colour and shape your space

Problem.  Your interior needs attention.  It might be a tired room that hasn't seen a paint brush or an unstained carpet for a few years (or decades!), a brand spanking new extension that needs to be the ultimate multifunctional space to deal with all that clutter, or maybe your home is only half right, you love some of the existing elements, but others - the curtains, the kitchen cabinets, those ugly bathroom tiles, just don't work with everything else and you want to tie it all together.  But you're short on time or ideas, or both, or just overwhelmed by all the choice out there, you can't decide on anything and need a fresh pair of eyes, an objective view.  So could hiring an interior designer be the solution?  There are often many misconceptions about what an interior designer does and what they cost.  Aren't they just for the select few with huge budgets, lavish lifestyles and gorgeous period mansions?  What do they actually do, pick an overpriced wallpaper, plump a few cushions and charge a fortune?

colour + shape | Interior Design Studio | Cambridge
colour + shape | Interior Design Studio | Cambridge - Bungalow Brights

Well, no.  We all want to live in a great space and have nice surroundings.  It's not about being materialistic or a lover of 'things', though I'm sure many of us would hold our hands up to that!  Your home is likely to be not only your most significant investment, but is the place that means the most, the one you're inextricably linked to, that bears witness to your daily routine, where you raise or spend time with your family, and share many of life's most important moments.  These days though, work and family commitments often don't leave us with much spare time, and we don't all have the inclination to spend days planning a new interior, so hiring in some help can be a practical and affordable answer, not an extravagance.  Would you attempt all your own plumbing or electrics in the hope that the result would be ok, something that could be better, but that you could live with?

Like any trade or design discipline, interior design is a skill, the use of certain tools based on knowledge, principles and process to realise the full potential of a space.  Despite what the name may suggest, colour + shape was not born of a desire to simply stuff a room with bold hues and splash vivid tones on every wall (that only happens sometimes!), but really derives from my ethos and approach to design, the way I think about the structure of a space and the application (or not) of colour, shape, texture, pattern, light, contrast, symmetry, repetition.  These are all highly personal things, colour particularly can be extremely evocative and have strong associations.  Whilst there are established principles in design, there's no definite right or wrong, good or bad, the elements that make up a space are all relative not only to each other, but to the function, ergonomics, layout, style and historic context of an interior.  Rules can be adhered to or subverted, but a good interior designer should show their awareness of them as considerations, analysis of the space and your requirements, and a clear rationale demonstrating how and why their proposals meet your brief.  What hiring an interior designer should not be is simply buying someone else's good 'taste' or 'eye', unless that's what you specifically want.  Of course you want a designer whose work excites you, but not one that takes a formulaic, set style and plonks it in your home.  The design for your space should come from you, and it's my job to tease out what you want; from your home, your possessions, your life, and establish a design concept that speaks to, and about, you.  Design is a process with definite stages, and the line running from this concept through to the end result should be clear.

colour + shape | Interior Design Studio | Cambridge
colour + shape | Interior Design Studio | Cambridge

Beyond the design phase, an interior designer's role involves a mass of planning, communication and organisation to bring that design to life.  You might feel confident to undertake this yourself, which is great, but in implementing the final design, having that helping hand can be incredibly valuable.  Someone who can sort out those tricky trades, pick up on and deal with mistakes, send back the bed that arrived with a broken leg; because a week sleeping on a mattress on the floor isn't much fun, especially when the bathroom is being damp-proofed, your wardrobe is in the middle of the hallway and you have to go to work!  colour + shape is about always going the extra mile to achieve the best results for my clients, in terms of the end result, and how much it costs.  My clients can benefit from trade discounts, helping to offset design fees and making the service a more cost effective solution.  Ah, fees, that little mentioned detail.  Frankly, I hate the idea of people being too intimidated to contact an interior designer because they assume it isn't for them and will involve excessive costs.  colour + shape works with clients on budgets both large and more modest, and offers realistic pricing, with fixed fee elements and hourly rates.  I'm a firm believer in good design for everyone, everywhere, and am committed to being as approachable and affordable as possible.  I want you to know exactly what you're getting, and love the challenge of making good design accessible, whilst creating unique and inspiring spaces.

interior design services

colour + shape offers comprehensive interior design and styling services, with the option of project co-ordination to help turn the final design into a reality.  The design phase of the project can be completed for a fixed fee as can the detailing, supply schedules and specifications.  You may be happy to take it from there, but if you're less of a doer, you can opt for help with purchasing, trades and installation, and this work is charged at an hourly rate, so you know exactly the time commitment you're getting.  So what's involved in the design process?  Let's get down to the nitty gritty...

colour + shape | Interior Design Studio | Cambridge

BRIEF ENCOUNTER

When a client first gets in touch about a project, it's always useful to have as much information as possible to determine the work needed to achieve those interior goals.  Photos and plans are great if you have them, along with an outline of your aims and requirements for the space and how it needs to function.  A list of elements to be included; space planning, colour schemes, finishes, furnishings, window treatments and lighting is also really helpful if you've thought that far.  Once we've talked through this initial brief I'll put together a proposal for your project, including a summary of what we've discussed, a 'scope of works' detailing the specific tasks I'll undertake, and a schedule, outlining fees and when they're payable.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Once you're happy with the proposal for your project, the journey really begins, and it starts with you.  Creating the best space for you and your lifestyle involves understanding what makes you tick and exploring the things you love and are drawn to, so I can translate these into the perfect interior.  At our first meeting I'll get to know you and your space, completing a full survey, and more detailed brief.  We'll cover everything that inspires you, from preferred styles and colours, favourite objects and holiday destinations, to the practical, fine detail of how the space needs to function for you, as well as your budget and timeframe.

The design concept conveys the intended look and feel of the space

The design concept conveys the intended look and feel of the space

Ideas for key elements and finishes develop from the design concept

Ideas for key elements and finishes develop from the design concept

WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA?

From here, my creative research begins, considering all aspects, and drawing inspiration from your likes to your location, classic design to current trends, to arrive at a design concept.  Designing a space is like getting from A to B, design concept to final presentation, and to do this we need to know exactly what A is.  All projects are different, some clients have a definite aesthetic in mind, whilst others are lost in a maze of possibilities.  It's my job to find a way in, and generate and give shape to ideas.  A tailored range of images will portray the potential look and feel for your interior and from this we'll establish a clear stylistic direction for your project. 

colour + shape | Interior Design Studio | Cambridge

BETTER BY DESIGN

With a clear focus, I get down to business and the design work begins.  From furniture layouts to lighting, finishes and fabrics, a detailed scheme is developed and presented to you, including plans and elevations, 3D visuals, a furniture book and sample boards, allowing you to see exactly how your space will come to life.  It's always my aim to produce the most creative response to your brief, and it's not a rigid process, I'll continually seek to introduce fresh ideas and there's always room for a change of mind along the way as your thoughts develop, to ensure you love the finished design.  colour + shape's ethos is one of exacting standards, it's not about high or low end, it's about good design, and striving to find innovative materials and unique interior products from Britain's best designers, and where possible, sourcing from suppliers local to you, whilst always mindful of your brief and budget.  Exciting design does not have to mean expensive and it's what you do with the finishes and furniture, not what they cost, that counts.

3D CAD visuals allow you to see how your interior will come to life

3D CAD visuals allow you to see how your interior will come to life

colour + shape | Interior Design Studio | Cambridge

PLAN OF ACTION

Once your design is finalised, supply schedules and detailed specifications can be completed for you to get cracking yourself, or if you choose, colour + shape can undertake project co-ordination for you, either fully or providing as much or as little help as you need.  If implementing a design is likened to a recipe, supply schedules are the ingredients (a giant list of everything needed!), and specifications outline the method for elements including decoration and hard finishes, window treatments and soft furnishings, joinery and lighting, and both can be used alongside detailed plans and drawings for discussion with suppliers, obtaining estimates and finalising costs.  At this stage I get stuck into a turning the design into a real life space.  No detail is too small and plans are refined to ensure the creation of a beautiful, functional and fully considered interior.  I can co-ordinate the purchasing, supply and delivery of items sourced, always passing trade discounts onto my clients, as well as assisting in booking and liaising with trades.  Whilst colour + shape does not project manage structural or building work, I am happy to meet and work closely with your contractors as well as carrying out site visits to oversee installation of the interior elements.   

Time for teal... the finished article

Time for teal... the finished article

ALL DONE AND DUSTED

colour + shape can work with you from concept to completion, and when the installation phase draws to a close, I'll be there to check that everything is as it should be, follow up on any outstanding issues or tiny snags and add the finishing touches.  When you're happy, I'm happy and at the end of the project I'll ensure you have all the information you need regarding instructions, warranties and maintenance of your shiny new space.  An interior brought to life for you. 

colour + shape | Interior Design Studio | Cambridge

I hope this goes some way in clearing the mists and myths that for some surround the role of an interior designer.  Yes, interior design services can be for you, just think of it as you would hiring any other trade or using any other service, I use tools and I solve problems, and I only occasionally plump cushions.

If you're planning a project or need help bringing your interior to life, then click here to get in touch.