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‘Art First’ Interior Design – Visioning & Moodboards 5

– The Entrance Hallway-

To wrap up our mini mood board series, let’s talk about the infamous hallway.

In a previous post on our Edinburgh interiors project, we talked about how the entrance hall of this property is a remarkably uncooperative space – when you first walk into the flat, you’re forced into a tall, narrow and claustrophobic space that immediately requires you to turn left or right. Traditionally, pictures might be hung in a hall, but here your initial instinct is to rush to reach a breakout space. Lorraine felt that artworks would be missed in the thoroughfare.

So, what do you do in this instance? Put up bland artworks to fill a space? Spend thousands on beautiful pieces that will be almost ignored? Working with the premise that what you put in a space has to work with how you move through that space, Lorraine chose to transform the entire hall into an artwork.

Rather than functioning as a means to an end, the hall will be a ‘wow’ space, adding drama and theatre to the home; a space that will welcome and envelop you into another world away from the buzz of the streets outside. Lorraine wanted not just a mural but something with texture that had a soft hand-drawn feel. She looked at panoramic grisaille wallpapers, focusing on cooler colours to push the wall back but also beautiful vistas to lead the eye beyond the wall. By adding panelling to the wall consistent with the period of the house, horizontal lines will bring the eye down in the vertical space. Guests will feel as though they are standing on a balcony looking out at the view. Gilt metals and unfurling quirky gold leaf details will add grandeur and flamboyance to balance the cool steely grey tones of an Edinburgh sky.

grisaille paper proposed for hall interior design scheme

Once Lorraine settled on a stunning wallpaper featuring native Scots Pine trees, she looked at patterns of flooring that would almost represent a woodland walk. Together, the group chose beautiful, rustic parquet flooring that reminds visitors of a leafy path: it will be raw and textured rather than overly formal.

As you stroll through the arches at either end of the corridor, it will feel as though you’re leaving a space and entering a more cocooning environment; the walls will be painted a darker grey to continue the theatrical feel and allow you to absorb the experience of the hall.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, buildings were crammed with detail and craftsmanship. From the moment you enter the New Town flat, you’ll be greeted by hand-carved details, paneling and ornate metalwork. Lorraine wanted to preserve the original features and return lost elements to this historic home balanced with a contemporary fresh approach. Missing ceiling roses (lost in previous renovations of this property), for example, will accentuate the scale and height of the rooms but by choosing clean lines they can bridge several centuries of design!

As an artist creating works for public spaces, Lorraine regularly experienced diverse ideas and tastes being voiced. Nevertheless, her job, she says, was always to interpret the natural character of a space along with the collective vision for its future use and ultimately how it should be experienced when you walk into or through it – the emotional and physical impact. Like a site-specific artwork, the Edinburgh project is all about creating something uniquely tailored to the individual – something that is very personal and represents the personalities of its occupants. Creating detailed mood boards was essential to this process, taking around four weeks to complete all nine spaces.

When the client approached me, they asked about my interior style. I definitely have a distinct style, but equally, it’s varied – elegant with a twist. I like classical but soulful pieces that are handmade with lots of character and quirk. What was important was to say that in some ways, my style didn’t matter. The way I approach projects is to understand the clients’ style!

All four clients loved the mood board ideas for the rooms and spaces in the property (thank goodness!). They felt that their personal tastes had been taken into account but also that they were being challenged to explore new things and be adventurous in a way they might not in their permanent home. They had wanted this ‘home away from home’ to be different to anything else they’d experienced, to feel a little bit luxurious while also being a comfortable place to relax and escape; for Edinburgh visits to be a special part of their family get-togethers.

Lorraine identified the need for certain bespoke pieces during the visioning phase which would capture the nuances and character of each room and take into account everybody’s desire to involve local makers and artists. A few luxurious elements balanced with affordable finds from online retailers and some unique pieces from her own network of independent suppliers around the world made up her design schemes. We’ll be telling the story of who we chose to work with and how the collaborations unfold.

Now it’s time to make it all come to life – the ‘Implementation Phase’ is where the hard work begins! There will be ups and downs as with every project, but we want to show the transformation of this property at key stages so keep an eye out for updates in the project coming soon!…


In progress, ripping up the hall floor!…Image: Curious Egg.


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