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Expert advice: Lockdown design

How interior designers, upholsterers and curtain makers have continued to help clients with home decoration ideas

Being cooped up at home during lockdown, has made many of us reexamine our homes. I, for one, have started thinking about reupholstering the main sofa in the sitting room. Out with the teal velvet and in with a lovely linen mustard. It’s all well and good making such decisions, but can you actually find somebody to reupholster, make curtains and help with your interiors? Well, I’m glad to say, the answer is a resounding yes, even if things might take a little longer than normal.



Credit: Goodwood/Cindy Leveson


Designs alive and well  

Interior designers’ services have continued to be in demand and while jobs might have been delayed due to social distancing, the creative planning process is certainly flourishing. Susan Clark, who runs a successful interior design business from her smart showroom in London’s leafy Blackheath has adopted Zoom with gusto. ‘It has been transformative,’ says Susan. ‘We’ve progressed ongoing projects by sharing cad drawings and making actual changes during the online meeting. Overall, it has felt very creative and clients have responded well. We’ve also had many new enquiries and while it’s always lovely to meet people face to face to discuss projects, Zoom has allowed us to introduce the studio and take initial briefs.’


Interior designer Cindy Leveson who has an established studio in Battersea, working on residential and commercial projects, has also managed to successfully maintain her business throughout lockdown. ‘I’m designing a hotel at Goodwood,’ says Cindy, ‘and we’ve just finished phase one of a four year project. We had some issues with suppliers but many companies including Linwood have been terrific and delivered time and time again. We’ve all learnt to adopt, and it has been interesting exploring new ways of presenting. Zoom has been a useful tool to keep in touch with the team and discuss briefs, but I still like to send clients drawings (see above drawing) and fabrics.’



Decorative Services

For upholsterers and curtain-makers it has been easier to continue as normal. Matthew Caldwell who owns Phoenix Upholstery in rural Ravensden, Bedfordshire, found business somewhat disrupted in the beginning due to problems with the supply chain, but has still managed to deliver to his discerning client base. ‘We’ve been regularly sending out samples – Linwood’s Omega velvet remains very popular – and then discussing the finer details of each project over the phone,’ says Matthew. ‘In terms of socially distancing, we simply pick up furniture from clients’ driveways and redeliver to the same spot. It has worked well.’



 Credit: Jessica Higgins


Designer and curtain maker Jessica Higgins used WhatsApp to stay in contact with her cu­­­stomers. ‘I’ve managed to present ideas and Linwood has been great at sending out samples,’ says Jessica, ‘which is so important as many customers need to feel fabrics before making a final decision. Being able to share lifestyle photography has also been useful, so clients can see what designs look like on furniture or as curtains. I've just finished this bedroom using Dutch Pheasant, from Linwood's Archive collection – it's a gorgeous velvet that drapes beautifully.


Using Zoom, designer and curtain maker Suzanne Harvey has even given some of her Northamptonshire clients step by step instructions to measure windows so she can provide quotes and keep her business moving. It really does feel everything is possible, with a little ingenuity at play.


Credit: Day Studio/Trullo Deli


New beginnings

Being homebound has meant less travel which has led many – children, partners and parents permitting – to explore new avenues. Interior designer, Susan Clark has just launched an online shop. Mirroring the finds of the showroom, the online store is an interesting mix of accessories that spans faux plants to classic lighting. ‘I’ve wanted to launch online for years, and just having a little headspace provided the push I needed. I’m hoping to add soft furnishings over the coming months.’

Lisa Helmanis, the founder of Day Studio, had started designing a deli for fashionable London restaurant Trullo before lockdown but as the market changed so did the brief, the budget and the end design. ‘Our design approach became very responsive,’ says Lisa, ‘for instance, initial ideas such as smart shelfing with lights were replaced with simple industrial shelfing. With no site manager and social distancing at play, I also had to adopt a hands-on approach to the project. Opened on time, the end result retains the integrity of the initial project and the simple pared-back style marries the aesthetics of the adjoining restaurant, but importantly can easily be updated as the market changes.’


Linwood/Omega Prints II


While following all Government guidelines, Linwood has remained open for business – sending out samples and fabric orders, offering interior design ideas and working on new collections. It’s so good to hear that our customers have remained busy too. If you are thinking about making small or large changes to your home or business, there’s really no need to wait. For a list of designers, upholsterers and curtain makers, who are all ‘friends of Linwood’, please click here. Things might take a little longer, but the end result will be worth the wait.