Alidad's dos and don'ts
The former specialist in Islamic art and textiles at Sotheby's is known for designing richly ornate yet comfortable interiors
Try to imagine the female line of your family, for several generations, living in your house.
Perhaps the dining table was moved up into the study a generation ago, or maybe there is still a room with your grandparents' wallpaper. This kind of historical play-acting can help to create rooms with a sense of history and imagination.
Don't be afraid to experiment with surface textures and finishes.
Mix them to make a scheme, just as you would with fabrics.
A big mistake is when rooms are created to be seen and not used.
You need somewhere to put your cup of tea and good light to read by.
Britain is the best country in the world, except for one thing...
The weather. Use chenilles, velvets and textured fabrics to create warm, protective rooms. Cover the main, large surfaces in your rooms in plain fabrics, then use cushions, rugs and ceramics to add pattern. This way, it is easy to control the proportions.
Being detail-obsessed is no use if you can't 'zoom out'.
You need to be able to see the overall effect of the interiors decisions you are making.
Do a furniture floor plan before anything else.
Use a scale ruler and cut little squares of paper to represent the chairs and sofa. The plug sockets will be in the right places, and there are no awkward fits.
Consider all five senses.
The eye is first, but touch confirms that, yes, this sofa is a wonderful chenille, and from there you can introduce scents or soft music, and tiny nibbles placed about the room.
Don't be nervous about working with antique textiles.
These things were supposed to be used. Don't worry about getting the period or context correct either - I like to use antique rugs as tablecloths.
Houses are not museums. If someone wants a house to be exactly, say, 1750s, that project will not give me pleasure. You have to let that academic stuff go.
| Alidad is on The List
Taken from the January 2015 issue of House & Garden.
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