ART OF THE MATTER
It’s time to overhaul your home decor and you’re after something a bit different. You know you want to make a statement, so playing safe with beige and a touch of distressed wood isn’t an option but, it all seems a bit daunting and getting it wrong is a real risk. Before you get carried away with strong colours, challenging pieces of art or too much furniture that emphasises form over function it’s a good idea to hear what the professionals have to say.
Jo Roberts takes a look at making an artistic statement around the home
“First things first, you need a brief,” says Steve Bloom at Space Fitting Furniture. It’s all about the client, he says, so you need to ask yourself what you want. What do you need? What size is the room? How many people will use it at any one time? What is its specific purpose? Do you have children? Dogs? What are your priorities?
“Everything that impacts on your lifestyle must impact on your design,” Steve says “A kitchen by SFF is built to last 30-40 years but if its functions do not meet your needs then you’re not going to want to keep it that long.”
The same principle applies to all aspects of interiors. “Taking a long term approach ensures you’ll be happy with the product for years to come,” says Liz Mynett of Natuzzi who adds that their furniture could also be viewed as an investment. Their classy Italian styles provide a look that won’t date but that can be accessorised according to the season and personal taste.
So it’s possible to keep it classic while still catering to individual needs and creating unique design statements that reflect your personality. This is something that local, independent designer Deborah Drew agrees with.
Deborah was a viewers’ favourite during her stint on DIY SOS and is responsible for the beautiful re- design and re-furb of Penarth’s Holm House. Clearly passionate about the work she does, Deborah throws herself 100% into each project and says that her goal is to make life as easy as possible for the client.
“I aim to provide the type of service that I would want to use,” she says. From creating the initial designs to organising the admin, to the trade schedules, to all of the different companies and services involved, Deborah is available to her clients as often as they need and has been known to take phone calls well into the night, recognising that for customers it can be daunting and all-consuming.
Meridiani - Momentum,
Space Fitting Furniture,
Kaelo- Space Fitting Furniture Space Fitting Furniture,
Display - Space Fitting Furniture.
And if you’re struggling for inspiration or feeling a bit clueless, that’s just fine. “Some customers come in with no idea what they want which can be really fun!” says Rhiain at Momentum. This is a chance for the designers to really indulge their problem solving and creativity.
Anything Momentum supply to a customer they want them to love, so it has to be to their taste, however, if the team are confident that something would work particularly well they will encourage customers to trust their experience and expertise.
“We want our customers to explore the boundaries of their tastes and style to create a space that’s personal and works for them and their lifestyle,” continues Rhiain.
If you do fancy pushing those boundaries how about redesigning your room around your favourite piece of art...something that Kym Cox of Castle Fine Art loves to do!
“Artwork is absolutely an extension of personality,” says Kym, and this is how the Castle Galleries team help to match people up with individual pieces or help them to ‘find their artist’.
Diamond Sofa - Momentum.
Solid Pendant lights - Momentum,
“I aim to provide the type of service that I would want to use”
Meridiani Ralf Side Tables - Momentum.
Speaking with an enthusiasm singular to those who love their work Kym views every art buy as an emotional purchase. “You must simply fall in love with it,” she insists.
For those new to the art world and a bit nervous of taking the plunge, the gallery offers home approvals, so you can see exactly how the piece will look in your home and the kind of light it will sit in before you commit and decide if the piece does actually work for you.
But, be warned, buying art can be very addictive and you may soon run out of wall space. In fact, a carpenter client of Kym’s even built special frames onto his ceiling in order to display as many pieces as possible.
From actual ‘art’ to the art of interior design, when it comes to making a statement with your decor Steve, at SFF, recommends staying true to your own style whilst adding subtle touches of on-trend design, noting that greys and copper are in right now. For Deborah, greys are starting to give way to blues whilst copper and rose-gold metallic highlights provide a gentler nod to current trends.
Having visited many of the trade shows across Europe this season Rhiain’s seen a lot of jewel and berry colours, and Momentum right now is all about the high end luxe. Currently in the showroom is a Diamond sofa in a blue velvet and some Core Marble Terrence Woodgate lights and they’ve just had the new Kartell Multiplo Marble Dining table in.
“Brass framed coffee tables with wood or marble tops are hot at the moment too,” says Rhiain. One category you can really have fun with is Momentum’s ‘complementary furniture’ featuring an eclectic selection of extras such as drinks cabinets and library ladders. An accessory that lends itself to endless personalisation is the BuzziScreen, a modern take on the flexible room divider. It can be extended by zipping on extra panels and you can pin pretty much anything you want onto them – photographs, objects – make it your own.
When pressed for unusual customer requests Rhiain states that after 15 years, nothing surprises them anymore, having supplied white leather desks and denim arm chairs to name but a few!
Fashion doesn’t have to be limited to bedrooms and living rooms and SFF are seeing new trends in cooking having an impact on kitchen design. Agas have been back for some time but new appliances, such as the Miele steam combination oven, are becoming more popular.
Other examples of the sort of innovative work that SFF can provide include a curved wardrobe that comes up out of your bedroom floor space, ergonomically designed kitchen islands and TV screens set in the floor showing images of fish swimming beneath your feet.
Gadget of the moment is an electronic wine cooler that can be set into a kitchen unit or a table to ensure your favourite tipple is always to hand and always at the right temperature.
Style at Natuzzi is all about elegance and their furniture is the product of traditional craftsmanship. As Liz says: “When clients come to us they have certain expectations.”
They are seeing what Liz calls “the industrial influence” coming through in interiors right now with classic neutral palettes of greys and taupes always popular.
Space Fitting Furniture:
4 Colchester Ave,
Cardiff CF23 9XE
Tel. 029 2045 5778 www.spacefittingfurniture.co.uk
Cardiff, CF10 5SF,
Tel. 029 2048 8698,
31 Charles St,
Cardiff CF10 2GA,
Tel. 029 2023 6266,
Deborah Drew Designs:
Castle Fine Art
“Artwork is absolutely an extension of personality”
For personalisation, splashes and flashes of colour and texture with different fabrics can add twists to classic pieces and creative use of unusual accessories can add a different dimension to any look.
Bob Dylan’s latest collection, now in at Castle Fine Art, captures the essence of this. The ‘Brazil Series’ features different versions of the same images in ‘evolving works of art’. With limited edition prints, not available to buy in the USA, this is a great example of how art can make for a very shrewd investment, as well as an aesthetic addition to your home.
Graphic novels are now recognised as an art form in their own right and The Marvel Superheroes collection is testament to this. Classic comic book covers, each one personally chosen for this collection by Stan Lee and signed by the man himself, they are noteworthy for their observations on pertinent social issues and would be a super addition to any geek’s universe.
For more comic inspired art check out former cartoonist Craig Davison’s evocative depictions of childhood adventure. His iconic ‘Bat Leap’ shows a child leapfrogging a bollard, coat flying out behind him whilst his shadow in the background forms the silhouette of Batman, cape thrown wide.
Other artists of note include Richard Rowan who uses his own unique method of painting oil on glass to stunning effect, Dan Lane, aka Mechanica, whose dark but beautiful sculptures take inspiration from nature, baroque architecture and heavy industry, and John D Wilson whose impressive 3D illusionary works give you a different perspective on, well, perspective.
To take self expression through art one step further how about commissioning your own piece of art with dddesigns very own artist in residence. Once your room is completed Nick Davies can create an original one-off piece, drawing from the original brief and your own personal style, saving you time hunting down the perfect piece of art for your new space and giving you a complete original.
So however you want to express yourself through your home and whatever your artistic and practical needs may be there is a crop of passionate experts just waiting to guide you in the right direction. From giving simple guidance and advice to overseeing the entire project you’ll be in safe hands from start to finish.