We Talk About Timeless Style with Geri Designs

We Talk About Timeless Style with Geri Designs

We recently sat down for a chat with Geri Designs about all things interior design. Geri shares her insight into interior design trends, as well as her top tips for redecorating your home.

1. Geri, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My studio is based in Limerick and I have a team of designers working with me. This isn't actually about me, this is about the company; but, we love working on private homes and have a close-knit team.

Me -I'm a mum of two. I have a one year old daughter and an 8 year old son.

I'm married to Cahill who has his own business as well. He's in construction - but we didn't meet on the job! We don't really cross over in work too much.

A little bit about me: I love exercise - it's my go-to. I love running and I love the gym and I love meditating to try to de-stress from a hectic work life.

2. What inspired you to pursue a career in interior design?

I always grew up in an environment that was focused on aesthetics in a way.

My mother actually did interior design years ago. he sadly passed away with cancer when I was 9 but that kind of artistic thing was always all around me from a young age.

My father has always worked with antiques and fine art. Growing up I was always going to auctions and period houses that he would be going to to buy furniture, so there was always that kind of thing going on.

I always had an interest in how rooms could make me feel, like I could go into a space and I would think "the lighting is really nice and I feel really comfortable in here". That was always a big theme throughout my life so it felt very natural to go into interiors.

Going to the auctions from such a young age was so much fun and I still am intrigued by antiques and mixing them in. I think there's such a big story behind every piece of furniture.

Living room by Geri DesignsDesign by Geri Designs.

3. How would you describe your interior design style?

That's a great question. I love so many design styles. I feel like it's like when someone asks you what's your music taste and you say: I like anything that's good!

I feel the same way about interiors. I think I'd be known a bit more for classic and timeless styles, but we have a lot of projects that are a bit more contemporary with cleaner lines.

The most important thing to me is to make sure a space feels homely and lived in, so I would say a modern classic with a timeless theme running through.

The main thing as well is good materials that will stand the test of time. So if someone is buying a dining table or investing in a sofa, you want to make sure that it will still look as good in five or ten years' time.

4. When planning a design, what is your main focus?

It's really interesting because each design project is so different. It depends if it's a new build or a renovation.

Often clients have a really strong idea about what's important to them. So, with a design project it's really about what the client wants.

Sometimes it's tricky when working on a larger house, because where do you start?

Usually, with a large house I try to get a sense of the client, their family and their lifestyle; how they want to feel in their home and how they live in it.

Then, I would come up with a proposal or a concept for their main areas, like their living room or their kitchen or hallway.

I think if you find a kitchen that your client really loves, that tells you a lot about their style as well. So that‘s a great anchor point to start from.

Rooms can flow really easy once you have that cornerstone of design that you're carrying that theme through. So personally, I love to start with the kitchen.

Modern kitchen by Geri DesignsA chic, modern kitchen featuring our Cairo chandelier. Design by Geri Designs.

5. Where do you take your inspiration from?

Instagram! I spend countless hours on Instagram. I put a timer on my Instagram because so much time can get soaked up into it and there's always so much new interior content all the time. It's fantastic!

What I do is - I'll scroll the explore page and I'll save things as I like them, and I'll come back to them and use little snippets in projects.

I also am a big Pinterest fan. I love Pinterest, I use it all the time, it's brilliant.

I really like referencing real interiors books and coffee table books because there's a real timelessness in those.

6. What do you like most about working on someone's home?

I think it's the client relationship. I've forged so many relationships with clients that I would nearly call friends.

By the time you've started a project and finished it, it can take a long time.

I absolutely love getting to the house and styling it. That's the best fun! It can be two or three years of work and it comes to life and that's the most satisfying bit.

You get to know people so well and their little quirks, their kids and their lifestyle. You know their life story as well, by the end of it because you really do know them quite well.

It becomes a real kind of connection, and it's so rewarding when you have a client say: "We're so happy, we're so happy in our home".

Contemporary bathroom by Geri DesignsA contemporary, characterful bathroom featuring our Yaounde double globe wall lights. Design by Geri Designs.

7. Are there any trends you are excited to explore more, and what trends do you expect to see in the new year?

One that I really like, and I think it's getting more trendy is limewash paint, where you have the variance of colour on the walls. I absolutely love that!

I think it feels very organic and gives more depth to spaces, so I think we'll see more of that.

Another major one is browns. I think brown is the new grey, and it's coming up everywhere.

It's kind of refreshing to feel like we have a little bit of a different colour palette, so I think that’s a big trend.

Magenta and aubergine are colours that are really coming back, and that's interesting because I was allergic for ages! I think we did it, and then it went out of fashion for a bit, and now it's really coming back in.

We try to introduce a little bit more colour into some of our projects with reds and rusts, and with accents that are just a bit warmer. It's nice to have something a bit different, so I'm very excited about that.I think it's important to get the right colour hue when you're playing with that, and still make it feel earthy and timeless, so it doesn't feel jarring.

I love moody interiors too! It's interesting because I love looking at them in other people's houses, but I don't know if I could live in them.

I love them in small spaces as well because you can get your moody in, but spaces can still feel nice and bright. You can just have this pocket of cosiness, which is cool.

Modern kitchen by Geri DesignsA chic, modern kitchen featuring our Cairo chandelier. Design by Geri Designs.

8. What do you think is worth investing in when doing a room makeover?

I think the bigger pieces of furniture are always good to invest in. Before you even think about getting the bigger pieces of furniture, the really important things are the bones of the room.

So, like a nice floor to start with, because as soon as your furniture goes in, you're never going to rip out the floor again.

Start as you mean to go on! Even if it means you have to wait to get some other pieces.

Good window dressings are costly but they're worth it! I feel like they really dress up the room and warm it up - especially in our climate.

Then, when you have the bones done, it's really important to consider the bigger furniture.f it’s a dining room off your kitchen, you want to have a table that you buy once, and then you have it for a good 20 years. Good lighting, obviously, is so important. Statement lighting, good wall lights, lighting that enhances the whole space!

Sometimes, I see people moving in quickly, and they just kind of pick whatever lights, and they're changing them out quickly because they don't suit long-term. So, I think investing in lighting is a really good one as well.

The smaller bits like cushions and accessories and styling are what really bring the room to life, and they’re so much easier to change. You can change the whole look of a room just by changing some cushions and accessories.

Living room by Geri DesignsDesign by Geri Designs.

9. What is the best piece of design advice you have received?

Oh, good question! What is the best piece of design advice I've ever received? There are so many pieces of advice.

Oh, I know: measure twice, cut once! That's definitely the best one.

The real key for all good design is measuring everything, and making sure the measurements work. It seems so basic, but actually it's something I see all the time.

Like a rug that's too small in a room or a light fitting that's too small. Very simple design basics really are the scale and proportion for the room you're working on, and it seems easy but it actually takes a lot of thought and a lot of work.

10. What would be your top three design tips for someone who is redesigning their living space?

I think the number one is: a really good paint scheme will do so much! You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but with a really clever paint scheme you can transform your whole house, and obviously that's not very costly for everyone, which is great.

I think that if someone is nervous, or haven't used paint a lot, getting a colour consultation with their local designer will be brilliant.

The second tip is to really consider your bigger pieces of furniture, and honestly, if you're going to renovate anything- plan it! The best designs come from planning.

That doesn’t necessarily have to be with a designer, if someone has a good eye themselves.

I would definitely get it down on paper, do a floor plan and have everything really well thought out in terms of lighting, furniture location and colour scheme because that's where you'll get the best result.

Then, the third design tip is: don't underestimate the power of styling!

It's kind of like when you see someone wearing a black dress, but they're only wearing the black dress. What really sets it off is the colour and style of the shoes and the belt they wear.

The interior is the exact same- the styling is what brings it to life. That's all your layering with rugs, lamps, soft furnishings and accessories.

That's what makes a room feel lived in, soulful and really come to life.

Bedroom by Geri DesignsDesign by Geri Designs.

11. How important do you think it is to incorporate good lighting into interiors?

Oh my god, it's everything!

I think good quality lighting will set your interior apart. So, it's something we spend a lot of time on, sourcing lights and picking unique lights for each project.

I love how Mullan has all the different finishes and there's flexibility, and you want that as a designer.

Put me in a room with bad lighting and I will just run out the door!

One silly example: I was just on holiday and there were two restaurants where our Airbnb was.

One restaurant had lovely soft mood lighting and little pockets of lighting. It was quite low lit, but still well lit and it was so atmospheric!

Then, across the road was another place that had beautiful food. but, it had really harsh down lights. Very industrial lighting that felt like you were in a supermarket or something. It just took away from the whole experience of an evening meal.

I thought they were good examples of a good lighting plan.

For either home interiors or commercial interiors, it's going to make people want to stay and relax, or they won't feel as comfortable and they'll feel on edge because the lighting isn't right. I mean it actually is one of the fundamentals in having a good design.

Bathroom by Geri DesignsDesign by Geri Designs.

12. Finally, you have featured our lights in a number of your projects, would you recommend Mullan Lighting?

Oh, absolutely! I have used Mullan now for a good few years and the service is always excellent, friendly and easy company to work with. The communication is excellent, the service is excellent so I would definitely recommend Mullan.

Contemporary bathroom by Geri DesignsA contemporary, characterful bathroom featuring our Yaounde double globe wall lights. Design by Geri Designs.


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