Neelam & Her Style
Ever since Neelam Gurm was young, she enjoyed decorating and rearranging furniture throughout her home. As she got older, this interest in interior decorating continued to grow and now she's a professional interior designer and shares her insight and designs with the world through her blog, Patterns and Prosecco. She is not afraid of a little color in design, and in her wardrobe, and she has somewhat of a controversial take on vintage items. While she believes that every space should have a vintage element, she is not opposed to updating or giving new life to vintage pieces with a coat of paint. Before you judge her opinion on painting vintage pieces, take a look at this tour of her gorgeous living room and office, which is sure to make you understand what she means. Find out more about Neelam and check out her beautiful space below.
First things first. Tell us how you got into the interior design world! What sparked your interest in this creative field?
When people ask how long I’ve been styling interiors, I usually say for as long as I can remember! I’m not entirely sure what sparked the interest, I’ve just always loved it. As a child, I always decorated and re-decorated my room. My parents humored me by allowing me to rearrange the furniture and accessories throughout the house when inspiration struck. At college, my dorm room was an embarrassingly coordinated and decorated space. And while I’ve continued to dabble in interior design into adulthood, I actually studied to be a pharmacist. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started blogging about projects I was doing my around my own place, which transitioned into helping friends with their spaces. I finally took the leap last year and starting taking on projects professionally—beyond family and friends.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to add DIY touches to their home?
Give yourself plenty of time—more than you think you’ll need! I’m notorious for underestimating how long a project will take to complete, which often results in undue stress or a rushed job. I’ve learned to err on the side of caution and carve out plenty of time.
You have a bit of an “unconventional” take on vintage pieces, as you put it. Can you share more about that?
I think I meant to say I have a controversial take on vintage. I love it and think every space should have a vintage element, but I’m not opposed to updating or giving new life to vintage pieces. I know this can be a heated topic, but sometimes a coat of paint is just what a vintage piece needs to tie it into a space. My vintage cane chairs are a perfect example of this. Having an open mind when shopping for vintage pieces makes them more accessible and versatile as well.
We’re obsessed with the floral accent wall in your dining area. Do you have tips on how to balance bold patterns like that with the rest of your space?
The key to balancing a bold pattern like that is to keep the furnishings streamlined and everything in the same color palette. When choosing the flower decals for the mural, I was intentional in choosing blues, purples and gold. I’ve used those same colors in the living room, which ties the two spaces together without being overwhelming. The accent fabric in the living room is a soft floral pattern in the same tones, which creates a cohesive look, without competing with the mural.
What home designers are you living for right now?
There are so many! I’ll start with fellow Canadian designers, Christine Dovey and Sophie Burke. Christine is a master at pairing whimsical elements with traditional pieces and the most amazing art. Her spaces are the kind that start a conversation and keep it going well into the evening. Sophie’s designs personify West Coast living in Canada—effortless, natural and soothing. Her spaces are the kind I’d like to run away to for the weekend. South of the border, I adore Amber Lewis. Her spaces are tactile and rich in detail. I love the way she mixes textiles—masterful.
What do you love most about your neighborhood? Any hidden gems we should know about?
I love my neighborhood so much. It’s in an older part of the city, minutes from downtown and filled with beautiful mature trees. It’s quite a young and vibrant community so there are plenty of coffee shops, markets and places to grab dinner and a bottle of wine on the way home. What I love most though, is that you can do all your errands on foot. Something of a rarity in Calgary, which is a city that loves to sprawl. One of my favorite spots is Distilled Beauty Bar & Social House—think café meets beauty parlor. It’s the most beautifully designed space, with the best natural light and coffee. While I’m usually there working, every so often I’ll treat myself to a treatment. Another favorite is Wild About Flowers, the neighborhood flower shop. It always has an amazing selection of flowers and brings my vision to life. Whether I’m styling cocktails or a nursery, it hits the mark every time.
What are the three items you always have in your fridge?
A bottle of prosecco, butter and coffee!
Can you paint us a picture of a day in your life? What's a typical day like for you?
No two days are the same in my world! The one consistency is an early morning workout—everything just seems to flow better when I get a workout in. From there, I could be meeting with a client to discuss a space I’m working on for them; sourcing fabrics, furniture and finishes; meeting my photographer to shoot a space I’ve completed or content for the blog; or my favorite, writing while enjoying an afternoon latte in a coffee shop (this doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like though!). I still moonlight as a pharmacist, which can make for a hectic schedule sometimes, but I’ve learned that I do better when my days are full and varied. I try to keep most evenings free to catch a yoga class, connect with friends at the newest restaurant in the city or Netflix and chill, as the kids say!
Your home is so bright and fresh with beautiful pops of color. Do you apply that to your fashion style as well?
I do! I’m not afraid of color in my wardrobe. I often think sticking to neutrals would make getting dressed so much easier, but I can’t seem to do it. I love adding color and pattern in blouses, sweaters and dresses. If I’m dressed in black or navy, I’ll add a pop with accessories. I think it’s because of my East Indian heritage, we live for color and bling!
What one item in your home puts a 'flash of delight' in your life, and why?
There are so many, but I have to say the vintage baroque mirror above the sofa. It was an amazing find and I just adore it. I know it’s not for everyone, perhaps a bit over the top, but that’s what I love about it.