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Five Minutes With... Interior Alchemy

Barbeline Lusandu

Posted on July 05 2018

If you're into Instagram interiors, there's no doubt that you'll be familiar with our next interviewee for our 'Five Minutes With...' series - Interior Alchemy.

Barbeline, maximalist interiors, interiors blog, interior alchemy

Peggy Bell, the brains behind Interior Alchemy, is well-known on the internet for her beautifully decorated Northern Ireland home, and it's easy to see why. Read on for our interview with her and find out more about her inspirations when it comes to interiors...

How did you fall in love with interior design?

I have ALWAYS been in love with interior design! I used to change my bedroom regularly when I was a child - my mum would shout upstairs "Are you moving the furniture?" and I'd be puffing "No!", whilst shuffling a wardrobe to a different location... It's a compulsion. I walk into rooms and immediately analyse what is working and what needs to be tweaked. 

What's your favourite colour to bring into the home?

Purple! I'm a little obsessed. I love how regal it looks with gold accents, how mysterious it looks on a black background or bohemian on a white background. I also love how beautiful and vibrant every hue is, between blue-purple and pink-purple. I also love offsetting it with yellow, especially mustard yellow, or having it sing with teal. And don't get me started on purple with a bright pink pop! It's like Marmite, you either really love it or really don't. My sister once observed that purple people don't just like purple; they get obsessed. I think she's right. I have purple everywhere in my home, purple clothes, purple accessories and from time to time have purple hair! I am one of the crazy purple people.

Maximalism or minimalism?

Maximalism, every single time. Apologies in advance to any minimalists out there, but minimalism is so joyless to me! My last home was minimal; I was going for a tasteful and restrained look. Looking back, I see a home where my song was unsung. It could have belonged to anyone, it looked impersonal and a little insipid. Maximalism is permissive and celebratory; it allows you to curate all the pieces you love and embrace all the various aspects of you, to thoroughly personalise your space with your own very unique signature. It's a celebration of self, an act of self-love!

What’s the one piece in your home that always makes you smile?

My home bar! This was a rather basic, uninspiring area with cream units and shelving. I painted it black and installed some mirrored back panels and glass shelving. I was worried that more black might darken the space, but the mirror bounced light back into the room, so if anything, it became brighter. And having a bar area is well cooler than a tea station!

Any interiors disasters you’d care to tell us about?

Having painted various rooms all over dark, I decided to do so in the hall, too. I figured that I could plant little hall tables here and there with mood lighting and it would be cosy and ambient - like my sitting rooms but with different dimensions. How wrong I was! The only natural light in the hall comes from a glass pane in the door, and a window on the third floor. It made an already dull area much, much darker - so dark, in fact, that lamps had very little effect. It was a challenge even finding tables narrow enough to fit the spaces. At one point I considered installing sconced lighting on the landings but this meant kangol hammering walls that are over 100 years old to track cable and was going to be costly. A friend commented that it reminded her of 12 Grimmauld Place from Harry Potter(!) - which, funnier still, was the look I was going for! Ultimately, staying faithful to my artistic vision meant condemning my family to feeling their way blindly around the house and a lifetime of bruised thighs from walking into tables. I totally thought it was worth it, but they disagreed, the Philistines! I relented and painted above the dado white.

What’s your golden rule for interior decorating, the failsafe tip you give everybody?

Only buy things you absolutely love. Even if there's nowhere for it, even if it doesn't go with anything else! Believe me, you will find or make space for things that make your heart sing, and every day it will make you smile. Oh - and add plants. It's amazing the a difference a little injection of life makes to a space.

What’s your interiors trends predictions for 2018?

I am probably the worst person to ask, because trends are seldom on my radar: I'm gut-led, but if I had to wager, I would say maximalism is going to be bigger than ever! I'm seeing Instagram decor accounts embracing colour pops and pattern clashing, and artists that are producing bold, vibrant work seem to be coming more to the fore. I hope I'm right, because there's nothing more inspirational than risk-taking and following your joy, and if you can be brave in your home, you will start being braver in other areas of your life!

 

Barbeline, maximalist interiors, interior alchemy, interiors, maximalism

 

Huge thanks to Peggy for taking part in this week's 'Five Minutes With...' interview - a woman after our own heart indeed, we love a fellow maximalist!

If you'd like to see more of Peggy's stunning home and adventures in interiors, make sure you're following her on Instagram @interior_alchemy.

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