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Take 5, Shelley Ferguson

Welcome to Take 5 where I take 5 questions to some lovely people I know (and some I don’t) and they tell us a little about themselves. 

Please meet our lovely friend, Shelley Ferguson who helped make the Boh Runga Jewellery Bohtique 2.0 the pretty, inviting space it is now. Wearer of many hats, a wife and and the māma of two boys she is also a business woman creating the perfect environment for her clients. She puts those skills to good use as a judge on popular TV3 show The Block. 

 1. There's no denying you have impeccable taste in all things design and interiors. Where do you look for inspiration for the projects you take on? 

Why, thank you! I think the best way to feel inspired is to get out there and do things you enjoy. I will often find inspiration in a beautiful restaurant, a great fashion boutique, in nature while walking, or while watching an old movie that happens to have incredible interiors.


2. A few of our readers may recognise you from judging on The Block NZ. What led you to this role?

I used to be editorial director of several home magazines including HOME, Simply You and Your Home and Garden. The Block was new to New Zealand and they had enlisted an architect as one of the judges. They wanted someone that was a ‘home expert’ as the other judge, and must have checked out the magazines for ideas. They phoned and asked me to audition which was terrifying but I must have done something right as I got the job.


3. With so many stages of what you do, from concepts and design, to sourcing and styling, what is your favourite part of the creative process?

My favourite part is coming up with the initial colour and materials palette. It involves really getting to know what a client wants, needs and what inspires them, while also considering the style and location of the home. Once you have that info you can start to craft a palette of stone, tile, timber, fabrics and metallics that put your spin on it. I will often fall in love with one of these materials whether it’s a stone or fabric and the scheme will evolve from there. This palette becomes your blueprint for the entire project so it’s a really important and creative part.


4. Colour can play a major role in how you feel in your environment. Do you recommend any colour combinations and examples of how to use them that people may not have considered trying before... ie. maybe a colour combo to soothe or one to invigorate? 

Colour is such a powerful and psychological design tool! I have recently written a book and below are five of my tips for choosing colour from the book:

Hunt out clues:
Look at your favourite pieces of furniture, art and fashion. There might be a natural colour scheme in a treasured antique rug, a statement painting, or a favourite dress. Pull the colour palette out from that piece – often there will be a neutral, a main colour and an accent colour which is a perfect combo for interiors!

Factor in function:
What activities take place in this space and how do you want it to make people feel? Is it a busy social space that needs to feel more restful, or a cool and quiet space that needs uplifting? Consider the activities people will be doing and how you can use colour to help put them in a particular mindset.

Light it right:
How much natural light does the room have? Is it cold and south facing or warm and north facing? Northern light contains more yellow so is warmer and southern light contains more blue so is cooler, both of which totally change the appearance of the same paint colour. Colour is a very clever design tool and can be used to problem solve light issues for you; for example a lighter, warmer colour can uplift a darker, cooler room beautifully. The artificial light in a room can also drastically effect the look of a colour, so be sure to paint test patches in the room you plan to use them in so you can observe how they look day and night, with lights on and off.

Size up the space:
You can use colour to affect how big a space feels! How cool is that? Paler colours recede more and darker colours advance more. So while in some cases white may be the right choice for a small space, if it’s a small and dark room, something like sage green is a great choice to add warmth and brighten it up.

Get emotional with colour:
People have different associations with colour because they’ve had different experiences with colour. One person may adore pale pink because it reminds them of candy floss at the fair when they were little. Another may be drawn to green because they grew up surrounded by hills and pastures. While many people need gentle persuading to be braver with colour, base your palette on a colour they already love because it will make them feel good every day.

Use a colour wheel:
As a designer you need to understand how colours work together, the effect they have on a room and mood, and how to use them to achieve the style you want. One of the principles of interior design is harmony, and colour plays a bit part in this. If you walk into a room and the colour scheme is made of colours that don’t have a relationship to each other the result will be less harmonious and more chaotic. This is great if you want an enlivening and unique look – there are some incredible designers who mix clashing bright and bold patterns to wow effect. But if you want the room to feel calming use colours that are next to each other on a colour wheel – a great tool to learn about colour. A colour wheel shows one colour’s relationship to another and helps us observe the effect colours have on one another. You can pick one of these up from your local Resene ColorShop.


5. What is a designer piece you covet and would love to have gracing your home and why? (may we get a pic pls?)

I would love to have a vintage Tommaso Barbi Brass Ginko Leaf Floor Lamp from the 70s because of the playful, sculptural vibe it would add to an entertaining space.  


You can enjoy Shelley's book Live Luxe, on sale October 18th but pre-sales are available here

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