Interiors

When your personal life affects your interiors life

You could argue that your personal life always affects your interiors, and you’d be right I guess. Your style goes through many stages in your adult life – college dorm rooms, your first flat shared with friends, first flat with a partner, the arrival of babies, then toddlers, then teenagers, mid-life crisis (hey, it’s a valid life stage!), retirement….

Your home has to tick a lot of different boxes during these stages. But what I’m talking about are the occasions when, seemingly out of nowhere, your interiors style does a 180 degree turn. One minute you like one thing, the next you can’t stand it. This is what’s happened to me and I have to say, it’s very weird because I barely recognize myself anymore! I’ve had a lot of change in my personal life this year and things have been quite unsettled (this is me being euphemistic). Now that the dust has settled, what has manifested is a complete change in the way I want my home to look and feel. As a stylist I’m known for colourful and eclectic interiors and those are the kind of homes I’ve always created for myself. Layered, full of bits and pieces, furniture dotted with colourful patterned cushions, artwork haphazardly arranged on walls. Cupboards full of things I love but never use, shelves stuffed with books I’ve read and should get rid of…you know what I’m talking about.

I still love those kind of homes and maybe I’ll return to that style one day. But moving to a new flat – a modern one at that – has given me a chance to purge what’s been weighing me down and I seem to have gone simple, clean, uncluttered, and almost monochrome. I’ve introduced a little texture and interest with sheepskins, linen, worn hessian/burlap, a corktop coffee table, and natural plywood cabinets, but there is no pattern – can you believe it? (I may have to change my bio, see right!) Artwork is minimal, lighting is simplified (no more kitcshy lamps whose spray painted shades don’t fit and fall off whenever I turn them on), cupboards hold only things I use or really love and just can’t part with. To be fair, I’ve rented a small storage space but I’ve given myself a two month limit – after that I either have to find a spot at home or get rid of it all (or get a studio which is what I’d really like).

Has this ever happened to you? I’m all for the evolution of one’s style, but this is like a metamorphosis! Maybe it’s also my age, the fact my kids are getting older, the fact that I’ve moved into a smaller home and had to purge anyway? And I do remember back when I was making Modern Rustic, having a bit of a flirtation with a more minimal, earthy style, but it didn’t really show itself at home. It truly feels like a direct reaction to this difficult time in my life. Our homes should be our sanctuary, the one place on earth where we can feel safe, calm, and comforted and apparently for me what that means right now is light, uncluttered and simple. A clearer space for a clearer head right?

One of my favourite images right now is from IKEA.com – don’t you love the clean whites with just a touch of natural elements in the rug and basket? The disco ball for a bit of tongue in cheek humour, the grey floors, all of it says tranquility to me. Obviously this is a set, staged for the shoot, but I’m still totally inspired by its simplicity and calmness.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Susan L. October 17, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Sounds like the beginning of a new book! BTW, just finished “Life Unstyled” and loved it.

    • Reply Emily Henson October 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      Ha! Not sure about the new book just yet. They’re a bit like having babies – you swear you’ll never have another because it’s too painful, but then after a little while you forget the pain and think, maybe just one more…. So we’ll see! So glad you enjoyed Life Unstyled. xx

  • Reply sue October 24, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    I can completely relate with the metamorphosis, minus the personal circumstances, I guess…
    this time last year i left a particularly stressful job – one i stuck at because i felt i needed to get a certain no. of projects under my belt to feel established… but it was a really, really long slog & i paid a huge personal price for it! then when we moved home earlier this year – BOOM – i felt frenzied with the need to offload all of those belongings tucked in cupboards, stored away in boxes, weighing on my mind… it really took me by surprise, the urgency of it, but they felt like concrete clogs & i was caught in a whirlpool… only one way out!

    • Reply Emily Henson October 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Concrete clogs is the perfect metaphor! It can be liberating to get rid of stuff, but also a bit annoying when I end up having to buy the same thing again, something that maybe I shouldn’t have chucked out! Thanks for reading. x

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