New Interior Design Service Project: Behind-the-Scenes with Whinnie
Following the success of Channel 4’s Changing Rooms which saw Whinnie Williams work her magic by re-designing two family living rooms both in need of a full interior make-over, we have been inundated with your design questions – from how to start a design scheme from scratch and what paint colours to pair with printed wallpaper, to where to source the best vintage, retro and mid-century furniture – you’re all on a mission to find the ultimate showstopper.
"If you get it right, the moment you style a vintage piece within a room, it immediately feels elevated and special. Think about mixing vintage, retro and mid-century pieces with modern furniture to make the whole room feel authentic and considered"
Whinnie Williams in the home of the talented Jordan Stephens. Products featured from left to right. (Chain of Fools velvet lamp in Jade, Chain of Fools wallpaper in Jade, Money Tree velvet cushion in Bamboo, Lonesome George hexagon cushion on Walnut)
While the list of questions is endless and we’re always here to offer advice and inspiration, we’ve gone a step further and created our own Interior Design Service giving you full access to Whinnie who will help you design, decorate and style the room of your dreams. Here, Whinnie shares her latest project bringing client Jordan’s guest room brief to life:
The prospect of re-designing is exciting but often overwhelming, especially when you’re working with a blank canvas which was the case with Jordan’s room. Where do you start? Where do you draw inspiration?
Whinnie: I always start each design service project by focusing on the part of the room most people would find awkward, or the most obvious feature like a fireplace or alcove. In this case, because the room is at the top of the house, it has lots of ceiling angles teamed with really unusual horizontal cornicing wrapped around one wall of the room. While most people would rip this out before even starting to plan their design scheme, I knew it had the potential to become a beautiful feature by making it stand out vs trying to hide. Jordan’s favourite colour palette combined greens and blues and he has quite eclectic taste so I worked hard to create a space that would complement his artwork and objects. I knew it had to be bold and inviting.
A room designed with a nod to the 70's. Products featured from left to right. (Chain of Fools wallpaper in Jade, Lonesome George hexagon cushion in Walnut, COAT Paint)
You’ve used Chain of Fools on the walls and ceiling which looks incredible. This isn’t always possible in terms of the pattern lining up so what do you look for when creating this look? Also, does this work in any size room?
Whinnie: I’m a wallpaper hanging pro and can instantly tell if the print you’ve chosen will suit the entire space or whether it’s better to use in a specific area. If you can’t paper wall to ceiling then I recommend covering just the walls, and pull out a feature colour from the paper to paint the entire ceiling. Or vice versa. So many of my clients are now moving to papered ceilings especially in the entrance hall when they want to make an impression from the moment you walk in. If you’re looking to paper just one wall, then Chain of Fools is a perfect choice simply because it has the ability to work with multiple colours and clashing prints. In my opinion it’s one of our most neutral and versatile designs and always oozes retro chic and sophistication. It is really popular with our trade customers including, Soho House who have used the fabric to cover two huge sofas which look incredibly luxe within the space.
You love pairing pattern and colour however, many of your Interior Design Service clients want only a pop of print against a neutral background. How do you achieve this?
Whinnie: While my personal taste really embraces lots of print, I’m equally at home working with a blank canvas. The design service exists to make each client happy and while I love flooding our Instagram account with rooms that go all out Poodle & Blonde our designs have been created to work as pops of print, colour and texture in more subtle, mostly neutral spaces too. Our cushions and lamps are really popular if a client is keen to trial a particular print, and often I will suggest using our printed fabrics to upholster a much-loved chair, sofa or headboard to create that one-off design centrepiece or conversation starter.
How can you transform a room if budget is limited? Do you have any decorating or styling hacks?
Whinnie: When the budget is limited, I work hard to achieve a high-end look using a mix of cleverly sourced and styled furniture and accessories that don’t cost much. It’s vital I understand the budget and the design expectation from the start and work with that to ensure the client is pleasantly surprised with result. It’s knowing where to spend and where to save. In my spare time, I love watching DIY hacks online via Instagram and Pinterest especially right now because as well as offering the design service to you, I’m also planning my own home renovation and make-over.
Your signature style always incorporates elements of sustainability, and the ability to re-love and reuse has always been important to you when designing. How do you embrace this when working with clients who are new to vintage?
Whinnie: If you get it right, the moment you place a vintage piece within a room, it feels immediately elevated and special. So, think about mixing vintage, retro and mid-century pieces with modern furniture to make the whole room feel extremely high-end and considered, despite the fact it might have been picked up at a flea market or charity shop. I love to think about the stories behind vintage pieces and the people who once owned them. There is something beautiful about upholstering an old chair with a new fabric or displaying contemporary artwork or slogans within antique frames to add texture and personality to a space.
You’ve got a great eye when it comes to furnishing and styling a room. Where do you find inspiration?
Whinnie: I find inspiration everywhere, especially books, films, fashion and when I’m travelling - be it walking through the streets of Margate, or riding a horse in Colorado I’m constantly soaking everything up. When I discover something new, I get totally obsessed and use it to inspire new designs. Most recently, I’ve had a huge passion for all things Cowgirl which I poured into our Appaloosa Collection
I definitely go right into the depths of the rabbit hole so to speak!
What was your favourite part about this makeover?
Whinnie: When it all came together it looked incredible but I think the icing on the cake has to be seeing Jordan's reaction. He walked in dressed in the same tones as the room, it was a real reflection of his personality which I think regardless of style, having a space that is a nod to yourself is always the most satisfying part. I work really hard to get to know all our design service customers it's so important in making sure they have a space that feels perfect
For more information or to book an Interior Design Service appointment with Whinnie, please submit your details using our Interior Design Service Form