Monday, 15 August 2011

10 minutes on the Couch with Karen from London Property Makeover based in Balham.

With more people picking up the creative bug, there’s an ever growing interest in translating your creativity into the home and surroundings, but where do you start? We had 10 minutes on the couch with Karen founder of London property Makeover and she gave us some food for thought…

Tell us some interesting facts about London Property Makeover?
It began due to my love of makeovers.  I sat on the common having a picnic with friends one day and said “I’m going to get a blackboard and start to advertise Interior Design classes”.  So I found a website design kit and it cost me £25 to set up.  I contacted the local magazines and before long, I was running a class with 10 people. 

What made you start the business up?
I’ve always loved to create things.  I like to have a vision for how something can be improved and am constantly coming up with ideas for new projects.  It was just something that I love to do, and therefore it was easy to make the step to start the website up.  I am currently briefing web designers to take it to the next stage.  I’d like to include a retail shop on the site where people can buy Interior Design items from young, up and coming Designers.

I can only image that someone with such a huge passion for interiors, has amazing/ ever changing home, is that the case?
Yes- I like to change the colour of accessories in my home, according to the season!  My natural style  is fairly neutral with pops of strong colour.
My home is very small so I have had to be very clever with space.  The first thing I did when I moved in was to have built in storage.  It has made the world of difference.  I have used every inch of space...creating an office in a cupboard, using foldaway tables and chairs and utilising the space above doors for book shelves. 

What’s the strangest request you’ve had?
Nothing strange so far.  I have met a few hoarders who will convince me that they absolutely cannot have a clear-out.  I stick by the rule that if you haven’t used it in 6 months and it is not beautiful/ sentimental or functional....then it should go.  As my own home is so small, I need to have a “one in/ one out policy”!

Why did you start the Interior Design workshops?
I love meeting people and helping them to solve problems and inspire them on a project.  I see a general trend of people not wanting to move, but improve their property instead.  Some people do not want the expense of a 1:1 session with an Interior and would rather come along to a class.

What can people expect at your workshops?
It’s good fun and sociable.  It works best if you bring along a photo of the room that you want to work on.  We start off by identifying problems and writing a brief.  I share the challenges that I have faced in the past with case studies.  We cover colour theory/ how to mix fabrics/ spatial planning/ lighting and how to get the ‘wow’ factor.  Most people go away from the course excited and inspired to get planning the renovation of their home.

Do people come to you with the same issues or is every enquiry different?
It’s usually different challenges.  This week I have been working on a nursery (looking at lots of flowers and fairies) and then today I was working on a bachelor pad with masculine colours/ fabrics.
There is a general theme of people liking certain fabrics/ colours but not knowing exactly where to place them in the room.  People are also afraid of making expensive mistakes.

Who do you think has an amazing home?
I love Abigail Ahern’s sense of style.  She mixes rich, dark colours with pops of vivid colour.Abigail Ahern
I have always loved Tricia Guild’s designs.  The way she combines colour and pattern is amazing.  I have a lot of her books and she constantly re-invents her homes. Tricia Guild's Designs

If a career in Interior Design didn’t work out, what was your plan B career?
I always wanted to be a Shoe Designer.  From a very young age, I would make shoes out of paper and draw designs on my own feet in marker pens (I was only aged 5 at the time)!  As a teenager, I wanted to be a Make-up Artist.  I went onto study Design and later got a degree in Marketing.
See the attached image, what would you do to this room to make it more appealing/ desirable/ organised?

Describe London property make over in 3 words.
Stylish/ fun/attainable
Dates for the next Courses:- Sat 10th September- 1pm to 4.30pm at The BBC Bar in Balham
Sat 15th October- 1pm to 4.30pm at The BBC Bar in Balham

There is also a 2-part course in the evening:-
Weds 28th September- 6pm to 8pm at in Chelsea
Weds 5th October- 6pm to 8pm at in Chelsea

Twitter:- @londonmakeover

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