Rachel Fowler: 5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Declutter. It’s amazing how carried away you can get when designing your home. We all start out with this great idea of how we want our homes to look, but it can soon end up looking like an assault course just to maneuver around it. Stop and think what do you actually need? What is the space going to be used for? A cluttered space increases our stress levels. Homes should be a place where you can recharge and reground yourself. Why not try the minimalistic approach? If this is not for you, declutter and create free flowing spaces.
As part of my series on the “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Fowler.
Sustainability is at the core of all our work. We help you to achieve your goal in creating healthy, sustainable and humane interiors. In doing so, we can help you to create interiors, which protect the needs of the plant, whilst further promote your health and wellbeing. From sustainable to animal friendly — welcome to the new age of interior design.
Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Before becoming a designer, I use to work as a children’s intensive care nurse for 15 years, which I totally loved. However, there was always a part of me that wanted to do something creative. So, in 2016 I swapped my scrubs for a sketch pad and pen and began the journey to becoming a designer. In 2019 I completed the BA degree with Honors in Interior design, relocated to Germany and got a job working as an interior architect for a German design house. I enjoyed my job but I did not feel fulfilled. In March 2020 I quit my job and whilst getting stuck in the UK visiting family, due to Covid, I decided to start up my own sustainable and humane interior design business.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Waking up one morning and thinking why do people not know about healthy and sustainable design? There is so much information out there, but when you speak with clients, friends and family it’s like the link is broken and the information is not getting through. With this in mind, I thought to myself how can I help people to create healthy, humane and sustainable living and working spaces? A book, this would be accessible to all. I Googled how to write a book and with no help from anyone else I started writing it. I must let it be known that I Rachel Fowler, never thought that I would ever write a book because of my dyslexia. In addition, it was lockdown in the UK and I was just setting up my business, but I just know I could do it all. Aim high and plan for success as they say. So, for 9 months I worked every afternoon writing the book. The biggest hurdle was talking to manufacturers from all around the globe. I had never done this kind of thing before and found it quite daunting. Working as a nurse you are supported in a team. Now I was flying solo. I didn’t just want my book to be about how to create sustainable, healthy and humane designs and what to look out for when selecting materials, but provide people with a resource on where they can buy these materials. On completion of the book I contacted a publishing house that someone recommended to me, thinking if they like it they like it if they don’t, there are plenty of other publishing houses I could try. However, success rained and my first book, My Happy Place, Healthy, Sustainable and Design for Life and Work, will be out in book stores and online globally from the 26th October this year. The book is all my work and has inspired me to wrote more books.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was never someone who liked IT. If I could avoid it I would. Working within art and design was something I had wanted to do for a while. So, I decided to fulfill this ambition, thinking I would be able draw and do everything by hand. It could work I was sure of it. Ow my goodness, when the list came through form the university of the software required to complete my degree I thought how am I going to navigate my way around this? I thought, there must be a way around it, what happens if there is a power outage, what do people do then? I soon learnt that if I wanted to complete my degree in interior designer within the three years allowed I needed to learn the software. By year three there was no stopping me, I was now able to use AutoCad, Photoshop, Sketchup etc. I had become good friends with Apple’s Help Desk in Ireland and that of the company who I bought my software through. However, for my final project, a complete hotel design, I needed to be able to render my 3d drawings. I selected the easiest software, which was compatible with Sketchup and set to rendering. However, little did I know that this was going to involve spending the next couple of weeks clicking on the mouse continuously for a period of 8 hours just for one drawing to be rendered. Furthermore, every so often the computer screen would go blank. This resulted in me acting like the world was going to end especially as I lost all of that day’s work, even though I had been saving it throughout the day. I couldn’t talk to anyone, not even my hounds, I would just sit on the toilet thinking I am too old for this. The issue was soon resolved and resulted in me having to buy a computer with a bigger processing power. Thank fully we had the funds to do this. What I learnt from this is sometimes in life you need to bit the bullet and learn these new skills to get to where you want to be even when it feels totally impossible. Your never to old.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
My business has only been live for just over a year, which i have just finished working on a project in the UK. I am currently working with the book publisher on the final steps for the release of my first book, My Happy Place. This continues to be a great but busy project. Through writing this book I have established a lot of new contacts whilst further developing my own knowledge. This book will help people to create the spaces that they will love to come home to, whilst also promoting their health and well-being. It is aimed at everyone, from architect, designer, contractor to DIY enthusiast.
Another great and exciting project I am working on is designing my own wallpaper line. The manufacturing processes include using electricity from renewable services. This is a great and exciting time for me and the people who are helping me to create this have been absolutely amazing. If you would have asked me 10 years ago that I was going to design my own line of wallpaper I would have probably of not believed it. The wallpaper will be available, globally, to purchase from January 2022. The plan is for the paper to be sustainable, containing no plastic or other harmful materials. You would be surprised as to what goes into some wallpapers. The designs, are great, not that I am biased but they will help people to create some amazing and happy spaces, full of positive vibes.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote that I like to use, which I learned from a very good children’s intensive care consultant when I was working in Canada as a nurse is: “if you’ve got a pulse and you are breathing, then what is the problem”. I know this may seem harsh but it resonates with me deeply. So, when things feel like they are getting tough I repeat this to myself, which gives me the energy and enthusiasm to keep going.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My parents. I started my business in 2020, as stated above, when visiting my family in the UK. I set my business up in my parent’s small bedroom, which I literally took over. When I eventually returned to Germany, 5 months later, it took 4 large FedEx boxes and a very over weight bag, which cost more than my flight.
It was their encouragement and help that made me strive to keep going even when the world was shutting down due to COVID. Their support made me feel and still does, like I can conquer anything. They are totally amazing and my mum always puts an amazing comment to my business posts on both my Facebook and Instagram pages.
Thank you for that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Declutter. It’s amazing how carried away you can get when designing your home. We all start out with this great idea of how we want our homes to look, but it can soon end up looking like an assault course just to maneuver around it. Stop and think what do you actually need? What is the space going to be used for? A cluttered space increases our stress levels. Homes should be a place where you can recharge and reground yourself. Why not try the minimalistic approach? If this is not for you, declutter and create free flowing spaces.
- Color. Make your Home About You. When designing your home, don’t just go with the latest trend, design a home which reflects who you are. Make it yours, a place that you can connect with. Use colors that you like, don’t select a color because it is the latest trend. Colors can affect our mental well-being, so be sure to choose colors, which will elevate your mood, making you feel happy and calm.
- Biophilia. No this is not something from a sci-fi movie but is great to include when you are wanting to create positive spaces within the home. Biophilia quite simply means for the love of nature. With more of us wanting to be able to reconnect with nature, including Biophilia in your designs will help you to achieve this. This can be as simple as adding pot plants or painting the walls a colour associated with nature. For instance, pale neutral earthy tones or greens. Include textures and materials associated with nature, for instance wood. Create some peace and serenity in your home with Biophilia.
- Sustainable and Healthy Materials. For instance, choose lime or plant-based paints which do not contain any harmful chemicals. Ask yourself what is in the product you are buying? Not all materials included within a product, if under a certain amount, will be listed. Do your research, contact the supplier. Selecting materials which are sustainable and do not contain any harmful chemicals will enhance the internal air quality within your home, resulting in promoting your health and wellbeing.
- Lighting. This is such an essential element in the design of a space. Have you ever walked into a place which had too much lighting? Too much lighting can over stimulate our senses. It’s not just about the number of lights, but their colour and brightness too that can affect how a space makes you feel. When selecting lighting, think what is the space going to be used for. For instance, in a dining room, you would select warm low lit lighting. If your dining room doubles up as part of your kitchen, use a dimmer light to soften the lighting. Design you lighting using a layered lighting design. For instance, for a living room you could select a ceiling light, floor lamp and table lamps. Most importantly, utilize as much natural daylight as possible. Natural daylight has a positive effect on our natural body systems making us feel positive, energised and happy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
My movement would be to stop manufacturers using chemicals and materials which are detrimental to human health and the environment. Ensuring regulations come into effect in every country only allowing manufacturers to use products which are healthy, sustainable (are re-useable or biodegradable at the end of their life), humane and fair trade.
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Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!