My Interior Design Journey
As the creative behind Designed & Created, I thought I would share my interior design journey and what shaped my love of print, colour, art, and design. Plus, a need for paired back Scandi living - I know, how does that work!
As a child of the 70s, I was bought up surrounded by Laura Ashley prints (my namesake, that’s another story) and Italian glamour!
My mum was a working mum and so we spent many days after school and at weekends at my grandmother’s house, which I absolutely loved. She was Italian and had met my grandfather in the war and come over to England, where she found herself on a council estate in the middle of Cambridge. This I now know is where my love of interiors and design began.
My interior design journey was definitely influenced by the women in my life: my mother, my grandmother, my aunt and my best friend’s mother. It was the combination of these strong women and their completely varying styles that made me think, at the age of 11, "Wow, I cant wait to design my own home and space!"
Let’s start with my grandmother. She came over to England during the war with nothing (literally nothing, she had been living in a convent!). But, from nothing, she created a home that was a little piece of Italy in the middle of Cambridge. The walls were flocked with embellished blue wallpaper that you could actually stroke. Layered on top were handmade tapestries, hand-sewn embroideries and beautiful pieces of stitched linen that were framed - all mixed together with amazing ceramics, ornaments, figurines and china with gold lustre.
It was full to the brim and every space was layered and mixed with influences of England and Italy. To give you an example, she had a stoneware ceramic duck that she would keep our pocket money in and this would sit next to a huge painted mural that my aunt (her eldest daughter) had painted on the wall of a Can Can girl from the Moulin Rouge.
There literally wasn’t a bare wall or sideboard in sight, and nothing was meant to be together. Yet, everything went together! Open this up on to her beloved English garden full of sweet peas and vegetables with Italian stone figurine statues sat amongst them, and this sums up my childhood memories. It was a child’s dream; a house full of stories and adventures.
From this, I would go home to my much loved completely matching Laura Ashley bedroom, where the duvet, wallpaper and curtains were all the same print in all the same colour - but I loved it. For those of you reading this that are young, Laura Ashley was cool then! Everything was matching and neat, the complete opposite of my Nana's house.
Then there was my aunt who we would visit, who has the most immaculate taste. Every home she has owned is like something stepping out of a magazine. The interior had been styled to an inch of its life. It was these trips that made me start to think about my own style and how I would style my own house one day.
Swiftly moving on to my best friend’s house and I was bombarded with another interior designer's dream. Here I decided that one day I would design my own home. Who knew you could turn a rectory into a house!
My friend's parents had the compete opposite taste to anyone else around us, remember it was the 70s. They lived in the village rectory, which they renovated into a family home and filled it with mid-century furniture and art. I remember thinking how exciting it was that you could not only style your own home, but you could build something new out of something old.
It was these four strong women’s unique styles that got me hooked on Interior design. From this moment on, I would be constantly re-arranging my bedroom and re-styling it, creating my ideal space and dreaming of when I could do this to my own home (a thing my daughter has now inherited!).
All of this passion for designing a space I'm sure led me through life, and I graduated (many years ago) with a fashion and textiles degree and a love of art, design and craft. And as all of my good friends will tell you, don't mention house renovation or room makeover to me or you will have a Pinterest board in your inbox before you can blink, whether you have asked for it or not!
Oh, and if your wondering where all of this influence has led me, we renovated an old double frontage Victorian house into a Scandi inspired sanctuary, which is filled with art, colour, texture and items I love.
So what's your Interior Design Journey, I would love to hear?