Home Interiors: Top personal shopper shares her secrets

Personal shoppers for home interiors could be the solution to decorating dilemmas when we don't know where to start 
Home Interiors: Top personal shopper shares her secrets

Gabrielle Grubanovich, personal shopper at Desigh Centre, Chelsea Harbour, London, with a client.

It's the season of trade shows, design festivals and exhibitions for those of us who’d rather spend on something for the home than a new outfit.

It was Paris last week and the sumptuous Maison et Object to feed our interior design souls, but my top pick is the London Design Festival where my pilgrimage had become an annual September event, halted only by the lockdown years.

 Monochrome never seems to wane in popularity and is trending this season (Torn Shapes abstract painting, Eccotrading Design London, Archive table lamp, Hadeland Glassverk, Rain fabric, Soie de at Lune Alexander Lamont + Miles).
Monochrome never seems to wane in popularity and is trending this season (Torn Shapes abstract painting, Eccotrading Design London, Archive table lamp, Hadeland Glassverk, Rain fabric, Soie de at Lune Alexander Lamont + Miles).

Now it’s back to clocking up serious mileage on the pedometer, traipsing around venues and gorging on items of beauty and practicality that we can covet for our home.

One hotspot is the Focus 22 design and decoration show which ran this week and concluded on Friday, September 23, at design mecca itself Chelsea Harbour, slipping us nicely into the London Design Festival with 100 events including talks, meet-the-designers, demonstrations including kintsugi (the Japanese art of repairing ceramics with gold!), and launching new collections for the coming season.

That’s on top of 600 interiors brands resident in the centre all year with the latest addition of the super-stylish Ralph Lauren Home to add to the mind-boggling selection if you happen to be London bound and want inspiration and even a spend.

If there’s one person to connect with at Chelsea Harbour to steer your shopping choices and interiors daydreams, it’s Gabrielle Grubanovich who runs the personal shopping service to help shoppers source a product, be it anything fabric and wallpaper to lighting.

And it doesn’t matter how big or small your project is; the point is to mitigate feeling overwhelmed by the breadth of choice, for someone who does not have an interior designer holding their hand. 

It’s free of charge, and it’s an international service that can also be accessed online thanks to Facetime and Zoom.

An interior designer herself in a previous life, Gabrielle is already on top of the trends for the coming season.

“This year we’re seeing lots of blue in china and delph coming back,” she says. “Animal prints, especially leopard prints are always in fashion. There’s lots of monochrome, lots of colour still, even in things like curtain rods in really bright colours.”

 Colourful curtain poles are trending this season. This selection comes from McKinney & Co at Collier and Webb.
Colourful curtain poles are trending this season. This selection comes from McKinney & Co at Collier and Webb.

Not surprising, as we start to look outward again and travel, that designers are using colour, pattern and texture to transport us, with taste influencers like Patricia Urquiola, Peter Marino and Luke Edward Hall forming collaborations, and the likes of Stella McCartney teaming up with wallpaper company Cole & Son and Italian furniture makers B&B Italia.

It’s also a year-round service, not just for Focus 22, when anyone can make an appointment with Gabrielle, either for an in-person meeting or online for help with a project. You might want a handmade dining table to seat 24 or just need help choosing fabric for a new pair of curtains.

Gabrielle says, “It can be overwhelming for the first-time visitor, there are so many choices. I compartmentalise what people want. They might say, ‘I like this armchair, do you know where I could get one similar?’”

Choosing fabric, in particular, can be a tricky one. Gabrielle maintains, and tends to be a topic people don’t really know about beyond their colour preferences.

“I’ll ask the client what they’re using the fabric for,” she explains. “If it’s a light fabric like a silk it can’t be used for upholstery, unless it’s a chair that gets very occasional use. Is it a high-traffic area with kids and pets? Go for something washable and cleanable.

 Colour continues to trend, from warm orange tones for autumn to deep reds for winter (fabrics from Colefax & Fowler’s Jane Churchill collection, Watts and Nobilis).
Colour continues to trend, from warm orange tones for autumn to deep reds for winter (fabrics from Colefax & Fowler’s Jane Churchill collection, Watts and Nobilis).

“And know your budget. People fall in love with a fabric and then go to buy it but it’s too expensive so use it in a cushion or lampshade rather than a sofa.

“Light is important too,” she adds. “It affects your fabric if it’s under a window. Choose something that won’t fade in direct or even in direct sunlight.”

Interior designers from around the world can also avail of the service to find that elusive product to finish a scheme, which sees Gabrielle currently working with designers in Miami, Kuala Lumpur and Qatar.

But for the individual who needs a bit of hand-holding, the service can help simplify things, resolve a design predicament, and is a way for Irish design-savvy shoppers to access some of the best and latest design in the world without leaving home.

  • Instagram.com/designcentrech/?hl=en

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