Monday, April 14, 2014

Another Book On The Way

I'm so happy to say that with the success of Modern Rustic, I've been given the opportunity to write another book. The next one is an idea I had when I was making the first book, so when my publisher RPS approached me I knew exactly what it should be. I've been keeping it a secret for a while which is so hard! I'm not going to say what the title is until it comes out next Spring, but I'm really excited about it and it's going to be so much fun to make! 

I was in The Netherlands last week, shooting an amazing home for the book, with photographer Katya de Grunwald. Great name right? Check out her portfolio - she's so good. She's shot for Anthropologie, World of Interiors, Elle Decoration, and Martha Stewart Living to name a few. Sadly, Cath Gratwicke, the photographer for Modern Rustic couldn't do the next book, but I know Katya is going to do an amazing job and we get along really well which is a plus when we have to travel so much together. 

I'm thinking I need to have a pet section in the next one because every home I go to has the sweetest dogs and cats, who always seem to perfectly fit their interiors! Check out Lou Lou, a very clever and sweet Labradoodle who just wanted to play while we worked at this house near Amsterdam.

For more of my travels for the book and for my new job at Anthropologie, follow along on twitter or instagram. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Icelandic Magazine, Home

Today I wanted to share with you a few photos of my house that are featured in the new issue of an Icelandic magazine called Home. I was approached by them because of my book and they did a little interview to accompany the photos. (God knows how well it translated!) I'm never sure about having my house featured these days because it's not really the way I want it to look. It's just a mish-mash of bits I've picked up (ahem, on the street...) since we moved back to London and I am my own worst critic, of course. My style has changed in the past few years and I don't think my home is an accurate reflection of it. But oh well, that's life right? Most of us can't just go out and get everything we want when we want it right? And there are definitely more important things in life to worry about. So I present to you, my mish-mash, jumble of a rented home!

(Remember the story of this bed...?)

The room with the blue wall is technically the dining room and is connected to the one with the red butterfly cabinet and sofa. A lot of old Victorian terraced houses in London have the same set up: two rooms that were once divided by a wall, but are now one big room. As a result there are two doors that go from the hallway into this room. As much as it feels so, so wrong, we did what many people do and blocked one of the doors. If you don't, it makes it really hard to place a sofa!

Photography by the lovely Sarah Hogan.
For the full story and more photos, click here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Reunited + It Feels So Good (Did I Really Just Say That?)

It's been an interesting start to the year. LOTS has happened. I'm not going to lie, January was really hard. It's often a difficult month for freelancers, with work being kind of slow. February got a little better with a few interesting projects on the horizon. Now I've made it to March and I think it's going to be flippin' amazing!

Last week I styled my last photo shoot for the next six months...

...because I was offered a six month job by Anthropologie Europe, overseeing the visuals/display/merchandising in all their UK stores. So exciting! I'll be working with the 3 x London, 1x Guildford, and 1 x Edinburgh stores, as well as helping to open new ones (Bath, coming in May!) I actually didn't go after the job and it wasn't a direction I pictured myself taking. The head of Anthro Europe heard about me after Yolly and I did our workshop/book launch at their King's Road store, and she got in touch regarding the position.

I worked for Anthropologie years ago as a display artist in their Pasadena, California store. Click here to see some of my display work. I often forgot to take photos of the displays, so sadly I don't have too many. It was also before I became a stylist so the photos are pretty awful! One of my favourites is the one above, simply because it embodies the essence of 'creativity before consumption' so well. We had no display budget left, and we had this beautiful, expensive found furniture piece on the floor that no-one seemed to want to spend $9,000 on (!!) I had an hour to kill with most of the big display projects already completed, so I scrounged around the art room and with some drinking straws, wire, and hot glue, I made this tiny bicycle to put inside the cabinet, to jazz it up a bit. It was a miniature version of a large display we had in the window at the time and I really loved it.

I'm really looking forward to putting my Anthro hat back on and getting stuck in!

(P.S. Did I mention I'm doing another book.....?)

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Don't Do Manicures

I love the whole manicure/pedicure thing, but the truth is I usually scuff up my nails before I've even paid and left the salon. You know that moment when you reach for your credit card and scrape your pinkie on your purse zipper? Yeah that's me, every time.

But all of this week I'm working on that coffee shoot again and the client asked both me and the food stylist to get our nails done so we can double as hand models. I'm not complaining. No way. There are much worse things to be doing on a Sunday afternoon than having my hands pampered at someone else's expense. But as I type this, I am wearing rubber gloves. That's all I'm saying. 

Clumsiness is an illness and I've got it bad. (I also really need to do something about these dark circles under my eyes...)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Styling Can Be So Glamorous...

For all those sweet young girls who email me asking how to become a stylist, I say this: be prepared to do weird things. Like put on both the photographer's shirt and his assistant's t-shirt, tuck a piece of linen into your neckline like a gigantic bib and hold very still and at just the right angle a takeaway box with hot coffee, perfectly foamed by the food stylist.Then, when it's decided that the linen can be seen in the shot, an embarrassed assistant will stand by your bum and hold up the fabric for about 20 minutes while the perfect shot is captured. Pretty awkward. If you think you can do that with a smile on your face, then you'll be fine.

Next time you see a close up picture of a coffee and a muffin at your local coffee chain, picture this scene and remember that things are not always what they seem in the land of photography and styling.

Photo courtesy of photographer Dan Duchars' Instagram.

Friday, January 31, 2014

My Video Debut On Ikea Family Live

Don't you just hate when people put you on the spot? Like, "Hey you don't mind babysitting for me on Friday night do you?" or "Can I borrow those Manolo Blahnik's, the ones you just got?" or "You don't mind doing a little video do you? For IKEA..."

The lovely IKEA Family Live team did just that when we were in Budapest late last year to style a home. It was hot, I was sweating and wearing not very attractive shorts, my hair was tied back and I had no make-up on. AND I don't necessarily love being on camera (although I'm getting better at it), even a harmless little iPhone one. But when IKEA asks, you really don't say no.

Weird and cool to see my big old face on the IKEA Family Live page though, even if it is really freckly. (I always forget how damn freckled I am until I see photos). Click over to see what I'm going on about.

Disclaimer: I am of course totally joking. I didn't hate it at all. It is a huge honour to be included on the IKEA Live website. I just wish I'd done my hair and makeup.

Second disclaimer: I do not own a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes for anyone to borrow. I prefer to pay my rent and feed my children. But perhaps when they've left home.....

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Styling Workshop

For the past couple of years I've been thinking about teaching some styling workshops. Every week I get emails from young women asking for advice on how to be a stylist or if I ever need an assistant or intern. It's actually really flattering because it doesn't feel like that long ago when I was doing the same. I once wrote to stylist Selina Lake after I bought her book Bazaar Style. I was in LA, she was in London. It made no sense. But I emailed her anyway (She never wrote back, but I forgive her). Now I have my own book by the same publisher as hers - pretty mind-boggling! 

Anyway, I always write back to the sweet emails, but the truth is I only need so many shoot assistants. But it got me thinking - what if I held some workshops where I could teach whole groups of budding stylists the tricks of the trade? Or perhaps you're not interested in being a professional stylist but you want some tips to use at home. A couple of Christmases ago, I gave a series of decorating talks for the Country Living Fair and I was a nervous wreck. But this past Christmas, hosting the wreath workshop with Yolly at Anthropologie was a different story. It made me realise how much I enjoy sharing and teaching ideas, particularly in a laid back, casual, and fun environment. (Check out the video here).

So...if you or anyone you know is interested in a London-based day long workshop at a fab location house with lots of props to play with, send me an email (click here for email address). I'm thinking about a weekend in late March for the first one, so sign up now. If there's enough interest, I'll send you more details regarding cost/schedule/location.

One of the topics we might talk about: When to keep going and when to leave it alone. The four images here are a great example of one interiors set and its many tweaks. The first shot is perfectly fine, but it's when you keep going that the magic can happen. (It's a bit like that game "Spot the difference" isn't it? I used to LOVE those!)

Photography by Sarah Hogan.
Styling by me for Amy Sia.