From Sunny Cyprus To The UK, Alisa Bowen @ Inside Studio Shares Her Interior Design Story.
Alisa Bowen moved to the UK at 22, her initial idea was to study a degree in Art and Design, with the view to fly back to the East Med island with a well earned certificate under her belt.
However, whilst studying Fine Art and Design, as well as two years Interior Design, she met her husband at University and they decided to stay put; cementing her place in the UK with the launch Inside Studio.
Her design service looks to inject passion, heart and personality, helping to reignite the creativity and love in residential homes. Inside Studio also provides a service for commercial outlets, adding a sleek sophistication to venues and businesses.
Her early and continual love for Art has seen her become the perfect designer for those wishing to express character through art, sculptures and spacial design in the home. Understanding that the home is such a sacred place, Alisa takes time to build a rapport and relationship with her client – because redesigning a home is a very sensitive and personal process.
Alisa goes further than most, not only does she produce a 3D CGI visualisation, to help deliver a photo-realistic image of the plan, but she also draws upon other creative methods to highlight what could work well for her clients property. Inside Studio continue to draft up designs through sketches, moodboards, Sketchup models and Photoshop collages. A lot of plan, preparation and discussion goes on before any design boots are deployed on the ground.
So how does a 20 something up sticks to another country and become a successful interior designer? We welcome you to read on to find out more –
Q&A With: Alisa Bowen, Inside Studio Interior Design
Why did you trade in the sunny sights of Cyprus for a rain soaked UK?
I love Cyprus and I loved growing up on such a wonderful, historic and sunny Island. I completed a foundation year in Fine Art and Design and two years of diploma level in Interior Design. However, I wanted to achieve a degree and decided to pursue this in England. When I left Cyprus I never had any thoughts it would be forever, but while I was at University I met my husband and we both felt that England was the right place for our future careers. Leaving Cyprus as a great place for holidays.
Who, what or where inspired you to become an interior designer?
My mum has always been artistic, with my dad being inventive and practical around the house, so it must be in the blood! I love art and painting, and designing spaces is also a form of art. When living in Cyprus my parents moved homes almost every two years, so I’ve had lots of blank canvases, I was often redecorating my bedroom and helping my mum with the rest of the house. This definitely kindled my interest and passion for interior design.
Could you name some of your greatest achievements during your time as an interior designer?
I would say it’s a great achievement every time a client feels refreshed with their transformed space or when they get excited to live in their home again.
Sometimes just by rearranging furniture and changing things around they can fall back in love with their belongings all over again and enjoy spending time at home, feeling rested and content.
I love it when my clients say ‘I never thought of that!’ Every happy client is a great achievement, whether it’s through a short consultation job or the full design and project management service.
You mention on your website that your services concentrate on bringing out your clients’ personalities – has there ever been a personality which has proved to be too dominant or difficult to satisfy or reflect?
Working with people often creates unusual experiences, this is simply down to everyone being different. There have been many times when my clients have had some exceptional ideas! An example of one, when I worked in Cyprus a client requested a gold toilet for the guest WC – pure, solid gold – not even gold-plated! It’s important to understand where the desire stems from, and to find a solution that speaks to the client whilst still remaining pleasing on the eye and stylish from a design perspective.
What would you say are the main highs/lows of being an interior designer?
The highlight for me is being able to help people by facilitating them to achieve an interior they love. I also enjoy seeing where creativity can take you, it’s an amazing process! I love interior design and I think there is truth in the quote ‘choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’ (Confucius), however, sometimes running a design business can be quite challenging!
Can you go through the general process of how Inside Studio approaches a project?
For a home interior project, we first meet with the client and give time to get to know them and for them to get to know us. Designing someone’s house is a very personal business, so we like to make sure our clients are comfortable with us and that they can communicate honestly and be listened to.
We would then make a quote for the project, every project is different, but generally we like to give one cost for the entire project. This is done so there are no surprises for the client later on. They usually know exactly what to expect.
We then start the design process, meeting the client with initial design proposals. At this stage the client starts to really understand the space and possibilities, and as the creative juices begin to flow we refine the design until the client is completely happy with the end result. We like to show the design through sketches, moodboards, Sketchup models, photoshop collages and if the client wishes we can create 3D CGIs which show in a photo-realistic way of what the final result will look like.
All in all it’s a fun process, and once the planning is done it’s then onto the management of the entire project, striving to complete every last detail we previously set out to implement!
Does lighting selection play an important role in your planning?
Lighting is the essence of design – it changes everything.
It is so important to ensure you get the lighting right as it will affect the overall design. You can have a great design with beautiful detail and textures, but if the lighting is poor the whole design will look dull and uninviting. Lighting sets the mood; it highlights and enhances textures, and brings the space to life.
In interior design depth in a room is created by mixing and matching textures as well as colour tones and patterns, and it’s the lighting’s job to bring all these features to the fore. The function of a room can completely change by switching between ambient, task and accent lighting, with the mood in a room being altered by dimming lights.
At Inside Studio we always consider how the room will be used at different times of the day and which family members will be around, and with this information we then choose the appropriate ways of lighting to ensure the space is accommodating for all. Light fittings are also an important contribution to the overall design and style of a space.
Do you have any advice you can give to our visitors on how they can improve their lighting experience?
Practical advice to follow: One single central pendant light does not fulfil all needs. Ensure you have separate lighting for every task, you should also consider the functions and usage of the space.
- Add layers of lighting to a room: Have table lamps and floor lamps, wall lamps and task lights, spotlights and indirect lighting.
- Lighting is worth your attention: It will make the difference in your home.
- Quality bulbs such as LEDs are worth the investment: They will last much longer compared to standard bulbs and are very economic. These allow you to keep your house lit, especially areas such as hallways and stairs, without the fear of a huge electric bill!
- For a home: Generally pick a warm white colour, LEDs are great because they reach their full brightness as soon as they are switched on. They also don’t get as hot as halogen or fluorescent bulbs.
- Get dimmable bulbs and invest in dimmer switches: You can change the atmosphere in a room by having full control over the lights brightness.
- There are various different bulb types available on the market: Seek expert advice to get the best for your home.
If you could work with one product or improve one thing about the interior design world – what would it be and why?
If I could work with one aspect of interior design it would be art – paintings and sculptures. Art enhances and enriches a space, it communicates with home owners and visitors in different ways. I love to paint and draw, and I have a deep passion for art in interiors.
To improve one thing about interior design… I wish there were no cheap knock-offs of designer items, such as light fittings. I would advise to either buy the original or go for something completely different, don’t get roped into something which is trying to be the original piece but is failing desperately.
I don’t think everything we buy needs to be by a famous designer. I often find beautiful accessories and furniture without a famous name attached, more often than not at a lower price, yet still unique and beautifully designed.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Oh too many to list! We dream big, but take it a day at a time. I am planning to have an art exhibition of my work in the near future. Following that I would also like to open an art gallery alongside a furniture showroom and design studios. Art & Design need to go together; I believe art is needed in a home as it’s an outward expression of the dweller.
Any last words…?
Life gets busy at times, and sadly decorating your home often gets pushed to the end of your priority list. Changing your home can change the rest of your life. A clutter free home will help you feel more organised and relaxed. Good lighting will both energise and relax you. Changes in your home don’t have to cost a fortune, but the difference it can make has the potential to change your life. Don’t put it off anymore; let your home become your place of refuge.
Thank you very much for interviewing me!
If you would like to contact Alisa or see more of what Inside Studio has to offer then check out the website for more information.