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Project of the Week

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a residential kitchen design by Ledbury Studio. The brief was to design a kitchen for a large new-build property on the edge of the Peak District. The clients had been in their previous home for more than 30 years and retained strong ideas as to how they would require the design to work for them at their new home.

Company: Ledbury Studio

Project: Cheshire kitchen

Location: Cheshire, United Kingdom

What was the client’s brief? 

The fundamental requirement was to create a relaxing and comfortable space that would instantly be the heart of their home. Our clients wanted a kitchen that could just as readily accommodate a relaxed evening for husband and wife, as play host to the regular charity events that form part of their extremely busy social lives. So, the brief was about incorporating multiple ‘cherished items’ into the design, whilst maintaining impeccable functionality and achieving a unique aesthetic.

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

The inspiration was actually quite complex. Firstly, the finish on the cupboard doors was inspired by our client’s extensive collection of antique pewter-ware. Working with 1.5mm-thick pewter, we created an aged finish which directly empathised with the pewter pieces. We also had to incorporate display areas into the design so these treasured items could be placed on show within the kitchen.

Our second major point of inspiration was to create a kitchen with a proper furniture feel. Of course, we needed all the functionality of the best-fitted kitchen, but we also needed to integrate several pieces of antique furniture – including a sizeable Georgian mahogany break-fronted display cupboard. I decided that I could best balance my design by focussing on the freestanding credentials of my furniture.

What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?

There were two main ones – the island and the breakfast store cupboard. The island was 3.6m long, and so required joins. We had chosen a Bianco Macaubas quartzite and it took two attempts to create the best joint. On the second, we were able to achieve an extremely precise match on the unique and complex veining of the stone. We did this by photographing the slabs digitally and then generating the best match via our software program before actually executing the cut. This was made at a slight diagonal to achieve minimum open joint – it’s less than 1mm finished.

Then on the breakfast store cupboard, the large all-pewter doors opened into pockets. Each of these doors weighs over 80kg, and the fact that we achieved smoothly opening doors in this situation is a testimony to the calibre of our design and our craftsmen. The doors look amazing and work beautifully.

What was your team’s highlight of the project?

This was the first project sold by Ledbury Studio, so it was a massive positive for us to pitch our designs and our product against the most established high-end kitchen brands in the UK, and to win our client’s trust to carry out their project. This high stayed with us throughout the project, right to the point when the client moved in.

Questions answered by Charlie Smallbone, founder of Ledbury Studio.

We hope you feel inspired by this week’s residential design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week, featuring a modern kitchen remodel, click here to see more.

Project of the Week

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a residential kitchen design. The client wanted a space that seemed large and really easy to move around in, without feeling too empty, and definitely not too grand. Mark Taylor Design worked on this project for 12 weeks, inserting beams, building a glass wall, moving all plumbing and fitting a kitchen. This included designing, building and fitting a mobile island as well as flooring. The end result transformed the existing, dark kitchen into a light, open-plan area fit for entertaining and relaxing.

2019 SBID Awards Category: KBB Design Sponsored by: Vitra UK

Practice: Mark Taylor Design

Project: Skinny Shaker-style Kitchen

Location: Buckinghamshire

What was the client’s brief? 

The clients wanted a space that seemed large and really easy to move around in, without feeling too empty, and definitely not too grand; a modern look, but not flat, or minimalist. They also wanted an island, but one for many people to stand around, not something small. It should almost create a showpiece for the kitchen. There was some debate about exactly where this should be. They wanted a table that would seat 8 to 10 people max, near the patio garden at the back of the kitchen. It was important to create a sense of light in what was a really dark space, with low ceilings and not a lot of sun. They wanted a pantry, to avoid food in cupboards, and if possible, wanted a french larder fridge, if it would fit. Ultimately, they wanted to use a combination of paint in the kitchen area and wallpaper in the sitting area, to differentiate the spaces.

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

A couple of things; a photograph of a 150-year-old french furniture piece which the client fell in love with, and which formed the basis of the moveable island, and the feeling of space and cleanness that a flat, concrete style floor provides in good industrial working kitchens. Just these 2 elements set us off. We had also recently designed a skinny shaker door and wanted to include this on the base units. Finally, to try and create different spaces that complimented each other. We looked at the romantic nature of a Welsh dresser, dating back 250 years, that was already in place in the old kitchen and created a warm, wallpapered area around that.

What was the toughest hurdle you/your team faced during the project?

Poor light and different, low ceiling heights made lighting a challenge. We put in place 5 different levels of lighting; floor lights to illuminate the walls and reflect off the white ceiling, mid-level lighting on the walls for creating a warm, soft ambience, task lighting placed in the ceiling above the work surface, LED linear lighting recessed into ceiling lighting channels to cast an even light across the ceiling, and; a window wall comprising 2 sets of bifold doors at the back of the kitchen, where the maximum amount of natural light could be brought into the dining space.

We were also tasked with positioning the french larder fridge in an under-stairs recess which was slightly too shallow. Our builders cleverly removed a small portion of the stair winder to accommodate this and it looks made-to-measure as a result. Another challenge was getting light into and through the walk-in pantry, so that it would feel separate from, but connected to the main kitchen was achieved by using two porthole windows in the swing doors.

What was your highlight of the project?

Completing the project, including building work to insert beams and build a glass wall, moving all plumbing to create a new utility room and larder, building a snug, designing, building and fitting a kitchen, including a mobile island and flooring – all in 12 weeks, ready for Christmas!

Did you enter the project into the SBID International Design Awards? If so, why?

Yes. Our Skinny Shaker-style kitchen is the newest addition to our MeThD custom kitchen collection and it features a beautifully modern take on a Shaker-style door. Opting for base units along one wall without any wall units created a stylish kitchen with clean lines and a more modern look. To add to the look, we designed and created a bespoke movable island unit. The end result transformed the existing, dark kitchen into a light, open-plan area where entertaining and relaxing would be key.

Questions answered by Mark Taylor, Director at Mark Taylor Design.

We hope you feel inspired by this week’s residential design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week, featuring a Parisian-inspired hotel public space, click here to see more.

We can all agree that COVID-19 has caused drastic changes in every respect of day-to-day life and consequently, is pushing people towards making different assessments and decisions than they would have made before, with an entirely new perspective on what’s important. Perhaps it is the first time in modern history that we have really lived the concept of home; its spaces and its livability.

For many, the enforcement to #STAYATHOME has paved the way for an incredible kind of rediscovery that has brought attention back to our environments which, now more than before, represent the constant background of our lives.

Domestic spaces

The reorganisation of domestic spaces is one of the first needs that emerges from this, and will be a compromise between the needs, the type of activities performed and the square meters available, both for those who are renovating or buying a house, and for those who simply want to restyle their interior design to create more pleasant and comfortable home environments.

Entrances

The popular open space entrances that overlook the living room or kitchen will be re-evaluated, preferring instead a partially isolated entrance that acts as a filter for the home. Hybrid solutions can also be adopted that can host, for example, a wardrobe, a shoe rack and a small bathroom, where hygiene-related actions can be performed.

Organised kitchens

The kitchen, even a small one, is the place of the “carefree meeting” where we cook, experiment and also try out playful activities with the little ones. Staying at home has forced – or perhaps enticed – us to spend more time back in the kitchen. A return to the origins but also a chance to spend more time together, setting aside home delivery services like Just Eat for some quality cooking time! We begin to focus more on making kitchen spaces more adaptive for cooking with the family and performing other activities (like homework!).

Smarter working stations

Smart working areas will be essential for future flexible working possibilities. From a minimal desk or a coffee table as a support surface on the side of the sofa to a deeper shelf inserted in an equipped wall, creating smarter working stations will become increasingly important. These spaces should be close to natural light, so as to feel less constrained and ‘boxed in’! Alternatively, using perimeter lighting systems that give the environment a calibrated and homogeneous light can help to simulate the solar one.

An emphasis on biophilia 

Introducing more plants into the home helps us feel less detached from the outside world. Bringing more of nature inside, together with relaxing fragrances to perfume the air, can improve our mood – as well as productivity!

Multi-functional bathrooms

A multi-functional bathroom can also double up as a space-saving fitness area. Integrating bathroom furnishings dedicated to personal care into a gym system could help keep you in shape at all hours of the day with compact fitness corners, suitable for any types of space.

Room control systems

Air purifying becomes a key concern. As our awareness of health and hygiene comes to the forefront, we look to keep the temperature of rooms controlled in order to promote psycho-physical well-being; evaluating the use of machines capable of transforming oxygen into ozone to fight bacteria, viruses, mites and moulds.

Demands for outside space

Finally, we cannot forget the outdoor environments too (even if it’s just a balcony or a small terrace) – outside areas have been seen as a real luxury throughout the quarantine period, providing that all important access to fresh air and open space. The value placed on outside areas and gardens, what they look like and how to maximise them, will become bigger considerations moving forward in a post-coronavirus world.

In short, it is necessary to design quality houses, with intelligent solutions that allow you to optimise spaces that are no longer a trivial copy and paste from design magazines but that, on the contrary, are able to reflect the personality and way of life by those who live there!

This post is part of a series exploring the ways that the health emergency of Covid-19 has changed the way we conceive public and private spaces. Click here to read the first post. 

About the Author

Elisabetta de Strobel is an internationally acclaimed Interior Designer and Art Director, originally from Rome. Her studio offers expert consultation services for interior design, product design, branding and strategic market analysis.

If you’d like to become SBID Accredited, click here to find out more. 

SBID Accredited Partner, Ledbury Studio opened the doors of its bespoke kitchen furniture showroom in 2019, but founder Charlie Smallbone is no newcomer to the industry. The legendary designer has been pushing the boundaries of kitchen design for over 40 years.

What is your kitchen design philosophy?

‘A kitchen is for life’. I said that to the actor George Layton in 1981, when I installed one of my first kitchen designs at his London home and I still believe it to this day. At the time, though, I think George was more concerned with the cost of the kitchen than with my musings!

That said, Ledbury Studio is much more about the future than the past – every day I look forward and try to produce something unique. I still want to deliver contemporary designs using beautiful, mostly well-known materials, but I am looking to treat them in a radical way to produce something that can’t be found anywhere else.

Parquet flooring defines the kitchen area in the open-plan living room.
The glass unit with distinctive dropped-height worktop makes a display of beautiful glassware.

What materials did you choose to work with for your Ledbury Studio designs?

Traditionally, the use of metal in the kitchen has been largely reserved for appliances and handles, with polished stainless steel and brass the prime material choices. But having worked with both solid and liquid metal progressively for a number of years now, the idea of broadening the application of metal in the kitchen and taking it beyond its traditional uses excited me. It was also was one of my primary inspirations in founding Ledbury Studio.

From the outset I realised that this application of metals needs to be carefully executed. For this reason, I decided to take a disciplined approach with our first Ledbury Studio kitchen concept, the Metallics Collection – to use ‘metal with integrity’. So, rather than using liquid metal finishes, I opted to explore the potential of solid metals: initially copper, pewter, zinc, bronze and stainless steel. At the same time, we also considered the practicality of the finish that we were applying; aware of the potentially debilitating impact of extreme heat and water penetration. We then moved on to assess suitability of finishes in different areas of the kitchen.

Design is always about more than simply making something look nice. But I have found that incorporating these metals, and researching the different finish possibilities that each has, really does bring a unique quality to a kitchen.

Can you talk us through the Ledbury Studio design process?

The process starts with a design consultation during which we will review any architectural plans. If clients don’t have them, we will arrange a site visit so that we can measure their proposed space and chat about how best to maximise it. At this point we are able to start putting a conceptual layout together including hand sketches and some initial 3D spatial concept modelling and material selection, based on what we have already talked about. At the same time, we will also provide an initial estimate of cost (furniture, appliances, delivery and installation).

Once we have an agreement on the basic design, budget and quote, we move forward with floor plans, 2D elevations and a formal estimate. At this point we like to create material selection mood boards and also, as required, 3D renders, as this helps us really get to grips with how the design will look and work in the space.

Finally, we drill down to specific fascia finishes, and worktop and splashback materials. By now we want our client to have a real feel for the kitchen and how individual areas of the design are going to work.

How closely do you work with you clients to create the final design?

The best kitchens evolve from a design process that is a rooted in the ideas and interests of our clients, which then combines with the design expertise of the team. This process informs initial ideas on which materials are going to work best for the kitchen design.

A good example of this was on our Cheshire Kitchen. The design was influenced and underpinned by the client’s collection of pewter-ware, which had been collected over many years. Inspired by the material, we decided to incorporate quite a number of pewter doors on the kitchen cabinetry. We ‘hand-textured’ sheets of pewter, and applied a patina using acids to age it, finally sealing the surface with lacquer.

Copper-fronted units house the ovens and integrated fridge-freezer, with cupboards above.

Where are your kitchens made and who do you work with?

Our kitchens are built in our Wiltshire workshop by a small team, who have worked with us for many years, from our Smallbone of Devizes and Mark Wilkinson days.

We also collaborate with a handful of talented artists and artisans: Emma Culshaw Bell, an artist and specialist painter who creates bespoke colours and finishes for our painted furniture, and designs and fabricates the Verre Eglomise incorporated into our kitchens; Quentin Reynolds, the craftsman behind our pewter door fronts; and George Winks who carves wood beautifully. We have worked carefully, on a project-by-project basis, to incorporate these elements into our furniture.

What’s the best part of your job?

It’s the enjoyment that comes from working with talented people, bringing designs to life and creating furniture that inevitably is more complex as a result of that teamwork. For me, an open and collaborative process is always infinitely more satisfying than working solo. Of course, the process needs structure. But it’s important to try to maintain enough freedom to be flexible. That way, if something unexpected and good arises, we can work to incorporate it in the final design. This is really what I love about my job – to watch the evolution of an idea, and then to see the finished result in someone’s home.

Want to become SBID Accredited? Click here for more information.

Richard Angel, founder and managing director of SBID Accredited Design Practice, Angel O’Donnell reveals his unique perspective on managing an interior design studio. After making an award-winning comeback following a period of redundancy, he launched his own practice with co-founder and interior designer, Ed O’Donnell.

What is your current job?

I’m founder and managing director of Angel O’Donnell, a London based design house that I founded with Ed O’Donnell in October 2018. My role is the business generator, together with the overall running and strategy that we adopt as a studio. As the initial customer point of contact for AOD, my role is incredibly client facing and whilst Ed takes over the client management once a project is in the studio, I really like to maintain the interface with our clients at all times, even if that is for a coffee and a chat to check in and see how things are!

What is your background and how did you get into interior design?

I started life as a chartered surveyor but have always loved the creative industry. I was previously working for a major developer in London when I was asked to join an interior studio, whom I was a client of, and who were in the process of selling their business. The Private Equity buyers wanted to increase the firm’s presence in London and so were really looking for someone to spearhead that expansion. I joined as London MD which is where I met Ed and we got on fantastically well, and realised that our mindset was very much alike!

However, in April 2018, I was made redundant and after some soul searching and a lot of research, realised that I could offer a better, more commercially astute service within a crowded market – but needed a phenomenal designer to compliment my skillset. I approached Ed and in October 2018 the doors were open for business and we won our first commissions shortly thereafter. Then in October 2019, on our 1st anniversary, we won our award from the SBID International Design Awards. To be recognised globally by the industry professional body, with a hugely respected judging panel, as being one of the best at what we do, was a huge accolade and somewhat humbling, especially when we were up against competition from some of the industry greats internationally.

Describe an average day in your job role..

Well it’s slightly different now compared to prior to Covid-19. Before lockdown, it was always an early start! I like to kick start the day with a spin class or gym session, and then I’m on the train to make the commute from my cottage in West Sussex into our office in Soho. This is when I’m able to plough through my paperwork and emails that have come in overnight, together with catching up on my diary and to-do list! Once in London, I grab my regular flat white from Grind on Beak Street and have a catch up with Ed on projects, what’s happening and when, together with a creative review of designs that are in hand. From 12pm onwards, I’m out of the office, meeting new clients, catching up with existing ones and generating new business. Often, I’ll meet up with an old contact in the property industry for a light lunch. I tend to work a long day and will attend an evening event at least 3 times a week in London, networking or learning. I’m a member of Soho House and they put on some great professional talks which I find so interesting and inspiring, they’re not necessarily design related but do challenge the way I think!

However, since March my daily routine has changed somewhat! Now, it starts with a Joe Wicks exercise routine at 9am with my kids, catch up with Ed over Teams (which thankfully we’ve been using for about 18 months now so there is little change), updating our live blog (www.angelodonnell.com/blog) and then dealing with the tasks for the day, partaking in a number of webinars and coupled with some maths and English tutorials!! Quite a balancing act!!

We’ve had a big drive on social media recently, where we’ve been wanting to put our skills to use helping others, which has led to our ‘Wednesday Wisdom’ series on Instagram’s IGTV. The response to that has been great, helping our followers with a number of the burning design issues that they’ve been wanting to deal with, especially now that they’re spending so much time at home! I always, always finish each day with exercise and yoga or meditation, it’s so good to clear the mind and stay physically and mentally fit.

Lockdown has been an incredibly busy period for me, other than Angel O’Donnell, I co-own a hotel in Surrey which was obviously forced to shut, so that has been challenge unfortunately having to deal with the furloughing of all the staff and navigating a path in uncertain times. However, I always recognised that the hotel was not fit for purpose in its current form, even prior to the pandemic, and thankfully during lockdown, I’ve secured planning to convert part of the hotel into 18 residential units and another part that’s Grade II listed into a boutique restaurant with 12 bedrooms, which I have confidence will no doubt be hugely attractive in the future as we see an uptake in the ‘stay-cation’ market.

Which elements of your profession do you enjoy the most and/or find the most rewarding?

I love the excitement of bringing on a new client and turning an idea or a dream into a reality! I love people and being able to surround myself with great colleagues, and amazing clients is a dream! Many of our clients worry about not having the vision or are sometimes embarrassed to express their taste and style ideas and it’s incredibly rewarding when we’re able to find the thread that inspires them and to pull that into a design.

Furthermore, I love the creativity and drive of entrepreneurship, thinking of new ideas, testing them and making them happen! I’m so lucky to have Ed as a business partner, we get on fantastically and have completely complimentary skills, which makes for a brilliant fit and is incredibly rewarding!

Is there anything new you are excited to be working on?

Yes!!! We’ve just finished the tallest Build-to-Rent building in London for Canary Wharf Group, designing all their front of house and communal areas and the results are fantastic! We’re also on site on our second project for a particular client in Fitzrovia, having completed his first home in the summer of 2019 which he wanted to refurbish to sell. He’s now down-sizing into what will be the most fabulous pied-a-terre, so it’s great now bringing that to reality!

I’m also a little proud that Ed and I have managed to pitch for the work, secure the contract and design the most fabulous penthouse in a tower on the banks of the Thames in London, doing so entirely remotely during lockdown! This really will be the most phenomenal apartment and I can’t say much at this stage, other than it has a vast roof terrace with spectacular views of London, and we have plans for a sunken, outdoor lounge and a hot tub, it will be a pretty special place to sip champagne from when complete!!

What do you find the most challenging aspects of your job?

Lack of time!! Time is such a precious commodity and being a still relatively new business, it’s still very much Ed and I doing everything which is great on the one hand but means I’m working incredibly long hours on the other!! Nick Jenkins, founder of MoonPig, talks about working smart and not hard and I’m trying to embrace that, employing others where I can so I can delegate and really using technology to help make my life easier but it also takes time to know what tech is best to suit our needs and then learning how to use it!

More recently, it’s been lack of human, physical interaction when trying to develop business but we’ve secured two jobs during lockdown, which whilst they’ve been a challenge, they have also been the most rewarding, as we’ve really had to think creatively in how to secure the work.

What do you wish you knew before working in the field?

The secret to fee scales and how best to charge clients! If I knew that, then I’d be winning all the work I pitch for!!

What would you tell your younger self if you had the chance?

Tenacity is critical. Learn your craft, have the strength of your convictions, and don’t take no for an answer, and success will follow. There is also no such word as can’t!!

To those that are reading this, I would say that the coming months, and possibly years, are going to be very difficult for many both in and out of the industry. Sadly, we will see a lot of redundancies and many businesses will not survive. However, for those that can show tenacity, resilience, and an incredible work ethic in the face of adversity, they will come out stronger than ever. It was only two years ago that I was made redundant; I had huge concerns as to how I was going to cope financially and what the future had in store for me but I spent time thinking about how to create a business and drive success, 18 months later I was celebrating my win at the SBID 2019 Awards! You just need to believe in yourself!

What has been your favourite project to work on?

That is a tricky question, as they have all been great, with different challenges along the way but with fantastic results! However, if I had to choose one, it would be The Atlas Building penthouse in Shoreditch. The client had high expectations but was a dream to work for, we loved the collaboration between ourselves and our client, and the result was incredible!

What do you think is the biggest problem the interior design industry faces?

I think it needs to be recognised as a professional body, much the same as RIBA or RICS for architects and surveyors alike. Furthermore, is the issue with fees, it’s been spoken about numerous times at SBID events and in the wider press on fees not being paid and the challenges being faced, particularly around the final payment. There are now several online escrow account businesses, where provided there are cast iron terms of business between the client and the customer, monies can be held in escrow before a payment is due or a dispute arises.

Who do you admire the most in the industry and why?

I really admire those that are multi-faceted in their business interests, the likes of Kit Kemp being both interior designer and hotel owner, Chloe Macintosh for her work on Made.com and then creativity at Soho House, and in the same vain Vicky Charles for the Soho House ‘look’ she has been so fundamental in achieving and that people want to emanate, and of course my friend Edo Mapelli Mozzi who has created both a successful design studio and real estate development business.

Want to become SBID Accredited? Click here for more information.

As lockdown now begins to lift and life starts returning to a very new kind of ‘normal’, we’ve had the time to re-consider our lifestyles and re-asses our living environments. For many, the new normal sees much more of our time being spent at home. The focus therefore turns to residential design, as we look to upgrade tired interiors or reconfigure homes for a more functional layout. This month we’re sharing some of the inspiring interior designs from last year’s SBID Awards finalists, offering some much needed interior inspiration as the importance of residential design continues to grow.

Residential Apartment Under £1M

Christopher Tan Design – One KL @ KLCC

Based closely on an aquatic theme, the use of blue accents and fluid lines infused a sense of serenity associated with the attributes of water. Engulfed by sleek, stylish furnishing details, this sophisticated design serves as a contemporary upgrade to the apartment while retaining the architectural brilliance of its structure. Functioning as a sanctuary and a place to entertain, the aquatic themed design, inspired by the pool, instinctively emboldens the interior with an aesthetic that echoes the chicness and grandeur of a home located at the heart of a city.

Kirsten Schwalgien Design – Loft BuresQ

Situated in one of the most iconic Modernist buildings, the loft adapts its historic space to contemporary use as a habitable, sophisticated home. Private zones were separated from the living area with a wooden clad ‘box’ and the gallery featuring industrial glass windows was included for enhanced privacy. All original pillars supporting the 4 metre height ceiling remained exposed and the rooms were developed around them. KSD designed almost all furniture custom to the place and person, not only in size but also in context, legacy and aesthetic. Main materials include veneered varnished chestnut, natural stone and original brick. Green marble was paired with elements in untreated brass that will age naturally developing a beautiful patina. KSD focused on specific qualities and tactility of materials, alternating textures cold with warm, glossy with raw, soft with hard.

Li Yizhong & Associates – Fortress Villa

To suit the personality of the owner, the structure of the space had to be free, open, smooth, and imposing. The building is on sloping land, with a difference of nearly one floor between the front and back: the entrance is low and the large garden is high up. The design included a sunken garden, which improved the ventilation and lighting at the back of the first floor and improved the quality of the space. On the second floor is the living room, dining room, kitchen, and a bedroom. This floor is benefits from an open and free layout closely connected to the outdoor garden, thus expanding the boundary of human activities and increasing the sense of freedom. The living room space is double height, which highlights the momentum of the space. The original beam cannot be removed because of the structure, so a bridge was designed to the third-storey balcony, increasing the level of space.

Sheree Stuart Design – Toronto Penthouse

The design of this two-story penthouse located in the heart of downtown Toronto takes a cue from the clients’ love of travel and their growing collection of Asian antiquities and art. The design team has imbued the space with the Japanese aesthetic of simplicity, modernism and an earth-toned palette. Every aspect of the penthouse is customised, from the lighting, millwork and flooring to the furniture and cabinet hardware. The result is a luxurious and tranquil retreat that more than meets the homeowners’ objectives and satisfies this designer’s criteria for a successful project: a customised interior that enhances the clients’ living experience, delivered on time and on budget. The unique design of this penthouse fits beautifully into the wider environment and features 360-degree views of beautiful downtown Toronto.

Residential House Under £1M

AND Design Co – Chapters

Chiseled volumes, striking artworks and understated luxury define this home. The property bears a footprint of 2,500 square metres, with 1,000 square metres built-up. The layout of the house amalgamates into the letters H and I, which are the initials of the client’s names, making it a signature feature of the house. The ground floor has a double height foyer, a formal and informal living room, parents’ and guest bedrooms, a prayer room, dining room, kitchen and powder room. The outdoor space houses a swimming pool, sit-out deck, a dining nook and servant’s quarters, while the upper floor has the master bedroom, kid’s bedroom, another guest room, a gym and an open terrace. The concept of the project revolves around the idea of diminishing the barrier of built and natural environment by bringing in the exteriors within the interior habitat.

This 2,100-square-foot weekend residence was built in Seadrift on the Stinson Lagoon in Marin County, California. Although the lagoon is filled with Pacific Ocean sea water, it is shallow and warm – much like a lake and so used for swimming, paddling, and many other non-motorised water sports. While beach houses are often tattered and somewhat quirky, this one is meant to be modern and refined, yet casual. It was created for a family of five that live in San Francisco who surf, cook, craft, and party.

JIXI DESIGN STUDIO – 360 degrees, 180 degrees, 90 degrees

The design of the house is based on the situation of the building and the advantages of outdoor window views, with a 360-degree circle as the main axis. Double moving lines are adopted in the porch, making the centre the beginning of the space. The flowing circle runs through the public space, breaking the thinking that indoor space requires square planning to effectively use the space. The moving lines naturally and smoothly guide the movement within each block. Ceiling, spatial allocation, and even wall design all carry the round form, which lets the sensibility of flowing and roundness expand in space.

SHANGHAI BENJAI ARCHITECTURE – Shangkun Yueshan Peninsul Showcase

The Shangkun Yueshan Peninsula Project is located in Sheshan Plate, Songjiang District, Shanghai, an area surrounded by mountains, rivers and shade, all of which are aspects of island life that city dwellers desire when escaping urban living. The concepts of art and home were the starting point of the project. Using advanced colours, changeable space and concise lines; the design paints a picture of the modern dweller’s art and life intertwined. The most interesting feature is the ‘pipe’, which gives the project a more playful feel and an artistic edge; it makes the whole design more individual and dynamic. The whole underground space uses design to create a joyful feeling. It’s an amusement park and an art salon; the space is staggered and the joy here is extraordinary.

Residential Design Over £1M

Godwin Austen Johnson – Serenia Residences The Palm Jumeirah

Serenia is an exclusive gated beachfront residence located on a unique beachfront plot on the crescent of The Palm Jumeirah. This exclusive community offers residents an unrivalled connection to nature and relaxed bliss with its sophisticated architecture and contemporary interior design; floor-to-ceiling glass blurs the boundaries between outdoors and indoors providing panoramic views of the city skyline and ocean and a tranquil home.

STA Architectural Group – Palazzo del Cielo

With sweeping views of the Atlantic, the 47th-floor Palazzo del Cielo is perched atop an exclusive, oceanfront tower and located on Florida’s Riviera – Sunny Isles Beach. STA took great pleasure in handpicking each finish, travelling throughout Europe and Asia to find a unique collection of luxury stones. They created a memorable palette of materials which flow effortlessly – imbuing the space with a strong sense of permanence, freshness and colour. STA curated a collection of furniture and art with a colour palette echoing the accents of the natural environment and designed enormous, hand-cast light fixtures and hand-woven area rugs to fill the vast spaces of this penthouse. The end result is the culmination of a seven-year journey for STA and their long-time clients – one to craft a space that can be called ‘the world’s finest’.

Opaal Interiors – Mamsha Penthouse

Mamsha Al Saadiyat penthouse is a beachfront property located in the Saadiyat Cultural District. The penthouse offers a range of one to four-bedroom apartments as well as limited numbers of penthouses and townhouses. The residential property is adjacent to the 1.4km white sandy beach provide endless stunning sea views. These luxury apartments are is just minutes’ walking distance to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, as well as The District retail destination. Residents can enjoy the unique fusion of a lively downtown destination with a wonderfully relaxed coastal ambiance.

Roth Architecture – Uh May Residence

The residence harmoniously blends in with the environment, respecting and honouring the natural habitat that hosts it. With no straight lines or sharp angles, it respects the organic shapes of the ground on which it was built. There is real purpose in its design: to force us to be present, paying attention and observing our every step. The use of ferro-cement was specifically chosen to avoid the introduction of heavy machinery into the jungle, thus preventing the felling of 250 trees. Moreover, the material gives the space a cosy feeling. The finish, carefully crafted with local materials, makes this a unique space of purely organic forms. Meticulously conceived thorough attention to detail and amenities for entertainment, this property redefines life in the jungle, promoting a non-invasive dialogue between architecture and its natural surroundings.

The 2020 edition of the SBID International Design Awards is now open for entries.

Entries close on Friday 12 June.

Visit sbidawards.com to enter now!

Project of the Week

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a luxury interior design which reflects the elegance and exclusiveness of its location. Since the end of the 19th Century, Gardone has been one of the most exclusive places on Lake Garda. Landau + Kindelbacher, used a range of colours rich in contrast, drawing influence from traditional stimuli: the aquamarine of Lake Garda, the painted timbers of the elegant Riva boats as well as the lemon-yellow touches from the surrounding lemon orchards.

The high-class furnishings and fittings and the incomparable setting beside Lake Garda, assure the attraction of the project. From everywhere on the site, one has a fantastic view of the lake. Both the architecture and the interior design have succeeded, with their individual designs for the luxury villas, in meeting the highest demands of the future owners.

SBID Awards Category: Residential Design Over £1 Million Sponsored by THG Paris

Practice: Landau + Kindelbacher Architekten – Innenarchitekten

Project: Villa at Lake Garda

Location: Brescia, Italy

What was the client’s brief? 

The brief was to design a modern luxury Villa on this breathtaking building site at Gardone Sopra overlooking the Lake Garda catching in all those beautiful views over the landscape. The goal was to fuse interior design, architecture and landscape design into one consistent Project.

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

The inspiration came from all the southern colors you will find around the Lake Garda, the lemon trees with their Limonaia structures and the mahogany RIVA Yachts and finally the color of the water and the sky.

What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?

The very short timeline and just to get the design team physically on the building site, taking the James Bond proven Gardesana route on the east bank of Lake Garda.

What was your highlight of the project?

The whole design team was invited to join the Grand Opening Party of the Villa and we could see that all our ideas had worked out perfectly.

Why did you enter the SBID Awards?

The quality of the SBID Awards is really outstanding and we think it is one of the most prestigious awards within the interior design community.

Questions answered by Gerhard Landau, Managing Partner, Landau + Kindelbacher.

We hope you feel inspired by this week’s luxury design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week, featuring a minimalist residential extension, click here to see more.

We spend about a third of our lives asleep. According to the Mental Health Foundation, it is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing, and is vital for maintaining good mental and physical health.

The bedroom is also one of the most important rooms of the home in feng shui philosophy. By incorporating certain elements into bedroom spaces, you can create harmony and comfort which can lead to improved wellbeing, better sleep and increased relaxation. Yves Delorme, specialists in luxury home linens and bedding, share key decoration tips for designers to maximise bedroom designs for the comfort and wellbeing of clients.

Choice of Bedlinen

To get the perfect bedding, first decide whether non-allergic filling is needed, then consider which tog rating is right for your client and appropriate for the time of the year. While thread count is a consideration, there are other important features to measure comfort, quality and value: the type of  cotton, the feel of the fabric, and the nature of the finishing. The thread count of “standard” cotton or muslin is around 150; good-quality sheets start at 180-thread count; and a count of 200 and higher is considered ‘percale’.

Thread count also has to do with the yarn construction and quality of the yarn. With finer threads, like those produced with Egyptian cotton, more can be woven into each square inch, producing a finer, softer, more flexible fabric.

Choosing the right size duvet:

If the client in prone to toss and turn in their sleep, choose an overhang of 30-40 centimetres!

Bed Width (cm)

  1. Single: 90
  2. Double: 135
  3. King: 150
  4. Super King: 180

Recommended Duvet Size (cm)

  1. 140×200 or 200×200
  2. 200×200 or 240×220
  3. 240×220 or 260×220
  4. 260×220

Smells and Relaxation

Good interior design should appeal to all  the senses: vision, hearing, touch and smell. Smell tends to be the most powerful link to emotions and feelings so should not be overlooked when it comes to the bedroom!

Whether you opt for fragrances in the form of candles, pillow mist, or room sprays, these soothing smells are proven to promote rest and relaxation. Another trick is to spray perfume on crystals;  amethyst is a widely known as the sleep crystal – it provides a soothing and serene frequency. Perfect for placement on a bedside table!

Considering Feng Shui

According to feng shui, you should incorporate five elements in a home:

Fire elements are often considered the most powerful and can be represented through candles, or by incorporating the colour red!

Earth gives a sense of security and grounding. For this, using textiles in a granite or earthy colours, adding rock features, thick carpet and antique pottery can help to bring the earth element indoors.

Metal stimulates mental strength and intellectual abilities, making it easier to focus and think clearly; try incorporating metal elements with sculptures or bed frames for example.

Water helps promote calm energies in a room. Reflect this with additions like aquariums, water features, free-form artwork, or fluid glass statues.

Wood helps to develop creative energies such as inspiration, motivation and passion. This can be represented through wooden floors and furniture, as well as plants or trees.

Bedroom Design Tips:

Avoid Sharp Edges

Soften your space by adding more natural decor like plants, lamps, sculptures and other smooth edges to provide balance and fluidity.


Window Coverage

Daylight can disrupt sleep and influence our biological clock. Adding darker drapes or curtains along both sides of the window can create a cosier feel and keep light from the outside blocked out.


Minimise Electronics

EMFs are electric and magnetic fields created by electronic devices. They can be harmful and affect wellbeing, including influencing quality of sleep. Keep your smartphone at least three feet from where you rest your head.


Organise Your Bookshelf

Clutter is a low, stagnant and confusing energy that drains our energy, so organisation can make or break a room’s feng shui. Organise your books based on colour and weight – placing the heavier books at the bottom of the book case.


Adding a Headboard

A headboard represents stability and support in your life – adding a sturdy headboard to your bed creates a more secure feeling over a bare wall.


Bring Down Tall Ceilings

With a larger spaces, we can feel less in control of surroundings, causing us to sleep on high alert rather than fully relaxed. If you want to bring down the height, there are a few tactics like painting the ceiling a darker colour or adding visual interest to the lower half of the room with pillows, area rugs or vases. You can also hang crystals or use low hanging lights!


Keep Work Out

This is designed to be a restful space so if possible, resist the urge to convert some of this space into a small home office. Work associated items like laptops and phones create a distracting environment, making it more difficult to swtich off, de-stress and relax.

About the Author

SBID Accredited Industry Partner, Yves Delorme shares its passion for luxury home linens since 1845, with a sophisticated collection of quality bed and bath linens made of the finest Egyptian Cotton

This article was written by Prune Allain des Beauvais, Head of Marketing at Yves Delorme.

If you’d like to become SBID Accredited, click here to find out more. 

SBID Accredited Partner, Mark Taylor, managing director of Mark Taylor Design reveals his journey in the design profession, and shares the advice he would give his younger self before he began his career as a designer.

What is your current job?

I’m the Managing Director of Mark Taylor Design, a British furniture design business, responsible for designing, manufacturing and fitting kitchens, bathrooms, studies, bedrooms, staircases and more.

What is your background and how did you get into interior design?

The company was set up 20 years ago, because I was trained in both furniture production and management and was a keen designer.  I also completed an MBA and wanted to apply all these skills to build a business doing something I loved in this industry.

Describe an average day in your job role..

I will get in by 8.30am most days, contact clients throughout the day to ensure everybody is happy.  I have a meeting most days with my teams on various projects.  I might be designing or sketching, liaising with suppliers, costing projects, sourcing materials, working with my interior design team and, depending on the day, there’s usually a site visit or two.

Which elements of your profession do you enjoy the most and/or find the most rewarding?

Winning really exciting projects at one end, and seeing great work installed and happy clients at the other.  I get a real sense of achievement out of a problem cleverly solved.

Is there anything new you are excited to be working on?

We are about to work on a swimming pool and gym construction which is exciting, as it’s a ‘start from scratch’ project, in a beautiful setting, with a client I’ve worked with a great deal in the past.  This is the next phase of turning his home into his perfect home, which is always very satisfying.

What do you find the most challenging aspects of your job?

Finding enough hours!

What would you tell your younger self if you had the chance?

Don’t be afraid to be bold in your designs. Use interesting materials and play with shape and colour.  As I’ve become more experienced, I’ve learnt that the braver designs are the ones that the client remembers and enjoys most – they have a talking point and so do we! When I was starting out, I always worried that my simple designs wouldn’t be noticed. I’ve learnt that the opposite is true; simpler is often bolder and more stunning than complicated. Finally, having conviction in your ideas.

What has been your favourite project to work on?

Working alongside Interior Design, Charlotte Jackson of Nice Brew Design, we fitted out a very large basement extension, with a bar, bowling alley, wine cellar and entertaining space. It was a great project because the space was large but dark. The lighting and ambience of every element of this space was so crucial to it feeling comfortable and exciting. We worked with different textures, materials and even screens to bring the space to life.

What do you think is the biggest problem the interior design industry faces?

I’m not sure. It feels healthy to us at the moment. The world is quite fragile though with Covid-19, and I guess it might be about whether people have the funds to afford interior design. Hopefully, the economic recovery will be relatively swift and people will continue to see the value of investing in their  homes.

Who do you admire the most in the industry and why?

Small artisan craftsmen are still my greatest source of admiration because of the enormous love they have for what they produce, and for the techniques and skills that are so precious to us.  Those who are teaching younger manufacturers and designers these traditional skills, and who are adapting them to today’s market are fantastic examples of how our industry will stay relevant and desirable.

Want to become SBID Accredited? Click here for more information.

Project of the Week

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a light and airy residential design. This large and comfortable house had already been extended 10 years earlier, but this was demolished to provide an even larger replacement, featuring a study area, extra living space and a small service kitchen hidden behind a full-height sliding door.

In keeping with the calm and minimal tone requested by the client, SBID Accredited Design Practise, Richard Dewhurst Interior Architecture chose a muted colour palette was used throughout the house. The odd burst of colour was, however, tactfully used in the smaller spaces of the house, such as the bathroom and study.

Practice: Richard Dewhurst Interior Architecture

Project: Balham House Extension

Location: Balham, United Kingdom

What was the client’s brief? 

The brief was to design a light and airy rear extension that didn’t simply feel like a white box grafted onto the back of the house and that was both calming and minimal. She also wanted a very impressive and modern kitchen, but one that was easy to use and could hide the mess as she readily admitted that cooking wasn’t really her thing!

In general, my client had quite a conservative approach to the project, but thankfully she was very happy for me to get creative with the guest loo, which proved to be fun.

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

The main driving factor behind this design was my enthusiasm for clerestory windows and the calmness and clarity of light they bring to a space. Having seen plenty of them in other buildings, I was excited to finally get the opportunity to build one.

What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?

The clerestory window feature was more complex to design and detail than I’d originally thought, meaning that I had to work closely with the window manufacturer and structural engineer to ensure that it functioned well and looked good.

Also, I desperately tried to convince my client that she should replace her sixty-foot long fake grass lawn with the real thing, as I’m getting increasingly frustrated and upset by the environmental damage this stuff causes to the local ecology, especially when considering the role city back gardens play in creating wildlife corridors in urban areas. Unfortunately, this was a battle I couldn’t win.

What was your highlight of the project?

I was so pleased that my client loved the clerestory window and the guest loo as it always surprises her guests; they simply don’t expect to see the stretch ceiling and seamless walls!

Questions answered by Richard Dewhurst, founder, Richard Dewhurst Interior Architecture.

We hope you feel inspired by this week’s residential design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week, featuring a unique facility designed to surpass all expectations of a traditional care home, click here to see more.

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