The rebel interior designer smashing down barriers for homeowners post-pandemic
Portia Robbins launches new service to make great design accessible and affordable to all …
and gives her top 5 interior do's and don'ts…
As pandemic-weary homeowners increasingly look to upgrade their living spaces, one interior designer is shaking things up by opening the door to great design that is accessible and affordable to all. Portia Robbins is on a mission to challenge the notion that bespoke interior design isn't only for those working with big budgets.
The 34-year-old mother-of-one founded Suffolk-based Portia Robbins Interiors earlier this year after retraining following a career as a fashion stylist and renovating several properties in her spare time.
Spotting a gap in the market to provide homeowners with the savvy and tools to create the space of their dreams, along with expert advice and support, without the hefty price tag, Portia has launched two online services:
HOMEwork (£149) – a masterclass with step-by-step guidance on creating a home with wow factor E-Design (Basic, from £299; Luxe, from £399) – a comprehensive package providing everything from personal consultation to final design concept to post-design support.
Portia says: “The pandemic has made so many people take stock of their surroundings and realise how much their home affects their mood and wellbeing. They want to improve their living space, but don’t know where to start, worry about the cost, and find the thought of hiring an interior designer intimidating. As a result, they don’t bother or try to wing it and end up with a design disaster. “Great interior design can transform lives, but the gatekeeping is old and tired. I want to break down the barriers by offering a service that’s personal and bespoke, but accessible, transparent, affordable and simple.”
Portia Robbins Interiors is also proud to champion diversity and inclusivity, donating five per cent of sales of its HOMEwork interior design class to AKT, a charity supporting LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. Portia adds: “As a mixed race, gay woman, these causes are very close to my heart. I would like to see more diversity in the interior design industry – it’s getting better but there needs to be more.”
Portia Robbins Five Interior Do’s and Don'ts…
Do always incorporate nature into a room: Wether it be plants, wood or even stone, elements of nature will always help to bring a space to life.
Do mix metals: Mixing metals is no longer a design taboo. Mix brass and nickel hardware or copper and chrome. The results can be stunning and timeless.
Do make it personal: Adding a sense of personality to your home needn’t mean a shrine of family photos. Frame your favourite vinyl record, display your book collection or have your granny crochet you a cushion cover.
Do stay cohesive: Keeping elements of your home consistent throughout can greatly improve the flow and transition between rooms. Pick up details or colours that you can incorporate from room to room.
Do take risks: If you are in a toss up between a safe option and a bold one, don’t be afraid to take a leap and go bold. Sometimes all we need is permission to be daring and the results are great.
Don’t get too matchy: Don’t buy all your furniture in a matching set, or strictly colour coordinate your pillows and throws. This can date a room very quickly. Variation elevates a room’s style-factor.
Don’t hang your pictures too high: Pictures should be hung at eye level, meaning the centre of the picture should be level with your line of vision.
Don’t crowd the room: It can be tempting to fill every bit of floor and wall space available with furniture and decor. But, strategic empty space can really enhance a room.
Don’t Copy and paste: Just because a design looks successful in a room you see online, it doesn’t guarantee success in your own home. So many factors play into a good design. Natural lighting, ceiling height, even window placement. One size does not fit all when it comes to interior design.
Don’t overdo the trends: Trends are fleeting. Be inspired by them but don’t let a current trend dictate your entire room or home design.