THE LOWDOWN ON MY INSTALLATION AT HABITAT'S FLAGSHIP STORE

sarah akwisombe interiors

Last week I launched my installation at Habitat's Tottenham Court Road. Considering it was just over 2 years ago that I got 'let go' from my full time office job, I can't quite believe it. When I was questioning whether I was any good at interiors or if I should just go and get another job I would have never thought that in such a short space of time something like this could happen. I thought I'd talk you through how the collaboration came about and show you a little bit of behind the scenes of the installation!

sarah akwisombe habitat

When stuff like this happens, from the outside it can just seem like a lucky break.

I mean, of course people aren't seeing the many hours put in on the laptop until 11pm every night or the stress and pressure that working for yourself and trying to create something amazing brings.

becoming an interior stylist

Ultimately I'm my own biggest critic and whilst I don't doubt my own work I will put the pressure on myself to work harder and do more. People often ask me how I 'do so much' and basically, it's because I don't stop. I don't rest on my laurels. I make sacrifices of social things or watching fun stuff on tv to crack on and get the work done. The people who ask me these kinda questions often don't wanna make those sacrifices. That's not me saying I'm better than them or in any way more deserving, it's just different priorities innit. Sometimes I wish my priorities were watching cool tv shows and relaxing! I might have less headaches and be a nicer, less stressed person! Anyway.. getting off topic. 

sarah akwisombe

I've worked with Habitat on and off for a couple of years now.

Funny story - I actually got asked to style Henry Holland's house for some shots for their website earlier in the year.

It was an amazing role, not only did I get to meet Henry and style his house (style icon much?!) but it was probably my most credible work to date. I was so ill on the day we shot. I had the worst flu of my life but I cracked on. 

A few weeks later, the shots came out. Except my shots weren't included.

For various reasons the shots that team took that day didn't make the cut. I was gutted!

Luckily for me, I've faced this kind of build up and then disappointment many times over in my career, from music days to interiors and running my own business. So even though I was gutted, it was fine. I was over it within a day. It's never anything personal, it's just business stuff and it happens. There are so many factors that go into getting things right for a business and if one slight thing is off then sometimes you have to start all over again. It's not worth being disappointed, it's just how it is. 

Fast forward a few months and I got a little email asking if I'd fancy doing an installation at the TCR store. Ummmmm... hello?! OF COURSE I BLOODY WELL WOULD! 

I was tasked with creating a 'microhabitat'.

Here are a few of the slides from the scheme I presented. 

I was asked to create a tiny, studio apartment type space that would suit a young creative living in London. Right up my street! This was part of their Flexible Living project and had to include lots of nifty space saving pieces and clever ways to make a small space looks frickin' awesome. 

sarah akwisombe interiors

We didn't have much time. 

Within two weeks the space had been designed, installed and launched. We had such a tight turnaround so some of the finishes I was hoping to achieve couldn't quite be managed in time. I also had to create the scheme, pick all products and furniture and then tell the Habitat team what kind of lifestyle props I wanted and then leave it in their capable hands. It was actually really refreshing to NOT have time to fuss over every detail. I think I work better that way - less time to fret over decisions and you just have to make it the best it can be in the allocated time.

It's the perfect exercise for me as my business and brand grows and I have to relinquish more and more responsibilities. 

sarah akwisombe blogger

I turned up on the day of installation to dress the space, shoot imagery and film a video. I think we got it all done by 1pm. Not bad! The team at Habitat made things a breeze. The lovely Amy who is the Visual Merchandiser for the store had picked out some fabulous props including T shirts and caps from streetwear brand Fischer, and Evan basically took over all the lifting and drilling on the day so I didn't have to do any of the hard stuff! The neon signs were supplied by the fabulous Bag&Bones who had just happened to get in touch a few days before I started the project. Talk about the universe bringing things together!

It went so smoothly and was done before I knew it.

sarah akwisombe

A week later it was launched to a small group of my fave bloggers and opened to the public with an online page on the Habitat website. I absolutely love the space that I've created. It's such a perfect little haven.

Oh and I wrote an article about small space living which then got onto the Stylist magazine website!

So many highs in such a short period of time! You can view the piece here

sarah akwisombe stylist magazine

Anyway, you can see more of the space over on the Habitat page. Plus there's a video over there with my top tips for small space living. 

Here are some more shots of the space!

sarah akwisombe habitat
mymicrohabitat at habitat

If you're interested in the process of the design and installation, check out my little behind the scenes vid below! 

Other than showing you what's probably been my biggest career moment to date I just wanted to show you that not every down moment has to be lingered upon. Perhaps the Henry Holland job was just opening up a space for this bigger, even more career defining opportunity?! 

Don't dwell on the disappointments. Something else is always around the corner!

S x

***P.S if you head down to the Tottenham Court Road Habitat store you can win £250 in vouchers by snapping a pic of the microhabitat and then sharing it on instagram or twitter using the hashtag #mymicrohabitat! I'll be picking a winner in the coming weeks :)***