At Floor Coverings International of Cleveland, we love bringing you perspectives from designers. Today, we have an interview with Simone Chavoor, host of the Tiny-Ass Apartment blog.
Floor Coverings International: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Simone Chavoor: Well, I grew up and went to school in the San Francisco Bay Area. I studied film and broadcasting, and later moved to LA to work in the film industry. While there, my interest in interior design went from a passing interest to something that filled up a lot of my spare time! I loved reading blogs like Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge, but also spent a lot of time working on my own space and learning things by trial and error. I had some pretty stressful jobs, so turning my home into a sanctuary of beauty and sanity was important! I eventually moved back to the Bay Area and now work in marketing for a product design firm, which has allowed me to use a lot of the self-taught lessons from working on my blog. I’m also glad to be back in a place that’s so creative and appreciative of good art and design.
FCI: You’ve been blogging for several years now. What inspired you to start up a blog, and what do you enjoy about blogging?
SC: The thing that really drove me to start my own blog was the lack of articles or blog posts that spoke to me. Much of what I was reading was inspirational, but not practical. I didn’t have a lot of money, or space, or freedom to do whatever I wanted to my apartment! I started gathering the more relevant articles I found and sharing them on my blog, and eventually I started sharing the projects I’d done myself. Design doesn’t just have to be for rich homeowners. If you have the imagination and the will, you can make your space personal and beautiful with very few resources.
FCI: What do you find interesting or challenging when designing for a smaller space?
SC: I once heard a story that the director Robert Rodriguez, who’s a well-known and successful filmmaker, self-imposes a budget on his films. The idea is that by creating limitations, you force yourself to be creative. I don’t know if that story’s true or not, but I do know that if you watch a bajillion-dollar Michael Bay film, you get a bunch of explosions and CGI and not much substance! The same can kind of be said for designing in a small space. If you had unlimited space and unlimited money, you wouldn’t even know where to begin. You’d just buy a bunch of crap and throw it all in there. But in a small space, and with limited resources, you have to be a lot more thoughtful. Everything you choose to bring into your home has to have value. As the artist and author William Morris said, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
FCI: What are some of your design inspirations? How would you describe your personal style?
SC: I once told a friend that I wanted my apartment to look like a crazy Oxford history professor had lived there for fifty years. I love Persian rugs, rich leather furniture, dark woods, and piles of books! I still do, but I’m embracing new styles too. I love old Hollywood glam, with lots of gold and glass, I like French industrial with well-used metal pieces that look like they were stolen from an old factory, and most recently I’m embracing Mid-Century Modern furnishings. I’ve always loved the fashion of America in the Fifties, but was kind of put off by the stark, linear look of interiors in that era. It took me a while to warm up to Eames, but now I dig it!
FCI: Tell me about one of your favorite projects.
SC: One of the most emotional projects was the starched fabric wall covering I did in my apartment in Los Angeles. I say emotional because it was a weird, stressful project at a really bad time for me: I had to get my apartment ready to be photographed, but I needed knee surgery at the same time! My mother had come down to help me after the surgery, so I kind of roped her into doing a lot of this wall-covering project. I’d never done it before, and our trial-and-error was mostly error! But in the end, we finished the project and it turned out beautifully. It was so hard to do, but so rewarding, and I was so grateful for my mother’s help. I’ve also been working on a lot of projects in my new home in Alameda, and I’m really looking forward to sharing them on my blog!
Simone runs the Tiny-Ass Apartment blog at www.tinyassapartment.com.