Interior Design in the Age of the Coronavirus

With our collective #stayhome efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus, we are all spending more and more time in our homes.  Whilst many of us will be juggling work and the need to entertain children, we might also find ourselves looking around the home and thinking about ways to refresh our style.  From tips on creating a productive home office space to modern bathroom ideas, different home décor options to interior design ideas for small spaces, now is a great time to maximise the comfort of your home.  To help you with any budding interior ideas, we sat down with Brooke Timmins-Taulelei, the Design Director at VP The Service to chat about how we can improve our mood during the coronavirus outbreak and the small touches that can make all the difference. 


Thank you so much for sitting down with us, what was it that got you started in interior design? 

I actually spent a big part of my career in corporate media roles, but it wasn’t quite the right match for my soul.  I realised that my love of designing spaces could be something that I could help others with and so I went back to ‘school’ around the same time my daughters were in University themselves! 


Tell us about the new interior design service you are running? 

Since VP The Service offers a range of lifestyle management services, it was a natural fit to add an interiors division.  It would allow us to offer expert help to clients when decorating the home, buying luxury furniture and choosing interior design ideas.  


What does the interior design division offer? 

Ultimately, it is a very personalised service.  We work to give each client a tailored approach whether they want a complete overhaul or specific restyling tips.   There are so many ways to transform a home, even with relatively small changes such as layered lighting.  We start off with an interior design concept so clients can get a sense of our vision as it reflects their preferences and then implement it to the highest standards.

 What was your average day like?  Most days are pretty crazy! 

I focus mainly on residential interiors and so I really need to get to know my clients so that we can reflect their personality in their homes.  I really get a thrill from creating spaces that bring genuine joy to my clients.  Oh, and shopping, lots and lots of shopping! 


What does an average day look like now with the spread of the coronavirus?

Like everyone else, things have changed a lot.  The main difference is in the amount I am driving, with more and more work being done remotely.  Our priority is to make sure we are working with trusted online suppliers who can ensure the quality and safety of the furniture and décor. 


You recently partnered with Apartment 51 on a photo-shoot, how was that? 

So much fun, especially as Apartment 51 has so many fantastic pieces of furniture and home accessories to choose from.  We wanted to showcase the details that make a house a home and how you can inject personality into each and every room.  People can get lost in a ‘formula’ type of style which can lack the warmth and individualism homes should have.  The Apartment 51 range is perfect for allowing people to mix styles and introduce unexpected elements into a space – I mean who else offers a candle holder that is well over a metre tall?

    What do you love most about interior design and home accessory styling?

    I think the two moments that I love the most are hitting on just the right concept for your client and when they get their first look at the completed project.  People take a leap of faith when their put their homes into our hands and I love seeing the joy we’ve been able to bring to them and their families. 


    What are your essential interior design tips? 

    Pay attention to the entryway of your home. It’s often a little space that people are unsure what to do with it, but it really sets the mood for the whole home. Great lighting here can make a huge impact.  Also make sure to keep big furniture items relatively neutral so that you can mix up the décor when you fancy a change.  Finally, don’t be afraid to be bold with a splash of colour or a statement furniture piece.


    What would be your interior design do’s and don’ts for people wanting to refresh their own homes? 

    I’m all for decorating from the heart. If you buy items you genuinely love and they resonate with you for whatever reason, you’ll find you keep them forever. Don’t over decorate. Think about your interiors like a piece of music, with high and low notes all in beautiful harmony. For most rooms I generally suggest 3 eye-catching pieces (high notes) and keep the rest quite subtle.   


    Can interior design help improve the mood or atmosphere in the home?

    Absolutely!  It can be extraordinary how much the colours, furniture, wallpaper and accessories, from chairs to coffee tables, can impact how we feel on a day to day basis.  With how busy and hectic our lives can be here, it is so important that your home makes you feel relaxed and happy during your downtime.  The aim is to hear that very ‘technical’ design term “ahhhhhhhhh” whenever you walk in.


     At the moment people are spending even more time at home, what tips would you give them on creating the right environment if they want to brighten things up or refresh their home style?

    One of the best ways to transform your space is one of the easiest, paint the walls.  It can make a huge impact without breaking the budget.  You’ll be amazed the difference this makes in a space. Don’t be a slave to the latest colour trends either, feel free to choose a colour you love and you can even get really bold and paint the ceiling too.  You can then select a couple of decor pieces that reflect this colour and layer them into the room. Be it a vase, new lights, cushions - just something in the same colour range to make it all look and feel cohesive.


    What are your style inspirations?

    The two design movements that have influenced me the most are (hands down) Art Deco, and Mid-Century modern. I love the quirky nature of mid-century designs and the glamour and boldness of Art Deco.

    What is the one piece in your home you can’t live without?  

    Oh that is such a hard question! For me, it’s the accessories that express my personality best and I’m constantly injecting something a little bit quirky or fun. My home is rarely static and I love to play around with new layouts.


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