This week, we met interior design professional, presenter and DIY Diva –Julia Kendell. You might recognise her from the likes of DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover…
JK: I start my day training with my partner, James, generally a 30 minute cardio and abs session. (We’re on a fitness mission this year!) After a fruit & veg juice, and if I’m not filming or doing a radio day, I’ll attend to emails, work on a design for a client or prepare a speech for a conference or Home Show. I like to spend time with my daughter and granddaughter at least once a week for tea!
JK: I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to transform lives by transforming homes. We underestimate the value of ‘home’ and the importance of having a space that can support you on a daily basis. Creating spaces that work perfectly and uplift and energise can have a massive positive impact on one’s wellbeing and health. When I’m filming for DIY SOS nothing beats seeing the look on the family’s face when we hand the house back over at the end of the week. Even hardened tradesmen who work on the builds with us shed a tear knowing how life-changing their work has been.
JK: Satisfying more than one member of a family for residential builds is often the greatest challenge. Catering to different personality types, often with differing priorities, can be tricky and I often have to put my relationship councillor hat on!
JK: I think I’ve always had an interest in interiors. As a very small child I would continually rearrange my bedroom and give my parents advice on decorating… much to their amusement. My father taught me valuable DIY skills, my Mum how to sew, and I have always loved making and re-purposing things. My first Saturday job, age 15, was in a soft-furnishings showroom in my local high street. I loved every minute of working there and have never left the industry since.
JK: During the 70s when I was a child, there was very much a ‘make do and mend’ attitude. Money was tight and nothing was ever thrown away if it could be useful. I spent many a weekend and summer holiday transforming old fruit crates into a pretend shop, or re-painting my bicycle. I once, unsuccessfully, tried to turn my push-bike into a motorcycle. It seems pegging cardboard into the spokes and attaching boxes to it isn’t quite enough! ‘Upcycling’ in the truest sense!! These days I am always on the lookout for unusual ‘finds’ (often at markets) that can be used at a later date to create a thing of beauty.
JK: The most productive time of day creatively for me is generally late at night or at the weekend when I know I’m unlikely to be disturbed. I find distractions thwart my attempts at creativity and I am at my best when I have cleared my chores list and attended to my inbox. I like to listen to music and work with a view of the garden. I find a good packet of biscuits and copious amounts of rhubarb and ginger tea helps my creative talents enormously!
JK: My favourite go-to place for inspiration at the moment is ‘design-seeds.com’. They provide hundreds of beautiful photographs of nature, architecture and still-life combined with a stunning colour palette to suit each. It’s a great start to a room scheme and helps a client to understand both the mood and feel of the intended room as much as the colour scheme.
JK: I follow a random mix of interiors accounts, healthy lifestyle and the odd cat freaking out at cucumbers. my favourite accounts are @midcenturymaddist who specialise in vintage mid century modern Danish furniture, @abigailahern for stunning, moody interiors and accessories, and @livingetcuk for continual inspiration.
JK: I’d have to have two I’m afraid. My bedroom is where I can truly relax and my ‘bed of dreams’, which I invested heavily in, is difficult to leave and I spend an inordinate amount of time in it at the weekend. The kitchen is equally important to me. I love to cook with James and we’ll often have friends and family over so having a welcoming, fully-functioning and exciting space is key for us.
JK: That’s easy.. a new-build oak-framed barn, simple, solid and with a sense of permanence. There would be one large open-plan space with an open, double-sided fireplace in the middle, reclaimed dark oak flooring and squishy sofas, opening through to a dark music room where we can play our instruments, party and play pool! The windows would be steel and the overall vibe a combination of barn meets warehouse with tall vaulted ceilings and many natural elements. There would have to be a large kitchen garden too with an enormous greenhouse and an orchard for my chickens.
JK: Indoor plants are making a massive comeback this year. Cacti crept in in 2015 and this year ‘ferns’, particularly large-scale, will dominate. Expect to see them in print on fabric and wall coverings too. Typography is also huge currently. This is as a response to the over-saturation of photographic imagery we experience daily. Suddenly the written word has value, poetry groups are becoming popular again as are hand-written letters. As a result you can’t move for ampersands and capital letter accessories! Upcycling is becoming increasing sophisticated and creative as people grow in confidence of their crafting abilities.
For more from Julia, follow her on Twitter.