Kelly Hoppen’s ten style rules to break:
1. ‘Don’t overcrowd a room with large furniture.’ Play with scale. In a large room, large–scale objects fill the space and make it feel more intimate. Even in small rooms a few oversized objects can trick the eye into believing it’s bigger than it is.
2. ‘Listen to your instincts.’ Plan to the very last detail. Plans might sound boring but they are essential for avoiding costly mistakes. Consider everything from furnishings and lighting to the technology so every element can be brought together in harmony.
3. ‘Kitchens need bright task lighting.’ Every room needs a variety of lighting. It’s more pleasant to cook an evening meal in a relaxing atmosphere. Use a range of sculptural soft lights and candles to create mood and interesting shadows.
4. ‘Light colours create space.’ Dark colours can create a dramatic atmosphere and, when teamed with contrasting fabrics, a sense of indulgence.
5. ‘Display your favourite objects.’ Choose the best, store the rest.
7. ‘Don’t fuss with detailing.’ Use bands and buttons on cushions to freshen up the look of a room. They are an ideal way to unify contrasting colours and textures.
8. ‘White is the essential neutral.’ The perfect neutral is taupe. Taupe loves white, natural linens, shades of stone, metal and dark stained wood.
9. ‘A sofa should be an elegant statement.’ A sofa also needs to be incredibly comfortable, fit your practical needs and enhance your room. Using L- or U-shaped seating configurations works well and can direct the eye to a focal point such as a fireplace.
10. ‘Mirrors should be hung over fireplaces.’ Use them with abandon. Mirrors, glass surfaces and objects that reflect light add depth to a room and allow a play of light.
What brought you to Yoo?
I’ve known John Hitchcox for years and he has always been asking me to get involved with the Yoo project. The timing wasn’t ever right, because, to be honest, I didn’t have any time. Then John wanted me to do a property for his personal use, so that got the ball rolling. From there, we created two further concepts.
Where do you begin when presented with a new project?
For a private client, I give them a questionnaire to find out exactly how they will be using the home and what their lifestyle is like. What people think they want and what they need to service their needs are sometimes different. I always make sure that the practical needs of a space are catered for, so if I’m designing a dressing room, for example, I want to know how many Birkin bags they have, their shoe collection and so forth, so I understand what, and how, things should be displayed. I work on these practical issues of a scheme right from the beginning. The architect and I will work together to ensure that it all fits together. That’s how really great concept design should work: everything considered from the start.
What do you think people want from today’s interior space?
More than just an interior space. It needs to be a home that makes them feel safe and considered. It is no longer just about the surface and how things look. It is much more about connection and how we live.
You are known for your use of neutrals and white. How would you feel about people introducing colour to your palettes?
I have no problem with it. I think what I do well is create an environment that allows others to tastefully represent themselves, against a calm backdrop. I do use colour myself, in the form of perhaps coloured glass or artworks, and I love using flowers in a completed room. I don’t like flowers in the garden, but I adore them within the home.
Which aspect of designing do you feel is most important?
It’s all equally important. There isn’t a single feature about a space that you don’t need to work on from the beginning; the existing architectural features, layout, lighting, the function. Ignore one thing and it can all fall apart.
Tell us one of your favourite insider tips.
Always date your plans so that you, and anyone else working from them, knows which is the latest version. It sounds simple but can save a lot of problems before they happen.
What is your dream future project?
I only take on projects that excite me so in that way they are all dream projects. Having said that, I’ve never done a project in Brazil. I’d love to make something happen in Brazil.
This is an extract from Interiors by Yoo by John Hitchcox.
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