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Hello and welcome to the second episode of series four of The Great Indoors and a big thank you to Topps Tiles for sponsoring our latest series. If you haven’t already, you can listen to the full show here and please remember to rate and subscribe – it all helps other lovely listeners find our pearly gems of wisdom and become part of The Great Indoors tribe!

So in today’s episode, we discuss whether our childhood homes shape our future interior tastes, the hot topic of biophilia, a return to the colour-blocking trend and of course, my personal tongue-in-cheek fave, design crimes.

Are we influenced by our childhood homes?

I was clearly influenced by my childhood home(s) to some extent as my parents were the original fixer-uppers! We moved quite a bit when I was growing up and I became quite intrigued with the transformations my mum and dad created – with the odd mishap here and there!

My real family home was from the age of six until I moved out and I can remember my mum fully embraced the decorating trends of the era – and yes I’m talking rag-rolling, stippling and scumble glazes – you name it! And I have to say, my teenage bedroom featured some extravagant paint effect decor, so I guess you could say I was inspired by my Mum’s love for the creative techniques and projects.

Kate related much more to her grandmother’s style – furniture in particular and has some pieces dotted around her house  – which are much more ‘her’ than her mum’s swags and curtain pelmets. Kate feels very much attached to the sentimental pieces and the stories they tell, I, however, became somewhat stricter when we moved and insisted if things don’t fit the space – they have to go! Sorry, Robinson family!

So, while we may take snippets of inspiration from our childhood homes, and it may skip a generation, we do inevitably form our own tastes and styles.

Biophilic design

Sainsbury’s Home Urban Paradise collection features invigorating green accessories set off by natural greenery in the form of house plants

So this is a subject which has had the spotlight recently – Biophilia is the love of nature and in particular the human attraction to natural processes. So why have plants come back into fashion again? Well, it could be that we have become more aware of the benefits of having living plants around the home. For one, they absorb toxins which in this age of technology can only be a good thing, and of course, the colour green is invigorating. In addition to greenery, biophilic design and eco expert Oliver Heath has stated that there have been studies showing that natural materials such as wood, wool and stone can actually help reduce stress and heart rates! You can see Kate’s full interview Oliver here, where they discuss this fascinating subject in depth.

Biophilia, is a love of nature. A refurbishment project by Oliver Heath features a natural reclaimed wooden clad wall and a variety of living plants in his vintage boho home in Brighton. #biophilia #oliverheath #podcast #sophierobinson

A full eco refurbishment of a 1960s house in Brighton by Oliver Heath, a biophilic dream!

In my recent office refurbishment at home, I just had to knock a hole in the wall to give me a view of the garden from my desk. The room before the renovation was dark, uninspiring and had no view at all. Now I get the best view in the whole of east Sussex. My home office was the old dining room and its a really good size but as my job takes up most of my week, I feel it’s important to prioritise having a really great space. I have written more on the subject on how to design your ultimate work space here.

Colour blocking

Use geometric patterns as a colour block design. Linee Studio featured clean lines and complementing colours so the space doesn’t look too busy

This is one trend that started life in the fashion world and has translated into the interiors world perfectly. Case in point, fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic makes her interior design debut that echoes her style. She designed this penthouse apartment (below) in the Gasholders complex in London’s Kings Cross.

Roksanda’s design features a mix of midcentury and modern furniture, a clever mix of curiosities and specially commissioned artwork. The table is by Angelo Mangiarotti from 1970, the Costes dining chairs are by Philippe Starck.

As the name suggests, it uses different – ideally strong – colours in large blocks. For me, you can never enough colours in a room but if you’re starting out you can achieve the look fairly simply by choosing a strict palette of around three ‘hero’ core colours and you can do this with a plain piece of furniture, a rug, and artwork. If you have an open plan space, paint blocks or sections on the walls to create zones.

Cape Red doorway by Little Greene

For the more adventurous among you, use the walls as your canvas to introduce different colours on each wall or section of the wall and even the ceiling. In my opinion, colour blocking works best when using bold, saturated colours that really make a statement.

Design Crimes

Much to Kate’s horror I recently invested in a new TV – all 49inches of it as opposed to Kate’s 27, the size of my computer monitor! Throughout my career in magazines, the TV was always frowned upon and quite rightly so – you don’t really want to look at a huge black block in the middle of the room.  So as the majority of us embrace modern technology and increasing screen sizes, the best solution is to try and incorporate it within a scheme – as I did in my mum’s annex with her custom build shelving.

My mum’s bookcase was built so the TV would sit snugly within it

It seems Emily Henderson agrees as she recently said that we never see a TV in any interiors magazines, when in fact that’s what most living rooms are for, so why try and hide them? The TV on most people’s wish list is the Samsung Frame TV which becomes a piece of art when it’s turned off. For a small monthly fee, you can select your favourite artwork from some the top galleries including the Tate Modern and the V&A or you can display some your own masterpieces.

Spot the TV – OldBrandNew’s gallery wall. The central ‘artwork’ is the Samsung Frame TV

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