Alina Isaev caught up with A Passion for Homes blogger, Jo Ridout, to find out her inspiration behind starting a blog and writing about interior design. Here are her thoughts and her great design tips!
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING AND WHAT GOT YOU INTO IT?
My friend started telling me about her blog and what she was up to, and I thought it sounded like a great idea to not only share my thoughts and ideas, but also give small companies and individual professionals a free opportunity to have a guest blog to help promote the amazing things that they are doing too! The blog has covered all sorts of topics from bespoke and unique handmade lighting made in Liverpool, to a multi-million pound mews home for sale in Belgravia. It also gives visitors to the blog a variety of information on so many ‘housey’ topics and they are guaranteed to see the unusual as well as the expected! It was born about 18 months ago.
But a blog wasn’t enough, so it grew into a major website – www.apassionforhomes.com – of which the blog is a part. The website has featured many famous brands, designers and celebrities including Kirstie Allsopp, Darcey Bussell, George Clarke, Jean Paul Gaultier at Heal’s, Homebase, Checkatrade.com, Carpetright and Habitat.
The website also features interior design trends, products and details of the latest home-staging and interior design projects I am working on.
*A Passion for Homes
WHAT IS YOUR INTERIOR STYLE AND WHAT INSPIRED IT?
I have to say I really do appreciate all styles, and I especially love it when people add their own quirks and important memory items to a style, and not just copy it out of a magazine (or from www.apassionforhomes.com of course!) However, my favourite style is opulent baroque – metallic, huge chandeliers, ‘over-the-top’ statement chairs, rich colours (such as purple, of course,) velvet and huge ‘in your face’ elaborate mirrors!
But you don’t need to own a stately home to pay homage to this style, as this picture from Littlewoods illustrates, the style can be updated and incorporated easily into a modern home.
I think I have been inspired by my wonderful parents, who used to take me to many different country homes, castles and show-homes as a child – I realise now my Mum was as obsessed with property and design as I am now!
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CHOOSING WALLPAPER TO GO WITH YOUR FLOORING?
Both really need to be part of your pre-planned mood board, otherwise you might be spending many long days and evenings trying to find that a wallpaper design that matches your floorcovering. It’s easier to collect together many, many ideas that you like – take your own photos of ‘room-sets’ in high street stores, use magazines and websites and show-homes for ideas and inspiration. Collect images, samples of wallpaper and material, and also include text – what mood are you trying to create, how you want to feel in the room and what does the room need to do for you (for example, does it need to work hard and have many functions?)
Once you have your theme and your mood board complete, look for products available to purchase to deliver this décor in one time period. I have a friend who has been trying to find ‘the perfect’ wallpaper to match her room scheme for many, many months – she didn’t see the point of using a mood board and now she’s moody and bored of looking!
DO YOU HAVE A DREAM HOME?
What a great question! There’s a ‘more realistic’ detached 1930s gorgeous house around the corner, which is my favourite in the area, and then there’s the fantasy ‘by the sea’ property, which is actually used as Bert Large’s restaurant in the ITV programme Doc Martin, in Port Isaac. It’s literally right on the beach and looks out from the terrace over the harbour. I can see myself there with a glass of wine watching the sunset (and knowing me, having a seagull deposit ‘something special’ to ruin the scene!).
*A Passion for Homes
For a city pad, I love the mews property in Belgravia that a company called Landmass London have developed into a stunning property. It’s featured on www.apassionforhomes.com at the moment, and I have fallen in love with its gorgeous roof terrace!
*Landmass London Belgravia Mews Property
DO YOU PREFER MODERN OR TRADITIONAL HOMES?
I can appreciate the beauty of both, and of a home from any era, but if pushed I’d have to say traditional – I love period features and also the back story of the house that makes it totally unique and special. It might sound a bit strange, but I see homes as individuals – like people!
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR INTERIOR LOOKING GREAT? DO YOU UPDATE IT OFTEN?
Well, it’s not easy! I am naturally quite a messy person, so getting appropriate storage in place has always been a must. I have always tried to keep the base (and more expensive) items such as sofas, dining set and wallpaper as neutral as I can and then have fun changing the soft furnishings, ornaments, rugs and curtains to update the look. I also love a statement chair, so if I am going to change the look of a room more drastically, it usually begins with finding one that I love – like the pink velvet chair by Fearne Cotton from very.co.uk I have recently spotted – gorgeous!
But just changing the cushion covers or adding a rug, or introducing a few new cushions, such as tweed, woodland creatures and faux fur for this season, can be the most economical way of updating without having the expense of redesigning a room.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CARPETRIGHT FLOORING?
Striped carpet in the hall and/or stairs is very popular at the moment, but why not consider it in another room? Stripes don’t have to be bold, I really like the Linear design in this picture as it is contemporary and does its job of zoning the room in a soft and understated way.
*Carpetright’s Linear striped carpet range
WHAT IS THE MOST QUIRKY ACCESSORY THAT YOU USE AS DECORATION?
The most recent thing I have done is glue Christmas decorations onto boring drawer handles and light switches – not Santa or a Christmas tree you understand, but a paisley heart decoration from Ikea. I loved them so much, I didn’t want to see them go up into the dark and dusty loft for a year, so I found a new use for them!
*A Passion for Homes
www.apassionforhomes.com is an interior design, dream homes and products website, an inspirational ‘housey hub’ so please pop round and visit soon! – A Passion for Homes blogger, Jo Ridout