Between the affordable homes debate and the proposed extension of Right to Buy, housing associations are hot stuff right now. This upsurge in demand has benefited one interior design firm in particular, Oasis Interior Design, which is unusual as a company that chooses to work predominantly with housing associations to help them market their new homes.
“They always seemed to get the raw deal and their apartments didn’t have the attention spent on them that the private clients did,” says co-founder Rachel Best. “We felt that they were still spending good money but designers simply weren’t chasing their business.”
Oasis specialises in creating attractive but accessible designs for buyers with limited funds. This poses a unique set of challenges because they have to create an impressive showroom on a much smaller budget and with a very specific picture of who the buyer will be, as housing associations often have limits on household income, age range and locality. “We still try to make the show apartment aspirational, but also achievable, so people can go in and think ‘I could do this’. It’s always a challenge to still get that special show home feel with a lower budget.”
The show apartment at Rathbone Market in Canning Town, east London, is a model example. Best’s team has gone for a monochrome design that’s non-gender specific to give it an achievable but upmarket feel. Statement furniture bought from the high street, such as the hanging chair in the living room, keeps things modern and appealing to a young market.