and having someone else do the work.
In this blog post I will share some insights about one of my most recent projects, which was completed shortly before the lockdown. This was not only lucky, but also made my clients experience what I refer to as ‘Wellbeing through Design” in every sense of the word or as my client expressed it on their FB profile half-way into the lockdown “Quarantine Gratitude: redecorating just in time to spend months together in our new space that now truly sparks joy.” Essentially, interior design is about comfort and true comfort is after all what luxury is all about.
This project is a family home in an area called Bruderholz, which is a very sought after neighbourhood in Basel, Switzerland. It’s like living in the countryside, but within a stone’s throw of the city center. The house is an older property with a spacious living area and a big garden.
My clients, an expat family from the USA, had been living in the house for about 12 years. With their 4 kids almost all grown up, they were ready for change and looking to upgrade and redesign their living space for this new phase of their life.
Their previous style was very traditional and dominated by dark wood and rather bulky furniture, the family had brought with them when they had moved to Switzerland. My clients were looking to modernise their living space, but wanted to maintain a mix of traditional and contemporary, also referred to as transitional style. Functionality and use of space was also very important to them, because they love spending time together as a family, but also enjoy sharing a meal with family and friends. Basically, the space needed to be comfortable for a cosy evening in and at the same time an elegant and welcoming space to receive dinner guests. Early on in my conversations with the clients, I started to realise that they have an appreciation for exquisite materials and unique items, as well as a weakness for luxury interiors.
During the initial stages of the design process, which started with an Interior Design Coaching, I really wanted to get to know the family, their likes and dislikes, their hobbies and passions and also understand how they use the space.
One of the key elements was to create comfortable seating for as many people as possible in the living room and also in the dining room. I therefore selected a modular sofa, which can be arranged in nearly a dozen different ways according to the client’s needs. For the dining room I chose an extendable dining table that seats up to 12 people comfortably.
In order to marry the traditional with the contemporary, I developed a design concept for the living room that was based on contemporary shapes, combined with traditional materials and a traditional colour scheme often seen in historic homes – navy blue, ruby red and gold. Elements of dark woods and brass combined with velvets, linens and embroidered fabrics and a customised area rug with a striking design create a sense of luxury.
Globes and antique maps as well as some old family portraits added a personal touch telling the family’s story of living all over the world. Small and meaningful details really help personalise a space and make it unique. Personally, I love sourcing unique items from around the globe and sometimes even from my client’s cellar or attic to truly bring my concepts to life.
In the dining room, on the other hand, I chose traditional shapes combined with a contemporary colour scheme. The French chic dining table and custom designed sideboard were combined with very elegant dining chairs covered in bespoke navy blue velvet. The exquisite mirror reflecting the beautiful chandelier adds a touch of luxury.
Designing the sideboard with a local carpenter, selecting the wood, locks and keys for the same, having bespoke curtain rails made by a London based blacksmith and working with a South African based design atelier for the bead lamp, truly made this project unique.
When it comes to luxury interior design nothing is left to chance. It’s all about the details. Using bespoke and customised furniture, as well as curating fabrics that perfectly match the colour scheme may be more costly, but really makes a difference. Personally, I always carefully select all fabrics for my projects, including upholstery fabrics, curtain fabrics and even the cushion fabrics. This way I can ensure all elements are perfectly colour matched and also add some unique colours and patterns to the space. Luxury is about style, quality and comfort, but it’s also about getting it right the first time around.
Although I love every aspect of the design process, the completion stage and the final reveal to the clients, is probably my favourite. In some cases, there is a big reveal day, but in many it is a gradual process. Whilst it is of course very exciting to see my design concept and visions for the space come to life, the most exciting part is to see my client’s reaction and the way their eyes light up when they see the change. This is why I truly believe that (interior) design does change lives.
Receiving great feedback and in this case even a video testimonial from my clients is of course the icing on the cake. Even though I also feel some nostalgia when completing a project (after all, I spend several months up to a year with my clients), I also feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I have helped improve my clients’ quality of life or as this client put it ‘brought joy into their home and daily living.” As mentioned earlier on, that is what luxury is truly about: Comfort and joy!
“When we made the decision to hire Simone, we were thinking that it will be great to have new furniture. But in reality, we are now in a place, where when we sit in these rooms in our home, every single item that we’re surrounded with sparks joy and we are very grateful for the way Simone brought that joy into our home and our daily living. If you are thinking of hiring Simone, my recommendation would be to ask yourself if you want more joy in your life.”
I hope you enjoyed learning more about the design process and a taste of how to get from point A to point B when designing a room. Of course I would be thrilled to take that work off your hands. Let me do what I do best, so that you can have the time to do what you do best and love most.
Changing lives, one room at a time!
P.S. Are you ready to change yours? Book your complimentary Interior Design assessment call now!
Photography: Barbara Cilliers
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 and learn more about her story and connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube.
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