You can’t always find what you need off-the-shelf when it comes to Home Interiors, especially if you have a “characterful” London house like mine, you know, uneven shaped alcoves, sloping ceilings, wonky floors and non-standard doorways. (I make my place sound like a clown’s house; it’s lovely really). I’m also guessing that you could do with more storage too (who doesn’t) and when this happens you going to need professional.
Here are my tips for getting a good supplier or tradesperson and the perfect answer to your Interior Design prayers.
If you’ve ever wondered what a mood-board is here’s your answer. Have you used Pinterest? Then you’ve made a moodboard AKA a collection of home interiors images you like for whatever reason. If you don’t use Pinterest, you should be looking online or in design magazines for examples of the piece of furniture or doors you like. Once you have at least 10 images you should see a recurring theme. This could be a colour, a style of cupboard, material, handles or a combination of different storage ideas in one piece. This is how you can narrow down what you like and need.
Measure Your Space
Get a decent tape measure and a friend to help. Start by looking at the shape of the room. Is it a perfect square? Probably not, so draw the basic shape of the space noting any windows, doors, alcoves, radiators, boilers, power meters and architectural anomalies like keystones and pillars.
First measure each wall and mark the dimension on your drawing. Then Measure where the sticky out and inny bits are and which way your doors and windows open. Then measure the ceiling height.
Draw the plan Again!
Undoubtedly, your first drawing will be a mess. So now that you’ve examined the space, take a little more time to re-draw the plan neatly with a ruler and re-apply your dimensions and notes as you’ll need this drawing to get your quotes in. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect as long as it’s legible and looks like the space. I draw mine on the computer, which you might prefer to do.
Finding A Tradesperson or Supplier
If you don’t have a friend or family member who’s a carpenter or builder this bit takes the longest and you’re going to have to do it. Get on the Internet and search Bespoke carpentry, doors, local builders and make a ‘longlist’ of the ones you like. It might be that you like the style of their portfolio, that they have a photos of their friendly (or good-looking team - Diet Coke break anyone?) or that they have lots of great reviews. Then narrow it down to at least three companies. There’s also a lot of rated tradespeople websites you can try such as Rated People, checkatrade or Which that you can try but of course, you can’t beat word-of-mouth so ask your friends and family for recommendations and don’t be afraid to knock on doors of houses you admire and ask them who they used. Most people don’t mind and are flattered that you’ve asked (I do this all the time).
Send it all Off
Now contact your shortlist of tradespeople or suppliers. Make sure to include your neat plan, example images and any other details that you feel are important to tell the person on the other end. Also if your drawing skills are OK do a little sketch of how you think your finished item should look – don’t worry about finalising the design as a good tradesperson will talk it through with you before they start. Then within a few days you will have some quotes.
Word of Advice
Don’t be tempted to always go with the cheapest quote. I will judge a company by their efficiency, manners, response to a brief and often with gut-feeling (which is based on the aforementioned anyway).
Or get an Interior Designer
Avoid all this and employ me to do it all for you
One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog