The difficulty in designing show apartments must be how to make them stand out from the crowd.
After all, Birmingham’s city centre is peppered with new build developments – Hub, Skyline, Latitude, iland, to name but four recent arrivals.
So when Vanessa Unger of Vogue Interiors was commissioned to style three new show apartments at Crest Nicholson’s mammoth Park Central project, she had her work cut out.
How to give each its individuality; make them mass appeal yet distinctive and distinguished.
“We’d got to make the three look quite different from what clients had seen before,” says Vanessa. “People who hadn’t bought could always come and revisit.”
Working on a one-bedroom, two-bedroom and a duplex apartment, Vogue Interiors designed three distinct looks for the showhomes, each aimed at the kind of person they visualised living in each of the spaces:
“Crest Nicholson are aiming the homes at different people,” says Vanessa. “With the one-bedroom apartment it all started from the big diamond wall art in the lounge – this was going to be based more at single people, we wanted something that although was upmarket was also funky and eye-catching, but wasn’t just ‘young and trendy’ so it didn’t make people who are in their 30s or 40-plus shy away; I didn’t want to make it purely ‘wow’ for a 24-year-old and alienate other people.”
The light blue aqua colour scheme here is in contrast to the taupe, blacks and orange of the two-bedroom show apartment:
“It was what I would call quite a classic scheme, quite an ‘Andrew Martin feel’ to it, with the studded sofas and the taupe colours and bringing in that accent of orange making it very warm,” says Vanessa.
“The big orange headboard in the master bedroom was the wow factor, but then going into bedroom two with the black wallpaper on the wall, that was their guest bedroom, so we’ve given it a little bit of a hotel feel to it – perhaps not quite what people were expecting as a second bedroom.
“There are so many apartments in Birmingham, I didn’t want people to walk in that second bedroom and think ‘oh it’s just another bedroom’ – it’s trying to make people remember, make sure it’s got some interest to it and it’s also showing people that they can be daring and do that, because it’s just one wall and people get this idea that dark walls make their rooms look smaller and it doesn’t always look that way – it can actually enhance it.”
The third and final scheme was in the two-bedroom duplex, with deep reds and chocolates throughout – aimed, says Vanessa, at a professional couple in their 40s.
“Again that was very much based around a hotel feel, it was very ‘Malmaison’, the rich dark woods with the deep reds,” she explains. “First of all we choose a colour palette and take into consideration what tiles and kitchens have been chosen, we choose the colour palette then start pulling fabrics out, then furniture, so we look at suppliers straight away,” she adds.
“Accessories are really important too – accessorising can make or break a scheme.”