Through detail comes harmony.
A passion for the history of architecture and interiors, alongside the ability to fuse different styles and incorporate disparate elements into a harmonious interior, are the forces driving boutique interior design practice Xavier Hinde.
We spoke to interior designer John-Eric Xavier and interior stylist Rodney Hinde about the top 5 design secrets they hide in plain sight.
1. Good interior design should tell a story.
Creating a space that is both unique and timeless is important to us. We want to feel confident that we’ve given our clients something that is individual to them, but will also endure in terms of both quality and style.
Often, we need to incorporate key pieces that the client already has, many of which are different ages, and of different origins. We also like to recognise the identity of the building.
By combining these with the client’s needs, as well as their interests and their passions, we create a narrative for their home.
This ensures that their home will tell a story, with real meaning in every element, beyond just aesthetic appeal.
2. It’s about how, not where, you live.
The most important thing to consider is how the client lives in their home. We like to find out as much as we can about our clients. It’s really important to listen and pay close attention to what they like and how they live.
3. Lighting is key to creating mood and personality
Lighting is extremely important but unfortunately, a lot of people overlook it as part of their project.
Decorative lighting, particularly pendants and wall lights, provide a great chance to add that extra personality to a space.
Good quality lighting will help bring the colours and textures of an interior to life, not wash them out.
When considering lighting for your own home, it’s important to remember what each room is used for, and the type of activities that are done in these spaces. Kitchens and bathrooms need to be brighter, of course, but living areas and bedrooms can be darker and moody.
Contrast will help keep it interesting. I always recommend our clients install dimmers with their lighting, as it’s an easy way to adjust brightness and create different moods.
Also, make sure to include table and floor lights in the budget, not just fixed ceiling lights, as this will offer more flexibility as well.
4. Look beyond furnishings to art, jewellery and antiques to build a unique story
Creating a beautiful space is not about fashion and style, it’s about presenting a collection of pieces that have meaning together.
There’s so much value in intricate design and refined craftsmanship, and often it’s the intricate and detailed pieces that bring the warmth, character and individuality to a space.
Don’t just keep something because it’s old, but know a really good piece is always worth preserving.
In terms of restoration, it’s very important that the restorer understands the piece they’re working on, and that they don’t make it look brand new, just bring it back to life and to a better condition.
If the piece is upholstered, with a well-made frame, recovering it with an updated fabric can be a much better investment than buying a new piece.
5. Windows are the meeting place between function and beauty
The right window covering can really make a room. Even a vast expansive window that shows a beautiful view can look unfinished without just a sheer drape to soften the window frames.
Window coverings add so much to all rooms, whether it’s cosiness to bedrooms, glamour to formal living and dining areas, or just a soft touch to casual family living areas.
Of course, the function of the fabric is an important part of this, they can dapple sunlight, provide light filtered privacy or total blackout, all of which have a huge impact on being able to enjoy the full potential of each room.
If you don’t want to go down the path of a full renovation or redesign, just changing or adding window coverings can really transform any space.
Great advice: Choosing window coverings with Xavier Hinde
There are so many fabulous window covering options, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some top tips.
- If you have a smaller or more contemporary space, go for similar colours and fabrics on all windows to create a cohesive look that flows throughout the home.
- If you have a larger or more traditional space, you can use different fabrics throughout the home, that can contrast with the wall colours, and you can be bolder with pattern and texture.
- Not everything has to match, although it is important that you consider the window treatments in relation to the floor coverings, the upholstery fabrics and other soft furnishings to ensure they form a collection. Don’t choose any one item in isolation.
- Always layer your window treatments where possible. Most windows can accommodate both sheers and blackouts, and this layering of the textures adds real elegance to a space, even if it’s a casual space.
- You can combine blinds and curtains on the same window, but don’t overdo roller blinds, as they can look too commercial. Always explore the idea of a Roman blind before a roller blind, as they’re such an elegant option.
- Wherever you can put curtains, do it. Curtains need to be hung high as they will create the perception of higher ceilings which adds a sense of space and elegance.