Metal = industrial (memories from GIDC)

Hello! And apologies for my recent disappearance. It has been a time for family and organisation, getting busy and setting up a ‘full time’ work routine.

Of course it is essential to make plenty of little trips out to lovely independent design and interior shops and suchlike (really honestly!) I find these trips an important source of inspiration and one can justify it because one is also educating oneself on the current trends! ((Winks))

A few weeks ago we dropped in on a very good friend of ours at his work place, Nigel works for a metal company who cut and form all sorts, from quirky one off rings and stair balustrades to Formula 1 car parts.


You may remember my brutalist tower block quarter final on The great interior design challenge. Nigel was the man I asked to bring to life my ampersand design to for the project. Here we are on my visit to the workshop

20140425-115745.jpg remembering the project brought back the memories from my quarter final so I thought I’d share it here.

Freddie and Ayisha share their bedroom with their two young boys. They were after an industrial style bedroom suitable also for their children to share. They wanted a play area and to keep their super king size mattress for which they had no bed base. They wanted the decor to be in-keeping with the brutalist style of the building and could not have any built in furniture. They had a drawer unit which they wanted rid of and of course, more storage space was preferable.

I designed custom furniture to fit the space and tie together the industrial theme, cater for extra storage needs and inability to use built in furniture. Here are some of my sketches that Jonny the builder was using to construct the furniture from. A lot of the budget was spent on top quality ply wood and the bed base.





Having a friend in the metal cutting industry was a bonus on an industrial style project. Plans for panels covering the drawers (much like Luke’s copper covered wardrobe panel design in his room here )


Also designing wall light covers in a block-like brutalist style were all thought through and sketched, but in reality, the time and budget called for something of a simpler industrial statement.

Freddie and Ayisha shared their bedroom with their two young boys, so from the theme of family, Mummy ‘&’ Daddy ‘&’ brothers grew the inspiration to form a large aluminium ampersand, which was given pride of place above the bed.

I wanted to use materials that gave the room an edge. A metal bucket planter, aluminium ampersand wall art, aluminium mesh nappy holder,

copper bedside lights, mobile and accents,


Concrete side tables, ply furniture and raw floor boards worked together softened nicely by a pale palette of greys, blues and whites, sheepskins, a huge cozy bed and plenty of cushions.

They loved it and on reflection and after hearing the judges comments I may have used a few too many separate elements in a small space, I loved working on it and being pushed yet again with the challenge of fitting four different people and needs into one room, I am still very proud of the result.

I loved working with the GIDC team, the designers were fab. Here we were on a meal out after the first day


Of course the judgement finally came and I was honestly gutted to be leaving the process.

All good things must come to an end and for me, I went out on a high.

I loved every minute!


20140425-124248.jpg WITH MY BUILDER JONNY


20140425-124345.jpg THE FINISHED ARTICLE


Now the great interior design challenge is looking for enthusiastic amateur designers to take part in series 2 .. Applications are open. If you have huge passion for it then go for it, hopefully they’ll see what you see in yourself! – it is an opportunity not to be missed and the judges are lovely (don’t be scared of the criticism) just take a look:

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  • Good luck! X

    Keeping it interesting

    We’ve all needed a little more self motivation at times, maybe to clean out the car, finally sort through that paper work pile or getting to the gym. Well It’s a challenge to keep on track with open learning study. Being at home while studying means there’s always something that could do with my time, more often than I’d like to admit, I give in.

    I love to have routines and more importantly stimulating motivation. This month I received an A- for my first of 6 projects on my interior design diploma. It was the biggest confidence boost and keeps me determined to keep up the hard work!

    Also I have recently been asked for some guidance and help on an incredible 18th century renovation on a house in Oxfordshire.
    Having this project to work on along side my studies gives me something to get stuck into, belief in myself and vision that this is what I’m working toward. I want to follow my passion doing what I love and making a living out of it will be a dream.

    I’m quite simply so excited. I’ve been given permission to blog about my involvement and so I thought I’d share this little gem:


    It is the only surviving original fireplace left after previous owners allegedly threw the others out in a skip! This one is in one of the smaller two floor rooms and the current owners found it hidden behind a piece of plaster-board!

    The building is 18th century and is listed. There are beams, stone, brick and fireplaces galore! I was excited to see the new lime plaster still drying.

    I’ll keep sharing here and on facebook and twitter .. Stay tuned for updates! X

    Valentines and getting creative

    That annoying moment when you’re about ready to post onto your blog and then accidentally delete it all! .. Yep that’s just happened to me! Well the gist of this post was to share my recent happenings and a little about getting creative for valentines.

    My husband is usually romantic and since having our girls, valentines day is another lovely day spent together with a little extra flourish.
    The flourish this year was a lovely lunch at a pub in the north Oxfordshire countryside. Followed by a trip to pick out some lovely fresh flowers, I love arranging unique displays. For breathing life into a home, nothing beats fresh flowers or a big green potted plant in the home.

    I chose Sweet Dolomite Roses and cherry blossom which I arranged in a vase from our wedding day.

    I also got creative making my handmade card. I always keep plain white cards so that I have the chance to make something personal and unique, for David’s card I used a needle to pierce a design which I finished with red cotton. Less is definitely more!


    We moved at the end of October, the house is a work in progress and after putting the paintbrushes down for Christmas, 2014 has just been so busy that we’ve not had a chance to get them back out. David is eagerly awaiting my DIY orders, and i’m constantly looking for new inspiration. You can keep up on what’s inspiring me and everything I’m loving on my: pinterest page

    I hope after all of this horrible weather, the sunshiny promise of spring is spurring on the cleaning, organizing and redecorating .. I’ll keep posting as I do just that at home. Lots of love x

    On to the next chapter

    After a whirl wind few weeks of watching Sophie, Dan, Tom, myself and fellow amateur designers on BBC2’s The great interior design challenge, it seems to have come to an incredible end.


    Daniel Hopwood very kindly hosted a fabulous champagne and canape party with a showing of the final. It was fabulous seeing everyone in person rather than via the TV screen, we’d all been in touch mostly via twitter and so it felt more like a fantastic reunion! Also a huge thank you to my Husband, my girls, my parents, Sophie Robinson, the amazing GIDC team, BBC and Studio Lambert.

    A HUGE congratulations to the lovely Sarah Moore, for Winning The great Interior design challenge. I urge you to a look at her beautiful website:

    Congrats to runner up, the fabulous Jordan Cluroe, on an incredible run of designs on GIDC. Here’s his new venture with his partner Russel Whitehead:

    There have been so many lovely messages from family and friends but also from people I have never met. The support throughout my experience on the program has been amazing. The span kitchen project really tested me and my confidence, I really didn’t expect to get through, winning the first heat was the most incredible feeling, similarly I hadn’t even dared hope to be shortlisted after applying, let alone go on to become one the 24 designers and get through to the quarter finals. I know how strong and ingrained my passion for interior design is, I’m just so grateful that I had my chance to show it – twice! 


    With little sleep during the process and all the time pressure, I got rather emotional, as you will have witnessed in both episodes i appeared in, (sorry!) Honestly, the tears were with very good reason because this journey for me has without doubt been one of the most exciting, inspiring, confidence building and absolutely incredible experiences of my (25 now) years so far. I’ve met incredible people along the way and learned so much.


    As with everything there is a silver lining, Not making it through to the Semi finals meant that I could afterall book a last minute ticket for myself and Iris (my youngest) to join my husband, David, and Lara (my eldest) In Venice where David was coaching and Lara was competing as part of the England Karate team. It was her first world karate games and I was so proud to be able to watch Lara win her bronze medal!

    I’ve had plenty of “what are you going to do now?” I have taken advice from Mr Hopwood to finish studying for my Interior design Diploma, embracing opportunities along the way. I’ve signed up as a student with the British Institute of Interior Design, and I’ll be filling my diary with all the fabulous design events coming up!

    I have always seen my career and future being in Interior Design. It really is my passion, I love it and I always have believed that the career you choose has such a huge impact on your life, that you should use your passion to do what you love. ..

    So – on to my next chapter! .. stay tuned and please do keep in touch, you can find me here of course, on Twitter: @KimberlyPlested  and on Facebook


    The great interior design challenge: who won and some Q&A’s

    I feel like a part of something really special and unique, Daniel Hopwood implied that we’re a #GIDC family! .. loving that. The great interior design challenge found 24 of us.. all super enthusiastic and very lucky amateurs and delivered 8 episodes of the first heat.. from 3 designers in each episode 1 won a place in the quarter finals. I honestly think that every designer did such a great job, everyone who was part of this series knows just how grueling, challenging and yet whole-heartedly rewarding the process has been, so Daniel – I agree .. I’ve made friends and found a place within our lovely GIDC family!  Just to recap here are the winners from each episode:
    Episode 1 Sarah Moore, 

    Episode 2 Susan Garrett

    Episode 3 Charmaine White

    Episode 4 Luke Watkins

    Episode 5 Kimberly Plested

    Episode 6 Neil Gawkin

    Episode 7 Johnny China

    Episode 8 Jordan Cluroe

    I’m now eagerly awaiting the quarter finals .. starting tomorrow night 7pm, BBC2

    I’ve been amazed at the response to my kitchen design and I’ve had a few comments and questions about the episode I took part in. The great interior design challenge, episode 5, The span house kitchen.

    So here are a few more details..


    The chalk board paint can be bought from most major DIY stores, I bought ours from homebase. Or If you have more time and fancy your chalk board blending in with the rest of your decor, try Martha Stewart’s brilliant DIY recipe for customised colour chalk board paint

    I think this is perfect if you want the kids to have fun without the board contrasting with your carefully coordinated room!

    The fabric was from IKEA £6 per meter

    The Blue paint colour was from The little greene paint company. I used Juniper ash

    On my course so far, i’ve learned the importance of presentation – great visuals help sell your ideas and also help you to communicate with the client. what’s most important is that these represent the work you do, how tidy and neat they are reflects on you and your ability to be be neat and tidy during the project.

    Kimberly Plested DIDC span concept board (Images from National geographic)I created a concept or mood board. These are a tool for a designer to help focus on the feel they want in a room, for example a brief for a tranquil room may conjure up images of a quiet calm misty lake. While a vibrant, energetic room may bring to mind a carnival scene with bright colours and lots to see.

    Kimberly Plested GIDC span floor plan


    My presentation was accompanied by a floor plan with overlays to show the old layout and the new layout together.

    I’m aware that I can visualize things easily but that this skill doesn’t always come easily for others, which is why i wanted to provide Anna and Richie with a clear visual representation of how the room should look once finished.

    Kimberly Plested GIDC span water colour visuals

    This was helpful for them as they could see the chalk board fridge in situ along with the effect of the bold fabric and colours. It gave them confidence to trust me but also the ability to adapt details to their taste before anything started, saving time and the stress having to renegotiate half way through a change being made. It also provides a reference for anyone working on the project, like stuart, my builder.

    Finally the sample board was praised by the judges. Sophie said “Overall I was very Impressed by Kimberly’s presentation, her second board was of a very high standard with an excellent drawing” (Thank you Judges!)

    Kimberly Plested GIDC span sample board

    “Mummy we’re a famous family now”

    My girls have been so proud watching mummy on the tv! .. My youngest came out with “mummy we’re a famous family now” her!

    My episode of ‘The great interior design challenge’ was last friday and so now I can follow up with a little on it from my perspective…

    This was the Hub for project Anna and Richie! It helped to have everything out so that I could make sense of everything going on in my head!
    It was all so bizarre being flung into a ‘real life’ design challenge on tv. Obviously I wasn’t able to meet or talk to the clients during the design process. All I had to go on were descriptions, a basic floor plan and pictures! To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement!

    The week or so working on the design was a roller coaster of emotions, self doubt, sleepless nights and eureka moments. All the while making sure that my husband knew just how incredibly amazing he was! I couldn’t have managed it without his support! (Thank you David! X)

    There were some lovely pieces I found to accessorize Anna and Richie’s kitchen. Most came from charity shops but my favourite were these original ceramic pots I discovered in a local reclamation yard. I bought the whole lot for just £20!
    They turned out to be a huge hit with Anna and Richie.


    In my brief Anna and Richie wanted a modern take on 60’s with a more scandi style, they specifically asked not to have a typical full on 60’s makeover theme.. It was in the brief that they had a love of Marimekko, which I later found out was not strictly true! Although I won them round of the fabric in the end. My way if getting 60’s into their room was through colour and the circular theme. Repeated in the fabrics, and the yellow accents. They also loved grey (a common theme so far the show it seems, much to Daniel Hopwood’s disapproval! (Sorry Dan!))

    The whole experience was incredible and incredibly exhausting! But the team was amazing (special thanks to Kasia, my builder Stuart and my camera man Charlie!). Stuart – you really had too much to do! But you did it brilliantly!

    The tiles… Oh dear! There was concern for the welfare of these poor “original brown tiles” so I kept as many whole for Anna and Richie to keep and I even asked Stuart to leave a few in place behind the cooker as a nod to the original scheme .. I have however recently been informed by the owners that they definitely are not originals! .. Quick guys-chuck the rest while
    no-one’s looking!

    Oh and the cooker! .. This was the main reason we ran over schedule! It was the biggest headache and poor Stuart had his work cut adjusting the floor AND wall cabinets to fit it.


    The emotional bit/s were really a mixture of exhaustion anticipation and having the whole thing hit me, realising just how badly I wanted to do it all again! (Sorry! I do wear my heart on my sleeve)

    While we waited for the judges decision I took a tour of the other designers kitchens! I hadn’t seen Anna’s before the reveal but it had a lovely relaxed country feel about it, I had seen Julia’s kitchen before hand and met the lovely owner Joeff, so after seeing the gorgeous white and wood (absolutely my kind of kitchen) I was so nervous. I couldn’t see my unfinished kitchen winning!

    And so for the decision .. I was elated! It was, for me so much more than winning round one. I felt so relieved that the professionals saw potential in me, they liked what I was doing and believed in me.

    Sophie Robinson, Daniel Hopwood. Thank you! I couldn’t be more grateful. X

    The view of the dining area. (Sorry about the big camera crews lamp) Richie is a photographer and so I wanted to use one of Richie’s landscape photographs to stretch that back wall and make the space feel wider still. But Richie was set on his portrait photograph hanging pride of place (I don’t blame him – its a great photo)

    My ‘design challenge’ plates, dipped in paints used in the scheme and backlit with a funky 60’s feel colour changing light. I wanted something unique to showcase my imaginative creativity! .. The judges thankfully loved them!

    The chalk board fridge. Little Henry lives there too and having children myself I was keen to create something fun for him- it was one we’d tried earlier at home and was a huge hit! you can buy chalk board paint for £11.99 at homebase

    The floating display shelves were on Anna and Richie’s wish list, most of the objects I decorated them with were my charity shop/ reclamation finds. We painted them the same grey as the walls to let the objects do the talking!

    Soo… The suspense and waiting continues .. Between winning my first round and waiting on tender-hooks for the next brief and challenge- our friends were married and as part of their gorgeous wedding they hosted a ‘Great wedding bake off’ … Cue my second huge victory of creativity! .. I won best over all!! And scooped up my cherished prize of the bake off book! 😉 .. It seems I was on a roll!

    20140126-120142.jpg(mine is the lemony one on a cake stand to the left of the sign)

    I have been so overwhelmed and grateful for all the lovely comments and support from not only my lovely family and friends but also everyone out there on twitter! #GIDC @KimberlyPlested ..Keep watching The great interior design challenge week nights at 7pm on BBC2 and look out for me in the quarter finals! X


    My style pinterest board

    Greys are not all a wash out #GIDC crititics! .. when they’re done with balance and careful styling. For me the greys are among the most calming for a bedroom especially.

    Take my a look on my Pinterest board ‘my style’ for example..

    Grey seems to be the new White .. what do you think?


    A fresh perspective on frilly, frumpy nets

    Sometimes you stumble upon things that you wouldn’t expect. This is exactly why this blog is here – to log all of those lovely bits i would otherwise forget in a month or two..well here’s one i found earlier…

    My husband treated me to lunch out in brill a few days ago. We love it there especially for picnics with the girls in the summer- the view is beautiful and the windmill and pretty village green gives it plenty of character.


    After a delicious lunch at the pheasant we meandered through the streets on a little walk..

    I couldn’t help noticing these beautiful window treatments. They were unique and so I knocked on the door to ask permission for a photo or two and to find out a bit about them. The owner was lovely and had seen them a few years before in London.

    They are by designer Tord boontje and after looking for more about him I came across his website, he’s originally from the Netherlands and I think his style is a lovely fresh take on florals.

    Good bye grandma’s frilly nets – here’s Tord, your 21st century successor!


    Egging on spring

    The weather has yet to turn bitter and prove to us that winters in full swing – while the sun is shining and the Easter eggs are on the supermarket shelves I just can’t help myself from getting crafty ready for Easter.


    I always buy free range organic eggs – some say its an extravagance but I see it as a necessity.. For lots of health and moral reasons that I won’t go into now.

    So on my weekly shop I found these gorgeous Clarence eggs which taste delicious and have the most beautiful duck egg blue colouring.

    My brain clicked in to creative mode and urged me to buy them and use the shells for decorations during spring… They may be dearer but they’re serving two purposes now (so i tell myself!)
    Yet to be completed but here they are for now! Ready to be dipped/ strung and hung .. I’ll be stocking up on more next week!

    A tv date for your diary

    Here’s a must see all new program on BBC2 for any interiors, architecture and home enthusiast!

    The great interior design challenge

    The show is presented by design expert and culture show presenter Tom Dyckhoff. 24 of Britain’s’ ‘keenest’ amateur interior designers are judged by Interior stylist Sophie Robinson and award winning architect Daniel Hopwood.

    I saw Daniel as a guest speaker at the Chelsea harbour design centre. He really was very inspiring.

    The program starts on BBC2, Monday 20th January and runs week nights finishing with the grand final on Thursday 6th feb.

    A show like this is exactly what we want to get us all in the mood for a good old spring clean and ready for those paint brushes!
    Here’s the BBC link for more info.

    (Photo content on this post is purely for reference and is kindly used as a visual representation from the BBC website.)