LATEST NEWS What to know about interior design before you invest

Interior designer Anna Waldburg gives us the ABC of how to create a home with a soul that will hold its value for the years to come.


What to know about interior design before you invest

Interior designer Anna Waldburg gives us the ABC of how to create a home with a soul that will hold its value for the years to come.

Most buyers only begin to think about interiors once the deal has been long signed and major renovations are well underway.  It’s the logical next step right?

Wrong. In practice, it can make the world of difference to your property’s value to have the insights of an interior expert while your plans are still on the drawing board.  While developers hold the big picture and architects map out the volume, it’s down to an interior designer to craft the small details that actually hold sway on how you will live in the space, and hence, what value it holds if you plan to resell or rent it out.  You will have felt it, the best homes have an intangible energy to them.

Forward-thinking developers have cottoned on to what a difference this can make, with a growing trend for early-stage collaborations between developers and designers offering clients the ability to curate off-plan properties before the materials have been ordered. The devil, as they say, is in the detail.

Interior designer Anna Waldburg gives us the ABC of how to create a home with a soul that will hold its value for the years to come.

What’s your first step as an interior designer?

The first thing to understand is the demographic of the client you are working with.  Do they have a family, do they travel, is this their primary or secondary property? I ask a lot of questions to understand the basics of how they want to use the space and their innate style. From there I pull together a mood-board and we begin to collaborate.

What next?

Always start with connecting with the space. Ask yourself, what type of soul does this space have? That has to be the beginning, because otherwise you transplant a concept into a space that doesn’t feel right and the two don’t talk together. Some places just have immediately good vibes and you want to be there even when they are empty. If your house doesn’t have natural light and volume, you can create this through design, embellishing a bare wall with wood panels, curved corners or painted ceilings.

What would you advise buyers who buy off-plan and have less control over the design?

Look carefully at the floor plan and take a minute to understand if that layout suits your current and future life. Look at the positioning of the windows and how the property is located – do you have morning sun in your kitchen? Do you have light in the evening? Don’t forget to check the ceiling height, as this is often overlooked on floor plans.  Also, ask for a sample of the materials that will be used.

How can interior design enhance property value?

The work of an interior designer is to understand the client and envision their perfect life and translate this into the floorplan, flow and style. We arrange the space psychologically.  From where you hang up your coat to the shoe-rack, light switch, how you cook, where the spices are and how easy it is to wash up. We think through your every single movement so that the flow is totally natural.  A developer or architect won’t think through to this level of detail so it’s essential to get the design in at an early stage and work together to create these spaces.

What are the key things to look for when approaching the interiors of your home?

The first question to ask yourself is how do you want to live in your home: Are you looking for a space for comfort or for entertaining? Do you want the interiors to reflect you, a place to pull back from daily-life or are you looking for a place that has the wow-factor? What is the mood you want to feel when you enter?  Start with this vision.

What makes a good home for you?

It’s about the feeling as you step in.  My goal is to create a space where you immediately feel elevated from your daily life, like you are starring in your own movie, where scenes unravel in front of you because that is what the space is designed for.  It’s not about being overwhelmed but intrigued, you pick up a sound there, you see a little detail here, experiencing your home like a walk in nature, where details unfold as you move through the space and the home has a soul.

What to spend on and what to save on?

Never scrip on comfort! Always invest in comfortable sofas and seating, and then soft furnishings like headboards and curtains. Then I would spend on one designer piece that you don’t need but love.  Such as a vintage armchair or bookcase.  That makes the space personal to you as it carries the energy of what you absolutely love.

Save on lamps, side-tables and coffee tables.  You can buy these on auction for next to nothing and they don’t stand out. There are great affordable rugs, beds, dining chairs – just check the joints.

Rather than the location, location, location trend of old, a property’s value and desirability is increasingly connected to its design and interiors, what’s your take on this?

While prime locations are always good, recently we’ve seen a gentrification in the city centre with rising prices that has pushed out the authenticity of human nature. Young people are gravitating towards locations where they can really make their own mark and create their own story. When enough people realise there is a place where this is financially and aesthetically possible, small enclaves rise up and build their own community. People want to be individuals belonging to a community nowadays; and that goes across all disciplines in life, the clothes you were, the places you go, the block where you live, the furniture pieces you collect. We live in a curated time.  Now it’s about curating your home.  You see this in London – for example, Chelsea used to be this place in the 60’s, but now there’s a Starbucks on every corner and dark windows as people don’t live here full time. Interesting areas to look at are Victoria Park and Broadway Market in East London and Kensal Rise and Queenspark in West London.

Favourite brands, partners or products?

I always pay a visit to my favourite antique dealers Dorian Caffot de Fawes and Quindry on Lillie road. I admire their ability to find elegant antique pieces mainly from the first half of the 20th century that feel modern and can stand alone as well as in a decorating scheme. I draw inspiration from architecture, art, past decades, cinema and nature. Take the Mid-century giants like Lautner, Frey, Niemeyer who let the elements dictate the building. We are moving towards a naturalistic feel with materials taken from nature, like raw wood, raffia, organic linen and lavastone. These are materials that have texture and movement. I’m careful with plastic. I want to use objects that get better with time, that tell a story. Think of an old farmhouse table with all its scores and marks, 300 years of people spilling wine, chopping, laughing, crying and loving, it carries that energy.