I can’t decide what’s better as an interior designer being given the blank canvas of a show home or new build, or transforming something that has become tired and dated. I suppose if I enjoy them both it doesn’t really matter. Similarly, I’ve loved the freedom I’ve been given to design this latest show home, (the brief was literally here’s the budget, make it look good, quickly). But then you can’t beat the feeling you get when you show a client your designs for their home and they love them, because you’ve managed to capture everything they told you they liked, plus a bunch of things they would never have thought of but love as well. I guess I’m just saying my job rocks.
Show Home Design
If you missed my post about the first show home I designed for this development of 10 apartments in central Cockermouth you can catch up by clicking here. Because it sold straight away the developer asked me to do a second one. The buyer of the first one told me it was the decor that made her fall in love with the place so no pressure at all second time round then.
We had a real mix of people come to the last open weekend, but a large number were young professionals or investment buyers, either buying for their children with a view to moving in themselves when they were ready to downsize, or to market as holiday lets. This is what we had anticipated which is why I’d gone for a look that was smart and modern but also practical. So in terms of round two I stuck to the old adage – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Of course it would have been easy just to replicate what I had done first time round but where’s the fun in that?
The decor this time round has more of a Scandinavian feel to it, but with more colour.
And just in case you didn’t pick up on the Scandi vibe I added some obvious pointers….
Ready for some before and afters?
Show Home Number Two – Final Reveal
I still like to show before and afters when I’m starting with an empty box, because I think they really highlight the visionary skill interiors designers have. Not everyone can look at an empty box and know what to do with it. If they did they wouldn’t need people like me.
Open Plan Living Dining Kitchen Space
I love this living space. It’s light and spacious with plenty of room for a 3-seater sofa and armchair, plus a TV stand, storage and coffee tables.
The kitchen is open plan but tucked away so you can still chat to your guests when you’re cooking but can’t see the washing up.
I took a gamble on the media unit, sideboard and bookcase. Well I say gamble – I would have just returned them if they were rubbish. They’re from The Range which is definitely the budget end of the market but the quality is good, they look great, and cost under £400 for all three.
The living dining room is so big there is room for a 6-seater dining table, and yet more lighting. (If you hadn’t worked it out already I like a lot of different lighting in a room).
Sometimes when I’m designing spaces I find one thing I really like and build from there. The wallpaper behind the dining table was that one thing. It’s called Silhouette Tree by Albany and was from Wallpaper Direct The white dining chairs might not seem practical but they’re plastic with a faux leather seat pad so easy to clean. They’re from Cult Furniture which is one of my go to places for furniture and lighting.
The kitchen is compact but has everything you need and plenty of storage.
Both the kitchen and bathroom were already in when I got involved so it was just a matter of picking tiles and accessorising.
The Scandi inspired Burbank Geometric wall tiles are from Topps Tiles
As well as cupboard space there’s also lots of counter space in these kitchens, which is very unusual for flats and apartments.
The decor in the master bedroom is a relaxing mix of blues and greys with soft furnishings in different fabrics to add texture. The light shade looks fabulous but unless you have the patience and eyesight to assemble something that involves 78 teeny tiny plastic studs look away now.
Like the dining room, the wallpaper was my starting point when I designed this bedroom. It reminds me of constellation patterns so perfect for a bedroom.
I do love this light shade but I’m not sure I have the stamina to assemble another one. But maybe it will be like child birth (apparently) and I’ll get all broody and forget the pain.
And just in case you missed the Scandi vibe here’s a few obvious clues.
The second bedroom is decorated in a more feminine gold and grey scheme. Velvet used to conjour up images of dusty piano seats and blingy headboards for me but last year it made a major comeback (remember all those bright velvet sofas that were suddenly everywhere), and suddenly I can find velvet soft furnishings I like, so I’ve used it in both bedrooms to add texture. I’m still to be convinced about crushed velvet but I liked the stripe effect in this velvet fabric. The blind is from Blinds2Go my go to place for affordable blinds. The colour and pattern go really well with the gold Plume wallpaper by Cole and Son.
Gold has definitely replaced copper as the metallic du jour. I’d still like to see more contemporary gold bathroom fittings but the retailers have most other areas covered for now. These gold bedsides are from Wayfair
The gold hexagon mirror (which matches the cushions in case you missed that) is from Maisons du Monde
As I mentioned before the bathroom was already fitted when I got involved with the development but I did ask them to tile the floor and a bath panel to match the walls and change the lighting, then I just added storage, shelving, fittings and accessories.
Still quite a difference even with those small changes eh?
Hall, stairs and landing
One of the great things about these apartments is that they are on two floors which makes them feel like houses. They also have a proper entrance hall which is big enough for a desk if you worked from home.
I’ve sort of gone off gallery walls of late. I think I’ve just seen to many badly done ones. I prefer one or two larger pieces of artwork these days. I found these monochrome city maps online at AllPosters.co.uk
I need to show you the pendant from a different angle so you can see how lovely the light looks. It’s another self-assembly job but a lot quicker and no bruised fingers with this one.
So thats the tour over. I’d love to know what you think and which you prefer – show home 1 or 2?
And if you want to see the show home and me in the flesh the open day is this Saturday 27th January 10am – 4pm. If you’d like a personal tour and some free interior design advice please pop along and say hello.