The ramblings of an Ex interior designer

Good morning folks

It’s been a long few months since I posted here.  Mostly my jottings are sporadic and I am always making promises to myself to post regularly, but I don’t.  Partly because I write “morning pages”, something I started after attending workshop at Alternatives many years back, all about the “Artists Way” given by the author of the said book whose name escapes me, and whom I cannot search as I am in the midst of a horrendous storm in the north of Kefalonia.  Usually I can see Ithaca, the home of Ulysses, but today its totally obscured by the rain soaked clouds that have descended.  It is also partly due to my mind being totally preoccupied with moving home, since closing down IDC to pursue this new part of my life with gusto I have been making plans to move away from Tunbridge Wells a place I made home when I married in 1969.  With all this going on The Extraordinairium and my little creatures are sitting happily in my studio and have not ventured any further, although they have grown a little with a couple of additions and the nearer I became to selling them I realised I couldn’t part with them, so selling I am not sure at this juncture.  Although I have always said I would not make to commission, in this instance maybe I shall so that my current family can stay intact.

Moving home, which I may add when I moved to this home, now over 20 years ago, it was to be my last ever move.  At that time my ex husband and I shared an old fisherman’s/beach hut on a deserted beach at Shellness on the weekends, a great place next to RSPB land, no costa, Starbucks or Pret.  Sharing alternate weekends it was a haven away from the pressures of running my own company, with only a one-ring gas picnic stove, no running water and toilet that needed to be emptied, I loved it.  To go to sleep with sound of the sea lapping up on the beach, waking to an ever changing seascape and walks along the shore to see what flotsam and jetsam had been washed up over night, buying a fresh sea bass from fisherman on the beach and pan frying immediately downed with a chunk of bread and lashings of butter, it was heaven.  Sadly my ex sold it over one winter without telling me or giving me the opportunity to purchase it myself for the family, that was a very sad moment not only for his deceit which I should have known, but no longer would I have an outside space to call my own as I specifically chose a flat without a garden as the beach home was to be a family preserve and given to our children.  Ever since then I have hankered to be close the sea.  At last now I have the opportunity, my thoughts have changed a little with the news of the first small town by the sea in wales to be actually decommissioned, meaning in two years time all the utilities will be cut off and the town will not be included in the councils remit, so it will just go into decline, a ghost town.  How can this be? How can you just stop serving a community of people who have paid their taxes over the years, no compensation is being offered, its beyond callous, its brutal.  So decided with the way our planet is heading I would like an elevated view rolling countryside and a distant sea view.

First I followed the call of the wild, visited north Pembrokeshire, Strumble Head to be precise and fell in love with a farmhouse there.  With holiday cottages as part of the sale which initially attracted me, after coming back to earth I realised all the work involved was something I did not want to take on, at 70 I wanted to spend time developing my own creative pursuits. Now people don’t worry about getting older, I have never been happier and the prospect of this new life of no paid work, new home and freedom just fills me with excitement.    Despite constant searching for “the view” I couldn’t find anything similar unless very badly “modernised” or derelict.  Great idea, I would have thought  20 years ago but I don’t want that large undertaking now.  Also my kids thought it was rather a long way away from everything I have known, in the cold light of day I came to the conclusion that in the last decades of my life I want to be near them and not distance myself from them.  For the last 30 years I have been totally absorbed by my love of interiors, and the building pressure of ever larger projects being undertaken, working with huge construction contractors like Wates and Balfour Beatty it just took every ounce of my energy to keep everything on track.  Now I want to be the person that was lost many years ago, the person who had time “to be”, to find enjoyment in the mundane, the simple pleasure of living with the seasons, growing flowers, fruit and vegetable, preserving, cooking and baking and of course “making”.

My search for home with a view took me all along south coast, I have now found that home with a perfect view and my offer was accepted the day before I journeyed here.

Slowing down from the fast pace life of running my own design business, staff issues and so on, standing back now it makes me realise just how shallow the whole lifestyle design thing has become.  I know I played a role in this “Luxury” for the masses syndrome that has consumed everyone since those early TV programmes from the 90’s, I too was sucked into must have latest colour and trend, went to all the trade fairs, Maison Objet in Paris being my all time favourite.  However, increasingly over the past years I found the whole trend based design to be particularly irksome where absolutely everything in the industry is monetized, not only the so called trend and colour forecasters but the people who feel they must have the latest at whatever cost and just discarding perfectly good kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, lighting just because someone somewhere has said this colour or style is not cool anymore.  Just this morning I was listening to a podcast of two rather “prominent” women in the design world putting across the latest sound bytes of design info whilst there insincere laughter at each others tittle tattle left me cold.  Why is it these people are so popular?  Haven’t we minds of our own, can’t we use our intuition to choose a colour/style that feeds our souls and can bring us joy and not be “told” by someone who is going to make money out of us by vloging, blogging and podcasts and so on.  All on the make, all trying to attract big business to sponsor them, give discounts on sales and so on.  I don’t know about you reading this, but I feel like I am full to the brim, just cannot take all this over consumption anymore.  The world is bloated, oversaturated with “stuff”.  We have been force fed too much in the belief it will make our lives better, what a total lie we have been telling ourselves. 

In essence the whole issue of excessive consumerism can no longer be ignored, its not just about the items being “recyclable” as Hugh FT found out when he researched this issue on his recent TV programme and found our recycled goods rotting in Malaysia. It is about waking up and realising that we must look at the quantity of product we are purchasing, do we really need to discard last years velvet sofa for this years latest, yes we can give to charity shop or resell, but its still purchasing new which is something we all need to look at.  The Patriarchal Capitalist model of year on year profit and keeping shareholders happy is totally destroying our planet.  Everything has “money accumulation” written in and I mean almost everything, you cannot cough without someone making a buck of your likes and dislikes, look at how at much money is being made by data harvesting, how in fact this alone has changed the stability of the world I grew up in.  Its all quite sickening when the onus is put on the consumers alone, what about the companies who manufacture the goods, the companies who rape our planet for the raw materials.  People we must stop buying for trends sake and make wise choices for comfort, durability and longevity.

Well that is my ramble over, the island of Ithaca is still hidden, the rain is still coming down in torrents and the power has just gone down.

Until next time

Full to bursting with ideas

Ideas of all “kinds” have been racing around in that head of mine, from creation myths to creating huge interior projects and drawing out designs or my new quilting obsession.

Its been awhile since I posted anything, I have been sewing, reading, writing , researching and getting ready for the workshop I am facilitating in Malta  with two dear friends,

A fruitful time in many ways, designing and detailing an interior design project thats being installed in March, and another in Leamington spa which is the most amazing building see here .  Then I have been sewing my first large bed size quilt.  Up to now have been practicing on small items, lap quilts, sewing accessories for the kitchen and amassing fabric!

In between all this activity it was my birthday, a very special day indeed, felt very loved by my two children and all my friends.

Here is a pictorial diary of the last weeks…………….  Off to Malta Tuesday, so no posts for week !

IMG_3112IMG_3116IMG_3122IMG_3137IMG_3136IMG_3110IMG_3032IMG_3124IMG_3135IMG_3131

sewing and singing, hemming and humming

The big presentation is over, have been tying up all the loose ends, putting all the samples, together,  double checking codes etc in readiness for admin to start ordering, There are several hundred different items to purchase, some items have to be made up, ie window treatments, cushions etc, furniture has to be placed and with one manufacturer alone there are 140 items, this is one of many suppliers who will be making bespoke items to IDC exacting standards.  Then there is all the artwork to sort out, visiting museums, choosing images to be framed and selecting photography from all the great images from Yao and purchasing all the objet d’art that bring the interiors to life.  With this design hot of the press I am now ready to start detailing up the next one, an amazing tudor gothic pile in Leamington spa.  Have already finalised the layouts, worked on the lighting etc, now I will be detailing all the separate items for the various rooms.  The best bit really !

In between all this I have found some soothing time sewing and making quilts, none are totally finished yet, although I am working on it, caught a sneeky few hours before I trottted off down to the studio this morning.  Its so nice, sitting and sewing, sometimes singing along, sometimes just humming, something very magical about quilt making.  I am a mere novice and can see how one can get hooked , already I have sketches in my art books,  little swatches of fabric to record colour combinations,  tufts of crewel wool, ideas for crewel work patches, intertwined branches bearing fruit, and some just plains with a real graphic style with huge blocks of colour.  There is something really enriching in seeing all the colours build, and amazing when unexpected colour combinations appear as one pieces the blocks together.    Magic happens.

I will post some pictures soon, cant let the cat out of the bag yet because there might be spies around,  After christmas  watch this space.

In the meantime here are some more quilts that  have caught my attention

 

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The Calm after the Storm

Home at last, back in the calm of my newly decorated bedroom!  Long story for another time, energy lines, changing bed around, dark blue !!

The last couple of weeks have been away installing a project in the Derbyshire Hills, extremely hectic, exhausting  but in the end quite exhilarating when you look around and see the vision I have been holding for such a long time come to fruition

Such a beautiful area Derbyshire,  this last weekend relaxed a little at the Riverside Hotel in Ashford in the Water, such a picturesque village, with its little stone bridge, church and cottages.

My work, courtesy of Yao photography

Ashford in the Water

 

 

G ‘n T anyone?

The end of a busy period, a rather challenging time on all fronts, but the project has been completed……….  The bar area below is part of an interior design project my company completed friday,  and ended the day with a wonderful Gin and Tonic.  It reminded me recently of a hotel I stayed at in Woodstock recently, it had a bar with 80 different types of Gin……….  Me I like Tanqueray , nothing outlandish but I just love the taste.  I am off now for a break, and teaching a workshop in Malta, so looking forward to it.

http://www.insidedesignco.com

Design a Christmas Tree for Claridges Interior?

Well I would love to, but John Galliano beat me to it!  A few days ago this wonderful tree was unveiled at Claridges, the hotel in London know for its 30’s deco.  Mr Galliano chose to make this giant 20 foot tree with a “frosty” feel to it, with ice blue exotica, snow leopard and parrots…………………. Quite stunning, especially the way it has been lit to cast wonderful shadows on the wall.  I love it, what do you think?