Home Truths

Interior stylist and creator of House of Hawkes, Kathryn Hawkes describes her design aesthetic as ‘pseudo minimalism with a hint of Afro-chic’
Home Truths
ITP Images
Home Truths
September 24, 2018

Although her style is constantly changing, she says texture is a dominant and consistent feature of her approach to interior design. We asked the interior stylist and creator of House of Hawkes, for tips on how to make your house feel like home

Many UAE residents live in rental properties. How can you add more personality to your space without making permanent changes?
There are so many ways to put your own stamp on a rental property. My top tips would be:
1. Paint the walls so that you are not living with the dreaded ‘magnolia’ colour – it is such an easy and affordable way to spruce a place up.
2. Hang pictures and other wall art that reflects your style and personality.
3. Invest in statement rugs – they elevate the style of any room.
4. Change the light fittings – there are plenty of affordable options out there.

Do you have any go-to accessories that instantly elevate a kitchen?
I would say that the key to elevating your kitchen is to de-clutter the countertops. Once you have achieved this, some carefully curated shelving always looks great in a kitchen. Accessorise the shelves with wooden or marble chopping boards, some simple but stylish storage canisters or glass jars, and a pot plant or two (possibly herbs). If you have the space for it, artwork is also an excellent way to elevate your kitchen.

What is your view on purchasing investment pieces versus less expensive, disposable items?
I believe that every home – and particularly an expat rental home – should have a selective mix of less expensive home furnishings and investment pieces. It is also a smart idea to make customisations to affordable pieces.

What are some of the more common mistakes that people make when decorating their homes?
There are definitely some common mistakes that people tend to make. These include:
1. Area rugs that are too small for the space – bigger is always better when it comes to rugs.
2. Pendant or chandelier lighting that is hung too high, and the same goes for artwork.
3. Curtains that are too short and hang a few centimetres above the floor, or are hung too close to the top of the window. This makes the walls seem shorter than they really are. Curtain rails or blinds should be at least 30–40cm above the window frame, unless the space between the frame and the ceiling is less than that, in which case the curtains should go all the way up to the ceiling.
4. Furniture layouts that do not create cosy areas. I see many homes where the furniture is all pushed against the walls. Sometimes just changing the layout of the furniture in the room and pulling a few items away from the wall can make a big difference.
5. Not using enough lighting. No room is shown off to its best advantage with only overhead lighting. Use a mix of table lamps, floor lamps and wall lighting to create ambiance in your home.

What do you believe makes your house a home?
I have never held back on decorating a rental home, so there are many things that make our house a home. Painted walls is definitely one of the main features of our home, particularly in my kids’ rooms. I have also changed all the lighting so it reflects our personal style. Finally, I use lots of scented candles.

Visit houseofhawkes.net or follow Kathryn @houseofhawkes.