What started as a hobby developed into a thriving interior design business with heart for Sonia McCarthy. Here she explains how she’s helping older members of the community to revamp the homes they love…
For many years I helped friends and family renovate flats, houses, barns and beachside bolt holes. I love the creativity it has given me whilst balancing my hectic life working in telecommunications while raising a son and two step-children. It was a release which gave me time to do something I loved.
Then… what started as another favour, this time for my 83-year-old mother-in-law, has developed into and extended to working with older mature couples and individuals who want a little help with interior design.
My mother-in-law, Eileen, is now less mobile than she was, but fiercely independent with a strong go-getting personality. She knew she would be spending more time at home and wanted it to be somewhere she felt special – somewhere to invite friends and wake every morning with a happy glow.
A phone call asking if I could help choose a new paint colour developed into a complete room-by-room refresh. A budget (in this case £5,000) was set with an understanding we would use as many items in her home, but be creative with how we could refresh, modernise and upscale pieces of furniture she already had.
We started by making a note of all the items she really liked and wanted to keep, then a second list of the things she liked but needed adapting. We looked at each room independently, then started moving items around from room to room. Taking her beautiful art deco lamps from the lounge into her bedroom, swapping bedside tables, moving chairs, rearranging furniture, decluttering cupboards and reducing furniture made a huge difference. Removing cumbersome furniture and replacing it with a few modern pieces created a dramatic difference.
Real wins were gained by respraying gold frames to silver and replacing them with abstract art. Recovering headboards, painting mahogany tables dark grey and injecting splashes of bright colour in her lounge. The kitchen cupboards were modernised with a chalky grey paint and a new white wooden slatted blind.
My more mature clients have strong ideas, and some need gentle persuasion to change, which is understandable. Some, however, become obsessed with Pinterest and become immersed completely!
‘If my clients are looking for simple storage solutions, considering a unique feature for that special room or looking for bespoke furniture, I can help with this too!
One thing’s for sure, refreshing your home at whatever age you are has a dramatic effect on your mental health and wellbeing. Becoming part of a project with goals to achieve gives you a sense of purpose and many hours of pleasure to enjoy and share with friends and family.
Sonia McCarthy offers a range of consultancy services to suit all budgets, whether you’re looking for a room refresh, an entire house or perhaps moving. Fees start from £250.
Sonia McCarthy Design
soniamccarthydesign.com | @SoniaMcCarthyDesign