As an interior designer, the privilege of shaping spaces goes beyond mere aesthetics—it extends to curating environments that become an integral part of an individual’s identity. The art of interior design is a dynamic process that involves more than just arranging furniture; it is about crafting a narrative and telling a story through the language of colour, texture, and form. In this journal post, we explore how a sense of place can be created with interior design for our clients.
understanding the client’s story
Every design journey begins with a client consultation for the interior designer to develop an understanding of the client’s desired lifestyle, preferences, and personal history. For a residential client, we ask questions like, What kind of lifestyle do you have, and what lifestyle do you want? Do you want to host large social gatherings, or do you prefer to relax and recharge? What memories and experiences should the space evoke? And, just as important as likes, what does the client dislike? If we were in a consultation with a commercial client, we’d ask about the story behind the company, the branding, identity, and values of the business. Storytelling is of the utmost importance when it comes to engaging with your interior.
Our client for this residential project had two young children and needed their home to grow with their family. We designed custom-made banquette seating for them which satisfied two main brief points; storage for children’s crafts and toys, and plenty of seating for social gatherings and parties. We also designed a giant peg board, which the children could use to display their white board, and move it upwards as they grew taller. Our client is a marine biologist and was interested in botanical prints of seaweed. They wanted to make sure that the prints were not of invasive species and helped us research the sustainability of sea grass products to ensure their home would be a reflection of their values.
We prioritise sourcing materials locally, forging partnerships with nearby craftspeople and suppliers. This intentional choice not only reduces our ecological footprint but also enriches our projects with a sense of local identity and craftsmanship. This approach not only contributes to sustainable practices, it creates spaces that resonate with authenticity and a genuine sense of place.
design inspiration from local history and building narratives
Finding inspiration in the local history of the area and the unique story embedded within a building’s past can be a truly transformative exploration. Uncovering the historical context of the surrounding area offers insights into the architectural styles and cultural influences that have shaped the community over time. Simultaneously, delving into the specific history of the building itself reveals a wealth of character waiting to be reimagined. Original architectural features, traces of historical events, or remnants of the building’s former functions serve as a compelling foundation for design choices. Utilising elements discovered on-site can present both thrilling design possibilities and challenges. When repurposing timber waste from construction, it is essential to remove nails, strip off old paint, sand the timber, and adequately treat it for its intended new purpose. This can take time, but it can become a rewarding design feature. Incorporating carefully selected antiques from local shops and fairs also adds a unique and timeless character to interior spaces, telling a story and infusing individuality.
The Trinity Cafe in St Austell pays homage to the china clay industry that shaped the landscape of this area of Cornwall. From the colour palette to the artefacts on display, everything has a purpose for storytelling within the cafe. Being a community hub, it was important for the Trinity Cafe to have a strong connection to the local area. Something that would resonate with the cafe’s customers, and become a talking point for the town. There are two photographic murals on the walls in the Trinity building. One, a historical photograph depicting the building during the Victorian era, complete with clay cart and church. The Church, St Austell Parish, is the client who purchased this building and wanted the cafe to feel inviting for all.
the power of detail
Attention to detail is the hallmark of exceptional design. From the choice of materials to the placement of accessories, every detail plays a crucial role in shaping the character of a space. Personal touches, such as custom-made furnishings or bespoke art pieces, add layers of uniqueness that contribute to a sense of exclusivity and personal identity. Us designers start planning this detail from the moment we are introduced to the project, as often they are a useful source of inspiration for the wider scheme.
Scatho’s Cornish gelateria in the village of Portscatho has a strong branded presence. Bespoke menu boards created by APT Studio featured small gelato-shaped hooks for the flavour boards – a tiny detail but often talked about! As a pre-launch surprise, Boaz Studio created this framed opening date for our client, as the date had so much significance for this project. The colours of the cottages around the village influenced the colour palette for the interior.
curating a story of timelessness
While trends come and go, timeless design endures. Designers strive to create spaces that withstand the test of time by balancing contemporary elements with classic foundations. This approach not only ensures the longevity of the design but also fosters a sense of continuity and stability for the occupants.
We created a space that showcases books and art created by students and staff at its heart. By using one colour throughout the space, it enhances the features of the room while making sure that the books, journals, and newspapers are the highlight. When sourcing the elements for the room, we imagined an eccentric traveling uncle bringing back random objects from his escapades. Items were sourced from auctions, eBay, Facebook, and charity shops. We were determined to make the project as sustainable as possible through the reuse and renewal of the furniture and fittings now in the space, giving new life to old artifacts.
a sense of place
In conclusion, the journey of developing a sense of place through interior design is a collaborative and deeply personal experience. Designers, armed with creativity and empathy, have the profound opportunity to shape environments that resonate with those who inhabit them. It’s not just about creating beautiful spaces; it’s about crafting a home or business premises that reflects the stories, passions, and aspirations of the individuals who call it their own.
"We used Boaz Studio as we needed some help reimagining our lounge after moving in just before having our first child. Our house wasn't working for us and our toddler. Stephen is so approachable and friendly and really listens. He's keen to understand what your needs and wants are as a client and then has an amazing way of turning that into something beautiful, practical, and personal. I am so impressed and would highly recommend Boaz Studio. On top of that, they're really professional, and communication is easy."
Charlotte, Homeowner | Penzance
"Stephen and Alice worked with us to produce a design for the interior of our coffee house - their ability to bring together all of our different needs and ideas into one unified concept was fantastic - they have knack for drawing out the most efficient use of whatever space they're working with. First class."
Charles Wilson | Cafe Owner, Truro
"Boaz provided layouts and concept interior designs for our new home, and the results were fantastic: they managed to somehow provide us with something completely unexpected that was completely our style and what we wanted. We feel so much more confident managing the building work and decorating now, and can't wait to see it finished. Highly recommended."
Max H, Homeowner | Family Home, Lizard
"We worked with Boaz Studio to plan our two-storey extension and associated alterations to our house. We couldn't have done it without them, they were brilliant! Their thoughtful designs really made the most of the spaces, not only in terms of furnishings and decor but also really useful advice about positioning for doors and windows. Stephen and Alice are both fabulous at what they do and really lovely to work with. Highly recommended!"
Kate, Homeowner | Family Home, Newquay
"Boaz Studio came in to advise on the complete refurbishment of the communal space here at Sunley Orford House, a purpose-built block of quality retirement housing in the centre of Truro. Having listened thoroughly to the design brief he provided well thought out advice on materials, colours and decoration with options that not only bring a more contemporary feel but will revitalise the space for the future. His thought and attention to detail was appreciated by all involved."
N Hodson, Estate Manager | Hanover Housing Association
"You have been incredibly instrumental in the first part of this project and given us inspiration on how best to utilise our space, giving us vision on layout, design, style and colours. You are very skilled at what you do !!"
W & K, Bridestowe | Homeowner
"I found boaz studio to be the perfect combination of design ideas and down to earth sense. They opened my eyes to aspects I hadn’t considered and delt with problems in creative ways."
Mark, Homeowner | The Barn Guesthouse
"Stephen managed to build a true understanding of what we wanted and embed that in his conceptual designs. When we first saw those designs for a fresh and contemporary take on the heritage library, we knew that we would be creating something special."