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HAPPY EASTER. I hope you have an amazing weekend full of memories to cherish.

Today I'm following on from last week with my  PROJECT MANAGEMENT TIPS to help you achieve your dream home. Last week I shared with you how to set up an interior design project with PROJECT STARTUP. It sets a baseline for your project in terms of design, budget and time. If you missed this important step then checkout out the DESIGN DIGEST on my website where you can catch up on this year's ideas and inspiration. 

Today I'm going you condense my 25 years project management experience into highlights on how to keep your project on track. Most importantly, how to overcome problems when you overspend, how to make informed decisions when problems arise and also how to manage project stress. This will help you to successfully create your dream home.

If you are planning a makeover soon and want to treat yourself for Easter then remember to pick up my interior design book A HOME TO CHERISH  (available on amazon as paperback of kindle) that will help you create your stylish and healthy home. 

My next BEGINNERS INTERIOR DESIGN  course is kicking off on Wednesday 1st May. I'll teach you the basics of design to help you create a room that you love. Check out the details below and remember to sign up quickly because it's always popular.

On Sunday 5th May, I've been invited to speak at GRAND DESIGNS LIVE.  It's the fifth year that I've been invited back to speak as an expert on interiors. Such an honour. I'll be giving free advice on kitchen design in ASK THE EXPERT, as well as talking on STYLING YOUR HOME FOR SALE to attract buyers who fall in love with your home.

For my next next interior design book,  I'm looking for anyone who works from 'home' and would like to be one of my stories.  Working from home could be sitting in a coffee shop for inspiration, having meetings in a members' club, working at your dining table or even having a dedicated room in your house as an office.   If you know of someone, or you think you'd like to be considered then just message me and we can have a chat.

Wishing you a happy Easter filled with laughter and joy x

 Thank you for your continued support and encouragement
Wishing you a healthy and happy weekend  

Gwendoline x

BIID Interior Designer
House Doctor Consultant
Conference & Event Speaker

(PART 2)

Last week I shared with you how to plan your interior design project so that you're set up for success. 

If you remember, 90% of interior design projects fail. One of the reasons they fail is because they're not set up properly to being with. Projects are inefficient and out of control before they've even begun. You go head on into the design without taking control of the project.

For most people, you often have a date and a chunk of money to spend, but there's a finger in the wind as you hope you're not going to overspend and want your makeover to finish on time for your big event. That's why step 1 Project Start Up is so important. 

Planning your perfect project in terms of design, budget and time makes you aware of everything t hat's supposed to happen to create your perfect space. It's your baseline that you can review to make sure your project is progressing to plan.

Once you have your baseline plan, the next challenge is making sure that everything happens as it's supposed to happen. The way to keep on schedule is with Project Tracking.

Project Tracking

The aim for Project Tracking is to make sure your project stays on target in terms of the design, how much money you're spending and also the completion date. 

As I mentioned last week, interior design projects rarely go to plan. They're riddled with disaster from the beginning, because interior d esign is a creative process with many external factors continuously influencing your project. It's like shifting sand where your goal is constantly moving. 

Let's take a look at each part of your plan and I'll help you understand how to keep control when the sand is shifting.

The design can often change, particularly if you're undertaking structural changes.  Maybe a wall that's in the architect plan has moved slightly once it's been built so you now can't fit in the amazing sofa you wanted.  It can be frustrating when you have to change a design. 

The solution is to think of your initial design as a concept. It's an idea of how you would like your space to look. It's a bonus if it turns out exactly as you planned it, but don't worry about making changes and substituting items. You can still create an amazing space but it might look slightly different to your initial thoughts.

Many design issues tha t occur in any interior project involve a compromise. What you thought you wanted might not be possible so where are you going to compromise and what absolutely has to remain the same?

One of the challenges, with any compromise, is to keep your design feeling consistent and looking balanced. 

When you have to find alternative products (furniture, lighting, accessories), look for items that have a similar  style to your original design . The items you substitute don't have to be exactly the same, but they do have to marry your keywords (A HOME TO CHERISH, chapter 1) Your keywords will help you create a design that connects to your subconscious thoughts and emotions. Staying true to your keywords will help you to create the perfect design for your dream home.

Your keywords will also help to keep you focused if there are structural changes to your original design. Consider how you want your space to feel when finished and looking lovely, then take each change and think about how it will enhance or hinder your space to create your dream home. If the change compliments your keywords then it's a good option, but if it jars with your keywords then you will either have to think about other alternatives or be prepared to make a big compromise in your design.

Keep your design consistent and balanced by focusing on your keywords.  Update your baseline plan frequently  (at least once a week) so that you can track all of the products in your project whilst creating a cohesive design.


I think time is under-rated as a stress factor in any project. You're usually focused on how your space will look or how much money is being spent, so time is often overlooked.

A delayed project, however, can lead to additional costs, huge disappointment and megga stress. 

You can feel distraught when a room isn't finished before your big event. You'll either have to delay your event or have a tatty, half finished space when your guests arrive. Neither is ideal and can be hugely embarrassing.    

If your project is taking longer than expected, it can even lead to a budget breakdown. You might have to spend more money on getting the problems fixed quicker or pay more rent because you your home isn't quite ready to move into.

The solution is to make sure you're one step ahead of what's happening. It's important to know the process of construction and interiors. How do they interact and blend together.  This will help you understand the delivery schedule of when things needs to be in place for your project to keep on track.

If your project is going off plan then there are several ways in which you can bring it back into line. Most of these options involve an additional spend, but sometimes you just want to have your home finished so it's a compromise worth taking.

Most projects are planned consecutively, so that one activity follows the next. The architect will design the structure of the building then a builder will construct the walls, first fix electrics, add plasterboard, second fix electrics and then decorate.  Within interior design, I'll then be asked to create a design. I'll review it with my client before I go shopping for the products. I'll then position the furniture and finish off by styling accessories.

To save time, some of these tasks would happen in parallel. The focus is to look at activities that can be worked alongside each other to create a stronger project with fewer problems.

For example: I'll be brought into the project once the architect has created their plans. This ensures that the structure of the building is balanced with the style and design of the home, before it's even been built. It saves time because it creates a more thorough design so there are less changes and problems as the project progresses. 

Instead of just thinking about the shape or size of the room, consider how the internal space will work for you and your family. Where will you position furniture, how will you use the space, what storage do you need? 

Another ideal point for parallel processing is when I'm asked to work alongside the builder. I'll make sure that I'm two steps ahead of the builder  so that I can review the design and order products so that they arrive in time for when their needed by the builder.  This helps to keep the project moving so that you can move back into your home as early as possible.

The groundwork you did in step one, for your baseline plan, highlights how long it takes for delivery of each item. This gives you a schedule for when you need to order items. For example, handmade curtains can take four to six weeks to make, but this will increase before Christmas and can take six or even eight weeks. If you want handmade curtains ready for Christmas then you'll need to have them ordered by the beginning of November. 

In today's world where everything is available in an instant, delivery schedules can often be a surprise and delay your project timeline.

It's always important to consider how you can save time on your project. Plan to finish your project a couple of weeks before your big event. This then gives you two weeks contingency for when issues arise and time delays occur. It gives you the time to fix things.

Keep your baseline plan updated frequently (at least once a week) so that you can track time and review how you're going to keep on schedule. It will help you make informed and quick decisions that will create your ideal space.


Have you watched a television programme where someone is doing a makeover on their house and the budget is blow out of the water? Not only have they overspent but they've had to get another mortgage to cover the additional costs.

Keeping track on your budget is vital for any project success. When you made the decision to makeover your home, you felt that the change was worth the financial cost. For example, you think it's worth spending £50,000 on a new kitchen. But, would you still have decided to make the changes if you knew that the actual cost was £20,000 more than expected? If it actually cost you £70,000 for your kitchen makeover, would you still go ahead with the project.

Creating your budget baseline, in Project Start Up, provides an overview of what it would cost to redesign your home. I believe that information, particularly costs, help you to make a more informed decision.

Knowing how much an interior makeover would cost can lead to a range of emotions. Maybe you're  fine with the budget and appreciate that the price is to be expected because it's been many years since you redecorated and costs have increased over time. You might need to adjust your budget, so that it's more in line with what you want to spend. You might even decide to  sell your property, rather than go ahead with the makeover, because your current house is not worth the expense.

If you need to adjust your budget, I recommend that you look at each expense to review where you want to splash out and where you can reign in the costs. If you spend more in one room then you could spend less in another room. For example, you could choose handmade curtains in the living room but opt for ready made curtains in the bedrooms.

Likewise, if you overspend on something then you need to consider whether it's worth the additional cost. If it is something that you have to have or absolutely adore, then go for it and don't feel guilty. To bring your budget back on track, look at where you can spend less. Alternatively, you make the choice to increase your baseline budget and your project will be more expensive. At least you've made a conscious decision rather than it happening randomly and you being out of control.    

Keeping control of your spending is a balancing act.   

Remember to keep your baseline plan updated frequently (at least once a week) so that you can track how much you're spending. This will enable you to keep control of your budget.

If your project is cycling out of control and you want it to be on time and within budget,  just get in touch and I'll help you bring it back online and track for success.  

Remember,  90% of interior design projects fail . One of the reasons they fail is because they're not controlled in terms of the design, time and budget. As your project progresses you need to make sure each of these items is moving forwards. Look at how one change will affect another and adjust your project to keep on plan. 

If you're overspending, consider how you can reign in your spending. What's a must have as opposed to a nice to have.

If your project is delayed, consider how you can save time by planning your project smarter. Parallel processing is more difficult to manage but it's vital for saving time.

If the design has had to change, keep consistency by focusing on your keywords.    

Plan your perfect project. 

Next week I'll  take you through Project Close Down. It's often overlooked but can help to reduce stress once problems occur after your project has finished.

 Wishing you a stylish and healthy year


BIID Interior Designer
Conference & Event Speaker

I teach the First Steps In Interior Design course in collaboration with Oaklands College, based in Saint Albans.

It's a 6 week, once a week, leisure course that will teach you the fundamentals of design to help you create your own beautiful interiors. I take you through all of the important considerations from colour theory to lighting, choosing the right curtains or wallpaper, as well as planning the perfect room space.

Some students come along with a friend as a sociable way of learning something new, others are keen to see if they can make a career out of interior design, and it's a great way to have some personal time away from the hustle of a busy family.

You'll go home each week with loads of knowledge, ideas and inspiration. Each week I tailor activities to help you feel comfortable using your new skills with confidence. Also, at the end of the course you'll have created a mood board design for a room in your own home.

This course is always popular so, if you're interested in joining up then sign up soon.

I look forward to meeting you in person and sharing my expertise.

Wednesday 1st May 2019
(7:30 pm till 9:30 pm)
To reserve your place click on the link above or contact:
Oaklands College
Smallford Campus
Hatfield Road
St. Albans
Community Learning Team
01727 737154
  Looking forward to seeing you for 
a whole lot of learning.

Interior Design Expert & Lecturer



Grand Design Live (ExCel, London) is the award winning home event for ideas, inspiration and expert advice. 

Based on the Channel 4 series and presented by Kevin McCloud, the show offers visitors top expert advice, new product launches and specialist exhibitors in six project zones. Whether you're planning a self-build, renovation or are adding the finishing touches, you'll find ideas and inspiration for your very own Grand Design.

Being asked back to speak as an expert is an honour, and this year I'll be sharing ideas and inspiration to attract buyers who'll fall in love with your property. 

Sunday 5th May
11:30 - 12:15 pm and 2:30 - 3.15 pm

I'll showcase the latest styling trends to create an attractive home, helping you achieve a quick sale for the best possible price in a competitive market.

Hope you can join me
Gwendoline x
Interior Design Expert & Speaker

If you know someone who's creative, enjoys watching interior programmes on the telly, reads design magazines, or wants to create a beautiful home, please feel free to forward this onto them for inspiration.




Stay Stylish 

TELEPHONE +44 (0) 7841 519802 
In This Issue
The Perfect Project
Beginner Design Course
Speaking: Grand Designs Live
Quick Links