Now that I’m thinking about yet another house move (see last post) the wheels have started turning regarding how I’m going to decorate. As I mentioned last time, my taste has changed a bit, calmed down I guess in the last year or so. But that doesn’t mean I like ordinary (FYI I do not like ordinary). I still love an eclectic mix, and no better place to exercise my right to mix and match than in the dining room. Whether you have a separate dining area or, like me, your kitchen does double duty, one of the most freeing realizations is that it doesn’t all have to match.
The brilliant owners of this insanely stylish home in The Netherlands – styled here by me for my second book Bohemian Modern – have got it so right. Start with a good solid table, add a petite love seat and then mix in an odd collection of dining chairs and stools. (If you have room for the love seat idea, don’t forget to check the seat height as a sofa is often lower than a dining chair. You could always plump it up with extra cushions for added height). The trio of glossy copper pendants and the concrete floors give this vintage look a more contemporary edge.
Taking inspiration from this seriously cool room, I put together a little moodboard using a mix of vintage, contemporary, wood, metallic, painted and upholstered pieces. Even though none of it technically matches – in other words, it’s not part of a set – and there aren’t multiples of any chair, the look feels unified. I’ve used a multicolored Moroccan rug to link the various colors and I’ve repeated a warm wood with the table and a couple of the chairs. I’ve never been able to resist collecting chairs – everyone has a thing right? So for me this is an excuse to indulge my impulse to buy any chair any time!
- Anthropologie pendant lights, 2. Sofa.com loveseat, 3. Tom Dixon stool, 4. Chairish dining table, 5. Chairish Paul McCobb chair, 6. Abigail Ahern faux plants, 7&8. Abigail Ahern vases, 9. Abigail Ahern votives, 10. Beldi Rugs Boucherouite kilim, 11. Chairish Captain’s chair, 12. Chairish Paul McCobb Captain’s chair.
A lot has happened over here in the last few months: I’ve worked with some great new clients, I finished my third interiors book (out in September), I sold my house in LA, and the house I’ve been renting in London is being sold so it looks like we’re on the move again…
We have a busy and probably very challenging few months ahead as we figure out where to live (we LOVE our neighbourhood but the house prices are insane). Do we buy or continue to rent? When do we move? How do I make it easy for the kids? How do I balance yet another move with work/life? It’s one of those times where I’m just keeping my chin up and facing one thing at a time, otherwise it gets a bit overwhelming!
But of course the fun part of moving is starting to think about how that new home might look. In times of worry and stress it’s always good to do a bit of positive daydreaming right? I’ve been pinning madly to my Pinterest boards, especially my secret one called something cheesy like “My new house that I will buy in 2016”. (I love a bit of intention setting, don’t you?) And what have I noticed about my pins? My taste is changing, that’s what! Perhaps in an effort to simplify my life and to streamline everything, my interiors style is also becoming more simple, less cluttered and more calming. There’s still colour, it’s just more thought out and doesn’t consist of the entire rainbow. There’s still some clutter, it’s just minimised and more restrained. And hopefully there’s still character, it’s just a little less in your face. (I’m looking back at these images now and realising that maybe calm isn’t the right word! Not sure this would be considered calming by most people…Maybe just less cluttered?)
There also seems to be a lot of pink, a fact that I love, but also irritates me a bit because wasn’t blush the ‘colour of the year’ or something? I do my best to not pay attention to that stuff, but it seems I’ve been sucked in by the trend anyway! Ugh! Anyway, here’s what I’m loving right now.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
Hello, my name is Emily and I’m a workaholic. I haven’t styled a photo shoot for 21 hours.
That’s my life in a nutshell right now. Bloody hell, what a year it’s been so far! I know it’s a cliche but really, where has the time gone? How is it May already? Between styling back to back shoots, travelling and writing for my third interiors book, and selling my house in LA (yes I’m officially staying put in my hometown of London), it’s been pretty full on. I’m definitely not complaining – I love being a stylist and I doubly love being busy – but I haven’t stopped working since January. I think last Sunday was the first full one I’ve had off in months. Usually I’m at Columbia Road flower market filling my granny trolley for a shoot or making or painting props in the studio.
Back in January I was asked by Primark to help refresh their homeware campaigns with some new art direction and styling. I partnered up with KO Productions (The KO being my old school friend Katy Offley whose company produces all of Primark’s shoots) and photographer Adrian Briscoe at a location I chose in Maida Vale, West London. With the help of two of my very organized assistants, I created some room sets for Primark’s Bohemian influenced ‘Road To Morocco’ collection. We had a mad rush of a day shooting in a small-ish house already filled with lots of furniture as well as all the bits I’d hired and brought in. But in the end we created some images that the client was thrilled with and that I felt proud of.
I’m curious. How do these photos make you feel? Does the unstyled clutter and chaos make you uncomfortable or does it make you feel a teensy bit good? Are you itching to tidy these rooms or are you thinking about your own less than perfect homes (the stuff you don’t share on social media), and maybe you’re feeling a bit comforted? If you’ve followed this blog for long enough you’ll know how I feel about showing the more natural and real side of our homes. When I started this blog in 2010 I didn’t call it Life Unstyled for nothing. I’m a big fan of a spice rack that isn’t alphabetised and a bookshelf where the books can easily be picked up and read, rather than styled to death and totally untouchable.
Lately I’ve been reading about the so-called Imposter Syndrome which apparently strikes a lot of high achievers. Have you heard of it? Read this article from Forbes if you’re unsure. I’m pretty sure I’ve got this crazy self-doubter’s disease. (Not that I necessarily consider myself a high achiever. But hey maybe that’s the imposter syndrome/self-doubt speaking!) Despite working as a stylist for enough years to know what I’m doing, and having some quite high profile brands as clients, I still get that feeling of not really deserving it all, like somehow I’ve just duped everyone and I’m actually not that good after all. I often get nervous before shoots and worry that this time I’ll screw it up. This time I’ll be busted for being a fake and everyone will find out that I don’t really know what I’m doing.