Driving towards Lauren Gilberthorpe’s interior design workshop was a joy before my husband and I had even arrived, with baby lambs gambolling in the fields and bucolic Cotswold stone cottages clad in roses, it felt apt that this beautiful route was leading us to a day filled with design inspiration.
Set in a huge old barn in Upcote, Gloucestershire, this charming venue also regularly plays host to weddings and parties. My husband and I had booked Lauren’s interior styling workshop to help us in planning the look and cohesive feel for the interior design of our home. We want our home to feel comfortable, contemporary, stylish yet cosy and knew it was important to plan this rather than just hope for the best. We’re not creating a show home as we recognise that our home needs to work for us and our young family’s needs. It has to be practical and able to cope with spillages and boisterous children! However, we are committed to designing somewhere we will be proud of and are taking the time to consider every aspect from flooring to layout, lighting to ambience.
There were 18 of us attending the workshop with attendees travelling from all over including Manchester and Kent – it made my 30 minute journey seem easy! We started off with a really useful exercise and one I’m really glad we did, learning how to scale draw! Lauren had gifted us goodie bags and within these was a slide rule – this has been super helpful to me since and I now am in the process of drawing each of the rooms in my house to scale, rather than haphazardly thinking I’ll plonk a sofa or table in a space, I can now measure it and plan on paper how items will fit in a room.
Sharing her knowledge and showing photos of past projects she has worked on, Lauren talked to us about colour. We each had a colour wheel and were able to see how different colours can work together.
After lunch (delicious salads followed by a beetroot brownie!), we began designing mood boards. With pre-cut images to look through I focused on creating a mood board for our adult living room, whilst Christian was working on the much larger living / dining space that will sit in the new extension. The adult living room is dual aspect and currently has an old gas fireplace which we intend to remove and replace with a log burner and wooden beam mantelpiece.
I picked up so many great ideas and useful tips, for example when styling with homewares a small rule of thumb is to never include items smaller than an apple unless they are part of a larger collection, as items this small can end up looking cluttered.
One area Christian and I haven’t talked about and if I’m honest would have definitely been an afterthought if it wasn’t for the workshop, is curtains. We spoke a lot about these and for us, Wave curtains which will allow us to place a curtain track that ingresses into the ceiling in the extension, with the curtains appearing to almost float. Knowing about this now means we have time to look in to this further and have our architect include these in the detailed design drawings, ready for when the build starts. A small touch like this I personally think will have a big impact on the finished look of the overall space.
The day drew to a close covering how you can bring a look together through the use of furniture and lighting. Lighting is also something I’ve felt unfamiliar with; to date spotlights have been the extent of our lighting efforts! I left with the contact details for a lighting expert and ideas of how I want to use light to create ambience. I really enjoyed the day and so did Christian, we both felt empowered to take this new knowledge home with us and apply it. If you are thinking about doing this workshop I would recommend you do, you’ll learn a lot !
I’m really enjoying the interior design process now we are back home. Once the children are in bed I try and find time one evening a week to surround myself with magazines and trade brochures for flooring, paint colours, lighting and homewares utilising the knowledge Lauren shared with us.