As an interior design enthusiast, I am always seeking sources of inspiration, fresh new ideas and examples of best practice. However, this blogpost is not about the usual avenues and arenas for inspiration like industry magazines, websites, events, social media, reference books, historic places and major landmarks. This is undeniably something that any aspiring interior designer (myself included) should consistently educate themselves about, so as to be up-to-speed with their knowledge of latest trends and styles.
My inspiration starts as a personal experience and sets the basis for my work. Whenever I find myself working on decorating our home and completing an assignment for my Professional Interior Design degree, I instinctively and organically draw inspiration from my background, experiences, travels and personal life.
Let me explain the intricacies of my influences: I am originally from Casablanca in Morocco – a city where there are strong historical, cultural and architectural ties with France- I was French educated and grew up with strong French influences. I then lived, for more than a decade, in the cosmopolitan city of Dubai where I discovered a mix of Arab, Asian, American and British cultures. Recently, I have relocated with my husband to the west of France in a charming city named Laval. My husband’s journey is as diverse as mine. He is English-Irish, lived for a long time in Frankfurt, is passionate about native American culture and he spent a few years living in Dubai and Casablanca. We both travelled a lot around the world whether for work or pleasure.
There is no place for cultural clashes here as we remain open to embrace and discover other and each-other’s cultures: we let our boundless curiosity about the world enrich us as individuals, help us in our careers – we both run global online businesses – and make our day-to-day lives excitingly diverse and interesting.
I can comfortably have an English afternoon tea after sharing a delicious (ridiculously huge!) plate of couscous with my family, be at ease in New York, Paris or Hong-Kong, switch between 3 languages in a minute, experience Christmas in the impressive Frankfurt markets and be as happy to mark Ramadan celebrations. Moving foward, my influences can only evolve and grow from here as I study, learn and remain culturally curious.
Now, this is how I bring this cultural diversity into the initial concept for our cottage design ideas (the house is a 200-year-old house located in the French countryside). My aim is to create a charming, cozy interior that tells a story about our family, a home that is always nice to come back to. I like it when elements of furniture and decor are meaningful and bring back the memory of a place, a person or an experience. Don’t get me wrong, we are still a long way off from finishing the renovation project we started, a few months ago, on the inside and outside of the cottage. We are halfway there. In the meantime, nothing says I can’t daydream about the end result!
The mood board shows a personal interpretation of the modern country style. It is an eclectic theme that brings together a balanced blend of many influences, is a good portrayal of our personal tastes and works well with the period features of the house. Color scheme promotes an airy, soothing atmosphere for a bright and spacious living room:
A contemporary English country style sofa is paired with a French style chaise longue along with an Indian hand carved sideboard and oriental side tables. Accent details are added with botanical wallpaper, golden accessories and a few paintings of Paris or NYC similar to those I bought once in Central Park (Mainly pastel painted).
Well, this a (very early) preliminary sneak-peak of our future plans. I know I need to remain flexible and adapt the interior design concept as times goes on. Until then, I stay on the lookout for learning opportunities about past styles that have defined today’s trends, getting to know the timeless work of renowned designers like Emile-Jacques Rhulmann and Rene Lalique while navigating different styles such as the “French Elegance”, the “Minimalistic Scandinavian”, the “Contemporary Art Déco”, the “Modern Boho” and the “Country Style”. Possibilities are actually endless. Watch this space for more!
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Inass M. Jenner