Michelle Gilligan, Tuesday 17 July 2012
It’s been observed that in periods of economic downturn, creativity and innovation increase.
This has certainly been the case for local designer, Karen Stones, who recently started up a business offering interior design parties. As austerity began to bite and the property market increasingly looked to ‘improve not move’, Stones recognised that for many us the prospect of hiring interior designers to help with renovating our properties was dauntingly expensive. So she decided to start running short classes that would enable people to learn some interior designing skills, to think differently about the project they are working on and provide some guidance on styling their own home.
‘After all,’ she explains, ‘who knows better what you want than yourself? It’s about translating what you want into something visual and tangible. Furthermore, people don’t have the time or money to commit to a full-time interior design course just so they can do their own home, so starting up short, affordable and accessible interior design classes in a relaxed environment seemed like a good idea.’
Party venues vary from establishments like Gail’s Artisan Bakery in Clapham, Balham Bowls Club and Wholefoods in Kensington to people’s homes, but one constant is the relaxed atmosphere that Stones creates with liberal amounts of food, drink and chat. Attendees also range from ‘serious suit’ types with office jobs looking for a creative outlet, or thrifty women looking to renovate their own homes, but unsure of where to start. ‘Basically, the way it works,’ says an enthusiastic Stones, ‘is that you come along to the class with p hotos of your home, we go through these and talk about what you want to achieve. As homework, you create mood boards of what inspires you, anything from wall print, a lamp, rugs or furniture or something that you loved from your last holiday to Morocco, for example. We work through the mood boards, colour theory and go from there. You’ll be surprised how insightful and helpful this exercise is – the mood board is a very effective starting point.’
Clients appear to be working on a variety of projects from renovating house and flats to basements and business environments. I spoke with a group of ladies who had attended a recent interior design party hosted at a home in Battersea. They were full of praise for Stones and the course. For one lady it was about the confidence to try something new and consider different angles. For another, the course had helped her to avoid costly mistakes with curtains that may have looked great in the shop but wouldn’t work in her home. For another ‘sitting around with friends talking about styles, colours and tricks of the trade over a glass of wine was really great fun’.
One thing they all agree on is that it’s a great way to be creative in austerity.
For further details of London Property Makeover Classes or for Interior Design parties at home, visit www.londonpropertymakeover.com