Behind The Scenes, Interiors

I want that style: Modern Rustic for Hillarys

A major part of my job as an interior stylist is designing concepts and rooms that reflect not my style, but that of the brands who hire me. Sure, they ask me to style their catalogues and ads because they like my own style, but at the end of the day it’s all about representing their brand and appealing to their customers. I actually love this part of my job – it keeps me on my toes and forces me to get inside someone else’s head instead of just repeating my same old tricks.

That said, I also love the rare occasion when I get to just do my thing. So it was a bit of a treat earlier in the summer when I was asked by Hillarys to design a room for their #IWANTTHATSTYLE campaign, using their new Autumn/Winter blinds and curtains, but based on my own book, Modern Rustic. (My first and I think most popular of the three I’ve written). So much fun to get to design a room based on what I personally like! My taste is constantly evolving and I wouldn’t say I’m purely modern rustic but my own home definitely has elements of it right now, particularly as I begin the nesting process for the colder months ahead.

I was one of four designers chosen to participate in this project, so you get to see one room styled four very different ways. Joining me was Sophie Robinson, the colour-loving judge from TV’s Great Interior Design Challenge; Daniela Tasca York, winner of the very same show; and Kate Watson-Smyth, interiors journalist and award winning blogger over on Mad about the House. A fantastic group of designers, each with her own unique sense of style.

First stop was a visit to the Hillarys showroom in Nottingham where I was given a sneak peek of their new Autumn/Winter fabrics, which I obviously loved! If you’ve followed my career long enough you’ll know that I often build a room scheme around a piece of fabric, and this is exactly what I did, squirrelling away my favourites and re-working my little pile of fabric swatches until the colour scheme started to come together. Then I started a Pinterest board dedicated exclusively to this project and I began pinning away – images from my book Modern Rustic for inspiration, ideas for furniture and accessories I wanted to dress the room with, and colour combos for my Hillarys curtains and blinds.

Next step was to put together a moodboard detailing all these ideas and send it off to the team at Hillarys so they could build the room-set and plan the shoot. Each designer’s room was built in the same studio set so you can really see how the exact same space can be styled in a very different ways. As a stylist and art director I’m always on set for a shoot, either physically styling it or at the very least overseeing the styling, so it was unusual for me to not be present for the shoot. I sketched out my idea pretty clearly so the photography and styling team could see what I had in mind and they did an excellent job of translating my plan, even down to the loosely styled throws on the sofa!

I went with a reclaimed wood-panelled wall (inspired by the cover image of Modern Rustic), seagrass rugs on white-washed floorboards, a boxy but comfy linen sofa, and I peppered the room with modern rustic furniture and lighting. I also asked the team to cut some reclaimed wood squares so we could mount air plants on the wall, a nice modern rustic craft that’s pretty easy to make yourself. I wanted the curtains and blinds to be clean, simple, and textured so I chose wool-look Howard Chartreuse Roman blinds with linen-look Lindora Silver curtains, which strike a fine balance between cosy for Autumn/Winter, but not too heavy for Spring/Summer. On the sofas we added a variety of custom-made cushions in Hillary’s linen-look fabrics, sticking to textured neutrals and soft pops of pale pink and chartreuse (a colour scheme I have at home right now, on my sofa and bed!) Click here for more info about how to get this look and here to read an interview with me on the Hillarys blog.

And click here to see how the other lovely ladies’ designs came together.

Here’s what those talented women came up with…

Sophie Robinson’s brilliant Colour Clash room

Kate Watson-Smyth’s luxe Urban Glamour room

Daniella Taska York’s sleek Minimal Luxe room.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the rooms and the design process in general. Let me know in the comments!

xoxo Emily

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  • Reply plum 18 October 2017 at 5:18 AM

    They’re all interesting, but your room appeals to my sense of cozy! Perhaps because I’m American, I just see so much West Coast influence in your approach on this one. I love what you do, and check in frequently to see whats trending with your style and movement. I also refer to your books often…lovely lovely lovely! Thanks for all the pretty, Emily!

    • Reply Emily Henson 5 January 2018 at 5:14 PM

      Thank you so much! Having lived in LA for years, there’s definitely a West Coast influence! I so appreciate your comment. I don’t blog as much these days, having fallen hard for the instant gratification of Instagram in recent years, but I aim to write more here in 2018. Happy new year! x

  • Reply 2017 Review - Life Unstyled goes global - Life Unstyled 31 January 2018 at 12:24 AM

    […] I did a fun collaboration with Hillarys, chosen as one of four designers to style a room our own way. Inspired by my first book, I went with a Modern Rustic vibe. (See more here). […]

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