The United Kingdom has never been a country to shy away from incorporating certain aspects of foreign cultures into their own: the British people have a rich history of borrowing the best ingredients other cultures have to offer, and making them a permanent feature of life back home. It has been said that the national dish is Chicken Tikka Masala, which should give you an idea of just how far this concept is taken! When it comes to interior design, British homeowners take much the same approach and one of the most enduring interior design trends of the last few years has been distinctly Gallic in nature: contemporary designs that use French modernist furniture, either as embellishments to enhance the designs in question or as focal points around which they are created.
Can You Transform Your Property into a Centre of Gallic Excellence?
Whether your home is ripe for such a transformation or whether it is a practical goal to aim for will depend on the current layout of your property, the amount of money you are willing to commit to the project, and the availability of both materials and labour. Homeowners in the UK have a big advantage over their transatlantic cousins when it comes to procuring French furniture and ornaments, simply due to the geographical proximity of the source. If you are currently living in the United Kingdom and you would like to introduce a Gallic theme to your home, you will need the following:
- Experienced Builders – Unless your home was constructed with contemporary minimalist décor in mind, there is a good chance you will need to make some fairly major alterations to the interior in order to achieve your desired goal. Whether you are looking for experienced builders in Liverpool or a highly skilled construction team in the capital, you will find that online business directories are a great resource for finding local trades people. We will take Liverpool as our example for this article because it is a city that epitomises the best of Britain: fantastic homespun creativity, as demonstrated by the bands that have come from this city (there have been many but just two words is enough in this department: The Beatles) mixed with overseas influences (Irish culture being the most dominant of these).
- A Talented Interior Designer – When you engage the services of a local building company, you should find yourself a talented interior design expert too. The hardest part of your task will not actually be finding a reliable building firm or an inspired interior decorator – there are many of both in the city of Liverpool – but finding two that are willing and able to work together in harmony, in order to create something really special in your home. The image of builders as rough and ready types who drink gallons of tea and wolf whistle at every attractive woman who passes by may be a little dated but it would not be unfair to say that most interior designers and builders come from completely different walks of life and can find it difficult to work together. However, if you persevere, you are sure to succeed in the end.
- A Bolthole – The third essential component to any successful interior renovation, whether in the city of Liverpool as in our example, or on the other side of the world in Los Angeles, is a place to which you can escape while the necessary work is being performed. Although it is conceivable that you could continue to inhabit your property while major renovation work is being carried out, it really isn’t recommended. Anybody who has made the mistake of trying to remain in their home while local builders tore it apart and reconstructed it will tell you that you are far better off finding a conveniently located bolthole to escape to.
Furniture to Collect
For those who are new to Gallic design features, I have put together a short list of furnishings you might like to investigate when putting together a collection for your new interior.
- Mattia Bonetti Pieces – A Swiss-born designer with a studio in Paris, who is very much at the centre of the world of baroque fantasy furniture in the 21st century, Mattia Bonetti has created everything from embroidered sofas and drapes, to rock-crystal floor lamps and cast bronze dining tables in metallic pinks, greens and oranges. His pieces are one-offs and very expensive so if you do decide to include one or two in your new interior design, don’t bring them anywhere near your home until your builders have completed all the necessary renovation work and left.
- Jean Prouvé Chairs and Tables – Constructed from materials such as enamelled steel, aluminium, and beech plywood, Jean Prouvé’s chairs and tables have a utilitarian charm that fits in perfectly with the minimalist, Gallic-inspired interior designs that are so in favour in the UK today. Again, they are not cheap so should be purchased and stored somewhere safe until your home is fit for human habitation once more.
Getting the Most from Your Builders and Designers
Most designers, once they have been made aware of your personal preferences and the overall goal of your renovation work, are best left to work alone. However, when it comes to builders, regular meetings are recommended, to make sure that everybody is on the same page. If an interior designer should go off on a flight of fancy that you really don’t appreciate, erasing the design work in question will not be difficult. If, on the other hand, your builders should make a wrong assumption and build a wall in the wrong place, or perhaps demolish something that you really wanted to keep, it could cost a great deal of money to put things right.
The most important thing to bear in mind is that there are hundreds of builders and designers in the city of Liverpool, and in other cities all over the world, so if you find the first pair you hire are simply not living up to expectations, you can always check out the online directories and find some more.