Home' Abode : November 23 Contents THE HERALD
and stones give a natural ambience and this is
soothing. It gives a welcoming feel."
She says the neutral bases - but with splashes of
colour - help personal moods and persona in posi-
She says people should not be governed by a
stage in the market or a design era, but should
take some of a current trend and use it to update
"Colours have fashion trends, like the plums,
mauves and purples that are in the fashion
industry and have now made their way into the
design industry," she says.
"Always in are the moody blues, steel grey blues
and for this summer, if people like to decorate sea-
sonally, yellow. Red is more for winter."
She says it is easy to decorate for the seasons by
swapping heavier throws for lighter linen pieces
and changing fur and woollen cushions for linens
and cotton to reflect the lightness of summer.
"A bold armchair with amazing fabric can be
used in a small apartment area or a rug of intense
colour also gives a stunning look.
"Not everyone can live with colour, so a neutral
palette can also work well. It comes down to how
you put the pieces together."
Interior designer Chris Cole-Clark , who has
offices in Maitland and Paddington, says people
have a whole new opinion of designers compared
to years ago.
"The flamboyant interior designer isn't there
anymore. People know what they want and they
want someone who will work closely with them
and not take over with some ridiculous idea or
"People don't want 'out there', they want a place
that is comfortable and they can live in, but also,
importantly, they want something different, some-
thing that nobody else has."
Cole-Clark, like many of her colleagues, works
for as long or as briefly as the customer wants.
Fees usually start at a first standard hour and go
upwards from there, with quotes given for bigger
"People may just want a bit of direction, some
backup confidence because most people know
what they want," Cole-Clark says. "I have been to
places where after 15 minutes, I think 'what am I
doing here', they just needed the confidence to
"Other places are in need of a total revamp,
because their children have left home and the
owner's lifestyle is now much different."
She, like other designers, believes the main fur-
niture and furnishings should be quality and that
the extra expense is worth it.
"We are very much a throw-away society, but
people are realising there is a group of products
you can throw away, but another group of prod-
ucts you can't.
"People do need to get the furniture right, par-
ticularly the size. It shouldn't swamp a room or
generally not fit in."
She believes other items need not be hugely
"Cushions are a good example, and they can
make a difference because they bring in colour.
Treasured items like a birthday card can be
framed or arranged to create interest."
Jenny Hamill readily agrees that interior
designers are something of a must when re-deco-
rating a home these days.
She looked to Fyona Coulton when she and her
husband revamped their Hillsborough home ear-
lier this year.
"We were at the stage where we needed all new
furniture, new curtains and wanted to change our
wall colour. We were starting from scratch, it all
needed replacing," she says.
The one thing they could not justify doing was
replacing their top-quality carpet and that is where
their dilemma started.
"We couldn't just pull it up because it was expen-
sive and still looked good, but we realised we
needed help because we had to create everything
around this beautiful blue-green carpet.
"Fyona helped us every step of the way, but for
the most part we made the decisions. She helped
us head in the right direction, particularly with the
"The Roman blinds were something we particu-
larly needed help with, because there is a fine line
between very contemporary and ghastly.
"We also liked that Fyona had connections with
furniture people, painters and electricans, which
was really handy.
"The end result is that we have changed to a
contemporary look that is relaxing and has the
added advantage of encouraging us to look at the
landscaped areas and views outside of our home."
Coulton, an interior designer at Maitland store
Willows Gifts & Homewares, believes people are
also looking to more sustainable items such as fur-
niture that will last.
"Re-covering heritage pieces is a great way to
give a fresher look. People might buy one, but re-
cover an older, sometimes treasured item that had
belonged to their grandmother, for example. You
don't necessarily need a complete makeover.
"The colour of timber furniture can also be
changed to a natural, more off-white or neu-
tral look, that will then work with other colour
schemes and won't date."
Coulton says the family meals area is the most
common area that people seem to struggle with
"It is an area that is the most commonly used, so
it has to be just right for what the family wants,"
"Do we fill it with a table? Lounge? How do they
use it? Often laying around relaxing or watching
"Your own style is important here, but guid-
ance is needed for things like not overcrowding
a room and using quality pieces that will last.
Cushions that are sat on, squashed and generally
end up looking worse for wear are easily replace-
able, but are great because they are a powerful,
yet an inexpensive way of adding colour to an
McFayden says going for premium quality fur-
niture, great decorator pieces, cushions, artwork
and rugs indoors and water features, garden art
and pots for the outdoors helps complete the
"We know we have done well when customers
say, 'Wow! Love the way you have put that
BEFORE AND AFTER: A loungeroom before a Fyona
Coulton makeover, top, and after the revamp, below.
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