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Stories from the Studio

New Year, New Look?

New Year, New Look?

I find that taking down the Christmas decorations comes with mixed feelings.  It’s great to have a clear out and recycle all the packaging and bottles and store the decorations for next year.  Moving everything around, usually helps me to clear my head, as well as my house!  

After the decorations are down, the house can feel a bit bare. It’s my time for planning any decorating over the year and I often buy or make a new throw, lampshade or cushions to brighten things up a bit.

Linen Throw Bee Design - Helen RoundIt seems from chatting to friends and customers that I’m not alone, so I thought it would be lovely to catch up with Cathryn Bishop from Cornish Interiors to get her ideas on how to give our homes a new look.

Cathryn teaches part time on the Interior Design course at Plymouth College of Art and Design, alongside running her own interior design business, working with customers large and small.  She explains: “most people have a sense of how they want their home or business space to look, but not necessarily the time, experience or expertise to make it happen.”  She helps her customers to turn their vision into a reality and we thought it might be good to pick her brains on how small changes to our homes can signify new beginnings.

Cathryn Bishop from Cornish Interiors

Do you have a house style at Cornish Interiors?

We don’t, we love creating individual interior schemes for our clients. It’s very much a symbiotic process, every client has an idea of how they want their space to look, and it’s our job to eek that out of them and push them to perhaps be a little bolder with their choices than they might be if they were working alone. They can be brave, knowing we’ve got the expert knowledge to back up design decisions.

Cornish Interiors, Perring Properties & Jill Stein Interior

Picture courtesy of: Cornish Interiors, Jill Stein Interiors and Perring Properties

Is it all fluffing cushions?

Ha, definitely not!  I lecture part time on the BA (Hons) Interior Design & Styling degree at Plymouth College of Art and the course covers all the technical aspects of designing spaces, producing scale drawings, learning about project management, producing technical information for contractors - all the less glamorous bits they don’t show you on the TV! The students get to work on amazing projects, from designing a first class lounge for Airbus Airplanes, to the interior of a local skate park.

“It’s so refreshing to see what ideas the students come up with, the industry is lucky if they get a graduate from PCA!”

Favourite way to breathe new life into a room?

Cushions, I’m a big fan of changing up my cushions. The sofa is a big expensive item, as is your bed (or should be since you probably spend a lot of time on them) but cushions are an inexpensive way of giving the sofa or bed a facelift. Mix up your textures, natural linen next to a rich velvet or a wool, it’ll add depth. Layering different materials is as interesting as lots of colour in a room. We love Helen’s Hedgerow cushion in natural linen, the subtle print would look great mixed with plain or textured cushions in other fabrics.

Linen Cushion from the Hedgerow Design, Natural from Helen Round

Hedgerow Cushion Raspberry Red Helen Round

Hedgerow Design Cushion in Mustard from Helen Round

Do you follow trends?

We research them, we keep up with what’s new which we love, but our advice is always to stick to what you’re personally drawn to. Invest in the best you can afford, we’re not into throwaway fashionable items, but instead we’re all about choosing pieces you really love, that you look at again and again and get a buzz from. And that’s normally because you know someone has put a lot of soul into making a piece, it has a story, and the craftsmanship is great.

What do you wish you’d got in your stocking?

A full set of Helen’s Rame Head Bone China mugs - it’s a location I love and she’s captured it perfectly in this illustration, plus they’re a good size for a decent cuppa!  Also, I’m always eyeing up Lucy Turner’s work, she creates amazing furniture using a modern version of marquetry with bold Formica colours, very very cool!

Rame Head Mugs Helen Round

Top designer tip?

Play with scale in your interior, people often go for a smaller sofa/dining table/floor lamp than their room can take, thinking it’ll make the room seem bigger, but the opposite is true. Get bigger cushions for your sofas, bigger vases for flowers, bigger shades for your lamps, it will make much more of a statement. Have fewer items in your space but make those items really work for you.

Lampshade from Helen Round's Garden Design in duck egg blue

Thank you Cathryn for some really great ideas to get bold with a new look for a new year!  Cathryn can be found at her Cornish interiors web site or through social media.  Each year her students help us to style our shop at Christmas and Easter and it's great to be able to give them the opportunity to put what they learn from their studies into practice.

What changes are you going to make to your home this year?  I would love to hear and see any changes that you are making to mix it up a bit for a new look for this new year!  Please share photos on Instagram or Facebook, I'd love to hear from you.  

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