So this is our family story I touched on recently. My mum had discovered the newly opened Body Shop in Brighton’s North Laine. My Grandparents and Uncle lived miles away in Nottingham.
These were the early days when the labels for products were handwritten.
My lovely Uncle Rob (who is just about to be 80 by the way!) had visited us for a holiday and my Mum sent some Body Shop goodies back with him for Gran to try, One of the goodies was a pot of Carrot Cream.
Rob couldn’t understand why Gran had left the black pot of cream on the hall table for him to take home. She thought it said Car Rot Cream! Rob is massively into doing up cars. She saw it was from the Body Shop and thought it was a car body repair place. The handwriting was a bit wobbly.
I love this photo of Anita Roddick. Growing up in Brighton in the 1970s at the time this first special shop opened here - me and my friends knew The Body Shop so well! It was where got your ears pierced -or not - if you like me you weren’t allowed! For me it was where I choose the next colourful sticker for my collection from a reel on the cash desk, while my Mum bought 'car-rot' cream for my Gran (family joke!) or had a potion refilled.
I would spend my pocket money there. I bought soap for my soap collection (will tell you about that another day!). Then had gift baskets made up there as I got older ....and I started to engage with the company’s values - especially Against Animal Testing.
When I returned to Brighton after university - it was the recession of the early 90s. I had a bumpy start and was made redundant from my first ‘proper’ job. So in desperation, I hand wrote a letter to Anita. I remember it well. I asked if they might need the help of a 3D designer in their head office (just along the coast in Littlehampton). At that time Brighton was not the place to get furniture or interior design work. Then it was all about finance, insurance and tourism. Well I got a reply! ...and I promptly headed up to their London office in Great Titchfied Street to beginning helping designer Daisy Cresswell with some small merchandising projects.
That lucky break lead to a wonderful 10 years of working on projects in lots of countries - and working with MANY other inspiring Anita fans. I even worked for their Australia and New Zealand head office for the best part of a year. It was fantastic!
I’m telling you this because ethics and business have been what I have grown up with and I had my sustainable design grounding in - all learnt while working for this pioneering company. It is very much in the DNA of my own company now and I am very proud to continue Anita's way of being a business into my own.
I'm keen to share what I've been fortunate to learn from Anita Roddick and her wonderful, ethical company. I love helping people with Anita’s entrepreneurial spirit to help their visions become a reality. Being a designer with commercial experience means you are working on more than an interior aesthetic. It requires areas of theatre, a customer journey, branding, robust and long lasting finishes... lots of challenges. It influences how I work on all projects - including homes.
If you'd like help with an interior design specification that is compassionate and low impact - then book a free Discovery Call here.
I hope the list of decisions needed for a project that I gave last week helped you to visualise all the decisions to make on your project. It might feel a bit overwhelming but great to see them listed and I hope it prompts you.
The other hugely vital point was the importance of a furniture layout. If you put the effort into designing out mistakes at the drawing stage it will save you money and wasted time - and will be so much less stressful.
Measure your space as accurately as you can. I have a guide that will help you which you can download here. Measure the floor area and doors & windows. Get the wall areas in between windows measured correctly. Add socket, switch and lighting positions. Draw all this on grid paper. Measure any fixed items such as fireplace and add. Measure items of furniture you’d like to go in the space - whether existing or new. You could draw the footprint of these items and cut them out so you can play around with options. Or overlay a sheet of tracing paper. If you are introducing only a few new items into the space - then use newspaper or cupboard and measure out the exact space. Seeing the space in 3 dimensions early on will help you to feel more sure about the work. If you are drawing the floor plan - have a look at elevations where things are happening on walls - check they work in relation to each other.
It doesn’t matter how you do it - use the method which works best for you.
How is the flow/circulation through the space?
How is the view into the space from the adjoining space?
Are you making the most of any nice views outside and maximising daylight?
Are you looking at large items in your design?
Look at whether they are delivered in one piece or not
Look at your door sizes (including the front door)
Look at the hallways, staircases and any turns need to get the item into the room
Please do this before going too far with your design and DEFINATELY before you order! We want to design out mistakes!
Now look at your furniture layout in conjunction to existing sockets, switches and lighting.
Is everything easy to access? Are any sockets covered up that need repositioning or new sockets adding? Is the lighting going to light the right areas or do you need a rethink? Would the space benefit from some different types of lighting with this new arrangement. How often do you use the central pendant light? Could you use layered, low level lighting instead - table lamps?
Can you still reach the window to pull down blinds/drawer curtains?
Is any heating clear of obstructions? Have ugly radiators appeared that now need addressing?
Imagine using the space. Have you got enough storage for real life living? Can you factor in anything that will improve the day to day use of the space?
Have you had a rethink about a new item? Update the drawing just to be sure of the fit.
I can’t stress how important this is to do if you want to plan the project well. You will thank me for encouraging you! It’s good to know any knock on effects early on as it all affects budget and we all know that’s when it becomes stressful. I really hope this helps you!
Can you see parts of the process you’d like to do yourself and other parts you really don’t want to do?
That’s where I can help. I can help you on the parts you need help with.