Interiors: The website that helps you add personal style to your home
PUBLISHED: 14:11 13 February 2015 | UPDATED: 14:11 13 February 2015
A passion for beautiful objects, design and harmony is what Dasha Slavinskaya has built her interior design business on. The Russian born founder of Pret-a-Meubler sees her work as an ever-evolving process which brings together specifically sourced antique items, art and contemporary pieces.
The company, founded just under a year ago was born out of Dasha’s passion for creating spaces that catch attention by mixing higher priced items with mainstream pieces.
A former accountant, who realised her true passion after undertaking interior design projects for friends and designing her own home in Chelsea, Dasha decided to set up the business last year and has since worked on design projects in Hampstead, Chelsea, Belgravia and Moscow.
Dasha’s work on a five-bedroom apartment in Compayne Gardens, Hampstead, alongside her interior designer, Olga Sedova, involved mixing two very different styles.
She said: “It was a redecorating project which took us about six months. The couple had very different ideas about what they wanted so we had to come up with something that combined both styles. The husband loved 50s style design items and contemporary art, whilst his wife wanted a French Provence atmosphere.”
“They also had a large art collection which they wanted us to use so we needed to decide which paintings worked best. They had more than 60 wonderful paintings so it was a question of choosing the right ones. We achieved a compromise on both styles creating a French Provence atmosphere whilst adding powerful colours to bring in a contemporary feel.”
As well as interior design services, the Pret-a-Meubler website offers visitors the chance to browse and buy a range of unique items and carefully selected sets of furniture handpicked by Dasha from around Europe.
It is a virtual treasure trove for homeowners looking for something a little bit different, featuring decorative antiques, contemporary furniture, home wares and art.
Dasha’s vision and personal sense of style is evident throughout the collection, as is her attention to detail; “Every square inch of space in a room needs to be recognised and dealt with”, she says. “Whilst people could go to a department store or furniture retailer and buy a range of mid priced furniture, it is much more interesting to buy some higher price items and mix them up with more mainstream pieces – to create a more eclectic, personal style statement”.
Dasha doesn’t want the site to be ‘trend led’ – her vision is to provide ideas and beautiful items that people can mix and match to find their own style.
Designing a room for Dasha is like curating a mini exhibition. She has however tried to make it easy for people to pull together a certain look themselves. Simple alternatives to wall coverings, like arranging four pieces of framed art on a wall rather than using wallpaper, sit alongside well thought through sets of furniture and a range of lighting and other home accessories.
The ethos of the site is against neutral space and playing it safe. “I want people to enjoy their homes and for them to be an expression of who they are and the things they love”, she said.
“People have a desire to create a specific style and we take that style and try to add accents to make it a little bit more interesting. Sometimes monochrome interiors can be too calm and boring. I like to create something that captures your attention.”
“Sometimes I do minimalist style but mix it with highly decorative pieces to create balance.”
Dasha believes it’s not all about buying new pieces but combining them in the right way, “One client we had brought a lot of furniture from their old home, which was randomly chosen, so we worked with them to combine the pieces in the right way. Creativity comes from finding the solution and not necessarily going to the shops to buy new items – that’s too easy!”
She added: “Although it looks luxurious, I have never done expensive interior design. My strength is to have an average budget but create the impression of an expensive interior by adding a few expensive items.”
Pret-a-Meubler works on large interior design projects which require reconstruction, as well as redecorating projects, but it is also piloting short-term projects for those who have limited time and finances.
Dasha said: “We recently worked on a £1 million apartment in Marylebone where the owner had a very large mortgage. It was a beautiful space but the owner thought she didn’t have a big enough budget to give the apartment what it deserved. In just three days we were able come up with a creative scheme to transform the space.”
Dasha’s tips for adding personality to your home:
1 Don’t follow trends.
2 Research your style - find out what kind of art captures your emotions, look at magazines, the internet, travel and see exhibitions. The visual experience is very important and helps you discover what you like even if you know nothing about interior design.
3 Don’t be afraid to combine pieces which at first sight don’t match; be brave and experiment with different styles and patterns.
4 Pay attention to the walls. Don’t leave them empty – they are a way to show your personality. You don’t need to use expensive artwork, you can create your own, or find items you like at a flea market.
5 Only have items you love in your home.
For more information visit pret-a-meubler.com, or call 020 7349 7139.