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Sensual Living With Ilse Crawford

Ilse Crawford is my guru. My inner depths about what I believe in good design is from listening, reading and looking at what Ilse discusses. She was the founding Editor for British ELLE Decoration. Since then editors have come and gone but none have created the same intellagence, emotion and inspiration like Ilse. Believe me they have tried. But the reason why Ilse creates such a buzz to the magazines she edits and the hotel's she designs is her philosophy. Her design studio StudioIlse follow two simple words: MODERN AND EMOTIONAL. They address our physical and emotional reactions to the visible world around us: human friendly design that can be smelt, heard and felt.

What does this mean when we talk about our homes? When designing your home you should create your identity, understand your emotional values and then make them visible and tangible through design. A holistic approach to design, interiors and architecture is key to achieving longevity as well as giving greater meaning to design.

I had the most amazing experience to consult for StudioIlse on one of their projects.
I designed a showroom apartment for the private sales arm of one of the UK's largest housing associations. The aim was to achieve an emotional and intelligent space defining a soul of the make believe urban couple living there.

My inspiration was the amazing multi-cultural vibrant colour palate that I discovered on the streets of Hounslow where the show flat was created. Using Ilse's ideals I tried to bring the senses from outside in.







The flat was very small so I wanted to demonstrate that you don't have to live in a white bright space to make a room feel airy. Working with deep colours can work really well in a small space. There are some tricks to remember.

Use high gloss to paint a bulky unit in the same colour as your wall. To make objects pop use bright pinks, yellow and white and for items you want to disappear consider black or clear.

To create an illusion of a seprate room install a sheer or fringe divider. Remember to stick with your wall colour for a small space. If  a different colour was used it would make a small room feel even smaller.

Using natural timbers such as this Benchmark table and stool helps make a home feel cosy and welcoming. Another clever trick to help make the outdoors blur inside is to paint high gloss around your windows and skirting the same colour as your walls.

To help break up the pace opt for a different tone blue for some of the rooms. This provides relief and surprise from room to room.

Painting a desk the same colour as the wall directs attention to other features in the room   helping to make the space feel light and airy.


To create a seamless flow through-out the home use the same flooring. Museum and shop glass cabinets are a fantastic solution for bulky storage items.


Add drama, drama, drama. Don't ever be shy. Your home is where you can be open to express yourself. Too often homeowners forget the most important room of all to decorate - the bedroom. This should be one of your favourite rooms in your home. If it isn't then you need to leave this computer now and start decorating your bedroom. Another small room tip...
All blinds in the apartment match the wall colour so when they are pulled down they don't break the flow of the walls.

A floating shelf, a clear perspex side table and an anglepoise lamp in black are fantastic tools for a small space.

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