Monday, 26 April 2010

The Implementation Stage

Refurbishing a property or building a new home can be a stressful experience, and we can help a client manage this process. We offer a full Project Management Service to ensure the project runs on time and within budget.

Depending on the size of the project, the client may need a Site Manager to manage the many different contractors on site, ensure building materials arrive in good time, and monitor the quality of the work. The Site Manager is also the client’s independent representative on site and is the main point of contact for the client and the designer, which ensures all decisions are communicated and documented. Our Site Manager is a master carpenter, and has site management experience for managing residential and local authority building projects.

For larger projects, a Project Manager may also be required to co-ordinate with architects, structural engineers, and external counterparties. The Project Manager will work with the Site Manager to ensure the project remains on schedule and on budget. Our Project Manager holds a first class degree in Construction Management, and has experience in large commercial projects in the City of London, as well as high-end residential projects.

The Specification Stage

For larger refurbishment projects, further detailed specification may be required beyond the basic details in Design Stage 1. This may include detailed drawings for bespoke cabinetry, furniture design, original flooring design, bespoke lighting design, and so on. Contractors require detailed specifications for any bespoke item, and CAD drawings and a finishes schedule are require for each item, to ensure the client’s exact requirements are met.

If bespoke wallpapers or fabrics are being designed, visits to the workshops and samples will be created to ensure the final design is documented. Special artwork or photography commissions may also be ordered at this stage, and meeting with artists and photographers can be arranged.


A 3D rendered drawing is often the most helpful tool to help communicate a design. The basic furniture layout plan from Design Stage 1 can be extruded and rendered in a photo-realistic way to show how the final design concept will look. These advanced drawings can show how a space flows from one room to another. Alternatively, a specific detail of the design, such as bespoke furniture, can be visualized in 3D to confirm the design choices.

When designing a boutique hotel or show house, these rendered drawings are essential for client marketing purposes to encourage advance bookings and/or purchases prior to the project being finished.

The Design Stage

Our main objective is for our client to live or work in a beautiful space, and good design ensures budgets are allocated for maximum effect. The finished design should reflect the client’s needs and personal style – not the interior designer's!

We take a detailed Brief from the client, and discuss the Budget to be allocated to the project. Once our Fee Proposal is agreed, we Survey the site and produce floor plans and elevations for each room.

Having assessed the space, the Creative process can begin, and we like to involve the client as much as possible by holding regular meetings and arranging Sourcing trips.

As the design emerges, we produce a Mood Board to show how the design has been inspired. Samples of fabrics, flooring, and wall finishes will be collated as required. A product list will also be provided, which confirms the Detail of each item specified, including supplier, product codes and prices. The Design information is then presented to client, who now has a fully detailed bespoke design which is ready for implementation.

Getting a bit practical...

When managing an interior design project, the creative element of the process is only a small part of the work involved. We spend most of our time on project management, and this part of the process can is crucial to a successful outcome and a happy client.

We approach our projects in an analytical way, and divide the process into 3 Steps:

Step 1 - Design
After carefully defining the client brief and budget, we survey the space and begin the creative process and the design begins to evolve. A mood board or presentation will be created to shwo the design inspiration, proudcts will be sourced and sam-ples collected to add detail to the design.

Step 2 - Specify
For larger projects, a more detailed specification may be required. This may include photo-realistic visuals of how the completed design will look, CAD drawings for bespoke furniture, and detailed finishes schedules for flooring, walls, windows, lighitng, joinery, fabric and artwork.

Step 3 - Implementation
At this stage, our site manage will produce a work schedule, goods are ordered, contractors are appointed. the project is coordinated and finishes are monitored to ensure the smooth handover of a beautifully designed space.

Watch out for our next blog post for further details of each stage.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Modern Modernists?

In the high end furniture market, the trend for contemporary furniture seems to be taking on a modernist twist, with more than a nod to the design values of Eileen Grey. These occasional tables and wine rack are by Anna Casa Interiors, who specialise in showcasing international contemporary designers in the showroom at Chelsea Harbour.

A touch of 1920/30's Hollywood glamour can also be added by teaming the glass furniture with exquisitely upholstered oval backed chairs, and high gloss lacquer macassar ebony cabinetry. Lighting is given a 21st century edge by overscaling products, and playing around with proportion to create a dramatic focal point.

The scheme can be softened by introducing bespoke rugs, designed around the modernist theme, and artwork can be commissioned to ensure a coherent design.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

It's all about the silk...

Our product focus today is on these beautiful silk
wallpapers by Stereo Wallcoverings. Although they are expensive, they can be purchased by the linear metre, so you can buy exactly as much as you need. As a feature wall, they give depth and texture to any design scheme. They are available in a variety of shades, but the peacock blue and deep scarlet are the most impressive, as the clarity of colour and natural silk texture add luxury to any interior. The red silk in particular looks amazing in a glamorous dining room, and the peacock blue looks fantastic in entrance halls and bedrooms.

Silk wallpapers also work well in both contemporary and classical interiors, and we have installed them in docklands townhouses as well as Robert Adam grade 1 listed apartments.

We have also specfiied them for commercial interiors as they are surprisingly robust, and high-end property developers use them as feature walls in bedrooms to differentiate their show homes from the standard house builders.

For a more neutral scheme, opt for the natural tones of taupe and dove grey - we have used the taupe silk on large chimney areas, teamed with fired earth wax myrtle paint. The dove grey silk works beautifully in a master bedroom, with silk curtains and crystal beading.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Garden Rooms

Continuing our theme of indoor/outdoor space, the current trend of 'outdoor rooms' remains a key design focus for this year. The products available for outdoor furniture ranges from the inexpensive garden furniture to high budget items such as external fireplaces.

The key to selecting the right product is to understand the wear and tear on such items - the items in question must look good for years to come, so permanent fixtures (such as fireplaces and seating) should be considered as high investment products that you will be happy to live with from year to year. Accessories such as scatter cushions, candle holders etc can be lower budget items, which can be changed frequently to introduce different accent colours.

For modern gardens, contemporary furniture ranges are available, which are very different from the traditional teak garden furniture. Using commerical/industrial styling, these products are reminiscent of boutique hotel styling. Seat cushions and sun bed cushions should be in weather proof fabrics, such as the Sunbrella brand, or can be sourced from several ranges by Sacho Hesslein.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Integrating Indoor and Outdoor Space

At Icon Interiors, we work with our select group of garden designers to integrate indoor and outdoor space. This ensures that the design theme is coherent thoughout, and the indoor and outdoor projects can be planned in accordance with the whole budget and overall schedule in mind.

Inspired by our fabulous weather at the moment, and the fact that we are actually able to enjoy our outdoor space, our product focus today is on David Harber Sundials - see website for further details - Inspired by the interaction of light, landscape and water, David Harber uses contemporary three-dimensional design to celebrate unpredictability, illusion and the passage of time.

With obvious classical references, each piece also stands as an original work of garden art, and will work in both small and large gardens to create a focal point of interest, and draw the eye towards a point in the garden to create a sense of journey.

When considering such important pieces, it is vital to consider lighting prior to installation. Lighting will create drama and enhance the sculpture, giving the garden life after dark. See John Cullen Lighting for ideas to uplight trees and shrubs, as well as lighting more architectural elements in the garden, such as pergolas and gazebos.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Design in a Gift Box?

We are often asked by developers and property investors to design a furniture and soft furnishings 'package' for show homes and buy to let properties. These design schemes work particularly well when teamed with hand made bespoke soft furnishings, which finish off the design beautifully, rather than the standard show home finish. As the design is confined to a specific budget, every piece of furniture and each accessory is itemised and this design 'package' is signed off by the developer or investor prior to installation. Once we have received sign-off, we then can order the goods and install the furniture and soft furnishings. The lead time can be anything from 1 week to 1 month, depending on schedules.

This design package idea is also available as a Gift Box, and is a wonderful wedding present for young couples, or a moving in present for sons or daughters who are buying their first home. This Gift Box idea may also suit young professionals who are cash rich and time poor, who just need to have a flat fitted and furnished as quickly as possible.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Bespoke Artworks

As part of our interior design process, we also design and specify artworks for clients. Because artwork choices can be very personal to each member of the household, we spend a lot of time with our clients to determine the exact nature of the work they are seeking.
For a modern decorative canvass, prices can range from £750 upwards, and colours can be designed around existing accessories and furniture. These canvasses can also be specified for commercial spaces and developments. This tryptich was designed to work with a client's existing decorative scheme.
For clients interested in investing in commissions by specialist painters, we can source artists to add to your collection of existing pieces, or source new artists to compliment your collection.
These beautiful natural abstract artworks are by Lizzie MacKellar, a celebrated Winchester artist, who is inspired by the landscape of the hampshire countryside.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Traditional or Contemporary?

Our product focus today is on Cole & Son wallpapers. Established in 1873, the Cole & Son archive consists of approximately 1,800 block print designs, 350 screenprint designs and a huge quantity of original drawings and wallpapers, representing all the styles from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

Amongst these are some of the most important historic wallpaper designs in the world. Coles is now the prime source for entirely authentic period wallpapers printed by the original method and has provided wallpapers for many historic houses, including Buckingham Palace and the White House.

The magnificent archive is the major source of all Cole’s new collections, and designs are re-interpreted in both pattern and proportion to retain the original character, but add a contemporary edge.

These wallpapers also work particularly well in modern homes, which are a blank canvas, as they help to add depth and character to any decoration scheme.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Kitchens to die for...

These beautiful hand made kitchens work in both traditional and contemporary interiors, as they can be styled using traditional hand turned wooden bun style knobs, or with sleek nickel handles. A classic Aga can be slotted into a mock chimney breast to define the classic country house kitchen style, or an industrial-style commercial range cooker will bring the look straight up to date.

Choosing taps and sinks will also define your style, and traditional brassware with a butler's sink would work beautifully with an Aga. Alternatively, sleek architectural taps with specialist shower attachments can be a wonderful focal point, and can be teamed with flush under-mounted stainless sinks for a contemporary style.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

These bespoke rugs are designed by Esti Barnes of Top Floor Rugs - which has become a leading source for distinctive contemporary hand-made rugs and carpets.

This 'Effervescence' rug ties together this contemporary scheme, with an accent colour of bold orange being used in for the lamps. Otherwise, the scheme is decidedly neutral, showing how one signature piece can define a whole style.

Top Floor's rug collections are created by founder and Design Director, Esti Barnes who also designs bespoke rugs and carpets for residential and commercial clients. Rugs can be customised, including choice of colours, combinations of wool and silk, and some of the designs are woven with silver and copper threads.

The company's products have won numerous awards including Winner, British Design of the Year 2008 ('ESQUIRE' rug) Elle Decoration UK, October 2008.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Our product focus today is on specialist cabinet-makers - this wonderful games table was made by Simon Owen to a client's bespoke design. Made in walnut with faux ebony and sycamore inlays, this unusal piece cannot be found on the high street.

The drawers have beautiful dove-tail joints, and on closer examination, each drawer slides effortlessly into the cabinetry.

Each walnut veneer is carefully selected to match perfectly, and the give the desired pattern and effect.

Simon is available for commissions for bespoke joinery and furniture, and can visit you at home to discuss your design requirements. We are particularly interested in using Simon's skills when replicating an existing piece of antique furniture, when a matching pair is required.

Oak panelling for libraries and entrance halls can also be designed to enhance any residential home.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Natural Swimming Pools

Inspired by our beautiful April weather today, I thought I would write about natural swimming pools. A natural swimming pool will blend into the landscape seamlessly.

These stunning swimming pools are design by Woodhouse Natural Pools - their portfolio on Again the style can be defined as traditional or contemporary depending on the type of garden design chosen or how the pool is styled and accessorized. A natural pool can be accompanied by traditional buildings such as thatched gazebos, or teamed with contemporary wood and glass structures in with an essence of harmonious oriental design.

Specialist fabrics should be used for pool furniture, but don’t be afraid to experiment with colour. There is a range of zingy citrus colours by Sacho Hesslein which are designed specifically for pool and spa areas, and would work beautifully in a modern, family pool area. Other brands such as Sunbrella have a range of fabrics for outdoor and marine use.

Friday, 9 April 2010

A Little Bit of Vintage??

We are often asked "What is your signature style?", and I spend much of my time explaining to clients that they are asking the wrong interior designers, we don't simply waltz into your personal space and tell you what scheme would work best for you. We spend the first stage of the design process assessing the needs of you and your family, understanding the space and architecture of your home, and working out how you live and function in a space. All of those elements must be considered before the creative part of the process can begin.

As you can see on our website - - much of our portfolio and styling is classic/contemporary in style, but that just happens to have been appropriate for the kind of clients we have had over the last few years. I have a secret confession to make...yes, I like colour and I like traditional styling! I particularly enjoy researching products for historic buildings, and using traditional fabrics and finishes in contemporary ways.

These beautiful wallpapers and fabrics from Brian Yates tie into the whole vintage trend, and go against every 'neutral' tendency we have to play it safe. They can be used as a feature wall in sitting rooms with simple cream upholstery, accessorised with scatter cushions in vintage embroidered style.

Use an eclectic mix of colonial style furniture, such as indian mirrors and bleached oak tables to add authenticity to this look.

This look can also work in a much more pared down colour palette, such as natural taupes and dove greys and would work well with crisp white linens in a bedroom or holiday home. Teamed with inlaid pearl furniture from Graham and Greene, this would create a stunning colonial scheme.

For those parents who can't bear the whole princess theme for their little girls, this vintage styling can also work well for children's rooms, giving parents the scope to refine the style as children grow.

Thursday, 8 April 2010


When considering re-designing a room, an essential part of the process is the lighting plan. However much budget is allocated to furniture and soft furnishings, if they are not lit correctly, money will be wasted.

Lighting should be layered, and consideration should be given to ambient, task, decorative and kinetic light. Specialist lighting designers such as John Cullen Lighting (see images) design ambient lighting schemes for all budgets.

At Icon, we always ensure our lighting designs incorporate ceiling mounted down lighters, angled around the perimeter of each ceiling to accentuate the silk wallpaper and artworks. We also ensure we highlight bespoke furnishings and window treatments with directional down lighters.

These ambient lighting schemes should also be layered with decorative signature lighting. This Paradise Plafonnier decorative light by Bella Figura has been specified for our client as a focal point above a dining table. A signature pendant or contemporary chandelier can also define an area within a large space.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Bespoke Flooring

Our product focus today is bespoke flooring, and Weldon flooring specialise in wooden floors inlaid with marquetry and parquetry.

These beautiful floors are to be found in Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, but scaled down designs will also suit a residential interior. We have just specified the starburst marquetry motif for a client's entrance hall, and have designed intertwined initials to personalise the design.
These classical designs are timeless, and work beautifully with other textures, and we have teamed this walnut flooring with silk wallpaper and sentousai tiles sourced from Japan, to enhance the classic/contemporary style.
Furniture sourced from the Linley Helix range compliment this flooring, and ensures the design is coherent throughout the apartment. Bespoke carpets in silk and bamboo were used in the bedrooms to soften the scheme.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Having lived and worked in Asia, we always look for inspiration from our travels, and the holy trinity of aesthetics, balance and proportion are ever present in oriental design. This Kelly Hoppen interior (far left) shows how asian design can be used in a contemporary way.

Our product focus this month is sourcing beautiful doors and door furniture. We are currently designing contemporary walnut doors with sleek nickel handles, and these important (usually forgotten) elements ensure our design is finely detailed to give a contemporary but well-crafted feel to the design. The veneers are hand selected by our clients, and are chosen to work with other cabinetry.

Continuing our exotic theme, we also love opening up space by adding these beautiful shoji-style doors. Often clients want all of the benefits of open plan, but the flexibility to close-off rooms and change their home space. These shoji-style doors work well with integrated kitchen/dining/living spaces. Their simple design and bespoke joinery ensures that they work well with our beautiful hand crafted kitchens, as well as sleek Bulthaup-styled spaces.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Icon Interiors was founded in 2003 when Tracy Leach, tired from working as a foreign exchange dealer for JP Morgan, decided to turn her hand to interiors. After studying interior design in London, Icon Interiors was born. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, with a recent move to new premises and a new addition to the team – Patricia Moran.

Icon Interiors has developed a classic yet contemporary interior design style for many homes in London and the South, though it will also consider projects throughout the UK.

Icon Interiors ensures its clients achieve a beautiful design for their home that is appropriate to ow they live and that is also within their specified budget. Projects can range from a total house refurbishment (if you’re feeling flush) to the re-design of a single room, with everything based on the knowledge that good interior design makes people look good in their environment.

Viewing the house as a whole space rather than as individual rooms will ensure a flowing design is achieved throughout.

Integral Lighting and Audio-Visual planning should always be part of the design process at the concept stage.

Icon Interiors’ approach is grounded, pragmatic and based around the lives of its clients. The style is fresh and contemporary, taking a balanced approach and managing the whole project from beginning to end, using reliable and skilled contractors and tradespeople.

Icon Interiors also makes sure the client, is in control. Rather than seeking to impose ideas upon them, Icon Interiors makes full use of the consultation process to apply its experience to the clients’ own ideas and requirements. Each project is planned in a methodical way avoiding impulse purchases or expensive mistakes.

The aim is to define the client’s own style and welcome as much input as possible in the concept stages, often involving trips to bespoke trade suppliers around the UK. As a matter of course, Icon Interiors always obtains quotations from reliable, qualified contractors, order all the products, organise deliveries and plan the budget allocation to maximise results.

So, it looks like there is life after JP Morgan after all – and a pretty successful one at that.

For more information on Icon Interiors:
0845 519 3441

Good Design is Good Business

Icon Interiors is delighted to announce that their client Wasing Estate, Aldermaston, Berkshire, was recently voted Regional Winner of the South of England, Countryside Alliance Award for Best Rural Enterprise 2009. Nicknamed the “Rural Oscars”, the Countryside Alliance runs the competition in response to the growing awareness that putting money into the local economy is critical to the fabric of rural life. Tracy Leach of Icon Interiors worked with the owner of Wasing Estate to source antique furniture from Bali, which ensures this historic wedding and conference venue offers beautifully styled reception barns and accommodation.

See and for further information.

Completing the interior design of Wasing Park, Aldermaston in July 2008 with its eclectic mix of Balinese and colonial-style furniture, has ensured that this wedding and conference centre is successfully taking bookings as far as 2010 and even 2011.

Icon Interiors worked closely with the owner of Wasing Park, Joshua Dugdale, to source authentic Balinese furniture, by visiting companies in Denpasar, Bali and scouring antique warehouses in the foot hills around the capital. The furniture arrived in the UK by containers, and the Icon team managed to meet a tight deadline and have the 11 bedroom hotel ready for its first wedding in July 2008.

“Visiting Bali with the hotel owner was a wonderful opportunity to ensure Icon Interiors exactly met the client’s vision for his hotel. As his family estate, Mr Dugdale was very keen to respect the traditional nature of the estate buildings, but also to add an eclectic touch by using Balinese artefacts to personalise each bedroom” explains Tracy Leach, Interior Designer at Icon Interiors.


Tracy Leach and Patricia Moran
Icon Interiors Ltd
0845 519 3441