It was a full house in the beautiful courtyard at The Marylebone hotel on Monday night where we and our guests were treated to an evening of booze, delicious canapes and expert interior advice from two of the ‘wow-est’ people in interiors!
The leading ladies: Jane Rockett, Claudia Baillie, Lucy St George and Kate Watson-Smyth
We were situated in the Marylebone’s Courtyard Space which is a truly spectacular space! Designed by award-winning architectural practice, Michaelis Boyd, the Courtyard Space is full of natural light, gorgeous marble top surfaces, crittal windows and a few RSG pieces. What’s more, as the sun was setting over London, the vertical garden with gorgeous light sprays came to life and the roof even opens up which is a feature that we’d all like in our homes!
© The Doyle Collection | Photography: Claire Menary© The Doyle Collection | Photography: Claire Menary
After our fourth round of breaded camembert with strawberry salsa (an incredible combo btw!), a few top-ups and a little mingling, we all gathered for the main event. Hosted by our fabulous co-founder, Jane Rockett, we heard from the super talented ladies and all-around interiors experts: Claudia Baillie and Kate Watson-Smyth. Claudia is a journalist who has written for almost everyone and has an amazing column in Elle Deco: In design detail (totally worth checking out!). Alongside Kate Watson-Smyth who writes the fantastic and award-winning blog Mad About The House, is a journalist, author of the book: Shades of Grey (not that type of shades of grey) and… she’s also in the process of writing her second book out in March 2018.
Throughout the talk, Claudia and Kate gave us their top tips for creating showstopping interiors and it really was an event not to be missed! But for those of you who did miss out, here is a sneak preview of Claudia and Kate’s words of interior wisdom…
Jane: For me, showstopping interiors is about emotion. Something that grabs your attention and has that ‘extra wow-factor’. What defines a showstopping interior for you?
Kate: I don’t think there is necessarily one thing. It’s a combination of things that when you come into the room that you think this is a showstopping interior. I think it’s great when something has got a bit of wit in it or something kitsch or a colour that you wouldn’t expect. So for example, wallpaper all around the walls as the designer intended not just a feature wall.
Claudia: I would have to agree with Kate – something unexpected, whether it’s a knockout piece of furniture or something with an emotion or something really textural.
Jane: In my interiors, I am a “colour phobe”, but I do love a colour pop. How would you work colour into your interiors?
Kate: Everything looks good with grey. So if you start off with that dark or pale grey background you can add any colours into it because it’s easy to change. Grey goes with all the other colours that you can bring into the home so it can be very easy to paint your walls grey and then have a black sofa with pink cushions. Instead, turn it around the other way and instead of having a pink cushion on a black sofa, have a pink sofa and bring it down with black cushions. If you love that colour use it in a slightly unexpected way.
Claudia: I painted my flat a few years ago and I knew that I didn’t want to have grey walls so I called upon the international design consultant at Farrow & Ball, Joa Studholme, who very kindly visited by London flat. She said that you have to think about how you see colour from each room to the next and so long as those colours are tonal / have the same depth of colour then you can pretty much use whatever colour you want.
Jane: Lighting – I’m a chandelier girl, but I’m a little bit obsessed with a dimmer switch. Having a dimmer completely transforms the atmosphere in the room, so that’s my top tip when it comes to lighting. How would you use lighting to create the ‘wow-factor’
Claudia: It’s a good idea to have lots of different sources, so never ever use just one pendant which will only create gloomy corners in the room. One great piece of advice was from Sally Storey from John Cullen Lighting, who said that you should put a light at the end of the corridor, which will take you down the length of the corridor and plays with dimensions.
Kate: I think that spotlights are overused. One key thing to note is that you do not have to create symmetry with them, Think about where you need them, for example, over the kitchen sink or the kitchen island, rather than one long runway. Also, many of us have by-pull doors leading into our gardens and at night these create black holes. Put some lights or lanterns out there and this will open up the space.
Jane: Interior mistakes – I have made a few over the years and once I wallpapered my entire bedroom, wardrobe and all only to decide that I hated it! It was an expensive mistake and it was because I was influenced by a trend rather than sticking to what I love.What are your biggest interior mistakes?
Kate: I think the biggest mistake is playing is it safe. You need to be a little brave and trust your instincts!
Claudia: I treated my wooden floors with a floor varnish that wasn’t hard wearing enough and the floor turned a ginger brown! I ended up sanding it down and now I’ve done it again!!
Psst… Jane uses the Bona Mega Matt floor varnish which is super hard-wearing. Make sure you use a primer as well!
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