This week I snuck into the home of budding interior designer and founder of Spicer Interiors, Tara Watson. Having developed a passion for interiors whilst traveling the world to places like Kenya, where she had a second home, Tara learnt to accept and recognise colour and pattern from a young age. It was from this point onwards that completing an interiors diploma at KLC Design School seemed like a natural step forward. Shortly after this, Tara fell into the position of being able to search for her own home in the heart of Battersea. Over a year down the line Tara has created one of the most beautiful houses I’ve seen. It’s truly stunning and is a remarkably designed and decorated- and was not a simple process! In light of the fact a renovation project can be daunting but exciting, I thought it would be great to share with you the design process behind such a big project – perhaps it will too inspire you to be bold and take risks. So, if you are planning on redecorating or are simply in need of some design advice and inspiration, read on to find out how Tara managed to create a warm, friendly and functional home.
The bright and airy Victorian house was the first house Tara looked at and she knew instantly that it was ‘the one’. The house was in need of some serious R & R, as the previous owners had been there for thirty years without undertaking any sort of renovation. Tara saw a great opportunity in this house to expand it and match the neighbouring properties – this was not only exciting project to start but a financially wise decision too. To set the scene, on the top floor there was only a single bed room, almost the size of a storage loft space, which she has since opened up to create what is now the large master bedroom and en-suite. To do this, the roof had to be taken off in order to expand the space by 5 times. Another huge renovation part was on the ground floor; there were walls that needed removing to enable the open living light space to be created. Initially the lower part of the house was separated into a living room, dining area and kitchen but Tara wanted it to be an open plan free flowing space. See below to find out how Tara began this process…
1. How would you define your style?
My style would definitely be eclectic. I love throwing together a mismatch of styles to create a harmonious atmosphere. It’s not easy to create a unique workable electric space but when it works, it works beautifully.
2. What was the starting point of the design process for you?
Interior design-wise, the kitchen open living room was where I started my design process. The kitchen after all is the heart of the home so it’s key to get this right. Kitchens also take a long time to get made. I had to think of bathrooms and kitchen equipment to begin with as these take the longest to order. Once I nailed the blue kitchen cabinets my blue theme became apparent and my house formed around this choice of colour. (It also helps that it is my favourite colour too; clique perhaps, but all the same it’s true.)
3. Was there any particular inspiration for you, be it from nature, an era, a specific colour or pattern?
I guess my inspiration came from abroad but mainly it was Morocco. I have a lot of Moroccan fabric designs, lanterns, carpets, tables etc all from Morocco. I went there to source and came back with all these amazing things. I use a lot of nature in my work too, it so important for nature to have its moment in houses. My conservatory is full of plants, cactuses and lemon trees and green is a lovely lush colour.
4. What was you reasoning for this?
In Morocco there’s so many rich colours and designs. My TV snug room is painted in a deep earthy red and my bedroom walls in a moroccan pink that you see on houses all over Morocco. Moroccan colours seems very natural and bright but without the glare. I love using as many natural materials and colours as possible and Morocco is where I see this most.
5. What was the most difficult part of the project? Did you face any challenges and if so, how did you overcome them?
The most difficult part of the design process was my office strangely enough! Only because I didn’t realise my builder had put in a radiator that meant the door couldn’t fully open properly and that meant that when it came to my desk arriving it couldn’t fit through the door due to the radiator, so we had to disconnect it and enable it again, so it was a bit of a palaver!
6. What would your advice be to someone considering buying a property that requires a big renovation?
Take your time and find the right builder. This is so essential. You need to be on the same wave length and have a good relationship. You hear of too many stories of jobs not being completed due to arguments and your house costing far more than you ever expected.
7. What is your favourite part of the house and why?
My bedroom! It’s so peaceful and cosy. The coral Moroccan colour balances with my blue cupboard doors to create a really relaxing room. I chose a very soft carpet up there and my bathroom is just heavenly.
8. If you could have one homeware item that makes a great interior what would it be?
A great light. I think lamps or pendent lights really make a room work.
Text and photography provided by Athina with permission from Tara Watson.