Making a House a Home: The True Beauty of Bespoke Design

I knew when I began researching designers I’d no desire to have some, however highly recommended, interior designer turn up at my door with fabric switches and ‘a vision’. Equally, I was concerned about the pomp and cost of all things ‘bespoke’, but I needn’t have been; to paraphrase something I heard interior designer Ceila Sawyer state quite concisely whilst presenting the BBC TV show Your Home in Their Hands, ‘a good interior designer designs with the client in mind, not their own ego’.

This is something I am continuously failing to find in ‘lamp designers’, such as Lassie Klein and Jethro Macey. Both Klein ‘s ‘alien lamps designs’ and Macey’s ‘coin lamp’ regularly feature in ‘best lamp design’ blogs, articles and lists. I fail to see why. Yes, their lamps function, but what I find lacking in both is honesty; Macey’s ‘coin lamp’ for example, requires a coin to be inserted into it in order for it to light up, whilst Klein’s ‘alien lamps’ are simply toy-like UFO designs that emit light. I have seen both hailed online in my search for a genuinely ‘innovative’ lamp designer, but I am yet to find either a coin or alien lamp featured in any home I have ever entered. And, that, for me proves my point, or rather it expounds Leonado DaVinci’s point, when he stated: ‘Simplicity is the ultimate form of Sophistication’.

Alas, my search for suitable lighting goes on. Fortunately, that is not the case when it comes to furniture design. After falling in and out of love with numerous furniture designers over the years, I realised that love quite simply is not enough; however hard I have loved a designer, affording to express that love is by-and-large, beyond my means (if I want to furnish my home and not simply make an exhibition of individual items). Further, there’s the problem of making a designer’s vision work inside of my home. Apparently, my home is very differently shaped to the minds’ and imaginations’ of the designers I have attempted to ‘collect’. Consequently, I’ve – myself – had to demonstrate my own creativity and seek alternative options, discovering in the process furniture designers like, Barbara Genda.

Barbara Genda is a well known furniture designer, having set up her bespoke furniture business, ( in London back in 2000. In a nut shell, Genda recognises that ‘Given the economic climate and the cost and difficulty in moving house, many people are looking to increase living space by building clever storage’. I’m quoting her directly from an article featured on The West London Living website. Genda has achieved something so many of the world’s best known lamp designers probably never will. Many of us ‘non-artists’ refer to this as ‘common sense’.

There is nothing pretentious or exorbitant in design, intrinsically; good design in fact, achieves the opposite. Nothing well designed forces any statement of its maker, and that is why I am loving this emergence of bespoke furniture designers, such as Barbara Genda. That isn’t to say design cannot imply or suggest; furniture design is not a matter of fun or function, but equally, homes are not one standard size, shape or space and neither are their inhabitants. And that is exactly my point; use of colour or choice of material(s), for example, may embellish and celebrate functionality, but they must never over shadow it.

Ultimately, whatever you pick or simply ‘put up with’ furniture-wise, one thing is for sure– it will reflect far more than perhaps most of us realise. It has taken me a life time, literally, but my house is finally my home. Suffice to say, what I failed to find in all the catalogues I’d begun stock piling and showrooms I’d taken to haunting, I found, in furniture, in function and in design – namely, bespoke, innovative, creative design. The whole point of bespoke design is that it is created not just with the designer in mind, but to reflect you, your personality, your needs and your ‘vision’. Hence, the ultimate beauty of bespoke furniture will always be that it does not require you to conform or submit to the ego or vision of any one designer.

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