Attainable Design

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

I want to write about something important to me today - making design attainable.

I was of the generation that grew up watching Changing Rooms - I loved the fast turnaround, quick thinking on site, and most of all the way the schemes were designed in a budget-friendly, ATTAINABLE way, and of course the inevitable beaming smiles at the end when the owners saw their new homes.

My experience of working in the design industry has varied from working with property developers and investors to private homeowners from all walks of life. I’ve enjoyed the different ways of designing and have always picked up something new in everything I have done.

Working in the luxury market is undeniably a lot of fun - you can do amazing things with a generous budget - but there’s also something even more rewarding in the challenge of being limited by a strict budget or working in tight spaces and having to use a bit of industrious problem solving to come up with cost-effecting and feasible solutions.

Attainable design is also about making something that endures the test of time - design that looks like it has been there for a long time, but still feels contemporary. Personal items of the Client are important to achieving this - a design should have meaning to them, and tell the story of their lives. It means choosing personality over trends and constructing a cohesive scheme around people's existing lives, rather than starting from a blank canvas.

Here are some key interior features that often appear in my work and I consider to be timeless.

Period Panelling

It's always a good idea to consider the age of your property and create a design that is in keeping with the period. For example, panelling on the walls of a Georgian / Victorian building can be a respectful nod to the original fabric of the building, and in newer buildings a reimagining of traditional panelling can be charming but contemporary.

Subway Tiles

Subway tiles are a classic tile shape that will endure - a rectangle can never go out of fashion. Plus, there's so many different ways to use these tiles - horizontally / vertically, brick formation, stacked, and so on. Mix them up with a patterned or large format tile for a more contemporary look.

Natural Materials

Wooden, marble, stone, linen, wool... nature never goes out of style. Natural materials add depth and texture and, when used in the right balance of proportions, will create a lasting and timeless design. Trends come and go, nature is forever.

Key Classics

I often find the best schemes are formed by a combination of personal pieces and contemporary classics. For example, a family heirloom armchair that has been reupholstered paired with a contemporary classic design, like a Hans Wegner Wishbone chair. A combination of the old with the new creates design that's not just off-the-shelf, but incorporates your personality and taste - that's what attainable design is all about. These items will ensure your interior stands the test of time, whatever trends may come and go.