MY ECLECTIC STYLE
---The crossing of the history and the future
Teresa:What is the main design concept for your house in Beijing?
Anna:I love warmth, sunshine, bright colors and Spanish architecture.
I miss the color and individuality of European houses.So, I decided to
design a Spanish style villa in bright yellow and white, which stands
out among the monotonous, tile covered houses in the neighborhood. For
me, tiles belong in the bathroom, not to decorate facades.
Teresa: How do I consider family members' opinions?
Anna:My husband is an invaluable partner in my design work. He has an
eye for minor details and I respect his opinions. If we have a disagreement
about something, we sit down and discuss the problem until one of us convinces
the other his idea is better.
Teresa: How do you work with clients?
Anna:The first meeting with the prospective client is very important.
You find out whether or not you can work with this client, as my goal
is not only pleasing the client, but expressing myself as well. I need
to ask a lot of questions to get to know the functional requirements of
their house, as well as their aesthetic preferences. I also show them
a lot of images, from formal homes to casual, so they can respond to styles,
ideas and inspirations.
Teresa: How do you manage to coordinate different styles
in your house?
Anna:Gone are the days when everything in a house had to be coordinated.
For several years now the trend has been to mix styles in order to make
design more interesting and original. Besides, the ultimate goal in design
for me is comfort and a sense of warmth. I love to combine Western interiors
with Chinese accents. You can hardly find an American upscale home without
a Chinese piece, be it furniture or decorative items.
Color is also of major importance. People very often go for neutrals,
afraid to express themselves openly. Color brings individuality to a room,
creating a specific mood.
Teresa:What is the difference between a designer and a normal customer
Anna:There are two reasons why people do not seek a designer's advice.
First, they think they can do it themselves better.
An acquaintance of mine complained that she had not been able to arrange
her new home for months. I suggested she should seek the advice of a designer.
She looked at me incredulously:"Anna, I cannot do it myself, do you
think I would allow a stranger to do my own house?" That's where
she was wrong. Designers don't take over and do whatever they please with
your interiors. They guide you into creating your dream house. They are
not going to live in your house, you are.
People very often choose what they are already used to, so they are eventually
reciting the same stuff and cannot produce the unexpected. Too, most people
cannot scale furniture properly - it's often too small or too big for
the intended space. Not knowing how to put things together, they wonder
why it doesn't work as they wished. Or they buy the wrong stuff.
Designers create a whole picture with an overflow of color and texture.
When they go to the market, they choose all items according to the broad
framework, not going for each separate piece without consideration for
the whole picture.
Second, most people believe hiring a designer is very expensive. It all
depends on the job required. It can range from a simple advice to a total
boutique makeover. Great design does not necesserily require a heavy budget.
Sometimes a small effect brings about a grand look.
Teresa: What did you change in the original house?
Anna:First and foremost, I created a porch. It is the place where people
approach your entrance door and it should be expressive of what might
be expected inside. I think Chinese architects do not give the porch enough
The staircase in the entrance foyer was in a totally wrong place. It reached
the second floor in the middle of the foyer, so one had the feeling of
hitting his head in the staircase upon entering the house. I positioned
it along the walls, so the foyer became larger and more impressive.
The living room was quite narrow, so I enlarged it at the
expense of the terrace, which was moved to the other side, thus connecting
the kitchen and the dining room to the garden.
Originally the kitchen was very small with a storage room next to it.
I connected the two rooms to create a more spacious kitchen with a breakfast
The house facade was very unbalanced. One half was two-and-a half storeys
high, and the other finished with the first floor. I built another room
over the garage and a walk-in-closet,connected with the master bedroom,
above the kitchen.
Two small balkonies were connected to create a larger one, which can be
accessed from two bedrooms.