Last week I attended a fantastic workshop titled 'Don't Move - Improve' at Firefly Light & Design. Held at their showroom in Devonport, the focus of the evening was on light and warmth. Not the fundamentals of insulating and heating, but rather how to surround yourself with great textures and designs that you love.
Nadia Sakey, Firefly's resident interior designer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the business. Having studied for five years at one of the UK's top design academies she obtained a BA Honours degree in surface pattern and interior design. As well as offering her skills to Firefly customers Nadia writes for Homestyle magazine and runs her own Interior Design Consultancy, Hit The Wall, specialising in House Doctoring and custom designed wall-coverings. If you are interested in finding out more about this super-talented lady then keep following as I will be writing a post on her later in the week!
A House Doctor, a term that many Kiwis are still unfamiliar with, examines the 'health issues' of a home, offering expert advice on how to breathe life back into homes that feel tired and dull. This stagnant energy is often caused by spacial issues, a lack of warmth and the biggest culprit of all, inefficient lighting. By getting a health check on your home you can correctly start planning major improvements, whether you are preparing for sale or solving property problems.
While we are about to start building a new home rather than improve a current one, I found the workshop to be hugely informative. Here is a brief outline of the three topics that were covered:
1. Lighting. Often overlooked, even by architects, a well designed lighting plan for your home can literally change your life! Levels of light have an effect on our serotonin (our happy hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone) levels. If you regularly get tired in the afternoon and have issues sleeping at night this is definitely something to consider in assisting change. Firefly are experts in this field and we were shown ways to best utilise different types of lighting for different areas of the home.
2. Window Treatments. Daylight is of course the best source of light, so let it in! Choosing the right products when dressing your windows is vital. Nadia took us through a range of different options for selecting blinds, curtains and fabrics. Blinds provide clean lines, keeping the space around the window clear of clutter. Curtains are a good option when space isn't an issue. Understanding fabric composition will aid in making the right choice whether you require privacy, blockout, or a softer look to let the light filter through. With literally billions of fabric choices out there, Firefly can help with the selection process by looking at your brief and presenting you with the best options to choose from.
3. The fun stuff! My favourite part of the evening, Nadia took us through how to layer texture and colour into a room to reflect our own personal style. This happens after you've got your canvas ready (walls, floors and drapes) and requires choosing one main fabric as a starting point and two or three more to layer into the mix. Nadia has impeccable taste and showed us some examples with fabulous designer fabrics as the starting point. This is your most prominent design and inspiration so she recommends choosing a pattern that you love with at least three colours to play with. To avoid looking formulaic Nadia encourages using contrasting textures, scale, sheen and pattern from different sources rather than using fabric from the same books that do all the matching for you. That then leaves plenty of room for individual expression and you're more likely to get a really interesting result.
I've put together a couple of examples to show how this process works using fabric ranges available from Firefly. This was such a fun exercise!
Lounge Suite | Dandelion Clocks by Sanderson
Curtains | Piave - Jute by Designers Guild
Cushions | Dandelion Embroidery by Sanderson, Glenville - Paprika and Grape by Designers Guild
Headboard and Chair | Fitzroy by Sanderson
Bedspread | Akin by Harlequin
Cushions | Fuschia - Folia and Glenville Acacia by Designers Guild
Some key points to think about...
1. Contrast. One colour should be light, one medium and one dark.
2. Vary pattern size and textures. Starting with a bold graphic or big floral, add a plaid or stripe in coordinating colours, and a small embroidery or solid. Use textured fabric to compliment a sheen.
3. Mix patterns. Linear with curves, stripes or checks with a toile etc.
4. Experiment. Have fun! Play around with swatches until you get the grouping you really like. Always check the patterns and fabrics you like at home in all lights. Colours vary in different environments and lighting conditions – check your swatches against walls, floors and furniture colours.
5. Decide what goes where. To get a true visual and to create balance spread the fabrics out around the room.
Remember these are guidelines, not rules. There are always exceptions!
This was the first workshop held by Firefly Light & Design but judging by the positive feedback and overall success of the night I hope there will be plenty more. Whether you are interested in interior design, renovating or building I highly recommend you head along. You won't be disappointed!