KATIE CHARLESON

Screen Printed Homewares & Bespoke Textile Design

Bespoke design

An Upholstery Project: How to use Fabric to Transform your Furniture

Bespoke, Inspiration, Interiors & Homewares, Colour, Creative Fulfilment, Homewares, How toKatie CharlesonComment

Upholstering a well- loved armchair, adding your own cushions to a muted couch, or changing the seat of a kitchen chair is a great way to add your own taste and define a style within your home. Here's a closer look at a recent upholstery fabric commission I have been working on.

The midcentury modern armchair, before (featuring a  Sunny Todd  cushion and a visualisation of the upholstery fabric after.

The midcentury modern armchair, before (featuring a Sunny Todd cushion and a visualisation of the upholstery fabric after.

Those of us who rent and might not be able to paint or wallpaper walls might feel restricted as to the style statements we can make in our homes. But fear not; fabric and textiles are a wonderful way of expressing your style "handwriting". A chair upholstered in your own fabric, whether you design the pattern yourself or you work with a designer to translate your ideas onto fabric for you, can be taken wherever your home is as 

an instant expression of your personality and style in a space.

I've recently been working on designing some upholstery fabric for a client, and I wanted to share how we have used colour, shape and print to come up with a design that will enhance the original chair frame and the space it occupies.


Midcentury modern chair, before being re-upholstered

Midcentury modern chair, before being re-upholstered

The armchair itself is a midcentury modern occasional chair with a wooden frame, which used to belong to the clients grandmother. The client enjoys considered, graphic patterns and was keen to use expressionistic colours and shapes, and complimentary tones from all over the colour wheel.

The room in which the chair will live  has high ceilings and large bay windows so a large scale design will sit very happily in this space. A small, ditzy pattern might get lost and wouldn't make as much impact. The light and situation of a room is always important to remember when decorating, but bear in mind this also applies to the fabrics and textiles you choose. Bold, expressive shapes can really make a dynamic statement in a room, but if you are looking for a more soothing, cosy vibe in a room you might choose small, repetitive patterns or "ditzies". I will write more on how to choose textiles for different interior designs in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more!

Close ups of some of the original bespoke print designs for upholstery

Close ups of some of the original bespoke print designs for upholstery

Bright, cheery colour samples in progress

Bright, cheery colour samples in progress

My first steps when working on a new commission is always to start with painting or drawing based on the clients ideas. I tried some different fluid, expressive brush marks and shapes collaged and juxtaposed into compositions that sat well together. We originally thought to use a navy base with some spicier pink/ red/ orange tones to provide a complimentary colour clash to the living room's current scheme of creams, chalky yellows and accents of green and blue. We also tried a cheery, zingy turquoise so the overall feeling would be sunny mediterranean rather than Northern European. More on how to choose colours from opposite ends of the colour wheel and still make them work and enhance your home in the coming weeks!

Taking these ideas to the print table for sampling means that you can really test out and visualise what your final design will look like- so important for understanding how the colours, textures and shapes will work together and how they might sit overall.

Sample prints and colours in progress

Sample prints and colours in progress

And as if to prove to prove the above statement- the samples made us see that actually what the client wanted was cooler tones of duck egg blue, creams and whites with khaki to really ground all the brighter colours and bring an earthy quality.

I think while the really bright colours could have been fun and zingy, the pattern still sits well in this new colour palette, making the large, expressive marks and shapes look more natural and will sit very happily in the clients existing living room, while still being a real statement piece. 

Stay tuned for more pictures of the final design being printed, and the chair finally restored to its original beauty with a bold expressive print on it in the coming weeks!

A visualisation of the new colours, which will sit well with the clients existing colour scheme while still being a real statement piece.

A visualisation of the new colours, which will sit well with the clients existing colour scheme while still being a real statement piece.

What do you think? Would you try designing your own print or choose clashing colours to make a statement in your living room? Would you go XL with your homewares or strip back and keep it simple? Anything I've missed out about or that you would like to ask me? Let me know in the comments below!

Belgravia Living Room Design: Small Space, Big Ambition

Homewares, Inspiration, Inspiring, Interiors & Homewares, Trends & Inspiration, ColourKatie Charleson3 Comments

At the start of 2017, I started working on redecorating the living room of a new build apartment in Belgravia.

Mood Board for the new and existing features of the living room redecoration, Belgravia

Mood Board for the new and existing features of the living room redecoration, Belgravia

The apartment is in a new build estate with one bedroom, and the chosen room we are starting with is the living room. This is a long, narrow space which is open to the kitchen and features full length windows and a Juliet balcony.  

The client wants to separate the living space from the kitchen area a little more and make it more of a distinct space for relaxing and entertaining.

Not a huge amount has been done to the space since moving in; the floor has been changed to a dark wood but the walls still feature the vanilla cream of the original design.

However the owner has a few distinctive and eclectic pieces which display his personal taste. We want his eclectic collection of designs and styles to be brought together in coherence (but still be fun and expressive!)

Green leather Chesterfield couch already installed in the living room

Green leather Chesterfield couch already installed in the living room

"Jeeves & Wooster" Pendant hat lights from Graham & Greene existing in the apartment

"Jeeves & Wooster" Pendant hat lights from Graham & Greene existing in the apartment

Midcentury side board & greenery: a winning combination

Midcentury side board & greenery: a winning combination

As you can see from the mood board above, I am planning on keeping the eclecticism going but drawing all the elements together with a dark, moody wall colour and select pieces of midcentury furniture (which will also provide much needed storage space). 

I want to introduce a darker wall colour to make the space more personal and cosy. Not much natural light gets into the space because of the aspect of the building, but this can be tackled with well placed  mirrors. 

A colour like Dulux's Breton Blue will make the space moody & dramatic yet still sophisticated & comfortable. The living room is mostly used in the evenings so introducing a cosy, dark neutral to the walls will create a soothing, calming space. (The trend for dark neutral wall colour is growing, thanks in no small part to the queen of moody interiors Abigail Ahern, which I'll be looking further into in the next upcoming blog post!)

A beautiful example of eclectic style plus dark walls by Dabito on oldbrandnew.com

A beautiful example of eclectic style plus dark walls by Dabito on oldbrandnew.com

Shade loving plants will grow happily in the living room as the apartment is very warm (a side effect of the building being, for some inexplicable reason, clad in metal), which will bring vitality and texture to the room, not to mention oxygen and a sense of wellbeing.

Finally, introducing a gallery wall can break up the solid colour, as seen above in this glorious composition by Dabito on oldbrandnew.com.

Touches of grubby gold (again, my love for dark neutrals and pops of fresh colour is ongoing), & cobalt or teal blue. I may even be able to sneak some blush pink in too (shhh) through accessories. 

I've been toying with the idea of introducing some fun printed textiles to tie all the colour selections and eclecticism together. This could be in the form of drapes, scatter cushions or even a throw in a loose geometric, expressive pattern design.

A three colour screen printed colour idea.  Click here  to see more bespoke colour ideas

A three colour screen printed colour idea. Click here to see more bespoke colour ideas

Potential colour palette for the living room decoration.

So all of this adds up to lots to be getting on with! The first step has been to install a lovely teal blue midcentury sideboard, already providing the space with much needed storage space and colour. I'm continuing to look for a great room divider: G-Plan or midcentury in style, which will again provide storage without blocking the natural light to the kitchen area. Stay tuned for some before photos, plus work in progress reports!

See more ideas for this redecoration project on this Pinterest board. Anything I've missed out or that you are excited about trying? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below!