Just how do interior designers turn inspiration and ideas into beautiful spaces? We talked to Philip Mitchell, the classic-meets-contemporary designer who splits his time between Toronto, Chester, N.S. and NYC, to find out. Click through for some of his favorite spaces, plus get a beind-the-scenes look at a concept sketch for each one, and find out how close the final product came to his initial plan.
In Philip’s Nova Scotia home, a screened-in sitting room has classic good looks, but still feels welcoming and cozy. “This room ended up almost exactly as conceptualized because I was able to design it entirely from scratch. And it being my own personal residence also helped — I already owned many of the items used in the concept sketch, or I knew exactly what I wanted to see in the space,” he says.
This sophisticated staircase is in a client’s home, and again, being able to participate in the design from the very beginning meant no surprises during construction. “I was able to shift and move walls and incorporate architectural details the clients had requested. Once we settled on these elements, I went about incorporating them into a perspective that reflected our discussions and what I had envisioned for the space. Suffice to say we were both pleased with the finished product and how much it reflected our collaboration.”
“When we started thinking about the design for this bathroom, the concept was a little more traditional in feel,” Philip says. “We had planned traditional panel molding, cabinetry and a tub panel along with café curtain-style window coverings. But as the project developed, it became clear that the clients’ tastes leaned to a more simple, contemporary feel, so I simplified all of the details, including the window coverings.”
“The beauty of designing a space that is just being decorated (as opposed to being renovated) is that you can draw in all the specific selected pieces of furniture and accessories to the perspective sketch to clearly show how the space is going to look,” Philip explains. “In this foyer, the client ended up selecting almost all of the pieces I proposed because it was easy to understand how the space was going to look once completed.”
“Using existing pieces also helps tremendously when conceptualizing a presentation perspective sketch,” Philip says. “People often get excited about the prospect of reusing inherited family pieces, antiques or sentimental items — especially when they can visualize them in the space, like in this rendering. Often seeing a sketch like this helps a person understand that even though a particular piece might not have been the first or ideal choice, it can end up being a great feature in their home.”
“We had a plan for this bathroom, but after seeing inspiration images of my client’s favorite European hotel bathroom, we were inspired to rework the layout and incorporate some of those details into their space. Working with their wish list and their desire for a decidedly formal space, this room really came to life.”
Philip’s vision for this spacious kitchen included a freestanding, furniture-style island and an exposed pot rack, but one of the homeowners wasn’t sure. “The idea behind this rendering was to sell the client on the idea of the open island and suspended pot rack,” Philip says. “But once they saw this sketch incorporating the two proposed items it was approved. Used as a tool, my drawings are often an aid to help clients feel more comfortable when making design decisions during construction or decorating.”
Author: Stacy Lee Kong
Courtesy of Philip Mitchell