Is it possible to turn your expat home into a space you love – even when you won’t be in it forever and may be renting?
Yes, absolutely, says Kate Sandford, owner of interior styling company DesignSister, who originally hails from New Zealand and has lived in several countries.
Kate uses her ongoing training at a London Interior Design school and experience as an antique dealer to help other expats style their homes.
Her own home – a beautiful, rented, traditional French colonial-style home in the village of Nyon bears testimony to her inspiring and eclectic style.
“I love furniture pieces that tell stories. I believe you have to love every item – and you shouldn’t just be buying something because it’s in fashion. Your home should reflect your personality – in the same way that your fashion style does. Your home is not a showroom, it should say something about you,” says Kate.
Her own home is a stylish mix-match of classic pieces such as a beautiful vintage cabinet with glass doors, old-fashioned drinks trolley and solid oak wooden table partnering perfectly with modern pieces, including a plain white book shelf from Ikea.
“There are no no-no’s when it comes to interior decoration – it’s all about what you love. ”
STYLE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE FOR LIFE
One of the biggest differences between expats and the Swiss, according to Kate, is that the Swiss tend to style their homes for life. This is not something expats tend to do because they move around, get new influences, shed the old and replace them with some new things as they go.
“If your home reflects your personality, it also means your style will change as you change and as your life circumstances change,” she says.
“I believe a home should be dressed for the season, like with fashion,” she says. To illustrate the point, she shows us the dramatic green silk curtains she bought to replace the summery ‘voile’ curtains in front of the French bay windows.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE
You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a stylish home. It’s about knowing what suits you, knowing where to find it and what you should be paying for something. You can be creative and mix old and new.
“Many people simply don’t have the confidence to buy furniture because they don’t know their own style and they don’t trust themselves.”
ANTIQUE SHOPPING TRIP TO LYON
Kate offers ‘hand-holding’ trips to Lyon’s brocante – Puces aux Canal in Lyon, which not only has a wide variety of vintage furniture, but is also more competitively priced than some of the markets in Switzerland.
“I won’t tell people what to like, but will give them the confidence to buy something unique and ensure they get value for their money and are not being ripped-off,” she says.
The idea is to help clients to look for interesting pieces that work well with their look and to pay a fair price – similar to the concept of a personal clothes shopper.
WHEN: Thursdays and SUNDAYS – Contact Kate to find out when the next trip is scheduled. Typically from around 7am-4pm
WHERE: Pick up from a central meeting point in Geneva
COST: CHF195 includes transport and lunch at the market
Kate also offers interior styling workshops at her home, including furniture painting and a Christmas styling workshop on the 8th and 12th of December, as well as workshops to help you dress a gallery wall or bookshelf.
“My workshops are about learning to be creative and do things for yourself. I’ll help you to fall In love again with that old piece of furniture or frame.”
All materials, coffee or tea and a snack is provided.
NEXT WORKSHOPS: Christmas Styling
WHEN: Tuesday, 12 December from 10am-noon. Thursday 14 December from 10am til noon.