We Talk To The Creator Of Award-Winning Interior Blog, Swoon Worthy

by Jul 17, 2017

Take a look on Swoon Worthy and it’s clear to see that inspiration can be found on just about every page. We chat to the multi-award-winning interior design blogger Kimberly Duran about creativity, homeware obsessions and turning a hobby into a business. She also gives us a few top tips when decorating at home.

Swoon Worthy was created in 2010 from an obsession for interiors – not only this, but Kimberly and partner Wayne had just bought an Edwardian home in Manchester to do up and it was here that they discovered a love for DIY and home improvement. Following this Kimberly was lucky enough to turn this passion into a full-time career as a freelance writer and consultant for retail websites.

Kimberly, who is originally from Pennsylvania, describes her style as ‘Eclectic Boho Glam’ which features heavily on the site, along with a sprinkling of gold, lots of leopard print and dark contrasting colour palettes. This style and quirky creative has led to Kimberly being featured in a number of worldwide magazines whilst winning numerous awards such as the Blogger’s Choice Award at the Amara Interior Blog Awards (2016) and the award for Most Creative Project at the Callwey Best of Interior Blog Awards (2015).

Together with Wayne, Meisha, Pablo and Quito (the couple’s two cats and Sheltie), Kimberly has gone from strength to strength. We wanted to dig deeper into the background behind the brand, get some inspiration and gain insight into the team behind the Swoon Worthy site.

Tell us a bit about yourself – Have you always had a keen interest in interior design? How many cats would you have if you were allowed to go crazy cat lady and what’s your favourite pastime?

I remember my mother had a huge coffee table book from Better Homes and Gardens (an interiors magazine that’s still popular in the US today) when I was a child. I was probably 4 or 5. I absolutely loved that book. I used to look through it all the time until the pages became battered and were falling out. I also remember I received some money for some reason – a birthday perhaps – and spending it on redecorating my bedroom rather than on clothes or going out when I was around 14. I used to help my mom redecorate all the time too which I enjoyed. I’ve always been creative and always had creative hobbies so I think it’s just something that’s been with me for a long time.

As for cats – oh my goodness. I think if my home was big enough and I could get away with it, I’d probably have about 5! Haha! Ya know how people get broody when they see babies? I get broody when I see kittens.

Aside from redecorating which is probably my favourite thing to do, I am currently obsessed with makeup. I waste far too much time watching YouTube videos of makeup artists. There’s a lot of incredible artistry involved and it fascinates me. I therefore spend far too much money on beauty products! It’s a relaxation thing for me though – I like taking a little time out for me.

How did you turn a hobby into a business with Swoon Worthy?

When I first started blogging it was 2010 and it wasn’t really seen as a career as it is today. So I think it was a good 2-3 years before I even considered it was an opportunity for me to work for myself. Once I did decide to make a go of it, it was a bit like having two full time jobs. I had a job during the day and then every evening and weekend was spent on building my blog. I had absolutely no social life for quite a while!

I did that for about a year and a half and then when I had built up enough freelance work (I write for business blogs and do consultancy on the side), I went part time in my job which allowed me to build up more freelance work to the point where I was able to quit my job. I think it’s important to not be solely reliant on your blog and things like sponsored posts to support yourself – especially at first. Having a side hustle is a good idea.

Every home has a creative story, what’s yours?

A DIY-obsessed Mancunian boy and a Interiors-obsessed American girl who live at opposite ends of the country fall in love. Girl moves up North with boy and his two cats. Girl and Boy decide to combine their respective talents and buy a house together. They fall in love with the house and lavish their attention upon it to create a home. They then adopt more fur babies and live happily ever after.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Because I spend so much time online, obviously I keep an eye on what’s happening in the interior design world. So other designers and bloggers play a role in terms of my inspiration. Instagram and Pinterest are great when you are feeling uninspired as well because there’s just so much creativity shared. I also find travel hugely inspiring – from hotels and restaurants to exploring other cultures. I always feel very inspired when I return from any trip.

Do you think your American heritage has influenced your interior style?

Definitely. It’s strange that I’ve not lived in the US for over 15 years and yet there are still things about the American style of design that appeals to me. It’s a bit bolder and a bit more ‘out there’ than what we see here at times and so I end up finding ways to interpret that style with a bit of an English twist. It ends up resulting in something very unique so I quite like that I have two different cultures influencing my style. It’s a bit of a mish-mash of both!

For all the new home owners out there, where’s the best place to start when decorating your home?

I’d always choose one room to start with – somewhere that will be your sanctuary when building work is happening in other areas of the house and do that space first. So perhaps a living room that’s closed off to the rest of the house or a bedroom. It’s just important to keep your spirits up, especially when there’s a lot of remodelling going on because living on a construction site is never fun. The whole house is affected so having one space that you can complete quickly and easily that allows you to escape all the chaos and just relax is so important to your sanity!

What are the biggest up and coming design trends and how should we be using them in our interior spaces?

Green is the new indigo and nature-inspired products are two big trends right now. So fill your home with house plants (and if you don’t have a green thumb, go faux) and consider bringing the outdoors in. Materials like marble, natural wood, stone and hand-thrown ceramics look gorgeous and if you want to throw a little luxe and glamour in the mix, go for brass and gold accents.

Give us the big do’s and don’ts when it comes to interior design:

Do add a touch of black to every room, do bring your own personality into a space, do mix and match items from different eras in your home to keep it from looking dated and always buy what you love.

Don’t hang your artwork too high, don’t choose small ceiling lights, don’t have curtains that stop before they hit the floor and don’t buy a full matching set of furniture!

We are OBSESSED with plants. What advice would you give to styling with interior plants and keeping them alive?

I’m obsessed with plants myself! In terms of keeping them alive, do your research first and find out what a plant likes in terms of light and water before bringing it into your home. Over-watering is probably the biggest reason plants die so be careful not to be giving your plants too much.

In terms of styling, the world is your oyster really. I like hanging plants in unexpected places like the tops of my kitchen cupboards or on top of a wardrobe to draw the eye up. And I also like the look of really large plants like Kentia Palms or Fiddle Leaf Fig trees to give a room some height. When you are grouping lots of plants together, consider the shape and style of the leaves of each. You want different kinds to contrast against each other – it makes for the most interesting arrangements.

What are your top 5 interior tips for creating a cosy home?

  • Lots of texture is so important so pile on things like cushions, throws and area rugs to warm up a space. I love faux fur and fabrics like velvet – they are so luxe and cosy.
  • Bring in your personality with objects that tell the story of you. So your passions can be reflected in all kinds of ways, from skateboards hung in the hallways to ‘decorate’ the walls to tomes of books on languages or your favourite places to travel on your coffee table to a collection of your favourite artists’ work on your walls.
  • Consider using darker colours on the walls for those rooms that get low light or that you only use in the evening. It’s a big trend right now but it creates such a lovely cocooning effect in a space.
  • Plants add so much to a home and bring in life, texture and colour into any room.
  • Don’t forget about your lighting. Use dimmers on any main lights and dot around floor, table and wall lamps throughout. Candles will also add atmosphere, adding to a cosy look in the evenings when you just want to wind down.

Let us into your little black book with a few of your favourite sites for decorating and home furnishings:

MiaFleur, Rockett St George, West Elm, Trouva, Etsy and Ebay are all my go-to places to find interesting items. I’m also loving French brands Maison Du Monde and La Redoute lately. The latest collections at Marks & Spencer are pretty great too.

And finally… Your background in digital media has clearly aided you to get the idea to where it stands today. What tips would you give bloggers looking to make their personal sites into a business?

It’s going to take time. I think there’s a myth perpetuated that if you start a blog these days, companies are going to be throwing free stuff at you immediately. The truth is, it takes years of hard work and building your skill set across a lot of different mediums. You have to be a photographer, a writer, your own marketing expert, a social media expert, promoter, negotiator, designer – the list goes on! Also, nothing is really free. Everything you receive from any company will mean a lot of work goes on behind that and of course, the company will have an expectation that the post will lead to traffic or sales. So you need to build relationships with your audience, with the blogging community as well as with brands and PRs. Get your head down, work hard, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing and create a space on the web and across your social media channels that people want to spend time in. It takes time and dedication but it can be incredibly satisfying.

With thanks to Kimberly.

Visit Swoon Worthy here for bundles of inspiration and lots of interior ideas. Check out Kimberly on Instagram here.

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