Making a home around the world
If this is August it must be .... Several of my clients have homes in different corners of the world:a town house in London, a chalet in the Alps for skiing, a penthouse apartment in Hong Kong.
Of course, each home will have its own style of décor to suit the surroundings. So something with traditional touches for London maybe. Brightly coloured objets and furnishings in the chalet. Cutting edge contemporary design in Hong Kong. And always a little bit of local flavour.
Everything should feel familiar
And yet. Whilst the furnishings are different I always make sure that each property is a real home from home for the client. So that nothing feels unfamiliar or out of place. How do I do this? I am going to let you into a few secrets.
It's crucial. How many times have you been in a strange hotel room, got into bed and wondered how to turn all the lights off? It can become a nightmare.
So I always make sure that clients have a similar lighting plan in every home. If a client is used to having a certain sort of bedside lamp or light, then I do my best to replicate it in every property, right down to the wattage. If they like reading lights or task lights then that will follow the same function in every home I design.
Oh and I am a major fan of dimmer switches. Perfect for creating instant atmosphere - whether you want to be busy or slow it down.
When you're overwhelmed with jet lag you don't want to be working things out like light switches. You want to relax and embrace the familiar. Which brings me to my next point.
Here I'm going to talk about pillows and mattresses. I have a friend who always takes her own pillow with her when she travels and I can understand why. (Incidentally the most comfortable linen I have ever slept in was at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong.)
When I'm taking an interior design brief from a client I ask about mattresses, pillows and duvet weights and then I make sure that this is consistent in every property. No use having a firm mattress in one house and one that is oversoft in another. Ideally you want every bed to feel the same. The same goes with pillows. Snuggling into a bed that feels familiar is key to a good night's sleep. (And my most comfortable bed ever was in the Metropole in Hanoi, Vietnam.)
Although many clients will have staff to take care of their homes, I still like to incorporate some smart home technology so that a home is warm/cool and lit when the client arrives. There are some outstanding applications around that do this. I am currently investigating Nest for one client - so that lights are turned on and off automatically. Happy to talk this one through further if you get in touch.
Wardrobes and clothing
If you're flying between countries then the chances are that the clothes that work in one locale won't work in another.
So if I am decorating a ski chalet for a client, I will include a large storage wardrobe for ski kit to be stored. Who wants to be carting ski jackets, helmets, goggles and ski pants around with them?
Equally, if one home is by the sea, then sarongs, boardshorts and bikinis are going to be the order of the day. So plenty of wardrobe space. I'm currently working on a new build in Antigua so homes by the sea are very much on my mind.
I like my clients to be able to travel light between their properties - knowing that what they need is going to be at hand when they get there.
Smell is one of our key senses and a familiar pleasant smell can do a lot to make us feel at home. So I try to find every client a signature room scent - maybe sandalwood - and then buy diffusers and candles which can be used in the different properties. Although they're on different continents the home will instantly feel familiar when you walk inside.
One comfortable home - but in many different places
To summarise, what I am really doing for my clients is creating an atmosphere of welcome, comfort and luxury in their home - except that the home is in different locales all around the world.
Get in touch and we can talk through how to do this for you.