Designing a Bespoke Floor Vinyl

Hi Everybody!

Some of you may know (if you follow me over on Instagram) that I have been having my garden completely renovated just in time for the Summer & within it I have had my dream outside work studio created in the form of a summer cabin!

It's still a work in progress with lots of little bits that need finishing & I will be adding more posts soon about the whole garden project to my home renovation series here on the blog.

For now, my next project is to design the floor vinyl that will go down in the cabin & wow - it really is a tricky job! The cabin is 3m x 4m but has an unusual cut out section where the doors are, so it's not a complete rectangle. Having this in mind, the design I have chosen has created a number of challenges:

Design challenge 1 - My design & scale

I really wanted to go all-out on the flooring & really create a statement with it since I will be keeping the walls of the cabin white. For a Surtex show one year we created a sort of patchwork/collage of designs for the front of one of my portfolio books & I've loved the design ever since.

I decided to go with this style of pattern & as you can see it's a difficult design to replicate on a larger scale. Each pattern is clipped into a circle which is layered on top of another. This meant we really needed to think about the size of these circles & if we wanted to go with a standard size tile or larger (standard being around 20cm). The circles you see above are 20cm & look quite large in comparison.

However, when doing a very rough mock up of the tile structure within Adobe Illustrator (as shown above), the 20cm circles looked very small & we could envision the pattern looking very busy. Enlarging the circles to 30cm seemed to make the pattern feel less overloaded.

The pattern & colours will be modified within the circles & it will become more simplified for the final design. At the back of the garden is a rustic brick wall, which I have added lots of colourfully painted bird houses to, so I will be taking colour inspiration from them.

Design challenge 2 - Which direction to run the design in?

As I mentioned the floor dimensions of the cabin are not a complete rectangle, as the area where the doors are is a cut out, angled section. This means that when you enter the cabin you enter on a diagonal rather than a straight path. This raised the question of whether to run my design parallel with the room (straight) or to run the design diagonally in line with the door, so that when you entered the room, the design would flow diagonally across the room.

We made the decision that although the flow of the design would work well diagonally as you entered the room, once in the room it was in too much juxtaposition with the straight panelling already in the room, as well as the contemporary horizontal fencing outside that runs straight up the garden.

Design challenge 3 - Having four roles at once

Sometimes when you are working on a more bespoke project you will find yourself having to work in more than one role. Designing the floor vinyl myself meant that I had to think like a designer & stylist (which I'm used to), as well as thinking like a vinyl manufacturer & floor fitter (which I'm not so used to!) This isn't so unusual for a designer nowadays since there are so many opportunities for us to put our designs on to so many things but it sure does keep your brain busy!

So many circles!

My garden design included quite a few curved & circular elements from a round pergola & patio section, to a curved brick path leading up to it, to the curved flowers beds & decorative walls. So I think I must have been subconsciously thinking of circles when I was choosing my floor vinyl design! There are even circular elements in the family room leading out into the garden! It's amazing how a theme can unintentionally grow within your designs that really ties everything together.

Still a work in progress!

I will be writing a full set of posts for my home renovation blog series on how the whole garden comes together as currently everything is still a work in progress. The cabin still needs a final paint job as well as the interior decorating. To keep up to date with my renovations you can check out #rachaeltaylorgarden & #rachaeltaylorhome.

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