Krzysztof and Rui reached out to us with a simple and understandable request: they, like many of our customers, bought a new apartment in Brussels, Belgium, and would like professional help to create their perfect environment. Then, so many questions popped up into their heads: How to create a cosy home to be distracted from the rainy weather (very usual wish in Brussels)? Where to find high-quality, non-conventional materials and furniture pieces? How to fit this in an appropriate budget?
The old Ikea furniture was left with a rented apartment but they didn’t feel confident on making furniture acquisitions independently without professional advice as they are not familiar with other brands that have amazing quality and are durable.
What is a most frightening idea or even step for today’s consumers?
We know by fact that the choice of accessories and furniture is very large and the prices may vary by thousands of euros. How not to be mistaken with the choice of colour and size when having so many options? Where to buy good value? And what are the delivery times? And most importantly, the choice of all this requires time, and, the ability to create the atmosphere that will display your personality and improve your quality of your life.
Krzysztof and Rui, both are civil servants. In their free time, they love to travel, spend time with friends, discover new cultures and food-related places in Brussels as well as watching movies. For their new home, they wanted it to be functional, welcoming for their guests and having the cosy feel while at the same time offering modern and minimalist interior. They turned to us after seeing our work on social media. They were drawn to us thanks to our attention to detail and the fact that each of our projects is always different to each other plus reflect the client’s personality!
So, do we as designers determine the main idea for your future interior? And what difficulties can the designer face while working on a design project remotely? Is there a risk for the customer to remain unnoticed?
Our work process
At the first stage of the project, we asked our clients for basic documents that allow us to get acquainted with their living space(s), their everyday lifestyle and with their wishes for their future interior.
Documents that were provided by our customers:
We defined the project area with our client, here we had the kitchen and living/dining room areas to improve. Then, we studied the examples and the budget that we have to work with. An important factor in the development of this project was that the customers not only wanted to change the furniture but were also ready for more serious works, which involved the demolition of one wall and the replacement of the staircase. Given the small living space of 36 m² composed of the kitchen and the living area, an important principle was also to place as many hidden shelves for storing different items of their everyday life as possible, plus, they wanted an open but functional kitchen as well as the ability to receive a large number of guests. Taking in to account the facts that our customers are over 30, they have visited many places and they aren’t indifferent to good design. Therefore, we very quickly identified the main ideological line to create an interior that completely reflects their individuality and lifestyle.
Is this enough to develop a design project?
Well, YES! The concept of remote work, without meeting individual at their homes, became possible when certain criteria are met and new technologies are used. Given that we immediately create a virtual 3D model of your apartment as well as getting your address and photos, at once, we can determine the context and lighting in the apartment. Accordingly, the need to visit your living space immediately disappears. This greatly saves not only a lot of time as well as your, the customer’s, money.
Regarding the main problem that we can face during the project: a badly formulated “customer needs” along with the uncertainty on the budget for furniture and accessories. That is why without having received this information, we cannot proceed to the beginning of the project. We will insist on the fact that our customer needs to make a decision so that, as closely as possible we will approach and solve your interior design problems with taste and your wishes.
So, we began to develop a solution where the main character was the staircase. The atmosphere was born under the influence of the Scandinavian style and based on our main element.What are the main elements in the Scandinavian interior: simplicity and concise use of living space. These are small light interiors with a large use of light wood along with many different textures and ornaments complementing each other. Today, there are a lot of Scandinavian furniture and accessories brands, such as Ikea to more expensive yet affordable brands like Boconcept, Hay, Muuto, By Lassen, etc…
Immediately in the first sketch, we proposed to replace the existing parquet with light oak. This helps us also to not divide the different surfaces between the kitchen and the living room, thus, to give the idea of continuity in the space beyond the main residential zones.
If you want to use parquet as a flooring solution in the kitchen, give preference to lacquered frosted parquet. This will avoid dark spots when water gets spilt on the surface and it will facilitate the maintenance when cleaning your kitchen. Also, of course, consider your lifestyle. If cooking is your hobby, therefore, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen maybe parquet will not be the perfect solution for you. In this case, you can always turn to the ceramic manufacturers, which, nowadays, perfectly imitate wooden surface.
The main direction in our project was to design a very minimalist Scandinavian interior. A kitchen with a wooden backsplash (here, we proposed a kitchen of the Italian manufacturer – PEDINI) and a floating steel staircase fixed by hidden fastenings in the supporting wall. In the first sketch, we suggested a selection of furniture and accessories, which, in our opinion, not only blended well with the main elements yet match with our clients’ personality and budget.
We emphasized with wooden furniture in the dining room. We place a lot of warm colours in this living zone, along with small table combinations, geometric textures and small wall pictures in this same style.
In only one week, after receiving all the documents needed to start the project, Krzysztof and Rui received their first proposed design. They wrote back to us that they liked the direction chosen and they are ready to discuss more over the details so that we can provide the final version for them. Perfect timing as they will be able to receive all the final documents before the beginning of the works.
Their main wishes were to have a more minimalistic outcome of their interior and would like us to pay attention to the radiator near the staircase. In addition, they prefer to use a reproduction of the picture of their favorite author and change the color palette of the interior a little.
After receiving these comments, we were happy to continue working on the project and prepare the second sketch, which was immediately approved by Krzysztof and Rui. Within 2 more weeks, we prepared all the final documents including in the initial order (3D renders, annotated floor plans, and a shopping list) as well as additional technical plans (only done on request).
Second sketch and final documents
Annotated plan and a shopping list within their budget and with the links to where to buy the furniture and accessories:
In the final version, our staircase gained a very unusual charm. Taking into account the wishes of customers to receive various guests, as well as the need to use as much as possible the entire living area of their apartment, we provided, designed a small bar placed behind the wooden mobile part of the staircase. Such a solution allowed not only to acquire double use of the same element (staircase or bar) but, also the possibility of using those first steps as a mini ladder in order to have access to high shelves in the kitchen. By placing these wooden steps under the staircase, consequently, you limit the access for your guests to the private area located on the first floor.
Having received the design Krzysztof and Rui started the construction works.
As we take into account an individual approach to each project, along with the involvement of each team member in Space-Filling, we are always ready to help by answering our clients’ questions via emails if they do face difficulties in selecting materials or if unpleasant surprises appear during the restoration works.
A few months later, the apartment was finished and became a happy home for the owners.
A year later, I met our customers and the most important thing for us was to find out how accurate our design proposal was. The budget calculation and whether there is anything else that our customers would like to tell us considering that now they were living in the apartment. Their response was very pleasant but expected. They said that thanks to 3D renderings and our professional approach they were able to be sure that their new interior would fully corresponds to their expectations and everyday lifestyle. They are very happy with the result but did end up changing the cushions on the sofas according to their mood.
This is an extra piece of advice:
Do not buy too bright pieces of furniture , invest instead in a neutral palette with bright accessories. This will allow you to quickly update your interior if you get bored and without great additional expenses.