Touch — the “Feel Good” sense…

A kiss, a hug, a simple pat on the head or a gentle squeeze of a forearm… we show our affection through touch.
We are tactile beings. Touch makes us feel good — releasing the feel good hormone oxytocin. Pet owners live longer because stroking our pets calms us, relieving stress. This is Science Fact.

young boy cuddling cute dog

The world's first magnetic resonance image of a mother kissing her baby

“This is the world’s first magnetic resonance image of a mother kissing her baby. Her kiss has caused a chemical reaction in her son’s brain which generates a burst of oxytocin – a hormone that generates feelings of attachment and affection. Beautiful.” Credit: NH Neuro TrainingLess
Calling for a multi-sensory approach to design.
So it leaves me completely bewildered that we consistently ignore this crucial sense. We experience our environment through our senses but when we design we routinely only address the sense of sight.
We know that music affects our mood and soothes us. So we will instinctively  turn on some gentle music at the end of a long day.
It is a well known trick of the real estate industry to have a home smelling of freshly baked cookies when showing a house for a sale. The scent creates a warm, friendly and homely ambience. It is certainly no secret that scented candles and room fragrance sales have seen phenomenal sales growth, as consumers look for ways to make their homes more inviting.
So why oh why do we ignore the sense of touch – the physical manifestation of love!


collage of textured materials and fabrics

Warm, textured throws makes the bedroom so cozy!

grey tones and texture in a bedroom

Craving a little bit of rough.

With so much of our time spent touching, shiny smooth man-made materials, screens or keyboards – This sense has been deprived for too long.  Raw hewn natural wood, textured grass cloth walls, woven cane and rattan, embroidered fabrics  are all making a comeback. multiple images of texture in the homeBut it is not simply in organic, natural themed rooms where we can enjoy textile elements. No one can deny the meteoric rise in popularity of lush velvets, it is the rich tactile quality that appeals to  us after so much exposure to hard smooth metals and plastics that surround us every day.examples of textured home accents within the homeI have always been partial to a bit of fur for the same reason. Recently, we have been rediscovering Anagalypta wall coverings to give a subtle layer of texture to our designs. And I am really loving the new Bouclé fabrics that many of the fabric suppliers have launched in the last few weeks. Expect to see so much more of them in 2020.

floral patterned bedroom with sheepskin throw

For a more glamorous look, nothing can beat the iridescence of a room wrapped in a silk.

Dining room with green silk Fromental design wallpaper

And the recent trend towards trims and braids is as much about adding texture as it is about adding detail.Home office of Nikki Hunt showing artwork and fringed curtains in pink huesBy exciting this additional sense, we can add new dimension to our designs, elevating them, bringing them to life like a black and white picture being reworked in colour.

Bring in the texture and feel the love.

October 7, 2019 0 comment
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If you look closely at interiors that appear luxurious and appealing, you may notice that they share one thing in common: each detail has been carefully considered. The first impression you receive on entering a room should be that seamless blending of architecture and decoration to create a lasting visual impression.


It needs that little bit more to transform it. So at DI, we ensure a client’s rooms are elevated from the mundane to the sublime.

This project below showcases the perfect example of just that, check out one the deconstructed image to show you the power of the last 10%.

Conceptually, its a bit like getting ready for work each morning: selecting the outfit, shoes, bag and accessories —But the look only really comes together after that last flourish of lipstick —- It may account for just 10 per cent, but how vital and transformative that is!

We view this daily process as the forerunner of what our day brings: helping clients with fabrics, furnishings, colours and window treatments accounts for the major percentage of the many decisions they make, but waving our magic wand over the remaining 10 percent to ensure they achieve their dream interior is what we do best and the difference it makes to an interior is extraordinary.


Viewing a great room yet feeling that something’s missing is akin to not getting your ensemble quite right – until someone tweaks it for you and just like that, it’s “finished” and you are ecstatic!  The same holds true with design.  A room needs to be pulled together with objects that have meaning as well as pieces that bring the colour story to life such as cushions and throws, framed photos, ceramics and books.

Design Intervention Image and Pinterest


If it doesn’t feel like home, it’s not complete.  So, adding layers to a room with accessories can turn it into an exceptional space.  Fill each room with things you love as they will bring you enjoyment every time you enter a room.

I am a self-confessed maximalist and I get it that not everyone is a fan, (for who after all loves dusting), but you can surely add a little something to a bare surface.  A wonderful vase, a sculpture… or perhaps some animal print?

Fill a pretty tray with coveted glassware or use it to creatively tidy up all those bits and pieces that can often clutter up your coffee table.


Your sofa, bed or chaise will welcome a couple of decorative cushions or a throw….Pastel coloured interior with light blue lounge chair and tie-dyed curtains


There’s a lot to love about mirrors because they add glamour, they sparkle and bounce light around a room.  Use one as an opportunity to do something amazing in your room while injecting dimension and depth.

Design Intervention Image


It could be just the thing your living room needs as its versatility is legendary – a coffee table, extra seating, storage and it can be whisked away when it’s not needed.

Pinterest and Design Intervention Image


Just like jewellery, go for gold but please don’t underestimate the impact of silver or a mix of both. Using a mix of metals can elevate a space and add pizzazz.  For an easy implementation of this think table lamps for that golden or silver accent…

And lamps lead me to the importance of great lighting.  From table lamps to floor lamps, statement making chandeliers and pendants, they are mood infusing and incomparable.


The crowning glory could be that statement piece: a special and prized art work… a treasured rug, an inherited item of furniture or even a knife collection, check out our client’s images below! No matter what it is, it might be the very item that helps to anchor your room and provide that missing 10 percent.

Design Intervention Image


Lastly but definitely not least, greenery and fresh flowers – my all-year-round favourite room lifters, because I doubt there is a room anywhere that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of their wonderful fragrance and organic appeal.


White Lilies remain my personally favoured floral accent. Its like heaven in a flower and just smells so good!



September 11, 2019 0 comment
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This apartment is home to well-travelled, cosmopolitan couple approaching retirement. They wanted a home with a warm, welcoming vibe, free from ostentation that resonated with homely comfort rather than “haute design”.

A collector of art, wine and…300 custom knives!!!

The couple are avid collectors and have been building up their extensive collections for over 30 years.

When asked about their beloved art pieces the couple singled out a few pieces that required special prominence. Three large pieces by MF Hussein, one in particular was purchased, delivered and hung in complete secrecy as an anniversary gift to his wife.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (The wife sure had a pleasant surprise!)

(Artworks are displayed in every part of the house!)

Our aim was to showcase the owner’s impeccable sense of eye for art and design, to pull together all these elements and to create a stunning family home.

A sight to impress Oenophiles everywhere. Well they say its always 6pm somewhere… it certainly here all the time!

Sporting a minimalist profile, these bronze and rimless glass doors enclose a state-of-the-art storage solutions. Combined with this broad expanse of marble-clad bar and seating, we created the ultimate inducement for entertaining and impressing the oenophile in everyone!

The singular shelving layout displays the bottles horizontally with each label facing the front, vertical LED lights creating the ambience, offering a beautiful showcase that heroes the whilst protecting it.

Upholstered barstools inject colour and a joyful counterbalance against the sleek metal and glass fascia.

There’s a first time for everything! We were amazed to know this client collects knives as well.


This cabinet was handcrafted to hold these spectacular knives. A layered timber and bronze console forms the support for 6 pairs of magnetized metal bars anchored inside.

These slim bars appear to float above the console and belie the strength and security of the structure. Each bespoke knife has its own special position with this cabinet highlighting its unique character and detail.


This cabinet doubles as a display and a divider between the dining room and the study room.

Avid entertainers, we wanted to ensure that our client’s dining area did not disappoint. Being the home’s social hub, we have strived to ensure it is convivial and comfortable as well as beautiful.

This area is characterised by the vibrant art and display set against modern furniture pieces. Plus, those knives will be a good conversation starter!

Being frequent entertainers, we wanted to ensure that our client’s dining area did not disappoint. Being the home’s social hub, we strived to ensure it was convivial and comfortable as well as dynamic. This area is characterised by the vibrant art and display set against modern furniture pieces.

(Plus those knives will be a good conversation starter!)



When we thought we had seen it all, our client showed us another extensive collection of theirs…treasured handmade shoes!

For their ease, these shoes are to be stored at the lift lobby. Contemplating storage for this area, we elected to install cabinets at either side of the lift doors. We avoided having floor to ceiling cabinetry as it would look to heavy. Instead, we custom-made floating consoles that are designed to fit their shoe sizes.

We are very proud to have been able to integrate their collections seamlessly into their new home avoiding any showy or ostentatious display whilst still allowing total ease of function, achieving the practical requirements listed by our clients.


July 30, 2019 0 comment
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We took a single storey residence, home to a couple with two young kids and a dog, and made it into a pad that is worthy enough for the cast of Madmen!

With an impressive art collection that needed careful consideration and placement, this became a good starting point for the design concept. Strong cobalt blues were a dominant colour for many of the public spaces, while warm autumnal colours set the tones for others.

With a cold grey architectural palette, the house needed vibrancy and warmth. Splashes of colour were used in fabrics, rugs and customised carpentry pieces. Brushed brass was seamlessly integrated into the space in trims and light fixtures. We wanted the house to have splashes of colour and warmth, with a continuous nod to mid-century elements.

Enviably, natural light streams into the entire house and was an important influencing factor in the final colour palette,  juxtaposed with the client’s vivid art work. Bespoke and curated furniture pieces were carefully chosen. 


The entry way is a high traffic area in this bustling household, criss-crossed daily by adults, children and pets.  To add warmth the walls are papered in a custom coloured Japanese veneer wallpaper which also serves to link the area with the timber cabinetry in the rest of the house.
A bespoke hide rug in a classic Y pattern adds a layer of texture underfoot and serves as a patterned pathway that naturally leads towards the adjacent living area. The subdued sheen of brass makes its introduction in the classic light fitting adding an understated touch of luxe.


A velvet floral sofa provides textural opulence, peach tones are fresh against the hazelnut veneers. Curved shapes, a mixture of leather, velvet, brass and glass are in total contrast. One offsets the other to achieve balance and cohesion.
Fabrics are fresh and zesty, yet durable to endure the rough and tumble associated with everyday family life.


Cobalt blue has been chosen to link the open plan living spaces with the real hero piece a custom made bar counter.


What’s mid-century without palm motifs! The vibrantly patterned wallpaper is bold and dramatic and adds an artistic flair to the room. A Coltrane ceiling light in black with brass accents adds a subtle element of sophistication.


This room was designed around artworks with more earthy tones. Leather, cowhides and sage green sit against pops of chartreuse. A retro print armchair acknowledges the Danish influence in the mid-century movement.
Metallic glints from the gold toned bar trolley add a touch of luxe and wood – this is so mid-century.
Romeo (the glorious German Shepherd) takes centre stage, doesn’t he perfectly blend in with the earthy tones??


Fun coral and mustard tones set against raspberry accents make this master bedroom happy while textural materials such as faux fur and antique mirror add sophistication and contrast.


Mid-century motifs are incorporated into a customized rug design. This 12m rug adds drama yet, injects vibrancy into a transitional  and very functional space.  Challenged by a low ceiling, clear acrylic pendant lights resolve that problem: they add interest and a pop of colour, without making the ceiling feel any lower.
The client has been delivered a home that is sophisticated yet playful and fresh, brimming with Mid-Century references.
June 24, 2019 0 comment
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I have always counted myself unbelievably fortunate to have been able to forge a career from doing what I love. Design for me is not work, it is a joy but as much as I love my job, from time to time, we all need a break and last week, I escaped for 4 days to beautiful Chiang Mai. 4 glorious days of Thai massages, great, clean , organic food, days lazing by the pool with my kindle (no design magazine in sight)- a total and complete unwind- utter bliss.

After an early morning flight, I reached the resort by 1pm and the very next morning, as I sat enjoying my breakfast amidst the lush jungle foliage, I realised that I was already in a state of total relaxation. Incredibly, in less than 24 hours, the cares of city life had all but vanished and I found myself in a calm, blissful state.

Design Intervention

How could that be possible? As I sat there, contemplating the verdant beauty that surrounded me, listening to the hum of the jungle and the sound of birds and taking in the heady fragrance of the frangipanis, I recalled similar trips to Ubud in Bali and remembered how those too induced similar feelings of serenity. What was it about these jungle escapes, that had such a powerful calming effect?

Design Intervention

As designers, we know the power our environment can have in shaping our mood and influencing how we feel. Good design should be more than just a visual creation. We experience our environment through all our senses so by working with fragrances, textures and sounds, as well as  visual stimuli, we can  create a total sensory experience to genuinely influence how we feel. And for me, this lush resort, in the midst of the Chiang Mai jungle had certainly succeeded in creating the perfect place for relaxing.

Design Intervention

So now that I am back in the office, conscious of deadlines and thinking about of my mounting to do list I am asking myself, is it possible to create a similarly calming ambience right here at home?


The science of serenity

In 1984, a doctor in a hospital in Pennsylvania noticed a curious pattern among patients who were recovering from surgery. Those who had rooms with a tree view were being discharged almost a day earlier, than those in otherwise identical rooms whose windows faced a wall. This observation  led to a flurry of recent research which has since proven emphatically that looking at trees has significant measurable healing effect on our bodies and mind-  Yes, scientists have proven that the simple tree can ease blood pressure , slow pulse rate, calm breathing and loosen muscles -in other words plants helps us relax. Indeed, clinical  studies have proven that people living in green areas have lower rates of cardio vascular, respiratory disease and stroke.

The Japanese have longed practiced Shirin-yoku, taking in the forest atmosphere or “forest bathing,” to alleviate stress,  fatigue, and feelings of depression or aggression. Experiments conducted in Japan found that either walking in the woods or even stationary viewing of  trees reduces levels of the stress hormone ,cortisol. Cortisol reduction and calming our metabolic rates can actually bolster the immune system. The science of forest medicine encourages breathing in the woodsy air because plants emit phytoncides, gasses that ward off rot and attack from bacteria, fungi, and insects. More than 5,000 of these compounds are recognized and such compounds have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to boost the immune system and now science is proving the herbalists right.

But it is not just about these chemicals, natural images have a particular structure : they are “scale invariant,” meaning that no matter how much you enlarge them they contain the same amount of detail. Such images are easy for our brains to process. In contrast, unnatural images are scale variant, and the greater the variance, the more uncomfortable we find an image.

Unnatural images, are measurably more uncomfortable to look at than natural ones and require larger oxygen intake in the brain and requires more brain energy. In other words, constantly looking at unnatural images is physically draining.


Creating calm environments at home.

The good news is that we can employ some of these scientific findings in our designs to create environments that promote relaxation. If we are lucky enough to live in a home with a garden , then positioning a seating arrangement to optimise a verdant view would be an easy design tactic.

Design Intervention

But for many city dwellers, that is not an accessible luxury. Luckily, research shows that simply incorporating house plants into our rooms or even pictures of trees into our designs can help lower our metabolism and alleviate stress.

Design Intervention

That’s why in many public buildings like hospitals, designers incorporate murals of natural images into the interior design.

Design Intervention

These inexpensive design elements, not only look great but can genuinely improve our health at the same time.

Design Intervention

And ultimately that is the true purpose of design- the creation of built environments that make us feel good and improve our wellbeing.



May 6, 2019 0 comment
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We use the word “trend” a great deal these days and guaranteed to draw our attention is the catch phrase “trending now”.   However, I find it odd to apply this to a creative process that is almost as old as time which has crept back into the world of design and is still “trending”.   And….. as you may have guessed, I refer to the watercolour trend!

Design Intervention

So why does this trend work so well and why has it endured?  It’s probably because its brush strokes are familiar – it feels nostalgic and pleasant since it depicts nature and familiar surroundings.  The timelessness of watercolours brings gorgeous accents into our interiors with watercolour prints to suit both vintage décor and modern interiors. Colour is an integral part of our everyday lives and our interiors at Design Intervention attest to that.

Design Intervention

The watercolour trend really began some years ago with the ombre style of watercolour which works perfectly on window treatments, where it is shown to best effect and on bed linen and napery.  It can really open up a room and being such a flattering colour scheme in any space, it’s application is endless.

Design Intervention

As a painted finish, the ombre technique is fabulous on walls where it uniquely reflects an individual’s personality and taste. The end result can dramatically influence a room and is relatively inexpensive to achieve. Additionally, as you will be fading the paintwork out, you can opt for rich, daringly dark colour tones when you use this style, so you can afford to live dangerously!

Painting a wall or a room in the watercolour style is a great way to include it in your home.  There are endless colour schemes which will work wonderfully, plus there is something in the fluidity and lightness of the colours bleeding together that create dimension and depth.

Design Intervention

I love the artistic feel of dark moody blues and blotchy inky tones, especially those that look like a blot of paint spread over the page!  Aside from blue, deep greens, greys and black work superbly and the watercolour effect helps to soften the colour scheme.   While this tonal palette might suggest a masculine vibe, it wouldn’t require much tweaking to achieve a unisex feel.  The shading and combination of colour tones can be amazing and result in a piece of contemporary art with an ethereal vibe.

Of course, if murky hued colours are not your thing, you can unleash the artist in you and plunge into something colourful and abstract instead! A client of ours did this in her home, where a watercolour was transposed onto a customised kitchen backsplash and we all loved the end result.

Design Intervention

Design Intervention

I am sure we have at some time visited art galleries and viewed art works so vivid and realistic which drew us into the scene.  When space is not at a premium, a mural is an enviable option which can deliver the same effect, injecting a shot of atmosphere that transports you to another place or another time. Especially in bedrooms where soft waves of colour similar to the hues of sand and sea create a calming and reflective mood.

It is impossible to discuss watercolours without mentioning flowers, as their depiction in this traditional medium gives them a sense of movement and freedom as no other.  Flowers are currently famously on trend in both interior design and fashion and bloom happily as well on china and linens.   The soft and subtle floral watercolours on wallpapers and fabrics evoke Monet’s beautiful art works and their soft, harmonious colours which echo nature.

As with all design trends, if you can’t bring yourself to leap in, save yourself the angst and add an accent in the form of a painting or fabric on the back of a dining chair – even a small hint can make a difference and requires very little effort! Embrace your inner artist!

Design Intervention


April 12, 2019 0 comment
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The new year’s crop of design magazines and blogs are full of articles declaring a new age of opulence, a resurgence of colour, or a re-discovery of Maximalism, and this self-confessed maximalist aesthete could not be happier!

At Design Intervention, we have been championing this Modern Maximalist Style for a few years now. But 2019, is seeing the Maximalist look becoming mainstream. Even Ikea (yes the purveyors of stream lined Scandinavian lines) has launched a new collection with distinct Maximalist leanings. And quite frankly, after well over two decades of clean lines and neutral palettes, a change is long overdue.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

So what exactly is this New Maximalism?

This design style mixes eras, patterns, textures and materials, incorporates elaborate detailing and showcases treasured artefacts. These interiors are multi-layered, delivering a dynamic and multifaceted environment that is uplifting, revitalising, empowering and always utterly unique.

Design Intervention - Modern Maximalism

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

The Minimalist interior has dominated the design landscape since the mid 1990s, and the New Maximalism could not be more different.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

Minimalist interiors imbue serenity, Maximalist ones radiate energy.

Minimalist interiors embrace simplicity, Maximalist delight in unexpected elements. Minimalist rooms are understated, Maximalist ones are luxurious. Minimalist interiors include only what is functional, Maximalist ones are filled with details and embellishment.

Where Minimalists celebrate the uncomplicated, Maximalists celebrate life with all its nuances and idiosyncrasies. Minimalists follow the less is more mantra, while Maximalists espouse if it makes you smile, it can’t be wrong.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

But there is one important  similarity and it may astound you…

Everyone knows that Minimalists are all about removing clutter. It may surprise you to learn that decluttering is essential for a chic maximalist interior too.

Maximalism is not chaos, it is a result of deliberately curated choices.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

The great Artist Joan Miro once said:

 The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness

– and there could not be more perfect a guideline for the would be maximalist. With Minimalism there is a distinct aesthetic and clear, easy to follow rules. Maximalism embraces everything, all eras, all colours, patterns and textures- and that can be a little daunting.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalist


One of the easiest ways to bring energy to a room is with colour. The Minimalist look was about neutrals. Maximalism, is about all colours, in any combination. There is no right or wrong. Just pick a colour or colours you love. If your choice is a mix of bold colours, make sure you incorporate some neutral elements to add balance.


Either through rugs, upholstery or wallpaper or a combination of all three! Experiment with layering patterns of different scales… Ensure, sufficient negative space, so your eye has a place to rest.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism


Combining different texture can take Maximalism to the next level. Metallic elements, sumptuous velvets, feather trims and tassels can all be combined to bring a visual and tactile diversity.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism


With so much visual stimuli, symmetry will keep the room looking balanced and allow you to add multiple layers and yet still retain a harmonious feel…

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism


It is important to retain a link, or visual thread that runs throughout the scheme so the interiors  feel connected even with a mix of colours, patterns and textures. This could be a colour, or a motif.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

And finally, and perhaps most importantly


At Design Intervention our mantra is “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should”.

Successful Maximalist Style is a meticulous balancing act. These rooms can be bright, bold and mismatched yet each element is carefully curated to achieve a style that inspires and revitalizes rather than overpowers.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism


March 11, 2019 0 comment
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Valentine’s Day is almost here; hearts abound on greeting cards and even on the occasional piece of furniture, which got me thinking of all the things and people we LOVE!

Bouquets of red roses, tempting boxes of chocolate, cakes and heart shaped Verner Parton chairs are visual markers so we remember to acknowledge that special someone – as blotting our copy book would have serious repercussions!

This most romantic day of the year centres around LOVE, but if you lack a significant other to fete, that should not preclude you “loving” many other things instead!

Take colour for example.  Nikki and I LOVE colour and our project portfolio online showcases this in abundance. This year we have been drenched by the colour coral, but, having just celebrated Chinese New Year and with Valentine’s Day just days away, red is all around us.

Design Intervention

I personally lean towards darker, richer and moodier tones.  The tempting hues of rich reds, plum, mulberry, purples and burgundy are punchier, deep and sexy and decidedly more appealing.

Design Intervention

Those who know me well are aware of my penchant for black and white, not forgetting my passion and love for all things zebra……  no home of mine is ever complete without a touch of this added to the interior. This gorgeous bar is the perfect setting to make that special pre-dinner cocktail for my special someone! Love potion coming right up!

Design Intervention

Happily, black never goes out of fashion, so expect it to feature strongly in design this year.  However, by way of a difference, think HIGH GLOSS black instead – making a statement in homewares and interiors in a myriad uses – lighting, kitchens, decorative objects and furniture. Paired with other colours it grounds the spaces and makes colours pop!

Valentine’s Day may deliver a gift of serious bling and who amongst us would say no to a touch of glitz and glamour?  We are seeing glitz in interiors too this year, as gold is back in a big way. Check out this romantic gilded sleigh bed, I’m sure many of us would welcome our macdreamy into this space!

Maximalist Modern, Design Intervention

And… this his and hers bathroom is sure to ensure marital bliss because there is NO fighting over the toothpaste tube in this space!

Design Intervention

Should you be feeling a little risqué, then this Burlesque-inspired dressing room will be sure to elevate your mood!

The Bachelorette Pad, Design Intervention

Love is a wonderful thing and don’t we have a lot to love!  We are spoilt for choice as we have a mind boggling menu from which to choose and our collective appetite shows no signs of diminishing.  Running parallel to our enviable list of ‘must haves’ is an ever growing list of ‘lust haves’ which keep us yearning for more….

With that in mind, I am taking this opportunity to toast you in advance, so – Happy Valentine’s and may it be memorable in every way!

February 14, 2019 0 comment
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Its been a frantic weekend! Saturday involved repeated trips to the nursery in search of pussy willow, pink orchids and orange trees and Sunday was spent, decorating the house for Chinese New Year. I finally have some time to relax with some coffee and some yummy pineapple tarts and reflect on my hard work.  And I realize, just how much traditional Chinese motifs have influenced our work over the years.

Andrea and I just love, love, love Chinoiserie and a quick look back at our past projects reveal just how often we have incorporated this design style into our projects.

The Chinoiserie Chair by Design Intervention

Design Intervention

So what is CHINOISERIE style?

The word Chinoiserie is French and means “in the Chinese taste”.
It describes a decorating trend that has been used for centuries to infuse drama, and a sense of fantasy into some of the world’s most glamorous interiors. Many popular Chinoiserie motifs will be instantly recognizable to us in Asia and people often, mistakenly, assume that the style originated in China. But it is, in fact, a trend that began in Europe in the 17th Century.

This was a time when European merchants were establishing trade routes across Asia, bringing home whimsical products and incredible stories of distant, mysterious lands. The Europeans didn’t distinguish between these Eastern cultures and everything from China, Japan, India and Persia were termed “Oriental”. Owning a piece of, “Japanned” furniture, as some pieces were called, became the height of fashion amongst Europe’s elite. They were fascinated with all things Asian and throughout the continent, aristocrats, began decorating their castles and palaces with Chinoiserie elements. As authentic products were rare, European manufacturers produced imitations, often adapting traditional Asian designs and symbols, altering scale and proportion to better suit European taste.

In essence, Chinoiserie is the original East Meets West design style.

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Typical Chinoiserie Designs

European craftsman decorated everything from wallpapers, pottery, porcelain, and painted furniture with scenes from the orient. Typical Chinoiserie motifs included the Dragon image which the Europeans regarded as the symbol of the mystical Eastern lands.

Dragon Sofa by Design Intervention

Dragon Sofa by Design Intervention

The Dragon Rug by Design Intervention

Another common feature of Chinoiserie decoration are figures wearing Chinese clothing. Some artists chose to copy figures from genuine imports but, in many cases, the images they drew were products of the designer’s imagination.

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Birds, flowers and fanciful landscapes were also popular, as were pagodas. So different from English architecture, the pagoda was incorporated into the design of many Chinoiserie objects.

Design Intervention

Chinoiserie Today
In a reaction to the minimalism that has dominated the design scene for much of the past decade, designers are embracing luxury and pattern. There is a return to glamorous and colourful interiors and Chinoiserie is at the forefront of this trend. Four Hundred years after it originated, some of the worlds best known designers are reinventing the Chinoiserie style, reinterpreting it in fresh colourways, proportions or materials to make it as relevant today as it was centuries ago. 21st century Chinoiserie is still glamorous but it is a glamor mixed with humor invoking a sense of luxury without formality. Chinoiserie rooms don’t have to be busy: the look is more streamlined and crisp than it was centuries ago.

Sometimes, we use it to spice up interiors with little architectural interest or to add another dimension to contemporary rooms. And, because Chinoiserie reflects so much of the culture and colour of life in Singapore, we often incorporate Chinoiserie accents to give our projects a sense of place.

But perhaps, the reason that Chinoiserie is such a particular favourite of mine, is that it brings a light-hearted, playful feeling. The stylized oriental figures, patterns and colours make me smile. And there can be few better reasons to decorate your home, than to create an environment that lifts your mood and makes you feel good. And, for me, Chinoiserie does just that.


January 28, 2019 0 comment
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Ombre became a popular trend on the fashion runways in recent seasons. And since then, this gradient effect has appeared everywhere, from hair styles to cake designs, manicured nails, and even furniture pieces. The word Ombre is derived from the French word ombrer which means to shade and describes when colours gradually fade into each other selected. I particularly love how ombre designs can bring movement and depth into room schemes without overwhelming a space.

Even in a mix of bright hues, ombre imparts a serenity into any room scheme, invoking a soothing feeling of rippling water.


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Winner, Best Home 2014 (Singapore Tatler) by Design Intervention


In this dining room, our brief was to create a calm, soothing space. A strong pattern would have been overwhelming here bit the ombre upholstery on these dining chairs, adds vitality to this dining room in a way that a plain fabric could never achieve. Notice the gentle shading of the lampshades to add another subtle layer of detail.


In this highly designed room, the ombre curtains are a calming touch; they add tranquility to the room, balancing the strong elements and colours.


Awarded as The Best Interior Design Apartment Singapore by International Property Awards 2016

Here too, we have used the soft ombre tones in the rug to balance the strong mix of colour and pattern.

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Positioning this ombre sofa next to a window gives the illusion of light streaming in even on the dullest days.

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Doc - Mar 27 2015 10-31 AM

April 15, 2016 0 comment
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