Chris Salzano, Monday 20 August 2012
Wouldn’t you love your family home to be stylish rather than looking like a playground or feeding time at the zoo.
And wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t live in dread that your kids would spoil the one room in the house that you have preserved as an adult sanctuary? Leading interior designer - and indeed mother of two - Samantha Johnson gave me some tips on how to keep my house stylish and child-friendly too.
CS: You have children. Is that why you decided to specialise in family homes?
SJ: I do have two children but I chose to work in family homes as I was so often approached by people asking how they can have a lovely home with children around. Children and good design work very well together and if you can train your family to respect and enjoy their home it can look beautiful but also be intensely liveable.
How do you reconcile style with the day-today realities of family living?
To function effectively, homes need to have a sense of order and structure and for the whole family to work together to maintain a beautiful but liveable space. One key area is the entrance hall. Unless it is ordered, it can become a chaotic and stressful place to arrive and depart from. One simple idea is to create a home for house coats, accessories, bags, shoes, sports kits, etc. It will enable a family to start and end their day constructively and can be styled in such a way to not only look fantastic but also be practical.
What’s the most important room in the house for a family?
As with most family homes, the kitchen is the central hub of the house where homework, meals and social activities take place. The entrance hall is also important with all the comings and goings.
Any advice for planning a room for children?
Always keep the palette neutral and use soft furnishings and accessories to bring it to life through bedding, storage, pictures, furniture and artwork. It is important that you create the space for them, but equally it is your home and you need to keep it clean and tidy and it needs to work for you, too.
What is the key to a successful interior?
The choice of materials. In most busy households, accidents do happen and if you plan carefully and choose the correct furniture, fabrics, wallpapers and accessories, damage can be minimised. Think long term rather than short term when investing in furniture and soft furnishings, as most families don’t redecorate or alter areas for at least five to ten years.
How do you keep everyone happy?
Work with the whole family, and get an understanding of how they function from day to day and then work the interior around their needs and desires.
www.samanthajohnsondesign.com; 01628 632 517