Thursday, February 23, 2012

Home design made easy with Ethos Design! Part 1

Whether you're selecting a colour scheme, deciding which large pieces of furniture to purchase, or trying to discover your personal style...decorating your home can be a very daunting task.  Wouldn't it be nice if someone could do all of the hard work for you! Not all of us can afford the services of a professional what can we do?

Introducing Anna Williams, owner/decorator at Ethos Designs...the answer to your decorating prayers!

I recently had the pleasure of being able to utilise Anna's design skills to reinvent our family/dining room, and her suggestions are fantastic! But more on that later...let's meet Anna!

Hi Anna! Tell us about yourself and Ethos Design...
I started Ethos Design in September 2010, but really, I’ve been designing my whole life. I can remember building houses from Lego blocks as a little child, and when I was a tween I used to cut furniture out of catalogues and use it to create moodboards. It must be in my blood!
When I first looked at establishing an interior design company I felt I had an opportunity to offer design services to those people who wouldn’t normally hire an interior designer. It doesn’t mean they don’t want a beautiful home; they just want to spend their money on furniture, and not on someone’s design fee! The idea behind Ethos Design was to create an interior design service that offered great advice and creative ideas but kept the costs down by using an online service.

The whole business is based around ‘Design Kits’; a customised design plan which gives someone all the information they need to create their dream house. It includes inspirational photos, lots of ideas, tips and instructions as well as a shopping list and floor plan layout. The idea is that by doing some of the implementation yourself, you are only paying an interior designer for the most important part, the designing!

What are the most common design questions you're asked?
There are so many! A lot of my clients know what style they like, but have trouble re-creating it in their homes, because they don’t feel like their existing furniture is working. Another really common problem is that clients have bought all their furniture, but just can’t work out how to finish it off and make it look polished like the rooms they see in magazines.  Simpler questions always relate to colours, such as…I want a warm white that isn’t too cream….I want a grey with a blue undertone…I want a neutral colour that isn’t boring!

What space do you find is the most challenging for your clients?
Bathrooms and kitchens are always tricky because the decisions are long-term and expensive to make. For decorating, most clients find the living room most challenging. A living room is the heart of most people’s homes and has to incorporate lots of activities from dining, entertaining and watching TV through to homework and craft. It can be tricky to include all these activities and still have a stylish space.

What has been your favourite space to design?
To be honest, I really love every client’s space, no matter what room or what style. There is always something so exciting to me about seeing somebody’s house and the things they love, and then seeing the fantastic ‘after’ pictures when people have received their Design Kit.  If I had to pick a particular project though, I always love to come home to my own home. The design process has barely started but I have big dreams!

What is your favourite designing resource?
I’m going to cheat and pretend that said ‘resources’! If you’re having trouble with planning your furniture, a website like is a must. It allows you to draw the room, and then put in furniture. You can view it as a 2D plan, or a 3D elevation.  If you have a layout and need to start the decorating process, always, always have a mood board! Include your favourite furniture pieces, inspirational rooms, fabric samples and paint colours. It helps to have a clear vision of where you are going.  Now, my favourite resource for accessories on a budget has to be Etsy is a treasure trove of creative and affordable art, pillows and home accessories.

Where do you see home design heading in the future for Australian home owners?
Toward colour and character. For a long time, Australians have been very conservative in their decorating. We saw lots of brown and beige, lots of leather and timber and the use of only one or two accent colours. Everyday I see people asking for more and more creative things; we are wanting to incorporate a more layered approach to ‘neutral’ using grey, beige, brown, black and white, along with more vibrant colours. People are starting to embrace pattern more with creative rugs, beautiful textiles for cushions and curtains and colourful wallpapers. And of course, there is more and more use of vintage and handmade items. It’s great to see a more colourful and authentic feel developing in interiors and I can’t wait to see more!


Thanks Anna! I love that Australian home design is evolving, and becoming more our own.

I have had an interest in interior design for a really long time...watching countless hours of home shows (much to hubby's dismay), and reading piles of glossy magazines showcasing gorgeous homes.  Of course, this makes you look at your own space and question what can you do differently. I would love a home that looks like it belongs inside the pages of one of my favourite glossies, but wasn't confident enough to achieve it.

Here's how our family/dining space currently looks. It's an awkward L-shaped spaced with a floor to ceiling bay window and angled walls. Who knew that the house we fell in love with ten years ago, would be so hard to decorate?!!

I have no trouble choosing larger pieces of furniture for our space (ignore the tv cabinet...that was bought out of necessity, not design, and it's going!).  The problem is committing to art, rugs, lighting, curtains, and those little decorative items...resulting in an unfinished space (the vinyl forest on the wall was purchased 18 months before we installed it because I wanted to choose the right paint colour first!).    It's all of the elements pulled together, that lift your home from a functional space; to one that truly speaks to your style.  Thank goodness for Anna! I now know where I am headed...

Join me tomorrow to see how a "Refresh" kit works, what Anna has recommended for the Warren family room, and your chance to win a Ethos Design "Refresh" kit valued at $249!

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