Photos courtesy Katrien Van Der Schueren.
Katrien Van Der Schueren is the founder and creative visionary behind Voila! Creative Studio, a visual laboratory where she envisions, creates and fabricates a full range of bespoke fine art, objects, furnishings, lighting, event and stage sets, and accessories.
In the grand scheme of her career, designer/artist Katrien Van Der Schueren says that her move to America in 2002, specifically Los Angeles, was the first main challenge she met that led her to where she is now. With her experience working in a variety of fields, from the European Commission to marketing, she says that she felt obliged to reinvent herself and that this new world gave her “the opportunity and the audacity to follow a new path.”
Through perseverance, courage and a “huge learning curve,” she remains the leader of Voila!, known as a visual laboratory with endless possibilities. “We are storytellers and translate it into material form. We are creative problem solvers that make the project happen,” says Van Der Schueren.
What about art and design draws you into doing it every day?
It’s an intuitive thing, I think.… I didn’t really think it through. It just felt natural to me and I followed my path of learning and exploring and fine tuning the direction as I went along.
I love working and exploring materials and their possibilities. I love discovering new textures, new techniques, new colors, new color combinations, new designs, new styles … and in my job the learning and discovery is endless. I love the storytelling [aspect] when we work on projects. Imagining the environment pieces will go to, who will use it, look at it and how to tell that story and make that story happen with shapes and form and materials.
What influence, if any, do you get from living in California?
So many things. California is such a melting pot of cultures providing so many creative impulses on a daily basis. There are so many different influences to draw from here that it’s hard not to get inspired every day. I still strongly feel like an immigrant on Discovery Road.
Since we arrived in LA, the city has evolved so much. It breathes artistic energy in so many domains, from food to music to artisanal crafts to high-end design. Nature is another big part of California’s inspiration. The ocean, for example, I mean who can resist its magic? And what about the vastness of land in between places when you drive out of the city and what about the evenness of the light and its brightn
To keep inspiration alive, Van Der Schueren says she needs to connect with the outdoors, whether it’s taking a drive, traveling abroad or spending time with her family outside the studio, “so when I step back in I feel re-energized and spin my wheels on the right things.”
What do you usually draw inspiration from?
Literally everything or anything that kind of stops me in my tracks. That can be the shape of a leaf in the garden, a lyric or beat in a song, a shade of a ceramic cup, my kids’ world, an art installation, a set of a movie I am watching. Anything that stops me and draws my attention.
Tell me about Voila!’s conception and how it operates today. What was the original mission/goal of the studio?
I started as a picker. As that’s where it intuitively felt right for me to start. Learning styles, periods, et cetera. Then my intuition just led me to start making, first by combining finds and turning them into either art or furniture. Basically, I do have a lot of something I found and it inspired me to make something with it. Then I wanted to learn more techniques and what I could do with materials, started hiring people and learning about that process and its ups and downs with growing pains. Clients would ask me to custom make furniture and art for them and I gradually learned what I liked and disliked, and it all evolved like that with some very risky steps in between, just out of some gut feeling that that was the next step to take. A lot of mistakes on the way, of course, getting back up and moving forward towards a clearer direction.
When it comes to designing art for a project, what is the most important element you have to remember? Does this differ depending on the type of space you are working in?
Each project is its own. When we start an art project, I look at the story first. The visual story (the interior design choices and the environment and architecture) as well as the audience it’s for. Those parameters will define the art choices. Of course, the location and the environmental conditions are often key as well when it comes down to choosing the materials to work in, and the type of use will also define possibilities.
Is there a piece of art in your
own home that you would never consider selling?
Almost all of them. The pieces I have at home are part of the fabric of my life. I am emotionally connected to them and they make a lot of sense in my home visually.
What would be your dream project or a piece you’ve always wanted to start (or finish)?
Oh boy. A dream project would be that I get unconditional creative freedom and unlimited budget to design and fabricate all the art, and custom-make all the furniture for a unique experiential boutique hotel that also has a music venue on the premises as well as some original and unique culinary opportunities (restaurants/bars, et cetera).
What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career in art or design?
Follow your gut feeling. Only by working your way through you can achieve results and fine-tune direction. Be you
Zany patterns. Punchy palettes. Combinations of materials from the concrete to metallic.
As Claire Elsworth of Claire Elsworth Design notes, the eccentric spirit of Maximalism is both magical and rebellious. It encourages traditional rules of design to be broken and conventional boundaries to be overstepped. From patterned wallpapers and dark paint to a velvet sofa with an eclectic mix of textures pillows, the goal is to be courageous in your design, and to love the “more” aesthetic.
“‘More’ is a love and appreciation of pattern, color, collection and curation,” Elsworth notes, “with a sheer joy of fusing, contrasting, styling and layering all that gloriousness together.”
Photos courtesy Sasha Bikoff.
Maximalism has been embracing “the more” of design since the 1980s with the creation of Memphis Milano in the 1980s, a legendary postmodern design group that championed the style and made it a staple in the industry. Author and design journalist Claire Bingham notes in her book, More is More: Memphis, Maximalism and New Wave Design, that after experiencing the “riot of color and pattern” indigenous to styles like Memphis, the 90s saw a rise of Minimalism, a stark contrast with designers such as John Pawson and Calvin Klein focusing on purity and simplicity.
“There has always been minimal versus maximal throughout time, but the rise of the Memphis/80s style was a kickback from the elegance of mid-century design and a desire to rethink how objects could look,” Bingham writes. Although minimalism has been an ever-developing presence in today’s world, the Memphis style and Maximalism as a whole has found its way back into the hearts of young impressionable designers looking to become expressive in a more vivacious, free-spirited way.
In More is More, Bingham spoke with a host of contemporary designers, as well as Peter Shire and George Snowden, some of the original founders of the Memphis group, who truly embrace and understand the spirit of Maximalism. “It’s not so much to do with a style,” she says. “Maximalism could look like anything — romantic and frilly, graphic patterns, disco … It’s like playing dress up for the home.” To quote the vivacious Iris Apfel, “more is more and less is a bore.”
Famed New York designer Sasha Bikoff was dubbed the “interior designer for the young and wealthy” by The New York Times. Bikoff affirms that she was at the forefront of Maximalism’s revival when she started her firm seven years ago, a revival she credits to the growing millennial culture. She says that like anything in history there’s an action and a direct reaction. Instead of creating simplistic looks that can be easily replicated for the masses, younger designers and people want to create spaces and live within spaces that are unique, that share a likeness of themselves, a desire that has stemmed such creative outlets as Instagram, Pinterest and other social media channels.
Photo courtesy © Claire Elsworth 2017
To heighten the effectiveness of Maximalism, Bikoff says that one of the most important aspects of this style type is the use of color, noting that in her own designs color helps bring out an emotional response. She notes that it’s important to surround yourself with colors and objects, patterns, and textures that make us happy and bring life into your home. “The same way I dress with fashion — as my fashion choices are bold and confident — is how I want my rooms to feel,” she says.
Just like personal fashion, each Maximalist designer and design is different and based on both creative taste and what each designer finds inspiring. For example, Bikoff’s aesthetic can be derived from 18th-century French Rococo, 1960s Space Age Modern, 1970s French Modernism and 1980s Italian Memphis Milano. An affinity for new experiences, her love of travel helps add to her ever-developing color palette, which you can see in her projects. “Marrakesh is a place I travel to all the time, and the colors of the spices you find there are so amazing you can see them all in a color palette, from bright turmerics to smoky paprikas,” Bikoff says.
Photo courtesy Claire Bingham.
Elsworth’s firm focuses on luxury wallpaper and home décor, and is known for intricate yet bold Maximalist features in every design. She hand sketches her designs, which are inspired by her short concept stories about an imaginary Duchess called Violacea Macrobothrys and her beautiful old aristocratic house — “a Maximalist treasure trove paradise!” she says. These stories weave through six collections of wallpapers and cushions, displaying both Elsworth’s love for drawing as well as her favorite aspects of Maximalism.
“I’ve always been drawn to anything ornately detailed, whether it be textiles, interiors, art, or historical architectural details,” Elsworth says. “So, I was naturally drawn to the Maximalist style long before I even knew there was a name for it.”
To embrace Maximalism in an everyday space there is a variety of ways one can incorporate aspects of the style. Bikoff says that some of the best Maximalist interiors are just showing off pieces from trips you’ve taken all in one space, even if they do not particularly go together. “The whole idea of Maximalism is that it’s the kind of space for a true collector, a space that tells a story.”
Photo courtesy Sasha Bikoff.
Photo courtesy Claire Bingham.
Designed by Hugh Newell Jacobsen, this estate in Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania, sits on a sloping hillside, nearly invisible from the road.
The main home is grand without being grandiose, a quiet elegance that offers multiple experiences. Features within include two entertainment patios, a two-story library, four bedrooms, three full and 1 half baths, and a private office in the master suite. There are many fine details throughout, including five wood-burning fireplaces, a circular staircase, a custom light tower in the foyer. granite countertops and a kitchen island.
As one turns down a pea-gravel drive past a series of perfectly placed pines and hemlocks, a sharp 120-degree turn to the west reveals a remarkable village-like cluster of five buildings on the left with the barn across the drive. From the moment you turn down the drive, there is a sense of calm discovery. “Good architecture doesn’t really over-power its surroundings, it makes the site look better,” said Jacobsen.
The property is listed by J. Scott Laughlin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox and Roach for $1.295 million.
Ask any stylist the key to a successful shoot and you’ll find yourself in a conversation about lighting.
More than just aesthetics, it possesses its own emotional language, writing atmosphere and warmth into contemporary interiors. If you or your home are feeling a little under the weather, consider experimenting some with some new lighting. You might be surprised at the life it brings.
To help you get started, Chaplins Furniture has created a shortlist of the best new launches this season…
On the Move
Freed from the shackles of cables, today’s best designer lighting its portable, fun and ready to move. Opt for the comfort of a time-honoured lantern or keep things contemporary with a colourful new BELLHOP.
Ideal for study nooks, reading or outdoor soirees, these versatile luminaires reimagine the intimacy of candles for the modern age.
All clean lines and essential silhouettes, sleek Scandi finds beauty in the bare minimum, offering a serene reprieve from the clutter of contemporary life. Leading the subtle style stakes are the new POST WALL LIGHTS by Muuto.
Thanks to a system of magnetic wall brackets, they can be arranged in striking linear configurations, with 360 degree swivelling bulbs and touch-controlled dimming.
Back to Black
In 2020, designers are experimenting with classic drama, revealing a host of iconic designs in sleek matt-black colourways. Seductive and bold, the new palette feels fitting for this time of year, updating winter homes with a little monochrome magic. A new favorite? The New PH Artichoke in BLACK, a daring design statement if ever there was one.
We couldn’t sign off without mentioning a handful of new retro lights that are making waves in maximalist circles. Boasting everything from 70s fringe through to art deco prints, these funky designs pack a serious punch, with island culture inspiring the creation of the new ARCIPELAGO LAMPS and CONTARDI’S extended CALYPSO collection.
All photos courtesy Chaplins Furniture.
Now is the time of year where people’s homes becomes the center for entertainment. Between the holiday get togethers and New Year celebrations, a home must be kept in party-ready shape. One room not to neglect: the guest room. Give this extra space a much-needed upgrade and create a memorable stay for guests, whether it be friends or family. Below are some tips to take a guest room from a drab bonus room to a five-star accommodation.
Guest rooms are typically on the smaller side when it comes to the size and amount of space is available. For that reason, skip the queen-sized bed with minimal to no extra seating and go for a couch that can turn into a bed.
A traditional sofa bed will do or go more modern and purchase a futon that flips to a nice-sized bed.
Provide guests with nice sheets, pillows and blankets to make them feel more at home.
Storage, Storage, Storage!
Living out of a suitcase is never fun. Whether people are staying for one night or 10, give guests enough storage space to organize their belongings. A dresser provides a good amount of drawers and the counter space allows people to keep track of smaller belongings.
Limited on space? A trunk at the foot of the bed or along the wall. The trunk allows for some extra seating as well.
Storage baskets are a great space-saver and can be tucked away under the bed or in a closet. Select some that have a pop of color or an interesting pattern.
Photo courtesy of SONGMICS.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
A mirror is a must when it comes to upgrading the space. Not only do mirrors make smaller spaces appear bigger, but it is a nice feature to have for guests so they can get ready in the comfort of their own space. Sharing bathrooms becomes a hassle, but a full length mirror and a wall mirror give people the opportunity to prepare for the day or night in the room.
Light it Up
Don’t skimp on lighting and skip the boring choices. Have fun with the various selections that are out there and pick out some creative pieces that add to the room. Install a lamp that rotates so guests can read or choose lighting with different settings so your guests can determine how much light they want before they go to bed and when they slowly wake up.
It’s the Little Things
Small details and amenities can give the guest room a Ritz-Carlton feel. Provide them with cozy slippers and magazine to read.
A breakfast tray or cart with some welcome treats, glassware or flowers makes the space welcoming.
Personalize the space with extra items for the people staying in the room, giving the space a warm touch.
Lovers of Scandi’s enlightened sense of style will rejoice at the discovery of the beautiful Farringdon and Dorset collections of reclaimed wood furniture from Modish Living.
Modish Living was founded by husband and wife, Chris and Hellen Barlow in 2012 with an idea born around a wooden kitchen table to create an online boutique selling a handpicked collection of beautifully crafted, reclaimed, rustic and sustainable wood furniture.
Renowned for its simplicity and beauty, Scandinavian style shows no sign of losing its popularity in homes and interiors. Its pared-back and minimal style have evolved into a more cozy feel, focusing on sculptural organic shapes, earthy pigments, natural materials and textures, such as wood.
Everything from tempting trestle dining tables and family-friendly extendable tables to a welcoming wood bench and seriously stylish sideboards, these naturally rustic additions will add an instant Nordic vibe to your dining space. Made using aged reclaimed wood rescued from old buildings, Modish Living’s Farringdon and Dorset collections are the perfect fit for Scandi design devotees. Skillfully crafted to enhance the natural tones of the wood and given a renewed sense of purpose and style, these pieces evoke a sense of comfort, style and happiness.
As well as providing essential storage, this sideboard has a natural beauty and character. The natural markings of the reclaimed wood shines through the white painted finish, giving it a lived-in authenticity perfect for a Scandi feel dining room.
The distressed white base of the Dorset Extendable Trestle Table keeps the aesthetic neutral while adding warmth. Accessorize with a sheepskin rug and the large white bamboo pendant is styled here.
Three central drawers and two large cupboards offer plenty of storage for your kitchen essentials. The subtle lacquer accentuates the natural markings and history of the wood, whilst giving it a distinct Nordic feel.
The large pendant above the Farringdon extending table is made out of biodegradable woodchip; the perfect pared-back accessory to complement this 100-percent reclaimed wood collection.
Photos courtesy of Modish Living
All photos courtesy Furniture Choice Ltd.
The color green symbolizes life, renewal, harmony and growth and is set to steal the limelight for the year ahead. With people getting busier and the increase of screen time for work, this calming color is a gentle nudge to unwind and rejuvenate.
Reminiscent of nature and the outdoors, using green in the home also serves as a reminder to be more eco-friendly and sustainable where possible.
Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice Ltd., shares 4 ways to bring this color into the home.
Use green as a feature wall color
Serene and soothing, green makes for a great feature wall color. From darker shades like emerald green to brighter hues like apple green, the color offers many psychological benefits. These include helping to induce relaxation and serenity, as well as giving off feelings of optimism and growth.
Because of its benefits, this color and its many shades can be applied to many different rooms.
For example, home offices can benefit from a green feature wall as it helps soothe tired eyes. Similarly, sage green is a relaxing color that’s perfect for a bedroom feature wall, as it creates a calm and airy atmosphere that’s lighthearted and uplifting.
Some other accessories and textures to consider are jute, leafy plants and candles for relaxation. And where there are windows, choose sheer white curtains to allow sunlight in while maintaining some level of privacy. “The natural light will also cast a lovely glow on the sage green wall and give the color a little pop,” Snowden says.
Pastels are the perfect lighter alternative
On the pastel front, neo mint is set to be very fashionable in 2020. “It’s young, fresh, energetic – great for pairing with an equally sunny color like coral,” says Snowden. “Brighten up a small space or designate separate functional areas by way of color blocked walls.”
Balance the boldness of neo mint walls with simple, neutral furniture like a white bed. Select furniture with slim legs and clean silhouettes to achieve a clean look. Alternatively, layer on rugs and cushions within the same palette for a maximalist approach.
Statements pieces are key
Make a statement for the new year and invest in larger green pieces, such as an elegant green velvet sofa. The sumptuous material enhances the richness of an emerald green and adds depth to a space. To those anxious to make such a bold choice, Snowden notes that “a green velvet sofa is easier to pull off than you might think. It is incredibly chic and luxurious yet laid back enough to suit most interiors.”
Style with brass finished planters or side tables for a lavish look, or matching dark wood furniture for something classic and cosy. “Bold yet versatile, a green velvet sofa is easy to dress for the seasons and set to become a talking point of the home,” she says.
Houseplants are a designer’s best friend
Live green plants are the best accessories for decorating the home in shades of green. Some help clean the air and release more oxygen for easier breathing while others bear fruit for eating. Mix and match plants of different green shades for depth and interest in the home.
“Leafy, trailing plants inject a little wildness for an urban jungle feel while demure little succulents are adorable and easy to manage,” Snowden notes. “Plants are quick additions to the home that make a big impact on our wellbeing – a big focus for 2020.”
From holiday gift giving to to keeping your home’s style fresh in the dead of winter, finding the perfect inspiration can sometimes seem impossible. What if the perfect source was just across the pond?
These collections showcase a passion for design and creativity, all inspired by a European country or the style of that nation. May these sources of inspiration spark your own!
Procook’s Oslo Collection
ProCook’s Oslo range brings Nordic cool to the table this winter, continuing the dining trend for reactive glaze stoneware. Oslo tableware embraces the Scandinavian hygge trend with its organic shapes and cool grey tones with a subtle salt and pepper look. Easily dressed up for more formal dining, the Oslo range is also perfect for everyday use. Oslo includes dinner and side plates which have flat bases and a sharp vertical lip, complemented by gently curved cereal and pasta bowls.
Photo courtesy Procook.
Photo courtesy Reformations.
Living in rural Mid Wales, designer Craig Anthony is surrounded by the shifting patterns and colors of the country’s multiple landscapes, from open moorlands and mountains, to the woods surrounding lakes and rivers. All of this landscape inspires his creativity, which in turn helped him to launch his decorative arts company Reformations, an online gallery of handmade glass clocks and modern glass wall art.
His pieces that boast functional elements combined with highly decorative and abstract attributes. Additionally, many of his works also feature ambient lighting that creates a dramatic display when seen in darkness.
“My work develops organically, a reciprocal relationship between the materials and my imagination,” Anthony says. “Every piece I create feeds the design of the next. Created using paints with a high pigment content on specially prepared glass, and embracing a sense of natural chaos, my work is guaranteed to make a bold statement in any, contemporary setting.”
Started in October 2019, Shekåbba consists of a small, visionary team of people who originate from all over the United Kingdom, all who share a love and passion to introduce others to the people-centred happiness of the Danish home. “We believe that thoughtfully crafting a home environment of warmth and beauty, sets the stage for a lifetime shared with those we love most,” according to company founders Dan and Rosanna Chapman.
Inspiration behind the company’s founding starts within the Danish culture, specifically the Danish homes model which focuses on time with family and friends. To introduce others to such a rich, happy culture, Shekåbba helps customers discover more of Denmark’s gifted home decor designers and artists, to bring an authentic and broadening Danish home experience.
Photo courtesy Shekåbba The Danish Home.
Cuba’s capital, Havana, is celebrating its 500th year anniversary in November this year, a legacy that has led to a delightful cultural atmosphere, one that has drifted into the design sector. The style of Havana decor is a wonderful, bright and fun, as well as easy to replicate with a few simple touches. Here are some key trends that easily bring Cuban decor into your home.
Cubans love vivid colors, from bright hues faded under the sun to simple pastels. Ocean-inspired blues and greens marry well with terracotta oranges and vibrant yellows. Use these shades on large walls and contrast with different colored trim.
Photo by MindtheGap.
Weathered and Rustic
Cuban homes often feature textured layers of paint and plaster and rustic furnishings. Use a lime wash paint to give the walls a weathered look and, for furnishings, introduce some texture with chunky wood pieces and rustic metal.
Photo by The French Bedroom Co.
Colorful, patterned cement tiles are a great way to bring Cuban inspired patterns into your home. On the walls, floors, bathrooms or patio, these tiles add interest and contrast in any room.
Photo by Original Style.
Nothing says Cuban style like large leafy, tropical plants. Inside or on the patio, it’s all about volume to create a dramatic lush look.
Photo by Tesalate.
Cuba’s 1950’s cars are iconic and still grace the streets today. Use vintage adverts, car photos and licence plates to add this fun look to your Cuban styled home.
Photo by The French Bedroom Co.
Havana is full of beautiful Art Deco buildings at every turn. Introduce a few Art Deco antiques or replicas as key pieces to fill spaces and to add interest and charm to a room.
Photo by Sweetpea.
Cuban decor is nostalgic and charming — a trend that is likely here to stay. With a few easy touches, a room can be transformed into a bright and fun haven to enjoy a mojito in as if you were in Havana!
For many industries, working from home has become the norm and the need to create a productive work environment is at the forefront of the minds of young professionals.
What better way to increase productivity than to outfit the perfect office space! Design professionals at Home Design Ideas have found some of the best and easiest ways to help you find your office style, so that the real work can follow. Whether you’ve got an entire room or just a tiny corner, this list should help spark the imagination!
Minimalism has been a consistent trend that works its way into many highly sourced styles, from Hygge to Transitional. For offices in particular, minimalism is key as it wards against clutter and helps promote a clear mind.
To keep your desk clutter-free, add in simple furniture and some shelving. Embrace a neutral color palette to really showcase the minimalist in yourself, and if you need to warm things up to avoid getting too stale, incorporate a touch of green with a plant or pieces of art.
This is the better way to keep it simple, clean, and perfectly in order.
Photo courtesy Pixabay.
Black Goes with Everything
Much like its effect on wearable fashion, black happens to go with almost anything, from brass accents on black furniture to gray-black paint as an accent wall.
Using black is an easy, yet stylish method of design for those who want their office style to look effortless (because it was!). There are tons of ways you implement black color, including the utilization of fun prints.
“To totally transport yourself somewhere way more exciting than your work, try an exotic pattern, like the black-and-white zebra motif. A rattan chandelier adds texture and personality to the space,” according to Home Design Ideas.
Photo courtesy Pixabay.
Boho a Go-Go
Bohemian, like other classic styles, is one that is timeless and free spirited in nature — a perfect setting to give your mind a rest after the work is done.
Embrace your inner free spirit and decorate your office with anything that tells a story, has sentimental value to you, or that you picked up on your travels.
Often times these pieces are little motivational tokens, a reminder of what success and productivity lead to.
Add in a bold, patterned rug, color on color, and some plants to add to this overall energy.
For other tips, visit Home Design Ideas post here!
Photo courtesy Daria Shevtsova.