MY INTERIOR MAKEOVER: THE GARDEN

Cobblers with holes in their shoes.  That the term I think.  However skilled a crafts person one is for clients, when it comes to doing it for yourself, it's a whole different matter.  I've put off a much needed re-style of my own home for years, in favour of making over peoples houses look lovely. As well as a lack of time and space to think about it, there's the design overload issue.  I have so many ideas in my head, and when I meet I client, and see their house, it all fits together as to whats right.  But when I try to decide what to do in my own home, it's SO hard to filter the ideas down! Well, this year I've decided enough is enough, and the long overdue interior makeover at MIS Towers is underway!

So, this summer, I started out with the garden.  Without going too deep into soil make-up (I have), the basic problem in our garden is that it's clay based, like much of London, which means very bad drainage. Which means in the winter our garden looks like a wet Glastonbury after everyone has left. And then if any child/pet ventures out there, it instantly means mud everywhere in the house, unless they are towelled down at the door! It was the day that the dogs ran un-monitored into the house and jumped on the sofa with muddy paws that was the final straw.  Either the dogs go, or we get artificial grass!

So after harsh looks from the children, artificial grass it is!  This has quite literally changed my life. We can now flow in and out of the house without stress, and it looks SO good.

I designed the layout myself, and quite literally drew it on the back of an envelope.  My brilliant garden, Avni from Capital Landscapers then measured out everything (straight lines are key) and turned it into reality!

I wanted something that looked smart, but that was also good for entertaining, plus the trampoline has to stay! As it's sunken anyway, it totally works.

The key to realistic grass I reckon is to choose one with some different colour greens and even browns.  It's really important to get in samples, as it's not all about which is the most expensive.  I went for Grono - and I love it!

Here's a time lapse "before and after" courtesy of the OH.  Let me know what you think!

 

Zoe. xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GLAMOROUS LIFE OF A STYLIST...TRADE SECRETS 01

Styling - what a glamorous job! I can totally get why people think that. After all, it's what pulled me into this industry.  Spending the working week styling beautiful products in beautiful homes, being the first to see new fabrics, furniture, paints and cushions and using them to create pretty rooms at other people's expense.

Well there is that. But the truth is, that part is the icing on the cake, the 10%, the big reveal.  The reality is that I'm a business and sales executive, project manager, budget creator, trades co-ordinator, psychologist, marriage counsellor, PA and sometimes, cleaner. Yep a cleaner.  To the point of slight OCD actually.  When I've spent months making something look amazing and then notice some dust, finger marks or horror of all horrors, a stain, it's straight to my tried and tested, ever ready bag of tricks for help.  This is my secret weapon. I'm very proud of my pink tool box, it's not your average tool box.  Yes there are screw drivers and hammers, but there is also a vast array of pins, ribbons, invisible wire and a library of every sticky tape/glue/velco product known to wo/man. Plus my cleaning kit.  All my tried and tested products for removing dust, all that sticky stuff and of course stains.  Stains on the carpet are literally stomach turning to me.  But I'm happy to let you into a secret - there's a little life saver that can totally remove carpet stains. 

Stylist, domestic goddess or just in a panic about spilling wine on your parents carpet - check out this little film I made for Dr Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover. This is now a essential part of the tool kit!

Lots of love, Zoe.x

*This film and post was created hand in hand with Dr Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover.

BEHIND THE SCENES: A VERY GLAMOROUS BEACH HUT

For stylists, summer shoots regularly involved baubles, snow and Christmas trees due to the editorial lead times.  And so when we get to style a summer shoot, actually for summer in an actual sunny location, it's a real treat.

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be asked to direct a shoot in Devon, in a compact but very well appointed beach hut, right on the harbour at Shaldon. Although spacious for a beach hut, as a shoot location, it was a tight squeeze for our crew of six. But the view way made up for it....

For the shoot I decided to style the beach hut with full My Interior Stylist glamour effect. Not a hint of bunting or anchors, but still reflecting it's beach side location.  Think 50's glamour meets Miami beach. Basically, the truth is that I chose this style  mostly so that I could have a cocktail trolley and pink cocktails. I love this current trend and the beach is the perfect place for pink cocktails as far a I'm concerned.

Here's some shots of the set up action...

And here's some of the finished shots by photographer Sun Lee

This beach hut is now party ready my friends.  Sadly we didn't actually get to have a party afterwards, but I definitely know what my next party theme will be :) 

The sofa and chair are from DFS, drinks trolley from The Mint List, pineapple cushion from Bianca Hall, record player from Urban Outfitters , towels and gold rimmed tumblers from Amara, flamingo, gold cocktail shaker & flowers from Graham & Green, green palm leaf fan Rocket St George lights from Carousel Lights and prints from West London Art Factory. Let me know if you want to know any other suppliers.  I'm off for a 4 week break - SO EXCITING.  Have a lovely summer and see you on the other side lovelies. 

Zoe xx

All photos c. Sun Lee

BEHIND THE SCENES: WAREHOUSE HOME SHOOT

I love editorial shoots.  Prep can sometimes involve days, weeks, even months of meetings, mood boards, prop searching and OCD lists. It all becomes worth it when you see your ideas take shape in real life on shoot days.  Together with the photographer, I'm kept on my toes all day, constantly solving problems about how to work with wonky props/creased sheets/nervous location owners etc etc etc. I totally love it! (Once I had to work around not moving the floor dust at a location, as requested by the client... but that's another story).

I recently worked as the stylist on issue two of Warehouse Home.  Editor, Sophie Bush, started the magazine after moving into a warehouse apartment herself, seeing a gap in the market for warehouse living interiors inspiration.  Ex Conde Nast, Sophie knows what's she's doing and the newspaper is packed with eye candy for all, whether you live in a loft apartment or not.  Issue 2 was launched a couple of weeks ago, and luckily you can also read it online.

The shots  include a summer dining scene, a monochrome pop bedroom, urban jungle love, and 2 lighting features.  We managed to cram the whole shoot into 2 days, which was pretty intense.  Here's some behind the scenes shots from the shoot...

And ta-da- here's some of the finished shots!



All photos: Sun Lee.

To see all the images, check out Warehouse Home Issue Two.

Let me know what you think!

Zoe.x

LUXURY BATHROOM MAKEOVER

Hello my lovelies!

Long time no blog.  I've been manically busy on lots of lovely interiors projects so thought I'd show you a little about some recent projects that have been keeping me so.  First up, I'm super proud of this bathroom makeover for a client in Regent's Park.  It within a beautiful Edwardian house, at which I've been lucky enough to design some of the rooms.  

In the master en-suite bathroom, my favourite design aspect is that I used zero tiles - not one single one. I wanted it to feel like a grand room in it's own right, and avoiding tiles, a typical bathroom essential, is a key part of the design to create this look.  We used glass for the shower interior and splash back, colour matching it to the wall paint. 

The previous owner had gone a bit "spanish hacinda" on the bathroom.  My client wanted to replace this with a luxury spa-like place to bathe. It was also important to be sympathetic to the original features of the house.  We stain matched new floorboards to the originals in the bedroom.  The additional of a wall of foxed vintage mirror by Rough Old Glass added some glamour, with low level lighting around the very beautiful bath from V+A baths. I'm so pleased with this project, and it seems the Houzz audience agree with me.  This bathroom has been pinned to over 20,000 idea books, meaning it's in the top 10 most popular bathrooms in the UK out of thousands on Houzz!  Let me know what you think!

All these lovely pictures where taken by the lovely Carole Poirot. And most of the accessories used to style the shoot are from West Elm.

Carry on scrolling down to see the "before" pictures too - for full transformation ta-da-ness!

And those before pictures ....

More projects coming soon!

Zoe.x

HAVING A SCANDI MOMENT

Sometimes things just seem to be in the ether don’t they?  For me, I’m definitely having a Scandi moment right now. It started last month, when I flew out to Stockholm for the Stockholm Furniture Fair, with my trade show partner in crime, design geek, Katie Treggiden. The first thing that struck me, is that everyone in Stockholm is so genuinely friendly.  I think I can say it’s the friendliest city I have every been too. Also everyone is very beautiful & very cool.  This must surely have something to do with the beautiful designs they produce!

Katie & I stayed at the Scandic Grand Central hotel.  I’m quite obsessed with hotel design and was really very impressed with the perfect balance of hotel luxury versus |I'm just hanging out at a really cool friend’s house" vibe.  Plus the food, especially breakfast, was absolutely scrummy.

Scandic Grand Central hotel, Stockholm

The Fair itself was truly inspirational for me as a designer.  Sometimes trade shows can be a bit “same old same old” but here, the majority of exhibitors were new to me, and indeed the UK.  Clients often want to find unique products, and I found a good list of new suppliers for my supply list.  I found one particular design which I’m hoping to bring over soon.  So sparkling brand new, that the designer didn’t even have business cards, just a scrap of paper! Bless.

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair

Katie & I spent the last day of our visit exploring the city and the shops!  My favourite design shop was Svenskt Tenn, but we also found great thrift shops and a wonderful little haberdashery treasure trove. We also did extensive research in to cake & hot chocolate :)

Stockholm - cakes, vintage, haberdashery & designer shops.

I returned home with lots of new design ideas. By chance a client has just asked me to use elements of this in her living room scheme, which means I will now be springing some of those ideas into reality!

I’ve also been asked to create a Scandinavian design Pinterest board for online furniture supplier Atlantic Shopping, who have a whole category dedicated to Scandinavian inspired products. This has provided the perfect excuse to find out even more about my new design love to share with you. It’s called Scandi Retro and is a mash up of vintage, design classics and my new favourite North European style, which are all perfect partners.  Head over and check it out here – let me know what you think.

As an extra bonus, Atlantic Shopping have also kindly offered one of my readers the opportunity to win one of these super stylish Orbit coffee tables.  There are loads of options to choose from.  Plus different sizes and a legs option - lots to see on the Pinterest board. I really love the walnut option but ultimately for me, it would have to be the pink. Obvs :)

Orbit Coffee table in Pink & White Atlantic Shopping 199.00

Orbit Coffee table in Pink & White Atlantic Shopping 199.00

 

To be in with a chance of winning, just subscribe to my blog here and leave a comment below.  Closing date is 25th March 2015 at 4pm GMT.

Good luck!

Zoe.x

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THINGS TO MAKE YOU GO OOH #20 ZARA DAY

Gosh it's been a hectic start to 2015 for  me.  Loads of really exciting stuff going down and details on it all soon, pinkie promise. There have been a few OOH moments for me over the last month, but none so mind blowing as the work of Zara Day.  

 

I found Zara Day of Rosemaryrose and her chairs at the recent Heals Modern Craft Market.  It was the first thing I saw on arrival & totally blew me away.  You see, I do love a bit of kooky upholstery and I also do love a bit of floral embellishment (see my own here) and Zara's embroidery work is a definite tick on both those counts.

The pretty designs are embroidered onto British made wool or silk, with applique and lots of other clever techniques, to create an eye popping tapestry of colour and texture.  Zara aims to promote these traditional crafts into the high-end luxury interiors market, and I think she's done it - I'm in!

Zara works primarily with interior designers, specialising in accent chairs but the principles can also be applied to cushions, footstools, lampshades etc.  If you're thinking of a redesign and would like one of these in your home, pleeeaaase do ask me for help.  Can you imagine a piece that was a visual combination of Zara's creativity plus the what goes on in my head - that most certainly would be a OOH to top all OOHs!

Zoe.x