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Banjo's Manchester Apartment

Episode One of Interior Design Masters and it was a baptism by fire. New spaces are kryptonite to my vintage loving design eye so turning a small blank box into a contemporary, aspirational rental for a cool twenty-something in Manchester was going to be a challenge.

Banjos Ply Apartment


The Wall

I wanted to make this tiny space appear larger so I played with scale by attaching birch plywood with a 3mm shadow gap to the wall and adding a painted border on the ceiling and wall (following the line of the pillar). This created the sense that the bed was built into a niche and tricked the eye into thinking the room was bigger. Well, that was the plan anyway. A foam bolster cut in half was attached to the wall to add width to the room.


Ply is a relatively cheap material but birch ply is a little more expensive. I took the time to shop around and inspected every piece. I wanted a really subtle grain and no marks - this was all about a clean look. We sealed the ply with a clear, matte varnish over several very thin coats.


We were also not able to add additional lights to the ceiling, so the shadow gap in the wall provided a handy little space for me to tuck in a plug in pendant cord.


The Paint

I wanted to add a touch of sunshine to this dreary space overlooking a railway line. I used Farrow and Ball Faded Terracotta by Kelly Wearstler as the main colour, part of her California Collection, saturating the whole space like a burst of sunshine. The sky blue was colour matched from my duvet because why not. To add a pop of unexpected, I added a flush of oxblood to the wardrobe border.




The Shopping List

Norther Flower "Anthurium" and Birds of Paradise Leaves

Down pipe with ends and clips from Wickes - lined with garden plastic.

Plants from Various

18mm Birch Plywood from timber yard


The Pipe Garden

I wanted to add some greenery to this room but with no floor space and sunlight only hitting one part of the room, I had limited options. I have seen DIY pipe planters outdoors so thought, why can't we do one inside too. It was important that this wasn't permanently fixed to wall so you could plant/replant and water outside on the balcony.


To make this, it was simply a 200mm pipe from the hardware store, with 2 ends and 2 clip on wall brackets. I added a fake bottom with another pipe off cut and plastic to allow a little bit of drainage. The key here was picking plants that don't require a huge amount of water and when you do water (once a week) it's an "unclip and do it outside job".



Banjo and Rochelle's Office


For the office space, I was teamed up with the gorgeous Rochelle. We both had very similar visions for this space and even our colours were complimentary. We had just a few short moments to hatch a plan for this space. It was chaos, but so much fun getting to pull this together with THE most hilarious girl I have ever met. We created a fake client, Trashelle inspired by a young Michelle Ogundehin, a budding young magazine editor and party girl. This was our North Star and informed all our decisions, from the art to the pops of colour and furniture.





The Leaning Library

As a rental, I wanted to demonstrate that you could create features that look bespoke, but not fixed. Enter the leaning library. A simple 2400 x 1100 sheet of ply with a 4 pieces of wood attached horizontally to create a magazine / art showcase.


The Office Shopping List

Desk from Ikea salvage section

Birch Ply

Home made artwork

Chair from across the road from the apartment




1 commentaire


sararibeiro4work
11 janv.

Beautiful! I love hearing the tought behind the design:)

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