Monday 20th January 2020
January is a gloomy month for most people, the excitement of Christmas has worn off and the New Year blues settle in. This is a time for reflection and making plans for the year, and often this includes moving home or changing things around and updating colour schemes. We asked our London-based show home interior design company SUNA Interior Design, who recently designed the show homes at the recently launched Forstal Mead development in Coxheath, Kent, some interesting questions. Just how do interior designers go from seeing a plan to a fully installed show home, and how can we get inspiration for our own homes.
Rebecca Tucker, Director at Suna tells all!
1. Were you given a brief by Westerhill Homes, how does this influence your concept proposals?
‘The brief for the Westerhill Homes show homes at Forstal Mead, Coxheath was a really appealing one for us, as the client wanted us to base the design on how real people live in their homes, moving away from the more typical ‘show house’ look that can be hard for purchasers to aspire or relate to. They wanted their buyers to walk into the houses and feel instantly at home, and to be able to imagine themselves and their families living in these lovely homes.’
2. What were your influences when designing the interiors for the show homes at Forstal Mead?
‘For every design we work on for our clients we use the location, target market and development brand as our first inspiration. Forstal Mead is located just outside a rural village, benefitting from the local amenities whilst also being surrounded by stunning Kent countryside, so we wanted the homes to feel luxurious but also comfortable and welcoming, cosy and homely.
We look at each room as a part of the whole, and make sure that the furniture layout would work for the home owners, and that the furniture, styling and artwork all reflect the lifestyle, interests and hobbies of the potential purchasers.
On a development with two show homes we have the opportunity to appeal to two varying target purchasers, so we worked on the basis of the three bed house being designed for a young couple who were moving into their first house, didn’t yet have children but wanted to space to be able to grow their family when the time came. Contemporary fresh colours, greens and blush pinks, work to bring a youth and vibrancy to the design, softened with warm oak furniture and finishes.
Then the four bed house is aimed at a family market, with two young children. Soft blues and greys work alongside washed wood furniture, and styling of the living space and children’s bedrooms really targets the family vibe, down to the piles of toys, books and board games that litter any family’s coffee table!’
3. How do you decide on a colour palette?
‘In the same way that we decide on a direction for the style and mood of each scheme, the colour palette follows along the same lines. For the show homes at Forstal Mead we chose some bright contemporary colours for the young couple’s home, softened with oaks and warm woods. And then the palette for the family home was a little bit more muted and natural, blues, greys and taupes.’
4. Where do you get your inspiration from?
‘Everywhere! From interior exhibitions, trade shows, magazines and suppliers, to Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz. But inspiration can strike at any time, a piece of fabric or wallpaper or artwork can form the starting point for a whole interior design scheme. The wallpaper in the hallway of the three bed show home at Forstal Mead was pretty much the inspiration for the colour palette through the whole house!
5. What interior trends are there for 2020?
‘Natural textures will remain prominent for 2020. The use of rattans and natural textures, from macramé to wicker, woven textures and natural fabrics, bamboo and reclaimed wood all tapping into the ongoing environmental awareness that we are seeing. Bright and contrasting colours from opposite sides of the spectrum will keep colour at the forefront of the palette for 2020. ‘
6. Is there a particular colour palette which is going to be prominent this year?
‘We don’t tend to buy into colour trends as we work on so many designs through each year so we try and work across the whole colour spectrum, but if there is a colour trend at the moment that we are paying attention to it is the one for combining bold colours in more unexpected ways. Don’t try and be too coordinated, but mix and match colours for a more exciting result. Throw a few different coloured cushions together, or add in a punch of colour on a bed throw, putting a little individual twist into the colour scheme. ‘
7. What do think should be the key piece in a room?
‘When you are talking about big spend items, sofas and dining tables, beds and wardrobes then think really carefully about longevity and buying something that will stand the test of time. But key items to add personality and colour to a room do not need to cost the earth. Trawl ebay for furniture that can be painted to bring a splash of colour into a room, or treat yourself to a cushion you have fallen in love with the add a pop of wow to your sofa or bed.’
8. Are feature walls in wallpaper or paint still on-trend?
‘We love wallpaper, there is so much variety out there at the moment, from beautifully patterned papers to large full wall murals. But paint is making a real resurgence, strong colour blocking taking the place of feature walls, using walls and ceilings and woodwork as a blank canvas and being more creative with the use of paint.’
9. Tell us your views on modern versus traditional style?
‘At Suna we work across all types of property, from London City penthouses to country family homes, from studios to townhouses so we really feel that there is something for everyone, and that both modern and traditional perspectives are all relevant in the right context. Swags and tails are maybe not going to be making a comeback anytime soon, but the distinctions between a cosy country cottage and a slick and modern city apartment are still important ones to make.’
10. Which do you favour as window treatments, blinds or curtains?
‘Both! Again, context is key, a wide slat venetian blind works well in a more pared back modern scheme, or in kitchens and bathrooms as a practical window dressing, and opulent weighty curtains work well in a grand master bedroom! We really will look at all the components on each and every scheme and make the best decision for every room, so we couldn’t say that one or the other would work well in every situation!’
11. Who do you think are the leading influencers on interiors?
‘A lot of people take their inspiration from social media, so Pinterest and Houzz, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram really lead the way, which means that it is not just the interior designers who can make a claim to being influencers anymore. We like to think that a good image on the right platform can work wonders so our position as influencers of interior design is well established across all the social media outlets, it has become more important to us than advertising as the discerning consumers really do vote with their fingers, and that tells us very clearly what people like and don’t like!’
12. How can you make a brand new home have the Hygge feeling quickly and inexpensively?
‘One word. Texture. Ok, two words. Texture and layers! Buy cushions and throws in warm and cuddly fabrics, and in neutral and muted tones and add them to your bed and sofa. Bring warm woods into your spaces and place furniture onto big woolly rugs. It’s all about comfort and cuddles, the idea of curling up on the sofa with a big warm rug on your knees, your dog at your feet and a big cup of hot chocolate in your hand!’
Ticking all the boxes at Victoria Quarter, Ashford
Community spirit is alive and well at Westerhill Homes
Celebrate Christmas in a new home at Linden Meadows, Coxheath
Beautiful homes featured this month
Chartway Group & Westerhill Homes 'Wear it Pink' in aid of Breast Cancer Now.
Charity Cycle ride - 300 miles in the wind and rain through Kent to Paris in aid of SCOPE
A spookily good deal at Linden Meadows Halloween event this weekend
Autumn Glory in Headcorn, Kemt
Halloween wildlife walks and Pumpkin carving at Conningbrook Lakes
Part Exchange your home for a beautiful new one at Linden Meadows