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I’m Yasmin Chopin – Interior designer & speaker
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Remodeling and Home Design
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The role of an interior designer

As part of my contribution to HouzzUK I write a monthly article and was asked to consider the role of the interior designer. The idea of employing an interior designer can be daunting for many. I find people worry that they will be encouraged to spend more than they want, or that the designer will be a bit ‘pushy’. Nothing could be further from the truth if you take the time to pick someone you feel a rapport with, and once found they can be a great help for many years to come.

There are three roles to consider:-

1. CONSULTANCY: Your designer is your inspiration and ideas person. Someone who can give you great advice as well as confidence to move forward with your plans.
2. DESIGN: Your designer works out solutions for your home. Translating ideas into something that can be seen and considered, for instance, with images, samples of materials or drawings in the form of sketches or full size room plans.
3. IMPLEMENTATION: When you get to this stage your designer can manage the project for you. They will get quotes for the work, draw up budgets and time schedules, and supervise the work when it’s under way.

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home-office-modern-Ideal-Home

Messy desk or tidy desk? What it says about you!

Both on-line and off line we need the human factor in our working lives to achieve and be creative. We need to explore ideas with others who are happy so they can act as our sounding board, and to join groups that offer the chance to think in a different way.

Who sees your desk?

It’s apparent that a tidy desk is not the desk of the most creative person but it is the desk of a more health conscious one. So if you want to be creative and healthy you probably need two workspaces and experiment at different times of day to find what works best for you.

The colour purple

At any time of day use the colour purple; it triggers the release of endorphins which can ease stress and improve your mood.Wellbeing purple Mural Designers Guild via Wallpaper direct fish from Amara glasses from Debenhams
A wall mural is one way to introduce purple and a Lalique fish would certainly make me smile as I looked at it. Always keep glassware and surfaces clean and shiny for the best effect.

Feel safe

If you have control over the placing of your desk aim to have it so you can see as much of the room as possible and particularly so that you can see who is entering and leaving the room. Your sense of wellbeing is linked to a basic human need to feel safe. If your back is to the door you may feel exposed and insecure.

When you feel good you are likely to be more creative and produce better work and studies in psychology and neuroscience clearly show that happiness fuels success. If you are responsible for a team of people at work then helping them to be happy must be a priority. Feeling part of a unit all working towards the same aims and achieving success together is a feeling many of us who work in isolation don’t get the chance to enjoy.

Interact for success

So, if you are self employed and work alone take specific action to meet up with others to share successes and find opportunities to discuss your business plans and decisions in confidence. Interaction with our fellow human beings is essential hence the increase in networking groups, which proliferate around the UK. The business of life coaching is also on the rise with many people experiencing the value in a professional partnership that has a positive influence.

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And did you catch this post – all about noise?

Catesbys Cambridge homewares

A collection that caused a stir!

Yes, we had to get the wooden spoon out for this event! And the support we had from a variety of interiors and publicity companies was superb – thank you all – together we raised £280 for charity in just a couple of hours!

The sun shone and I had queues at the raffle tent which was decorated, according to our UK-US theme, in red, white and blue. And this was the fist time I’d erected temporary flag poles – what a breeze! We put up the bunting and numbered the prizes and people were delighted at what they saw! Taking time to get a good look at the prizes people bought tickets and popped them into the corresponding prize bags. At 3 pm, after a good stir and a shake, the draw took place. Everyone was delighted with their win – after all, they had picked which prize they wanted so there were plenty of smiles all round!

Fete prizes Yasmin Chopin with village crier

BIG thanks to our sponsors – House of Flags for bunting and flags and Peter Lane Estate Agents (Kimbolton branch) for village signs and donation.

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Wellbeing Annie Sloan book Neoclassical

Endorphins, the body’s natural opiates

How important is happiness?

Money doesn’t make you happy… or does it? Well of course it helps but only a little. According to Action for Happiness our ability to be happy is affected first and foremost by our genes (50%) with money and circumstances accounting for only 10%. The remaining 40% is up to us to influence and since we spend a lot of time at work making conscious decisions about the workplace environment is worth consideration.

Wellbeing and happiness are certainly interlinked and if our body complains it is difficult to feel content or happy. Being active has a positive result on our emotions as well as our physical health. If we have a body that is fit and healthy we should consciously work to ensure it stays that way and use it to improve our mental wellbeing.

Work smart, stay happy – ideas for the home office, 1 of 6

Being active helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural opiates and as a result we experience less stress and pain, our mood is improved and we feel happy. It is well known that energetic exercise will induce euphoria afterwards and this buzz keeps many people motivated to maintain an active routine. Not so well known may be the fact that the simple act of smiling can also release endorphins. Read More

annabel Perrin cushions and tea towels sunrise sunset deck chairs

Annabel Perrin celebrates Summer, and that’s not all!

I first met Annabel in 2013 when she exhibited at Handmade in Britain, Chelsea Town Hall, London. We chatted and I got to know her work. Recently we got together again at Top Drawer, Olympia, London, where she showed me some of her new lines; I was very impressed, particularly with her wallpapers.

Annabel Perrin surface pattern designer photo 300xTo introduce Annabel to you, I asked her some questions:- Read More

Amara_dining table 600x celebrate 25 anniversary

Safe as houses

The residential property market has been affected in the run up to the election in some areas more than others. In my area of Cambridgeshire Peter Lane Estate Agents is celebrating its 25th year in business – an anniversary worth recognising when you consider how tough the market has been over the last 10 years. I was also pleased to hear that Amara Living (online retailer of luxury gifts and designer homeware) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. I thought it most fitting to put both companies together in this blog post and publish my congratulations!amara_white chair and plants modern interior neutral indoors outdoors
I asked Paul Kinally, who runs my local office of Peter Lane Estate Agents in Kimbolton, to give his thoughts on the election. Read More

8 ways to make a new house feel like home

Continuing the chat about new builds a second article is produced here for you to click through and browse.

Join me on Houzz and follow, or sign up for my newsletter and get sensible tips for your home straight to your inbox.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red (poppies and original concept created by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper - by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces).

‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ wins tribute

The installation of 888,246 poppies at HM Tower of London in 2014 was both moving and magnificent. Marking one hundred years since the First World War each red poppy represented a British and Colonial fatality.

Colour moment of the year

When I heard that this work was nominated for Britain’s Colour Moment of the Year award, organised by Dulux UK, I felt it was well deserved. Sitting and listening to Deyan Sudjic, Director of London’s Design Museum, compere the awards ceremony I hoped that the poppies would do well. I mentioned this to the lovely lady sitting next to me and low and behold I found I was sitting next to the very person who nominated the installation! Iwona is the Multimedia Editor of The Independent and she was over the moon when we heard the results of the public vote. Its rivals for the award were the unique ‘Making Colour’ exhibition at the National Gallery, the ‘Summer of Colour’ at the Turner Contemporary and the ‘Illuminating York’ festival. Read More

Sugarhouse open studios event

Open studios – a relaxed way to window shop

It’s that time of year when all manner of small businesses collaborate and share an open day. As the Spring weather gives us a hint of Summer we can look forward to being entertained and strolling around our villages, towns and cities to browse and shop. The open studios idea has really caught on and there is bound to be something happening in your local area so do look out for dates and put them in your calendar. For artists and craftspeople, entrepreneurs and artisans this is the time to show off the fruits of their labour. They will have been working all hours to put together a collection for you to enjoy. Read More

  • Botanical interiors trend 2015 jungle wallpaper from Graduate Collection via Wallpaper Direct
  • Botanicals 2015 trend Bali_Forest_Green_Cream_Lifestyle
  • Botanicals Timorous Beasties Jungle wallpaper
  • Botanicals trend 2015 natural planting

An interior trend you can live with

Trends come and go but the idea of bringing the outside in is a frequent design objective. In the UK we treasure the connection between home and garden, hence the desire and popularity for conservatories and glazed roof extensions. Whether your home is large or small, modern or old, you will probably find you can live very happily with this year’s trend for botanicals.

2015 interior trends

In my job I have to keep on top of what’s new and I favour unusual contrasts in texture and shape. My personal style is quirky and colourful and I like to mix things up and include natural materials, motifs depicting plants and flowers and the real thing in the form of potted plants.

You can have a little if you prefer a more minimalist style of home, or a combination of greens in different patterns if you enjoy colour. I love to create character in a space and this trend is set to be one I will encourage clients to buy into because it can work with any type of home and be continually updated. Now how can that be right? A trend that is perennial?!

Images with kind permission from:

  • John Lewis bringing in the natural world with potted plants
  • Wallpaper Direct with their Jungle Print wallpaper by Miki Rose from the Graduate Collection
  • Timorous Beasties with one of my favourites – Merian Palm, a show stopper if ever there was one
  • Habitat with one of their rugs in plastic suitable for indoors and out

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And so to bed breakfast tapestry fabric

Bed and breakfast with Britain’s best

When setting the alarm clock last night for 4.00 am I wondered whether I had been a bit rash accepting an invitation to attend a breakfast meeting at the Design Centre, London. I have to confess I rather like to take things easy in the mornings. However the warm welcome at the showroom from the crew of GP & J Baker and And So To Bed made it very worthwhile.

Giles Kime, Executive Editor at Homes & Gardens Magazine, chaired an informal panel interview session for our entertainment. The topic was ‘Designing the quintessential English Bedroom‘, and the panel consisted of:-

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SBS HÅG_SoFi_Beige_interior design office chair

A chair that has changed my attitude

Almost every home I enter has a corner for a desk and chair but it can be difficult if space is tight and every member of the family wants to have their own work or study area. Older properties were never designed for home working and the token Study included in modern house designs is rarely more than a large cupboard. No-one particularly wants to make their lounge look like an office and if that’s where you have to work you will want to make it look pretty. When it comes to the choice of chair you will probably use something already available, such as a dining chair. If a new chair is required then a secondhand one that makes a nice upcycle project is a possibility, or you could consider a brand new office chair.SBS HÅG_SoFi_Beige_Interior_peppermint lamp office interior design

Back pain

How seriously do you take your work? If you spend more than an hour at a time sitting at your desk I  urge you to consider finding a really good office chair, one that has been designed for the purpose. Over the last few weeks I have learned a salutary lesson and I want to share it with you.

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Blogging desk chair Lane by Post World Map

Seeing results from your blog?

‘Having decided to set up our own company blog, Yasmin’s presentation was both helpful and informative. Much of her advice has been put into practice and we have already begun to see fantastic results.’

Charles Clarke, Design Manager – BANDA Property, London.

Want to know more about blogging for your business? One to one or join my public sessions during 2015; get in touch to discuss your ideal time and place.

Maker Spaces by Emily Quinton Cremer_dining room Book review

Creative spaces from Emily Quinton

Emily’s book, Maker Spaces, is out now and I’m going to settle down and read it. The review will be published shortly!

Mini Moderns petsounds Blue

One person’s noise is another person’s music!

I work from home and my office cum studio is upstairs (in the eaves of an old cottage) and at times I feel cramped for space but in general it’s a very comfortable arrangement. I have good daylight with windows facing East and West and there is little to disrupt my concentration. I sometimes gaze out of the window to see what goes on in the village as my view takes in the village green, and I can watch the birds on the feeder in our front garden. I see traffic going by but as this is no major road it doesn’t invade my brain …. that is until August when dozens of huge hungry combines rumble past and literally shake the house! Combine harvesters aside I am fortunate to work in an environment which is very pleasant and makes me happy.

Noise at work Mel Yates_Graham and Green

One of the showrooms participating in Clerkenwell Design Week, SBS, invited me to speak on the subject of health, wellbeing and happiness in the workplace. I am preparing it now and of course as a designer I find this a fascinating subject. (RSVP to attend the talk.) One area I will always get advice on is dealing with unwanted noise as this is not a specialism of mine. However, my partner is an acoustics consultant and he offered to write a piece I could share with you about noise in the workplace so here it is! Read More

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New build Yasmin Chopin Eathorpe master bedroom Hammonds wardrobes mirror sash window roman blind

New builds don’t have to be bland

The image above is the master bedroom of an apartment I have lived in – I bought it as a bland neutral box without the blind, wardrobes and oak floor. Once the flooring was laid it added a warm honey colour that balanced beautifully with the pale walls and ceiling and immediately gave the apartment personality. The addition of fitted wardrobes in the master bedroom added architectural interest as well as providing excellent storage space and the roman blind, neat in its simplicity, introduced a soft texture. The fabric has a subtle sheen and I used it for the bed drapes as well, I like a little bit of glam!

What to do about white

I was with a couple this week who had moved into a new home, not newly built but newly renovated, and it is pristine. The beautifully remodelled conversion benefits from a high spec quality kitchen and bathrooms that are stylishly fitted out. With virtually everything in white, which appealed for its sense of calm, the problem now is how to introduce colour and make this gorgeous house into a family friendly home. White can be austere and cold so it’s going to be fun helping my clients add personality and interest to the basic framework they have bought into. This white space will benefit from:-

  • intelligent floor planning
  • a graduated colour scheme
  • carefully selected textural details

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“I attended the Interior Design summit this year, (March 2015), for the 4th time. It is a useful experience not just for the convenient way of meeting new suppliers, but also the range of seminars and talks I can attend. This year I was delighted to see Yasmin Chopin was talking about Blogging, a subject I was interested in but sadly lacking in knowledge. I was not disappointed. The hour long discussion, was presented in a relaxed, humorous and very informative manner which fired me up to start my own blog for my new website. The questions and feedback from around the room further added to the information received, and personally could have stayed all day gathering knowledge! I look forward to attending her next lecture.”

Nicholas Sunderland Interior Design, London.

Talking about blogging… to interiors experts

Interiors summit Hilton London Yasmin Chopin speaker

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Annie Sloan book Warehouse style dining chandelier

Room recipes for style and colour

World renowned paint effects guru and colour expert Annie Sloan considers what makes a successful interior in ‘Annie Sloan’s Room Recipes for Style and Colour’. In this book Annie takes us into homes she has visited and tells us about the way they have been decorated. It’s an unusual insight and Annie shares her thoughts about the different types of decor she sees.

Each chapter focuses on a popular style: Boho chic, Neoclassical, Vintage floral, French, Classic Swedish, Coastal, Classic country, Modern retro and Warehouse.

Annie Sloan book jacket room recipes style colour

After discussing the key components that make up the style Annie explains how some of the paint effects can be reproduced using her paint and leaves us with some interesting design tips.

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Sasha Tugolukova Christoff plate Mask Collection

WIN! Four fascinating plates from Sasha Tugolukova

One of the great joys about my work in interiors is getting to know designers and their work. Sasha Tugolukova, an artist designer, creates the most beautiful tableware. I was so impressed by her drawings I just had to share them with you. Sasha has generously agreed to give away a selection of four plates from her Mask collection to the lucky winner of our competition. A prize worth winning for its beauty and unique charm – value £160.00.Sasha Tugolukova at work interior design tableware
We chatted about her work…

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Happiness courtesy Livingetc Credit Alexander James

Design to include the happiness factor

Have you ever considered happiness as a design objective when you remodel or redecorate your home? Most of us would agree that the level of happiness we experience is affected most significantly by friends and family but how much difference can your surroundings make? A recent meeting with internationally renowned kitchen designer Johnny Grey prompted me to think about the key design elements that help make for a happy home. Here are my top 3 ideas to design with happiness in mind:-

1. Macro and micro design

Everything we experience in the home has been designed by someone at some time but have you looked at how each little thing impacts on the whole? For example, do you struggle every time you take something out of a high level cupboard? Are you stretching just that bit too far in order to get to what you need? It might be a little thing but if it bothers you each time you do it consider how to change it. A temporary solution might be to move a shelve down a notch or two. Longer term, when you makeover your room take into account your physical proportions and the frequency with which you use the items stored at high level. Do you even need high level storage?

Every move we make has an effect on our happiness, from the ease with which we travel around our home to our sensory experiences of taste, touch, smell, sound and sight. Look for the tiny details that please; the way a seam is sewn, the precisions of hinges on a door, the artistry and craftsmanship seen in a plaster moulding. Appreciate the beauty in all of the materials and design away the niggles. Read More

Home Yasmin Chopin Maria White Walls have memories

Who chooses the wallpaper in your home?

Maria White is a Life Coach and we were talking about the problems couples have making decisions about their decor. We thought you might like to listen in on one of our conversations…

Maria White, Aspirations Coaching: For over 25 years she has worked with people of all ages, sometimes in very challenging circumstances. She knows how resilient people can be and helps her clients reach their potential and live life to the full.

Image Credits: Thanks to Dotcomfgiftshop for the HOME image and David Hunt Lighting for the photo image.

International colour day pink flowers photo frames tulips spring

Celebrate International colour day with a pop

International Colour Day is on 21 March and every year it recognises the wonderful influence colour has on our daily activity. Timed to link with the Spring equinox when night and day are equally long International colour day celebrates the complementary nature of light and dark.

“Two circles form an eye, with an equal half of rainbow color and black representing light and darkness, day and night, everyone feast one’s eye on the international color day.” Logo designer Hosanna Yau from Hong Kong. (source Wikipedia)

International_Colour_Day logo 300x

Global decorative paints company, AkzoNobel are experts in colour and help people understand the power of colour. In recent research they found that 93% of 5,500 people interviewed agree that colour can instantly change their mood and 91% said they feel happier in a more colourful environment. Nevertheless I find clients have a fear of colour and will often play safe when decorating their homes. I want to encourage you to step out of your colour comfort zone with some colour inspiration to lift your mood and spice up your life.

Without light we cannot see colour and on Saturday I will be celebrating on Instagram with some of the most colourful images I can find – join me there!

Wembley stadium football pitch and seating London

Interior Design: spending time with the competition

Organised by Forum Events, the Interiors Summit is an annual affair. I was invited to attend for the first time last year and went along with an open mind. It’s an ‘invitation only’ intensive networking opportunity where suppliers and interior designers (the buyers) are put together in a room and, a bit like speed dating, there are 15 minute slots to get to know each other. Significant research is conducted by the organisers to ensure you get to see people you want to talk to and I made some excellent contacts last year so ticked it off as being a worthwhile day.

This year I was asked to present a seminar so I drove to London the day before as my talk was scheduled for the morning of 11 March 2015 in the Hilton Hotel, Wembley. It’s a very comfortable hotel but a devil to find; SatNavs just want to take you right through the stadium itself and road signposting is very poor. After taking several tours around the iconic building, which I first experienced in 2008, my language skills became very limited! I eventually found the car park with help from a police officer and the hotel’s reception staff and was very thankful to enjoy a glass of wine and good company that evening. Read More

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BlackPop cushions WIN Morpho with butterflies The Reader with motifs BlackPop design logo and Casa Ceilo the colourful one

Introduce the unusual to your home

Blackpop Maxine-HallI met Maxine Hall at the interiors trade show Decorex International last year and was bewitched by the use of colour, pattern and fabric in the soft furnishings on display. The style is quirky and uplifting in its exuberance and confidence so I took a few pics to remind me of the stand. I learned that the range includes wallpapers and fabrics and the list of stockists has increased to include Liberty London and other retailers around the world.

Blackpop patterned fabric Designer velvet

Win a beautiful cushion

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May Design series survey Teuco teal painting bath Limited Edition

Do you prefer to shop on-line or on the high street?

Kali Nicholson, Marketing Director of May Design Series, an international interiors event that encompasses trade show and lots more, sent me the results of a recent survey they conducted. It made an interesting read. I invited Jenny Haken, a creative copywriter whose work I respect to present her take on the findings. This is the first time I’ve invited a guest blogger to join me here and I hope you enjoy her post.

How do you make buying decisions?

Are you a spontaneous purchaser, or do you deliberate over things for hours, days or even weeks According to a recent census*, retailers need to rethink how they sell their products. Our busy schedules give us limited time to shop around. But when it comes to the home, seeing with our own eyes is best – we need to feel the quality before we part with our hard earned cash! So it’s important that retailers recognise the need for both online and high street stores.May Design Series survy john lewis lounge white walls

It’s anticipated that we’ll spend more money on our homes during 2015, whether on artworks to add that unique focal point, or a complete room refurbishment. It makes sense that the larger the outlay, the longer the consideration we should apply; not only in terms of cost, but also because of the impact our surroundings have on us. When you’ve spent a small fortune on a brand new bedroom, you don’t want to later realise that the design or colours aren’t conducive to restful sleep! Read More