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Good Interior Design – What it means to me

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Does Interior Design serve any deeper purpose or is it all fashion and frippery?  It’s a good question and it was during my own home renovation that I discovered the answer.

In the original layout of our 1940’s home, the kitchen was a 1970’s lean-to addition with a very low ceiling on the south side of the house.  The kitchen extractor was wall mounted, didn’t work and a good Southerly could blow through the extractor and into the house!  The cabinetry was typical for its age; mostly cupboards, sticky drawers and generally not user friendly.  The benchtops were unusually high (original owners were apparently very tall!), but these were not the worst features…  The hardest things were; freezing in winter, claustrophobic low ceiling and being in a separate room from the living/dining areas and therefore my small children.  I had more aversion than most to spending time in the kitchen! We had always intended to do a major renovation, it took us 10 years to start, five months to complete and we’ve had eight years of enjoyment!

One of best decisions (of a million decisions) was to relocate our kitchen into a new extension with a cathedral ceiling, modern fittings, open plan connection to dining/living areas and direct connection to the garden on one side and view on the other.  The kitchen has a feeling of being outside when inside, connected to people and has given us an eagerness to spend more time in the kitchen – who would’ve thought!  There is a very simple pleasure in a well-functioning drawer, with accessible items which creates an ease of movement, saves time and allows you to focus on what you’re doing, rather than how to do it.  The overall improvement is surprisinglylife enhancing and the whole experience prompted me to retrain in interior design!

Wristband by Google and the International Arts & Mind Lab at John Hopkins University (Photo from Dezeen article April 10 2019)

Now, thanks to a Google installation at the recent 2019 Milan Design week, there’s scientific evidence to back up my experience.  Google partnered with scientists to create a multiroom installation to show how different aesthetics can affect our wellbeing.  Each room has a different colour palette, material textures, lighting and even scent, to prompt a unique sensory response in visitors.  This physical response was measured with a specially made wristband.  Visitors were then given a report indicating which room they felt “most comfortable” or “at ease” in.  Architect Suchi Reddy who designed the spaces said in an interview with Dezeen “Once you can really understand what thoughtful design and architecture does to you, you can see that it’s not just a status symbol of who you are in the world.”

The first room – Essential – (Photo from Dezeen article April 10 2019)

So, there we have it and these test subjects were just passing through!  I hope this encourages all of us to be individual and true to our own sense of what makes a space a home.

Published on Thursday, June 6th, 2019