My name is Amelia Wilson and I’m an addict

Good morning, my name is Amelia Wilson and I’m an interior designer and addict. Phew good to get that off my chest….. Thankfully my addiction doesn’t ruin lives, quite the opposite. It’s a versatile addiction too. I can get my fix anywhere and I feed my addiction 24/7 as its a hungry one. Sorry I should have mentioned, I’m addicted to learning. It’s one of the reasons I changed career. I was teaching more than I was learning, and although I think we all have a responsibility to help others learn, like all addicts I’m selfish.

So I’ve been in my element for the past year or so. Learning from others, learning on the job and squeezing in a postgraduate diploma in interior design. In interior design people are more interested in the work you’ve done than any qualifications you might have. But there are a lot of practical things you learn when you start a new job working for a company, and I was going to be working alone so I started the diploma to fill this gap.

I’m telling you all of this because my latest assignment asks for an essay on what constitutes a well designed home. I pondered this for a few minutes and came up with 3 criteria, but then decided to dig around on the internet to see what others thought. I’ve written before about how easily distracted I am by google so I should have known better. I wasted an hour chuckling at the Gwyneth Paltrowesque guff I found, which I now feel compelled to share with you. I’m not naming and shaming in case they band together and get me struck off the ‘cushion scatterer’ list…….

First up, an interior designer and blogger that offers 12 ways a well designed home impacts your life, starting with ‘being proud of your space is like vitamin D for the soul’. What??? I think she ran out after 9 as number 10 (Beauty makes you smile. Being in a beautiful space just feels good!) sounds remarkably like number 1 repackaged. It also came with a picture of a smiling baby, admittedly very beautiful….

Beautiful baby

Another blog that offers ‘interior design ideas and lifestyle nourishment’ (nuff said) suggests there are only 10 things needed which includes ‘a place to set down a beverage from every seat’. Sounds like she might have an addiction too. She failed to supply an image so I’ve provided my own.

Olivia Pope in Scandal

Olivia Pope in Scandal – crisis manager, snappy dresser and red wine drinker. Every seat in her house definitely has somewhere to place a beverage

I meandered from the precise to the vague, pausing briefly on a site that suggested you need unity, variety, emphasis and rhythm. Apparently you must have variety but without sacrificing unity, in order to achieve harmony. (Clicks back and scrolls to next search result….)

Most bizarre award goes to one designer who suggested 4 good pieces of detailed advice, and one very random offering. ‘A mix of eclectic furniture, chic lamps with dim lighting, a smart sound system, a good scent…..and a signature drink’ ????? Apparently you offer guests your signature drink so it becomes your trademark. Not quite sure what this has to do with a well designed home but whatever. I’m a NZSB girl so thats what all my guests get anyway….

NZSB aka New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

So what are my criteria for a well designed home? Not sure I want to share them now in case you start calling me Gwynnie but here goes….

Beautiful (in the eye of the beholder) – Whoever you are designing a home for it must be beautiful to them. As interior designers it is our job to design a home that the occupant will love but it is also important to remember that often the reason we have been employed is because the client doesn’t trust their own choices. So it is right to challenge them if they ask for things that will look terrible. Having said that I have had to incorporate items into designs that personally I haven’t liked but the owner has insisted on. My best example of this is a client who wanted armchairs in her living room that looked like they belonged on an airplane, because she insisted they were the most comfortable things she had ever sat on. I handled it by making the fireplace the focal point, picking a colour scheme where the armchairs blended in, and added throws and cushions to soften the way they looked. The final result was something we were both very happy with.

Functional – I have had many debates about what’s more important, beauty or functionality? My view as an interior designer is that they are of equal importance. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a room is, if it doesn’t meet your needs you won’t use it. Similarly, if a room is functional but ugly you won’t enjoy it. Functional covers a multitude of things. It might be the amount of light needed, the type of furniture required or even the wall space. This is why it is important to do your research at the outset and invest time in finding out what the space is, will or could be used for.

Energy efficient – even if you’re not sensible enough to care about the environment I’ve yet to find a customer who isn’t concerned about costs. So patios with underfloor heating and a house full of halogen light bulbs should be a no no.

After all that guff mine sound really boring so I think I’ll add one more – big fluffy towels. Who doesn’t love a big fluffy towel – one of life’s essentials surely?