Special project

Sian Rowlands

18 Jun 2014

Jebel Ali Gardens

Sian is justifiably proud of the beautiful interiors she has managed to pull off in her two-bedroom apartment, despite working to a tight budget. Her home perfectly encapsulates her personality and lets visitors get a glimpse into her personal journey through life. “I have gathered influences from my home country [England] as well as from countries I have visited, like China, Thailand and the States,” she says.

Rowlands, co-founder of website My Ex Wardrobe and a freelance interior designer, used her artistic skill and vivid imagination to personalise pieces to ensure even the most plain Ikea-bought item has been brought to life and made bespoke. “I have a place full of character, put together from the most mainstream home furnishing store in the world. It’s always been in my nature to look at something and adapt it to inspire something else,” she explains. “I use Pinterest a lot with work, and there are loads of great DIY ideas on there.” On entering her home, the eye is immediately drawn to one of Sian’s labours of love – a customised Ikea coffee table covered in cut-outs from back issues of Quint Magazine. “It was a project a friend and I worked on for a few days and was loads of fun,” she enthuses.

Trawling through flea markets, Sian has unearthed some spectacular finds – Alphonse Mucha framed prints, graffiti art from London, the start of a camera collection and a set of old keys that has been transformed into a piece of art. And this budget-conscious style siren’s biggest extravagance? “My artwork. The biggest is a commissioned Marilyn Monroe piece that my friend Jennifer Stelco created just for me.”  

You won’t find muted, minimalist shades at Rowlands’ abode, as her home is a riot of colour, illustrating her confidence in using an expanded palette. “I particularly like bright colours and, while I always admire clean, white spaces, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in somewhere like that. My personality has lots of little eccentricities and I think that is reflected in my space.”

Top Tips
● Don’t be afraid to use bright colours. Too many dark tones will extinguish incoming sunlight in the daytime.
● Don’t be constrained by trends or defined by particular styles. You want to create your home, rather than just a pretty house.