I first met Ruth Matthews, writer of the fantastic blog Design Soda, when we exhibited at last year’s London Design Fair. I’ve long been a fan of Design Soda; it’s brilliant for discovering hard-to-find bits and pieces for your home and I’m very grateful that Ruth has been kind enough to feature us and some of our makers from time to time as well! And now I’m thrilled that she has agreed to share some gorgeous pictures from her beautiful home – every room is a delight and a rich source of interior design inspiration! I also managed to catch up with Ruth to ask her a few questions; about blogging, interior design and more . . .
Your blog, Design Soda, is such a fabulous read; packed full of design inspiration, practical advice and beautiful images. I’d love to hear more about the journey you’ve taken with the blog. What prompted you to start blogging?
I started blogging nearly four years ago whilst working full time, as a space to explore my passion without always boring my partner with the thousands of design ideas I had for our home!
It sounds like a great way to indulge a passion and share it with people who also love interiors! How and why has the blog evolved since you first started?
Since I started all those years ago my blog has evolved massively. It’s turned from something that has helped me learn what I like style-wise and documented my passions, to become something of an outlet for my own identity when I first had a baby, to something that happily for now also pays me a part of my wage. What began as a spring-board showcasing design I loved, has become something that’s forced me to brush up on my photography skills and in the process develop a real appreciation of the world around me, which I now find constantly inspiring, from the colours of nature to things like the tip of a kettle!
What are your favourite things about blogging?
I love the variety, from shooting to writing, workshops to talks, there’s always something new to learn and I am constantly inspired. There is also a really great blogging community in the UK and I’ve been very fortunate to make some real friends who are very generous with both support and laughter.
And are there any things you’re not so keen on or any challenges you’ve faced with it?
SEO! I’m not nearly so keen on the behind the scenes bits of blogging. I want people to find and read my posts, but all the backroom work put in to getting found and being engaged on social platforms can be a bit of a challenge if you already juggling time and tasks. At the same time I think blogging has taught me a whole new skill set I would never have felt motivated to learn if I hadn’t needed to!
One of my favourite parts of Design Soda is seeing the beautiful rooms you’re creating in your own home and I’m delighted you’ve agreed to share some of them with us here too. You obviously have a great eye for colour and design. Do you have any training in interior design or if not, is there anything in your background with you think has helped with your schemes?
I have absolutely no training in interior design at all (I’m a history graduate) but I have always been interested in it and was quite a strict designer of my own space from the age of 7! I had a period of time in my late teens where I was unwell and in and out of hospital so I spent a lot of time at home enclosed in my own room. During that time, making my surroundings pleasing, and even inspiring to me, became a high priority and I think I learnt a lot about basic design rules and what I liked then. But actually I think interior design is a really open book, there are undoubtedly invaluable skills that you learn on an official course, but if you don’t have the time or finances it isn’t an entirely closed industry if you have talent.
Where do you get your design inspiration? Are there any specific designers who have inspired you? What other sources of inspiration do you look to?
I get my inspiration from everything, magazines (especially French interiors magazine Milk Decoration), then from Pinterest to Instagram and cafes, via what people are wearing on the tube! I’m always taking notes on what I like and why it works. I absolutely love woven textile designers. Top of my list are Eleanor Pritchard, Rowenna Mason (who I discovered through The Maker Place) and Donna Wilson. I am a massive fan of colour, but that doesn’t mean that all my rooms shout ‘colour’; my bolder wall choices tend to be in cooler colours that recede and often my walls are actually quite pared-back, but I do find colour massively inspiring, so a woven textile in bold patterns or colours always makes my heart sing.
Are there any rooms you are still to tackle and if so, can you share a little bit about your plans?
The house is very much an evolving story at the moment.We have a brick porch to knock down, a modern fireplace to get rid of and a fairly horrible (and now paint splattered) hallway carpet to replace. But the only actual room to do is the kitchen, which, because it’s so expensive, has only had a very cursory cosmetic overhaul (which I’ll be sharing on the blog soon). We’re hoping to extend it eventually and I’m dreaming of a rough-luxe look with gorgeous parquet wood flooring.
I love everything about interior design and although I’m not a slave to trends, I love following them and trying to second guess what the next big thing is going to be. So I’d love to hear what your predictions are for the rest of the year and into 2018? Are there any colours, materials or patterns we should be looking out for?
Trend wise I think surface and textures will remain key. What started with marble and copper, turning to brass and terrazzo, will develop into surfaces with even more interest. I think there’s quite a growing tribe of designers who are influenced by the Memphis movement of twenty years ago and use deconstructed geometrics and pattern layering and I think this will become a big theme next year. We’ll be staying with all using colour more in our homes and whilst I think blue and green are going to stick around, I think pink will be both hotting up and growing up, being mixed with coral and terracotta tones to create a more textural and sophisticated look. I’ve heard quite a bit of speak on the design circuit about yellow as well for next year, so keep your eyes peeled!
Finally, what’s next for you and for Design Soda?
Next for me personally is trying to get my toddler to go back to sleeping through the night (!) but as for me and Design Soda I’m always excited to see where the journey takes me and have some fun things coming up, including running some creative interior design workshops with interior designer Sarah Ellison of Frank & Faber, which I’m really excited about.
That sounds fantastic and I look forward to hearing more about it! Huge thanks Ruth for talking with me and sharing some very inspirational pictures from your lovely home.
If you’d like to read more great style and design news and advice from Ruth, then I definitely recommend taking a look at the wonderful Design Soda
Photo credits and image copyright: Ruth Matthews, Design Soda.
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