Friday, 17 August 2012

The Mission

"Decoration is much like cooking, and fabrics and papers, floor and wall coverings can be chosen and mixed together and spiced and seasoned with accessories in just the same way as one experiments with tastes and flavours. In both cases, familiarity with the ingredients is one half of the battle; interest and the will to experiments the other." -Mary Gilliatt
I thought that quote above expresses perfectly the way one should try to think about the sometimes large and overwhelming concept of trying to create a beautiful interior to your home. Often a place where not only do you live, sleep, cook and eat, but where you work, or bring up children or store your bike overnight. One of the main ideals I hold, whether for my self or my business is that I want everyone to experience living in some form of splendour. Whether that splendour includes an elegantly wrought iron re-purposed piece of machinery to hang that bike off in the hall way or not. But that is the exact type of thing I want to help people address in their lives. Why should you have to shuffle past your boyfriends ugly muddy bike in your slender hallway, when you could have it stored in a way that could turn it in to a feature, or a piece of art, mud and all! I believe that one should not have to bow to the constrains of size, shape, budget, age (you or the house), location, whether your on the top floor of a 15 story building, or if you rent. None of these issues cannot be over come. Why should the inhabitant of a 3 room flat on the top floor of an ugly 60's tower block in an inner city with no money have to have a less interesting, stimulating and beautiful interior than the owner of a large detached house in the suburbs with £40,000 coming in a year? If anything, I have no doubt the more interesting and stimulating interior will always belong to the type of person that could be perceived to have more issues to over come.

Office space squished in to a cupboard. Creativity doesn't have to be limited by space and money.
So what am I trying to say here? I think I'm trying to say that good interior design is accessible to everyone from every demographic and geographic, income, and in fact aspiration level.

Storage solutions can be beautiful, they don't have to be ugly plastic boxes under the bed

I am well aware that for many people an 'interior' is simply somewhere dry, and with luck warm. But I still see no reason why these people cannot have on offer to them a selection of interesting, one-off, personalised and useful items to make their space somewhere that is well designed and enjoyable to live in. I'm not saying that I want to make it my mission to impose good interior design/beautiful living on people. Although it would be a lovely thing to try, I simply think it's unrealistic to assume that if you even manage to prevail and convince some people that not leaving your sofa on the front lawn to rot is a good idea, I doubt it would stick in those cases. I'd love to think it would...but I have doubts. On the other hand, there must be huge amounts of people who do want to live in beautiful surroundings, but have found that modern living, muddy bikes, children, lack of space for the laundry pile etc etc etc have got in the way. I know I do.

See? A bike in the hall can be a feature!

This is what I think I want to achieve. I want to bring to the people who want beautiful, interesting and practical interiors the chance to obtain it. Obviously by starting with my shop, Chloe and the Chimera. I feel this is the simplest way to start without a degree in interior design and a fair amount of start up capital. At least I can offer affordable, but beautiful and useful items to adorn a home. But referring back to the quote at the top, interior design can be seen very simply. It's just a mix of various ideas, textures, colours, layouts and furniture. The talent part comes in when being able to asses whether what you have created is essentially a work of art, or absolute rubbish! Obviously you would rather make the mistakes on paper or in your head before ripping up a room and spending hundreds of pounds, I guess that's where further talent comes in. What I'm trying to say here is that everyone has the ability to design their own interior with a bit of foresight and a pen and paper.

Everyone can design their own space. And you should! That's what make it yours, not an Ikea showroom.

Clearly someone reading this is going to throw up their hands of roll their eyes and say something along the lines of 'but I don't have an artistic bone in my body.'

With all due respect, that's rubbish.

I am willing to admit that everyone had natural strengths and weaknesses. I mean, I consider my self an artist of sorts, and yet, put a paint brush in my hand and you will be proffered something akin to what your 6 year old has done (possibly with far less skill.) But I am also willing to admit that I am useless at painting because I have never applied my self to learn properly. No one has ever taught me how to move paint around so that the final result is, for want of a better word, correct (by this I mean that it clearly depends what you're painting, with what, on to what!) So after that admission how can I say everybody can design their own interior? I'm no good at painting, you may be no good at picturing a room with different decor or layout. But it does not mean we cannot learn, it certainly does not mean that we can't have a go! It also doesn't mean that you don't have some vision. Even a tiny bit. If you have a room in your house which isn't quite perfect yet, there is a reason that you know it is not perfect. Which in all probability means you know exactly what is wrong with it (muddy bike in the hall way example for you again there.) That's half the battle! Once you have identified the problem you can start to think of solutions. That's all it is! Even when you go right to the other end of the scale to country houses with rooms the size of a 3-bed semi, all the interior design is addressing is various problems: ceiling is too high, room is too dark, awkward shape, need to change the use entirely, etc & ad nauseum.

If you can see the problems, then you should be able to find a solution.

But to be my normal contrary self, after that paragraph, I am happy to say that although everybody can design for them selves, going back to my little statement that everyone has natural strengths and weaknesses, not everybody can design for them selves with equal ability. Hence the need for professionals (or me at some point in the hopefully not too distant future!) Although a lot of the 'professional' part is training in the form of things like remembering not to knock down supporting walls, or to destroy valuable original pieces, or even simple rules of colour combinations, some of it is an ability to come up with different colour ways, layouts, lighting and decor styles etc.

But everyone can do it! Everyone can achieve a lovely interior! It may be a simple Indian Throw (thank you Black Books, see image below) to hide the bike in the hall, but everyone can achieve at least a few steps to an enjoyable place to live. Beautiful surroundings can surround everyone if they but strive!

If Bernard and Manny can do it, so can you!

Clearly I have set my self one hell of a mission!

All images are © Chloe Cooter 2012 unless image links to another website. All images that are not © Chloe Cooter will be linked to the source (if possible) and credited in that way.

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