As part of our celebration of the Great British Home, we interviewed Helen Powell, writer and editor of the popular design and lifestyle blog Design Hunter. Helen shares her love of beautiful interiors, emerging trends and enduringly good design on her award-winning blog.
As one of our favourite design bloggers we wanted to find out where Helen draws her inspiration and what is important to her around the home, so VictoriaPlum.com spent a few minutes chatting with her on all things to do with home interiors.
VP: Hi Helen. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak to us. First off we’d like to know which of your TV favourites give you the most interior design inspiration?
HP: I’m a huge fan of Scandi dramas like Borgen, The Killing and The Bridge in which the characters inhabit homes, offices and public buildings full of classic Danish mid-century modern furniture and highly covetable lighting by designers like Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton.
I love the unpretentious simplicity and understated elegance of Scandinavian interiors. Typically relaxed, inviting and pared down, they combine beautiful forms with an attention to practicality, function and comfort. There’s a focus on clean lines and natural materials and good design is, it seems, seen as just part of everyday life rather than as a luxury.
VP: That’s great! As luck would have it, here at VictoriaPlum.com we have a range of bathroom suites, such as the Fairbanks and Verso, which evoke the kind of Scandinavian interior you mention. Having canvassed some of your fellow bloggers, these dramas do appear to have had quite an influence on interior design recently, along with other favourites such as Downton Abbey and Mad Men.
Add some Scando-style to your bathroom with the Fairbanks Suite
If you were making improvements to your home, what would come top of the list in terms of greatest impact on your lifestyle?
HP: If I’m staying in a hotel I almost always judge the standard of the room by the comfort of the bed and the quality of the shower. A refreshing blast under a great shower in a beautiful bathroom instantly creates a sense of comfort and luxury. But if the water pressure is too feeble or it’s difficult to get the temperature right it’s a disappointment and that sense of luxury begins to unravel.
At home, stepping into the shower is the first thing most of us do every morning when we get out of bed. Good bathroom designers can make this a reviving and invigorating experience that sets you up for the day and leaves you feeling ready to take on the challenges of the daily grind.
A huge walk in shower is great if you have the room, but I’m not someone who would choose this option at the expense of getting rid of the bath if space is more limited. I’m a great believer in enhancing everyday life with simple pleasures, and lingering in a scented, hot bath, particularly on a cold, winter’s night (and perhaps with a good book), is one of my favourite indulgences. An unwinding soak at the end of the day always seems to set me up for a good night’s sleep too.
And if your other half always seems to take forever getting ready whenever you are going out together, then you might want to think about installing twin sinks in the bathroom if space allows.
VP: We would wholeheartedly agree that an invigorating shower can really help kick start the day, and there should always be room for a relaxing bath too. We love the idea of twin basins; this can easily be achieved by purchasing and installing two [Sienna White Vanity Units and Basins] for example.
The Sienna White Vanity Unit and Basin
OK, last question. As you work from home, which changes in your home would benefit you the most?
HP: When you work from home it can be difficult to separate work from home life. Not everyone has the luxury of a room that they can use exclusively as an office, but if you do work from home regularly I think it’s really important to have a dedicated space that you use only for work rather than just working from a laptop on the kitchen table (or worse still from the sofa).
Having adequate storage is also vital if you want to keep your workspace tidy and well organised. And taking the time to have a good sort out every now and then and throw away things that you no longer need is important if you want to stay clutter-free.
I try to schedule in the occasional day for sorting, filing, organising and decluttering. Yes, it’s a chore, but any sense of boredom arising from the prospect of this task is more than offset by the feeling of satisfaction that comes from completing it.
I also think it’s important to ensure you spend some time at the end of each day offline, completely away from your laptop, tablet or smartphone and the distraction of constantly checking for messages or social media updates. Our homes have been increasingly taken over by these devices and for most of us the bathroom is now perhaps the only room in the house in which we aren’t subject to their demands. A relaxing bathroom can be a space in which to detox the mind as well as the body, a place where we can achieve a sense of rebalance and empty our heads of the background hum of technological ‘noise’ that is the soundtrack to our busy, modern lives.
VP: I think we could all do with fitting in some “me time” on a regular basis! Helen, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. You’ve given us some wonderful ideas and inspiration which I think our readers will enjoy too.
For more interior design inspiration from Helen, please visit www.designhunter.co.uk