9 things chefs can teach us about interior design

Interiors are like meals. All we need are food and shelter, right?

Yes.  You could live in a home that feels like whatever, just as much as you could live out of microwave heated TV dinners that taste like whatever. The question is: do you want to?

You see, somehow, something as ordinary as a meal can also be as extraordinary as a meal. With a little more time, passion, quality materials and the right technic.

And we honestly believe the same principle works for interiors.

Since it seems chefs are the ones who know the secret of making the best out of everyday life, let’s hear them out:

-1-
Real food doesn’t have ingredients. Real food is ingredients.
Jamie Oliver

Maybe you noticed we like to differentiate interior design from home decoration. Can’t tell you how many time we were frustrated because we had to register our blog on social media platform as a “home decor”, because there was no such thing as “interior design” category, while truly believing upgradesign.blog is not a home decor blog.

Jamie knows what’s up. Interior design is about the space, not about the stuff in that space.

DIY home improvement basics | learn about interior design | inspirational quotes
RÄS – la Domenique // photo: © Adrià Goula

We are telling you this, even though we love the interior styling. We love decorative items. We love them just as much Jamie loves cilantro. But there’s not enough cilantro in this world to improve the dish that lacks flavor.

-2-
I do most of the cooking in my head.
Alain Ducasse

Cooking is like project planning.

You search for recipes. You calculate how much food you need. You buy the ingredients. Some fresh, some ready-made, to save time.

You think about when you have to start cooking when’s the time to turn on the oven, when will something be done. Will it still be hot when everyone arrives? Is there enough time for the dessert to chill?

You give up the home made ice cream idea, and go for the one-bowl brownies. That’s everyone’s favorite, anyway.

kitchen-remodel
planning a kitchen remodel // photo: © upgradesign

See, without the planning, there would be no meals, no matter how simple. Even for eggs over easy, you still need eggs.

And when planning a remodel, it is important to do most of the design, not in your head, but on the paper. Even if it’s in the simplest way imaginable.

-3-
Cooking is like painting or writing a song.
Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors. It’s how you combine them that sets you apart.
Wolfgang Puck

DIY home improvement basics | learn about interior design | inspirational quotes
Lim+Lu – Happy Valley Residence, Hong Kong // photo: © Nirut Benjabanpot

It’s possible to combine gold with deep green and light pink, add patterned white and blue tiles, and do an amazing job.

Or it could go terribly wrong – just try googling “green pink apartment“.

-4-
In the past few years, we’ve been doing amazing stuff with desserts.
Pastry chefs have been using herbs and spices in their desserts. So vanilla cake doesn’t have to be just vanilla, it can have a little thyme. Or you could have a custard with a little lavender in it, which is just amazing.
Ron Ben-Israel

Experimenting is great. But when you add lavender to cookies and they turn out tasting like soap, it’s not a big deal.
But when you spend most of your savings and a half of a year on experiments in your apartment, that doesn’t turn out as good as you expected, it is a big deal.

FRANCESCO-LIBRIZZI-casa-c
Francesco Librizzi – Casa C // photo: © Giovanna Silva

The recipe is simple: don’t be afraid to do something unusual (especially if it’s only unusual for the majority of people, but professionals have been doing it for years) as long as it is better than the usual.

-5-
It’s my belief that cooking is a craft. I think that you can push it into the realm of art, but it starts with craft. It starts with an understanding of materials. It starts with an understanding of where foods are grown.
Tom Colicchio

Understanding the material and exploring its limit, enabled wonderful designs, like the Thonet chair for example (turned out, when steemed, wood is bendable).

studio-autori-dom-katarine-i-igora
Studio AUTORI – Katarina & Igor’s Home // photo: © Relja Ivanić

When you think about it, surfaces and materials make the room. How to choose materials, how to combine them, how to use them with a creative twist, is what interior design is all about. But to do that, you need to have at least basic knowledge about materials, which means not just searching for what’s pretty, but learning about their logic.

Because that’s the only way to know what will work for you and to avoid regreting your choices later.

-6-
You cannot get an influence from the cuisine of a country if you don’t understand it. You’ve got to study it.
Ferran Adria

Context makes the difference.

Just like material has its limit, places have their tradition.

And even though there’s nothing wrong with getting inspired by interiors from around the world, once again, you have to understand the logic behind those interiors.

Why everyone has big windows in Scandinavian countries and small in Mediterrain? Why people use mostly wood in Scandinavian countries and stone in Meditarrain? Because of the context. Because of the amount of daylight and the availability of materials. Simply copying those features without understanding their logic, will lead to paying more for the apartment that is too dark and cold or too bright and hot.

Architekten Innauer Matt – Haus für Julia und Björn
Architekten Innauer Matt – Haus für Julia und Björn // photo: © Adolf Bereuter

-7-
To eat well, I always disagree with critics who say that all restaurants should be fine dining. You can get a Michelin star if you serve the best hamburger in the world.
David Chang

You need a home. You need a shelter. You don’t need a perfectly designed apartment.

There are 3 signs you might hate your apartment. Three situations in which you might want to consider a remodel.

Interior design is a luxury, no doubt about that. But it is possible to upgrade a home, to a certain level, on a small budget. You know what? It can actually be a good thing!

-8-
Leave it alone. More is not more. Keep it simple and sexy.
Ed Brown

Have you ever had a piece of cake from which you first had to scrape everything down, to get to the actual cake? We don’t care how eatable it is – we won’t eat something that tastes like, looks like, and has a texture of play-dough.

And it’s hard to enjoy the cake because there’re leftovers on your plate before you even start eating! Wish bakers stopped after they stacked sheets of cake, fruit, and frosting. Those „naked“ cakes are gorgeous.

DIY home improvement basics | learn about interior design | inspirational quotes
Living room remodel // photo: © upgradesign

So believe us when we say, remodeling on a small budget is maybe the best thing that could happen to your apartment.

The budget is usually the only thing that will force you to stop and leave the apartment alone. Because more is not more. And simple is sexy.

-9-
If you have extraordinary bread and extraordinary butter,
it’s hard to beat bread and butter.
Jacques Pépin

This one says it all and we couldn’t agree more!

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