How did the making of Liv’s come about?
Since childhood I’ve had a passion for interiors and a love for shopping. Having my own shop was a long-held dream. When my kids became of school age in 2006, I took the plunge and started the business by importing vintage Chinese country-style furniture, which I sold through an antique centre concession.
When the recession hit I started adding accessories to our collection, and that’s when the business really took off. Accessories can immediately change the look of a room for little investment, and keep it modern, stylish and unique. Michael became part of the business, and we expanded our concessions before opening our own shop at Hatton Country World. A couple of years later, we opened our first proper high street store in Mell Square.
I don’t know about you, but boring furniture shops with bland offerings and no atmosphere really bug me. I also get really frustrated when I read interior magazines and find that everything is expensive. So, what we try to do so is offer an ever-changing collection of on trend, affordable goods. Our creative and friendly team constantly change the displays and wall colours to give our customers inspiration and ideas.
What inspires your choice of products and where do you source your stock?
Inspiration for the style in Liv’s comes from everywhere and is constantly evolving. Sometimes I will watch an old movie just based on the interiors. Remember Sex and the City where Carrie had that beautiful New York apartment with Big?
I’m obsessed with interiors so it’s easy for me to keep up with trends via Pinterest, Instagram and interior magazines, as that’s how I relax.
We’ve been to China to source suppliers and we visit Paris for a trade show every year, which is always ahead of the latest trends. We all come back wanting to restyle our own homes as well as the shop. If you’re a regular customer, you’ll notice that we always change the wall colours of the shop in Spring.
Sometimes I see something that will make my heart sing or put a smile on my face, so I choose a lot of stock from the heart, occasionally from the liver as we say in Norway. It’s important to us to find unique, high quality items at an affordable price. We are always price conscious and love to find a bargain!
If you could pick one item from the store to have in your own home, what would it be?
Oh so many! Only one item? I do really want our Indian Guru picture in my bathroom! The walls and ceiling are a deep Aubergine colour and the tiles are black & white marble – it would just be perfect in there.
What are your top tips for creating a welcoming home that still looks modern and chic?
Choose furniture that will stand the test of time, both visually and practically. Opt for accessories based on what you love right now and will make you smile as you return home. Here are some ideas:
Update the frames that you keep your family photos in and frame old letters and mementos such as a concert ticket. The frames you choose keep it on trend, but you can fill them with something personal and familiar.
Plants, both real and faux. I mix them up because otherwise they wouldn’t last long! A big artificial plant always makes a good statement and look great in a basket. The simplicity of eucalyptus in a glass jar is also a winning look for any style of home. There is a trend for wildflowers and flower arrangements that look natural as if they have come straight from the garden.
Change with the seasons
Candles, cushions and throws can change the look and feel of a room, and are easy to change with the seasons. I love faux fur throws in the autumn/winter and light coloured knitted throws for spring/summer. Transforming your coffee or dining table displays is a great way to do this. On my kitchen table I have a reclaimed Indian platter that I change the look of whenever I feel like something different. I place fruit, a scented candle and a vase filled with whichever flower is in season. My coffee table has a similar concept but here I’ve used a round mirror that reflect the zillions of candles I burn.
Set the mood
Choose a few low-level lights such as table lamps and floor lamps for a cosy vibe. I love seeing a large chandelier in a small space, or an otherwise fairly empty space such as a hallway.
Create a reading nook with a chair, small table and lamp if you’ve got a ‘lost’ space. This will give the room a calm, inviting vibe.
Which is your favourite trend of SS18 so far?
I’m excited by the soft plastered pinks, the earthy rust and paprika tones we’re seeing. Our spring green wall behind the till will make way for a rough plastered pink next. I’m also drawn to art that evokes the old masters, especially in a place where you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find it. Such as a gold framed, old and dark painting in a modern kitchen.
If you had to choose one trend from this season to become a classic staple, which would it be?
Products that have a handcrafted feel about them and are full of texture whether that’s ceramics, baskets with tassels and cushions with fringes. There’s so much technology all around us that we have a need for the opposite, I feel.