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The Alternative Blog

Amira Hashish, aka @thedesigneditor, is a seasoned editorial and Creative Director with 20 years of experience in publishing and multi-discipline journalism. She is not only the founder of creative and interiors studio Rapport, but she is also Editor-in-Chief of Neighbourhood Edit magazine. Despite her hectic schedule, Amira embarked on a renovation journey to transform a former sweet shop into a stylish home packed full of vintage treasures. We were delighted that she chose Alternative for her flooring needs so join us as we explore her gorgeous Victorian home in London.

Can you tell us a little bit about your home?

I live in a Victorian house on a leafy London corner that felt like home from the moment I stepped inside. It has had several guises over the years and was once the local sweet shop. When I found it, the bones of the building were strong, but it was crying out to be invigorated. I set about transforming it into a colourful and cosy oasis. Every space has been reconfigured or reimagined, including an entirely new staircase, an orangery-style extension, and a third floor.

How would you describe your interior style?

My interior style is layered, eclectic, and colourful. I love fusing palettes and eras to create spaces that feel warm and full of character. I firmly believe in designing rooms that spark joy and are filled with stories. I work with a lot of natural materials to add texture and depth of colour. I am always sourcing antiques and weaving them into my projects too. There are some incredible pieces to be found at markets, auctions, and salvage yards. I have also launched a vintage styling and sourcing platform called Patina. Sign up to the newsletter for a carefully curated selection of pieces for sale exclusively to subscribers. 

Where do you find your inspiration when it comes to interior design?

My travels inspire me, and there is a Mediterranean theme flowing throughout my home. I love how destinations such as Italy, Spain, or Greece bring bold colours, patterns and textures into their architecture and interior design. From the ceramics of Sicily to the microcement of Morocco, I am always reflecting on ideas I have spotted on my travels into my interiors. I find inspiration in the most unexpected places and objects. If I am drawn to something, I will always bring it home if I logistically can, take a picture of it, add it to one of my moodboards and find a way of working it into one of my schemes.

Why did you choose Alternative for your home?

I did lots of research into stair runner options and found that Alternative had a really great selection of textiles that felt personality-driven. I liked the amount of choice that was available for those all-important details, such as the borders. The Make Me A Rug tool on the website was a handy way of experimenting with different styles and imagining them in your space. I also think it is great that the carpets are ethically-sourced and climate-friendly, with a tree planted in the Alternative Forest for every sample ordered. 

How did you go about choosing the flooring in your home?

The original Victorian wood flooring is still going strong on the ground floor, but I wanted the stairs and bedrooms to be carpeted so that they felt soothing and sumptuous. The impact that flooring has can be underestimated, but it can completely transform the way a home feels. As part of my renovation, an entirely new oak staircase had to go in with steps painted in Lick Taupe 02 and walls in Lick Taupe 03. Once the runner was added, it connected each floor beautifully and made the house feel like a home.

Tell us why you chose wool for your staircase.

I try to work with natural materials as much as I can. Wool instantly creates a sense of cosiness while being durable for the everyday use that the staircase endures. Also, stairs and hallways can be noisy places, and with a great underlay, wool acts as the perfect noise insulation.  I rifled through the many pattern options but kept being drawn to the Herringbone Zig Zag style because it strikes the perfect balance of elegance and character. It makes a statement without being overpowering. The mushroom colour is so welcoming and complements its surroundings beautifully.

Amira chose our Wool Herringbone Zig Zag Mushroom carpet and teamed it with a Herringbone Pewter border.

Any advice for those looking to take on a renovation project?

My overarching piece of advice would be to stick with your renovation during the stressful times. It will be so worth it once you have created the home of your dreams. I would also suggest sweating the small stuff. I am so glad that I got down to the detail of every material and item from grouting to switches and door knobs or hinges. Challenging conventional colours and styles on pieces such as windows, doors and stairs made a huge difference. You do not have to play by the rules. Once I started looking beyond the functional role of the kitchen and bathrooms I realised that I could have so much more fun with these spaces and make them tie in with the overall flow of the home. I spent a lot of time hunting down fabulous basins, dressers that could be turned into washstands and intricate finishes and the rooms are all the more fun for it. Remember that your staircase and hallway is a room in itself so you should make just as much effort with this space as you do with your other living areas. Renovating can be an exciting and fun venture, but it is important to get the professionals in where needed.

Tell us about your carpet fitting experience and is buying local important to you?

I am the editor-in-chief of a magazine called Neighbourhood Edit which is a big advocate of championing local, so I was especially drawn to Alternative’s commitment to working with local fitters and supporting small businesses. My experience with The Carpetstore, one of Alternative’s Play Studio Partners, was fantastic. They had a huge range of samples in store, and they were very patient with my many trips to their studio to look through the different books. I was working to a tight deadline on getting the renovation finished, and they moved mountains to make the fitting happen in time. Their fitter really knew his stuff and made the whole process seamless. When you are in the midst of a renovation project it is this kind of professionalism that is a true saviour. 

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The Edit - home style by Alternative