Alicja Zimnickas at AZ Interiors (www.zimnickas.com) has been working her magic on some of our favourite Cambridgeshire restaurants. We caught up with the designer to see how we can make our home look like it was styled by a professional…
What inspired you to become an interior designer?
I always loved living in nice spaces. When my eyes can rest - I can rest and that’s how my story as an interior designer really starts. I’ve always been very creative. What do you love most about interior design? I love that every project is different. Creative people can get bored very easily, and that keeps me going. I like working in the office and working on technical drawing and concepts but I love to project manage an interior project; shopping for the furniture and fittings and going to design shows to keep me up-to-date on the new trends. The most exciting thing about my job is to see the final result of my interior project, incredible space transformations and making my clients lives happier.
Where do YOU get your inspiration from for a design project?
For me light is very important, probably the most important. When the lighting is right, both natural and artificial in the space, everything looks much better. I like elegant simplicity, contemporary interiors but full of warmth by adding the right decorations. I bring my inspiration for art and interiors from traveling. I like Italian sleek design matching with oriental elements.
You recently designed the High Tea Club on Mill Road, tell us about the concept:
The brief was to create the interiors to serve for all purposes: tea room during the day and cocktail bar in the evening. That was a real interior design challenge but as I like challenges I was very happy to take the project. I took inspiration from Victorian tea rooms, cast iron metal work but presented in a 21st century way, using current technology.
What interior trends can we expect in 2016?
I would name a big come back of very vital, playful colours. With bright colours in interiors we have to be careful with proportions to not overdo. I would suggest adding bright colour with accessories. Copper and brass materials are on-trend this season and work perfectly to add some glamour to interiors. This year we will see a lot of natural materials; coatings of cork and marble are coming back strongly. Wood, stone and raw concrete are also here with their timeless presence.
What advice would you give readers thinking of re-decorating their home?
If you’ve just moved into a new house, take your time; live for a while to understand the new space and what you need. Live and function in a new property, and just after a month or so start redesign and redecoration projects. This way you will avoid costly mistakes.
What are the major do’s and don’ts of home interiors?
Organise your lighting; think about the sorts of different lighting to create the right atmosphere. One cheap hanging paper light shade is not an option! Invest in one good piece. It can be a great statement art piece or lovely piece of furniture. Don’t be afraid to inject personality with a statement piece. Be brave! Don’t hang artwork too high. Artwork should be hung at about eye-level.
Don’t buy just because it’s cheap. Buy it cheap, buy it twice! It’s better to spend a bit more on new floor, wall paint, better quality furniture and you’ll save on the labour. It will last for much longer. My best design tip is before you start on renovation, think about storage!