FENG SHUI YOUR LIFE
Messy house Messy Mind
From the tender age of 8, I was obsessed with re-arranging my bedroom. Yep, that was my jam. Sometimes, I would spend the entire weekend de-cluttering my cupboards, re-organising drawers, re-positioning the furniture and to my Interior Designer Mother's horror (although she never stopped me), painting over the classy F&B's 'Elephant's Breath' walls with eye-watering splashes of lime green and later declaring one of them, my 'statement' wall with an attempted hand-painted pink Roxy logo (not my finest hour). My room was my sanctuary and I was in my element. Having the freedom to let my creativity flow and 'channel my inner 'Feng Shui' was pretty awesome and I will always be grateful for that.
What I realised (from an earlier age than most) is that the energy we get from our surroundings can dramatically affect how we think, feel and live! A cluttered creates a cluttered mind. An organised home reflects and organised life. In my personal experience, it really does work like that.
Let's be honest, the feeling most of us get from a beautifully organised, clutter free home filled with the fine scent of fresh linen and suggestion of lemon bleach should be the only motivation we need to keep on top of it everyday. However, for most of us, life gets in the way so we give in to the untidy kitchen cupboards, leaking curry spice packets and sticky jam jars until the sight of them slowly begins to insult us. This usually leads to a sacrificed Sunday in your over-sized T and leggings, hair scraped back to every inch of its life, scrubbing the entire flat/house top to bottom until your hands resemble dried apricots and all the bleach is beginning to make you dizzy and itch in weird places.
But it was worth it because you feel good. You feel accomplished and a little bit smug. You can finally tackle the world now so make a vow to always keep the house in this glorious state of perfection. Then life happens again.
Well, some of have just 'got it' when it comes to leading a clutter-free life. This girl is not only a dear friend of mine but she's got S-T-Y-L-E, truck loads of it. Introducing the effortlessly stylish Claudia Gibbon, owner of Dolly Dot Interior whose stunning home screams innovative simplicity, serenity and not even a hint of clutter in sight. Jealous? Yep, us too.
So how does she do it?
When did you your interest in Interior Design begin?
From a young age. My Mum always gave me free reign to decorate my bedroom how I chose which I would always really enjoy.
SNAP! Aren't Mums the best? What did you want to be when you were younger?
Randomly I went through a phase of wanting to be a hairdresser, rather strange as I have never been naturally good with styling hair.
Ha ha brilliant! Where do you get your inspo from?
Elle Deoration and Living Etc are my go to magazines, and I practically live on Pinterest and Instagram. Scandinavian bloggers are my biggest inspiration, with their classic design pieces and black and white colour schemes.
Describe your style in three words
Monochrome. Linear. Luxe
What piece(s) in your house are you most proud of?
I would say my living room and hallway mirrors. They are your traditional, antique style mirrors which I inherited from my parents. Each time I move I paint them a different colour. They have been orange, purple and blue before. They are currently black and white, which shows them off beautifully.
Biggest interior fail?
Actually very recently in my living room I chose the wrong colour for the walls and had the room painted before testing it. Big mistake! What I wanted was a very pale, soft grey. Due to the light in the space, what I actually have is a very pale, icy blue. Lesson learnt. Definitely buy tester pots and test near the window!
This month is all about de-cluttering. Your house is SO clutter-free - how do you keep it that way?
I am a bit of a neat-freak, so it is something that comes natural to me but it is all about storage, being able to tidy your things away and to close the door on it. Cluttered spaces can be overwhelming, keep spaces open and welcoming. Also keeping spaces minimal means you can show off specific items that may otherwise get lost within the chaos.
Any suggestions for having a super organised kitchen/cooking space?
It does take time but it is about giving everything a practical home. Cleaning products under the sink, herbs and spices in the cupboard next to hob/oven, mugs, tea and coffee above where your kettle sits, these little things make sense and also your life easier. Once you start off organised it is easy to keep on top of. My rule is to put things away as soon as I have finished with it.
I would have to say a selection of Thai dishes. Pork dumplings, pad thai noodles, prawns in a tamarind sauce, sticky rice. Delicious!
What are your go-to cookbooks?
Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, there’s all sorts in there and every dish I have tried has turned out very tasty. Also the Simply Cadbury’s Chocolate for naughty treats, the brownies are divine.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I cycle to work, make myself a cup of tea and have a bowl of muesli. For lunch I walk in to town and pick up some fresh tomatoes, spinach, Philadelphia cheese, avocado and ryvita. After work I cycle over to the gym for a spin class, then back home for some stir fry packed full of vegetables all cooked in coconut oil, soy sauce and some seasoning. I love spending time with my friends and parents, so I usually catch up with them in the evening.
Describe your perfect Sunday..
To start the day I like to take a yoga or spin class, then back home to re-fuel with a long brunch of eggs, smoked salmon, avocado and lots of fruit. Take a walk along the River in Henley on Thames with friends. In the early evening cook a roast dinner with my parents, my Dad makes the best Yorkshire puddings. And to finish, hit the sofa and watch a box set, at the moment I am obsessed with Stranger Things, the set design, sound, everything is so, so good.
What are the interior design colours/style for Winter 2016?
The Pantone colour of the year 2016 is Rose Quartz. The dusky pink isn’t your typical girly pink, it is a warm, calm and relaxing which is perfect to use in the home. Also deep blues and greens are on trend, which I am quite the fan of.
A couple of my favourite trends are granny florals and marble accents. Be brave and upholster an armchair, or sofa in a big, beautiful and blowsy floral print for a real statement piece. My dream is to one day have a marble kitchen worktop, however small accessories such as a tray, candle holder or chopping board will add a touch of real interior fashion and elegance.
Future plans for Dolly Dot Interiors?
I have a few finishing touches to make in my new apartment, I only purchase items I really love so sometimes it can take a while. I am about to start an interiors based blog/website, so watch this space. Also the goal is to take on my own clients for interior design projects.
So excited for you Claudia. Watch this space, we'd say!
MADE .COM Photoshoot
Photography by Claire Williams