There hasn’t been a whole lot of action here on the blog lately, but I have a good reason, I swear. I’ve been travelling and busily scribbling away for my most exciting project to date: Life Unstyled in it’s rather gorgeous printed book version (if I say so myself).
Following on the success of Modern Rustic and Bohemian Modern, the lovely ladies at my publisher Ryland, Peters & Small (RPS) finally let me loose on my idea for Life Unstyled the book, where I get to totally indulge my unending passion for beautifully imperfect interiors. With the magnificent Debi Treloar behind the camera, I have curated, styled, and written what I hope is a book that inspires you all to love your own homes, with all their lumps, bumps and unfinished jobs, just a little bit more.
Just like this blog, Life Unstyled the book came about as a form of rebellion against the impossibly high standards set in magazines and social media, where very often we’re only shown a moment in time when a room has been styled to look it’s very best. Never mind that just out of frame there is usually chaos and mess – we don’t see that, we just see the spotless and clutter-free shot that often makes us feel bad about our own less than perfect homes.
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.
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.
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.