We all love a niche; that one thing we can focus on in business which sets us apart from the rest; that little 'something' which makes us unique, or that we become known for. The thing that makes us, us! But what makes us choose our niche? What makes one person focus solely on one thing, when another person doing the same job, focusses on something entirely different? What makes us decide not to do the same as everybody else? Why - in other words - have I chosen to design bedrooms above the other rooms in a house?
Well, firstly, let me just say that I will never entirely rule out designing other rooms; I'm not turning my back on the rest of the house, or you lovely people who want other rooms designed. I'm not entirely cutting you out of my market! I'm just going to do things a little differently.
If you book me to design one of your bedrooms and you like what I do and we work well together, then you can talk to me about designing other rooms in the house, too. I'll always be ready to listen and see how I can help!
But the bedroom will be my main focus. Why? Because I love bedrooms!
Bed, Coffee and Love...
Bedrooms are my passion - they bring me joy and make me excited to create. And those of you who know me, know well that there is only one other place that gets me that excited and that is... the coffee shop! Yes, bedrooms and coffee shops are my two interior dream spaces! In my mind, there's a very strong link between the two; two very different places with one mood in common. Romance!
For me, romance is the key emotion to doing what I love; if I do anything well in life, I do it with a romantic heart and a lot of love! If anything makes me happy, it's bound to be romantic, or have romantic ideals about it - even if they're just in my own head!
I love nothing more than being deep in conversation, over a drink or two, with somebody I enjoy the company of; whether it's 'just' a catch up with a friend, a meeting with a new acquaintance, or a coffee to connect with your loved-one after a busy week, sitting with that person in a lovely coffee shop (and it has to be a lovely coffee shop - with nice decor! Failing that - a cocktail bar works, too!) is something that fills my heart with contentment and makes me truly happy in life. I don't know why! I don't know what it is that makes me so happy, relaxed and feeling more confident, but being in a coffee shop does it! It gives me a real feeling of comfort and love.
My Nan always loved a trip to a 'cafe', a "nice cup of tea" - and whenever she cooked food for people, it was always her way of showing love. She was always very generous towards other people, hated to turn anyone in need away and was always talking about romantic regrets, or crying over a romantic movie. Perhaps this is where I get it from.
The bedroom is the only other place that gives me this feeling; and for many different reasons!
I have always been a hopeless romantic - ever since I can remember. I love to see people in love - to see a romantic couple clearly immersed in one another really makes me smile. And so, the bedroom - for obvious reasons - is the perfect space to be romantic with your design. It is the perfect place to let free your imagination and create something that gets you excited to go to bed at night.
And I don't only mean for romantic reasons!
Often, I'm excited to go to bed, so I can feel my body relax as I sink into my sheets; the feeling of the duvet wrapping itself around you in a tight snuggle is such a great feeling after a long day. Sometimes it's the simple fact of being alone in a quiet, cosy room; or settling down with a good book. And of course, drifting off to sleep in a room you love cannot be beaten!
As children, our rooms should inspire us to be creative, teach us who we are and guide us into the adults we become; they should help us to wake up from a good night's sleep with a positive mind and a renewed sense of excitement for the day ahead. Our childhood bedrooms should be filled with our favourite things, decorated in our favourite colours and designed with our passions in mind. They should never be boring, empty or lacking in visual interest, or mental stimulation.
When I was little, my mum struggled financially - so much so that she would have to save for a loaf of bread - but she always made her best effort to make our bedrooms nice spaces; whether it be with cheap sky design wallpaper with birds flying in the clouds, sketches of horses and unicorns she drew for us and pinned to the walls, or an up-cycled chest of drawers she painted with yellow paint - she did whatever she could - even if it wasn't much. I still remember the lovely smell of that lemon yellow paint, too... more so than I remember the designs of the bedrooms themselves!
But our bedrooms are not always filled with great memories; among the reasons which could taint our bedrooms for us - and did, mine - is the fact that many children are sent to their room as punishment, making their private, special room a place of negativity instead. Having grown up with quite a lot of negative energy in my childhood (health issues, an abusive, alcoholic step-father and other traumatic experiences - which my mum, sister and I all experienced together), I have always believed a child living in a settled home with a lovely bedroom and with parents who are able to give them the things they want and need, is a very lucky child indeed!
My next door neighbour (slightly older than me) always had a beautiful bedroom, filled with Sylvanian Families and expensive toy horses and dolls; I was always amazed and envious of her room and wished I could have the same. Unfortunately though, her gains were made from illegal activity, so would I really have wanted the lifestyle that went with it? No.
A girl I went to school with - Geraldine - always had amazing birthday parties and would invite me along; her house was incredible and her bedroom was beautiful. I was always so in awe of it; it was nothing like mine and her whole life seemed so happy and carefree. The memories I have of her birthdays are lovely ones and I remember feeling happy there.
A Very Happy Easter
I do have one very lovely memory of bed though, and that is the year I had chicken pox over Easter. I think I was around eleven at the time and I spent the whole of Easter in my mum's bed, watching daytime television and eating all of my eggs. It was amazing!
Mum would pop her head in to check on me and bring me drinks, and then I'd be left alone to eat myself into a chocolate coma and sleep in peace, before waking up and doing it all over again.
What a great memory!
Of course, I was itching like crazy, but who cares when you've got chocolate?!
Another great bedroom memory I have is the night I stayed with a friend of Mum's. I can't remember her name, or who she was, but I remember her bedrooms. She had two almost identical spare bedrooms, one pink and one blue. They were both decorated in chintz - completely covered in floral print! The walls, curtains and bedding all matched and I thought it was incredible! I think I chose the blue bedroom, because my sister's favourite colour was pink and god forbid..!!
But these bedrooms really inspired me and are probably one of the reasons I came to love design so much as I grew up. I remember thinking they were so over the top, but in such a wonderful way!
The Practical Joker
Growing up, my Mum was a prankster; she would take any opportunity she could to frighten the life out of us - and those moments usually happened at bed-time (don't call Childline - I'm ok (and I turned 40 this month!).
She would often let us watch scary movies with her - horrors and psychological thrillers were always her favourite genres and my sister and I loved a horror (my Nan actually got me into horror at an early age, when I'd watch Nightmare on Elm Street on sleepovers at her house - back in the 80s, when I was still very small)! But at bedtime, Mum would torment us by knocking on windows, creeping into the bedroom with a horrid doll we had that resembled Chuckie, to make us jump and, on the occasions we decided we'd rather sleep with her, by pretending to be asleep and then reaching around us to stroke our heads, so we thought it was someone else.
I know it sounds dreadful and she dies a little every time we tell people about it, but those are some of the happy memories we connect to our bedrooms. She raised us on wit and I guess humour is the way we made it through all the tough times growing up. They are certainly the memories we choose to remember more frequently.
...she still loves to scare us when she can, by the way!
Our Teenage Years
Our teenage bedrooms need to do more for us than they do at any age, I believe.
They need to retain their inspirational, positive qualities, but they also need to motivate us to learn and create more than ever before. We use our teenage rooms to study for school and they help to shape us as we navigate the impossible years of puberty and all the heavy emotions and hormones that come with it.
We share our personal space with our friends, tell our secrets and our dreams; talk about first loves and heartbreaks and rejoice and grieve in that little room of our own. We learn to deal with our differing moods and we hide away in them when we argue with our parents, or fall out with our friends. Whatever you do and whoever you allow to see it, you want your teenage bedroom to impress anybody who walks into it.
When I was fifteen, my mum let me design my own bedroom and I was so excited. Changing Rooms had been on TV and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen was my hero of decor. He was bold and romantic, flamboyant and daring; and he clearly liked arts and history. He was perfect to me back then!
And so, given this opportunity, I opted for black walls, painted with skulls and torches and bones all over the place. I wanted a crypt!
Mum said no.
My second choice was to paint the walls orange. We then rag-rolled a darker orange over the top, added a navy blue fleur-de-lys border and matching window swag and bedding - and finished it with a navy blue carpet. I painted a band logo on my door (3T - remember them?!) and I was set! I'd designed my first bedroom and I loved it! And more importantly - so did all my friends! For once, I was envied for my bedroom and it felt great!
That bedroom saw me through the rest of school, but when I reached my twenties, it was horribly dated. My next bedroom design was much more classy, mature and feminine; lichen green from Farrow & Ball, a collection of books and a beautiful (but tiny!) cream metal framed bed with wooden flooring. It was beautiful - and it inspired years of romantic poetry, erotic stories and creative photography. It was my home and I made it my own.
I loved that decor.
(Photos are taken in this bedroom. I used to take photographs of the finer details in the room, but sadly don't seem to have any of the room's decor as a whole!)
My Journey to my Niche...
All of my adult years, up to now have been spent soul searching; I've worked in many unhappy jobs since leaving school at 19 and whenever I searched inside myself, my creativity always brought me back to the bedroom (not like that!)!
I dabbled at being a wedding photographer, but my desire was to take my camera into the bedroom; I wanted to create wonderfully romantic boudoir photography; something to make tired mothers feel beautiful and couples feel connected.
My favourite shoot was a 'Morning After' (the wedding) shoot, where I shot the newlyweds in bed together. It was a beautiful series of photos; the softness of the sheets and the lovely skin tones made it everything I wanted it to be. The couple loved the intimacy of the photos, which was the most important part - and we managed to get some with their little children snuggled in too, which was lovely. But photography was too much for me with my growing health issues and I had to stop, due to the pain I was in.
In my twenties I had a wildly romantic, but very turbulent relationship with a man who had a fabulous bedroom; an antique four-poster bed with beautiful fabric surrounding it, lusciously soft bedding, luxurious cushions and Pre-Raphaelite artwork on the walls; candles, jewels and a chandelier - the perfect room for creativity and romance! That bedroom is definitely one of reasons I am so in love with bedrooms. We didn't work out, but his bedroom will always be a favourite memory of mine.
Eventually, I came back to my love of interiors and soon discovered that, as always, it is the bedroom that draws me in the most. Everything I do is about making others feel special - making them feel love and happiness; it's about making them feel that they belong somewhere and that 'somewhere' belongs to them.
And what room could belong to one child, one teenager, one adult - or one couple - more than their bedroom?
As a bedroom designer, it is my objective to design your private room with love and care and romance in mind.
Whether that be the romantic notion of a child's room, filled with soft pinks, tutus and lace curtains, billowing in the breeze - inspiring this little girl to dance and sing and create a world of beauty from her mind, or the romantic ideals of a couple's bedroom bringing them closer together in their tired relationship after I've injected a much needed dose of creativity into the space - I intend to fill your room with love and contentment and your heart with joy!
Whether my client is a little boy, dreaming of being an astronaut, or a ballet dancer; a little girl aspiring to be a doctor, or a circus performer - a teenager finding their way into adulthood, or an adult wanting to infuse their character into a plain room - I'll be here to help guide you with my skill and expertise.
I want to help you to love bedrooms as much as I do; and I hope, in turn, that your bedroom will become your favourite room in the house - just as it is in mine.
Thank you so much for reading.
Get in touch!