Sunday, February 15, 2015

Portfolio Update a.k.a. Sensory Overload

I spent a bit of time this morning updating my styling portfolio, since it's been a while. As I browsed through my images I realised that for someone who doesn't like colour or pattern, my work would be a major assault on the senses. Look at it! It's a neat freak, monochrome lover's worst nightmare. Well I never said I was a minimalist did I? Click here for the full collection of headache inducing images and don't forget to wear your sunnies.





I'm off to Paris again this afternoon for my job with Anthropologie, hence the Sunday blog post. Everyone keeps saying to me "you're so lucky" because I've been there so much recently. Lest you imagine I'm strolling the Seine and relaxing at cafes, let me enlighten you. I'll be working 12 hour days, getting covered in paint and dust, running around looking for the right tools, and saying the phrase "Je suis desole, mais je ne parle pas Francais" about a thousand times a day to customers who think I work in the shop. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter to see what I get up to while I'm there.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Bohemian Modern has arrived!




2014 is over and despite feeling like I was going to lose my mind, I've come out the other side relatively unscathed. If you count being partly bald and having a serious teeth grinding problem unscathed (ignore the toupee and mouth guard if you run into me, ok?)

But seriously, 2014 was a pretty nutty and stressful year for me. In March I said yes to both a new book deal and a new job. I thought I could somehow do a quite challenging full-time job for Anthropologie at the exact same time as travelling Europe to make this book and oh yeah, be a mum to a teen and pre-teen. Add to the mix the death of my dad in March, and you've got a pretty intense month, followed by an equally intense year.

But here we are in February 2015, almost a year later and I didn't get fired from Anthropologie (in fact, they extended my contract to work on another project for a few more months), my publisher just sent me a fat stack of books that I'm really proud of, my kids are still talking to me, and my husband hasn't left me, despite me being a pretty unpleasant person to be around for the past year. So I think it was worth it. 

Bohemian Modern has so much of what I love in interiors: colour, pattern, textiles, plants, originality, creativity. It's not all kilim rugs and dream catchers as you might expect from a book about bohemian interiors. I featured a number of different styles including a traditional barn on the windswept coast of Morocco, a Victorian loft in Tottenham, London, a huge converted mechanics garage near Amsterdam, and a grand town house in Ghent, Belgium. All very different from each other, all unique, and all occupied by creative rule breakers, doing interiors their own way.

I really hope you enjoy it. I'd love to hear your feedback. If you do choose to buy it, I encourage you to support your local bookshop. I love Amazon as much as the next person, but I really love having a small quirky bookstore in town, so let's make sure we support them as well.


A sneak peek of a few of my favourite spreads. If I had the energy I'd style these shots up all nicely just for you, but I'm afraid I haven't got it in me today.







And my house below, including the sofa where I currently sit. The real world styling of the sofa upon which I am now sprawled features the little photographed hot water bottle/ pajamas/piles of papers/used coffee cups scene. Oh sorry, did you picture me sitting here typing in leather jeans and red lipstick?






I'll be putting a link up soon so that you can order signed copies of both Modern Rustic and Bohemian Modern, but in the meantime feel free to email me if you'd like to order either one. Otherwise head to any good bookstore to get your copy. And thank you!

Book photography by Katya de Grunwald. Published by Ryland, Peters & Small (RPS)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Be careful what you wish for...








I always look forward to the first few days of January as soon as the hussle of Christmas is over. If I'm not working, I have that mixed feeling of "make the most of it" and "oh god I should be working!" (Click here to be reminded of my never-ending fears of freelance life). I try my best to enjoy it and much like the rest of the planet, in early January I take some time to think about goals and dreams for the new year.

Every year I write them down and keep them in a box and each year I read what I wrote the year before. Sometimes when I come to writing it all down I get a bit overwhelmed. I'm always talking about dreaming big, not being afraid to aim high and all that, but when it comes to my own dreams, sometimes I get scared. "How dare I aspire to such big ideas?" "Who do I think I am?" "That's never going to happen". And all kinds of other negative, unhelpful thoughts, otherwise known as self-doubt.

This year I already know what I'm doing work-wise - at least for the first few months - and for that I'm grateful. I'll be continuing to work with Anthropologie Europe, consulting on the visual side of some new European store openings. I've also got a couple of shoots planned for IKEA and I have a new book coming out in February called Bohemian Modern (more on that soon). All really exciting, if a little nerve-wracking. But I still like to dream up other things - what else would I like to happen? Where do I want to travel to? What experiences do I want to have with my family?

This time last year one of the things I wrote down was that I wanted to travel a lot for work. I ended up travelling more in 2014 than any other year in my life, with at least 15 trips for my book, for Anthropologie, and with family, including Philadelphia, New York, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Marrakech, Ghent, Prague....I also wrote that I wanted go to Paris. Somehow I had gone my whole life without visiting the so-called 'City of Lights' and I felt it was time to rectify that. I ended up getting the contract with Anthropologie in March 2014 and went to Paris at least 4 or 5 times for them and also once for my anniversary. Madness, right? The phrase "Be careful what you wish for" has never felt so real...

Let's not get too excited though. I also wished for buckets of money and a flatter stomach. I guess I'll just pop those on my 2015 wish list...

I wish you all the best for 2015 and I hope you manage to make a few of your dreams come true. Thanks for your continued support over the years and for making me come back and write time and again.

Above are a few snaps from some of my travels in 2014: A rooftop bar in Paris, me walking on water in Nice, lush plants at the Anthropologie head office in Philadelphia, Parisian graffiti (everything's cooler in French), halloween in Brooklyn (baby, nerd, Wednesday), and Christmas in Nice.

(And here's what I was talking about at this time in 2013 and 2014).





Saturday, December 13, 2014

Designer Amy Sia




Back in October I had the pleasure of styling the look-book for London-based, Australian designer Amy Sia. Amy is a really talented designer who hand-paints beautiful abstract designs in watercolour, scans them into her computer and manipulates them in photoshop. The result is a vibrant blur of colour and a cool blend of hand-made and digitally altered pattern. She puts her prints on everything from iPhone covers to scarves to bedding. For this shoot I styled Amy's pillow collection, a mad riot of colour that was in stark contrast to the rough and worn finishes of the chosen location.




(Shoot photography by Jon Day)

And some behind the scenes tidbits from the very cool location in South London. My daughter Ella was my assistant for the day and clearly had a bit too much fun...




 And a rare shot of me, having a moment with the Queen. We used a small version of this same print in Amy's shoot last year, so we decided to leave her out this time around.

 And chilling in the jungle room.






Sunday, October 26, 2014

Q&A with Abigail Ahern

If you're visiting from Abigail Ahern's blog, then hi. hello. how's it going?
If you're not, then you should head over there for a little Q&A on me that she featured last week.
She's one of my favourite designers - the undisputed queen of dark and moody interiors - and I frequently pop into her shop in Islington. Apparently she likes my book which is a huge compliment, since she's written a couple herself. It's a weird thing when you discover that someone you admire admires you too. Who knew I could be someone's "current obsession"?



I'm off to New York tomorrow for a long awaited family holiday. Follow along on Instagram or Twitter if you want to see me stuffing my face with huge New York pizza slices and doing lots of shopping.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Locked In My Room



Since I've been non-blogging for so long I thought I'd better explain myself. The ugly truth is that I've been locked in my room writing a book and it aint pretty. If anyone ever told you book writing was glamorous (do they say that?) they are lying. Book writing is painful. It involves many hours of staring at a blank screen and thinking of ways to procrastinate: suddenly cleaning the scale off the bathroom taps seems like something I should really be doing; or maybe it's time to darn my socks; or colour code and alphabetise my wardrobe (anoraks, belts, cardigans...).

 Too. Much. Thinking.

 Dear God, I'm going to slash my laptop with my scissors if someone doesn't write this for me.

Maybe it's time for a drink...This can wait right?

This is where I'll be for the next month, so I doubt I'll be blogging much. I will, however, be over on Instagram and Twitter because after all, aren't they the ultimate form of mindless procrastination?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Goats In Trees

Since I last wrote I've been a very busy girl. I've managed to rent out my house in LA again (see the last post), I've helped Anthropologie open another UK store in the lovely city of Bath, and I've been to Morocco to shoot three more houses for my next book. I thought since I can't yet show you any of the houses we photographed, I'd post some of my favourite snapshots from the trip. I've never been anywhere like Morocco before and it was pretty mind-blowing. 
An incredible view in the beautiful but very windy port town of Essaouira.


  My book's photographer, Katya de Grunwald, looking stunning in the crazy warren-like streets of Marrakech, as we tried not to get lost.

 The kitchen of the little house we stayed in.

Rugs! Piles and piles and piles of them.


 After dinner all the ladies gathered along this wall in the town square of Essaouira, while children played and the wind blew in from the sea.

My pretty friend. I befriend cats wherever I go. 
 Katya shielding her lens from the glare of the sun on a rooftop. 


And the best thing ever. Goats in trees! 
At the beginning of the drive to the airport I saw camels on the beach - it was stunning - and I didn't ask the cab driver to pull over so I could take a photo. I regretted it the whole way, so when Katya spotted goats in trees, we asked the cabbie to pull a quick u-turn and we jumped out. An old man, who probably waits there all day for gullible tourists like me, thrust a kid in my arms and asked for money. She was lovely and cuddly and immediately started to eat my shirt. But the goats in trees was something else! The deal is they just can't get enough of the Argan berries that grow in Morocco (you know that Argan oil that's now a big craze in beauty products?) and you know a goat isn't afraid of heights, so up they go to get the berries! It was one of those moments when I was aware of being really lucky to see something so weird and wonderful.