By Christine Onwuachumba
Sixth sense decor creative director,Temitope Olagbegi’s work adorns the homes of some of the Nigeria’s wealthiest people. Every fixture, every finish, every decoration positioned inside a Sixth sense-detailed home comes with elegance attached. Olagbegi’s network of high-net-worth clients–or, perhaps more aptly, collaborators–love her for putting them through their paces.
Stoking a passion for covering empty spaces to wonderlands,she began her own interior firm and a desire to spread that passion to her clients by transforming their homes and public facilities to an exotic world.With a client roster that reads like the society pages–and a busy work ethic, Maybe the rarest gift of all: As many clients attest is that Olagbegi seems to be refreshingly free of ego.Saturday Sun spoke to her in her office at Lekki,Lagos;
What comes to your mind when you enter a room?
Two things come to my mind. The first is what an amazing job this is and I draw some inspiration from it or there is a lot that could happen here. Those are the two things. It is either I’m impressed or there is more than can happen in this space.
Where is the most important part of the home?
There is no really an important part per se. Every part of the home has its own function and that is actually why they exist. Most women would say their kitchen. Most men would say their libraries or study,the children will probably say it is the upper living room where they can watch TV or their play areas, so it is really relative, different to different people, for me the bedroom is extremely important because that is where you wake up, that is where you get your inspiration, that is where you do your thinking, so I think the bedroom is, for me the bedroom is very important, that is where you draw your inspiration, that is where you get to think, you get to pray, you communicate with God, that is where those who are married makes things happen. It is a personal space.
As an interior decorator, where is the most important space?
The typical Nigerian will say it ís the living room and I used the word typical because Nigerians are well -show- offs…and so the answer a lot of people want to hear is that the living room is the most important part of the home, and in a sense you might want to agree that it is important because it is a space that speaks about who you are as a person. If you enter a person’s living room, you can tell if the person travels, you can tell the person’s passion, the person’s taste, you can tell the person’s aesthetic appreciation. Here is so much you can tell from walking into a person’s personal space. And so I’d say that the living room is also one of the most important areas. There is so much of yourself that you cannot divulge by conversation but there is so much more that can be seen when you stay in a person’s space.
It is said that clutter brings bad vibes …is it true?
Clutter is unnecessary stuff. Clutter is unnecessary things that should be disposed of and anything that should be disposed and is kept is toxic. Not chemically toxic, but clutter disallows the brain from functioning properly. Clutter makes a person disorganised, the focus is not on someone being untidy, but what comes out of untidiness is disorganisation, a disorganised person is perpetually late, a disorganised person is ever looking for one thing or the other, almost like sabotaging yourself.You want something, you can’t find it, you start over again and so a apace should be constantly de-cluttered for it to breathe, it should be de-cluttered so that unwanted stuff is taken away, things that have not been used in months should be given out while they are still in good conditions, because the more we pile things, the more they deteriorate, the more they look over-worn and they experience wear and tears with the years.
What is the colour in vogue now for both interior and exterior of homes?
That is such a dynamic space in interior design,in some part of the world because of their weather condition, there is the autumn colour, the winter colour, there is the spring colour. In Nigeria, we don’t have that liberty ,we pretty much go with what we like. Teal , Aqua is one of the colours that a lot of Nigerians have taken a liking to. Red is actually another colour that Nigerians have taken a big liking to. The combination of the black, silver and a touch of red is quite stylish and it is one that you see more and more, especially the young, youthful Nigerians are adopting it now.
What is the current trend in interior decor?
What is trending now in decor is the classics ,they seem to be coming back.It is done with the contemporary so Nigerians are tilting towards ornate classic-looking furniture, that is what is in. Before now, we used to think that the classics is more for our parents, but you see young people embracing classic just that the fabric will be little more playful.
Interior decor, what are the basic principles?
One of the principles of decor is balance, and balance has to do with even visual distribution of your elements, across a table for instance you want to evenly distribute the weight of the items so that one side of the table doesn’t look heavier than the other part of the table.One part of the room doesn’t look visually heavier than another side of the room, that is what balance is about.
I would also say rhythm,it is the flow from one area of a given space to the next and rhythm has to do with an intentional furnishing ,not to be disconnect from one space, if you go into a house or home for instance, it should be that there is something that resonates with the next room, there should be like a common denominator in terms of, it could the colour, it could be the accent, it could be style, there has to be something that pretty much ties the next room to the other.
Proportion is another principle. Proportion has to do with the ratio of one side of an object to the next, that is sitting next to it, it is expected that when you have a large side, you will use large spaces of furniture. If one uses many furniture pieces, you then realise that something is wrong, and basically what is wrong is that the proportions are not right. So proportion has to do with the size of one object to another. Proportion is a comparison in terms of size. Emphasis, focal point is another principle and is actually a principle that a lot of Nigerians have come to know, your emphasis, your focal point is that one point in a space that draws the most attention and for some people it could be, if you are going by what is called the 60/30/10 rule, it means that 60 percent of your decor is your walls, your wall space and that includes your wall colour , your window treatment, so those are like major factors.If you want to do a focus, wall is a good focus because it is clearly going to draw a lot of attention or the window treatment will draw attention. The 30 percent is furniture pieces and the 10percent is in terms of your accessories and your accent,where a lot of people get it mixed is where they are not evenly distributing their colours or the styles across these three parts of design, understanding that because the 60percent is your walls , a lot of attention is going in that area .Critical attention should be paid there,that is-not doing too much and not doing too little.
For someone aspiring to take your career path, what are the basic education, professional training the person has to go through?
It is said a decorator, either can come naturally, or it can come with experience or it comes with training. Mine is innate, it comes natural to me, but it needs to be fine tuned with training. I will say to aspiring designers that even though you have an affinity for design, and a natural aptitude for designing space or putting things together, it needs to be honed and it needs to be fine-tuned and it is important to understand that there are fundamental principles that go with everything. I always like to add skill to whatever it is one does because there are best practices, people have done this in the past and rather than make mistakes that are unnecessary why not get schooled and become abreast with what is obtainable out there and so skill is very important, acquiring the skill through training. Experience is also fantastic because the more one does a particular thing over and over again ,the better one gets at it and the better one gets at it ,the better the output become.I got a diploma from Sheffield School of Interior design and then went on to get an Advanced Diploma from the Ivy Design School in Bathspa , UK.
The western world have this affinity to spend million of dollars in a single piece of art work,as a top decorator,can you say nigerians have acquired this taste too?
Nigerians have always loved art. The discerning Nigerians knows good artwork. Artists are thriving because there are some people who have understood that good artwork is an investment. And so you have people putting millions of naira on their walls and then unbeknown to anybody who is not discerning, it looks like just ordinary artwork but it has got tremendous second hand value even in the Nigerian market and so the people who have the affinity to buy good art are not buying for the sake of it, it is also an investment. So it is a beauty to behold and it is a way to invest money.
The future of sixth sense.
Sixth Sense has an interior decorating academy, pretty much what we want to do is to help people who have decided that interior design is what they want to do with their lives. We have started the academy and the whole point is to empower young people and empowerment in things that they love to do so it doesn’t seem like work because they enjoy it and they have natural flair for it, that is what we are up to now and I guess that is new in Nigeria