Last year I was contacted by a journalist, asking me if I would consider having my home featured in a magazine. I think that was the first time I have ever let out a shout, shriek, snort and cry all at once. Ever since my parents let me re-design my bedroom to help me get over an ex (which was disastrous, by the way); ever since I learned that by moving my bed from one side of the room to the other, I could create a a fresh and ‘new’ feel to my attic bedroom; ever since I spent hours cutting out inspirational pictures from ‘Homes and Gardens’ and pasting them onto my walls (this was the 90’s to be fair), I have wished to feature in an interiors mag.
I used to pin up all sorts of inspirational images from interiors magazines
I immediately responded with a yes and set about getting things perfect for the shoot. This was no mean feat. When you’re faced with the prospect of interior stylists and photographers coming into your home to take pictures that will forever adorn the pages of a magazine that reaches all four corners of the country, you start to doubt that you have any idea about how to decorate. You start to concoct elaborate new colour schemes for each room in your head and wonder whether you can install a new kitchen with 3 weeks until D-day and £30 in your pocket. You start to doubt that your home is good enough. So I got out the paintbrushes and started making a list as long as my arm of ‘must have’ purchases and room re-designs to make everything impeccable.
Two months later and the day arrived. The actual experience of having people come and shoot my home was fun. It was interesting to see what props they used to style it, although they didn’t arrive laden down with things as I expected, just some fruit, kitchen items, flowers and towels. I enjoyed watching which angles they took photos from, as at that point I had only been on Instagram for 5 months and was still learning which areas of my home made for a great shot and which were best avoided. The ladies were lovely and easy to work with, although for the most part, I left them to it (I had to appear in a couple of photos, just casually carrying plates around the kitchen and playing with flower arrangements with a smile on my face, as you do).
Seeing the feature in print, despite the great write up about the renovations we had done over the past six years and our plans and goals for the future, was very disappointing. Well, to me anyway. My friends and family were extremely supportive and excited for me, of course. But the colours weren’t true to life – greens looked blue, our yellow bathroom tiles were almost fluorescent, the soft plaster pink of our dining room came across as pale and washed out. This was obviously some kind of photo editing error, which was such a shame as colour shades are extremely important in interior decor. But also as I looked at the photos, I realised that in the lead up to the shoot, I had made rash decisions, and some questionable design choices that weren’t at all true to my style (for example very dark walls).
Why am I telling you this? Well, I feel like I have been on a journey in the 7 years we’ve owned this house and the 10 months since the magazine shoot. I’ve learnt in that time that I favour light, bright interiors and clean lines. I love pattern and texture, linen and cotton. I love cushions and blankets and things that feel soft. I enjoy mixing calming, subtle colours, and having bouquets of fresh flowers on the table.
I like ergonomic design and light coloured wood, smooth glass and rough concrete. I love sheepskin and wool and white walls and wonky pottery. That’s me and my style. It’s so important to surround yourself with things YOU love and not things you think others will approve of. It’s your home, you inhabit it and it should be a reflection of your taste and personality.
Never mind being in a magazine, it’s also easy to lose track of your style if you have an Instagram account. There’s so much inspiration to be had, such a variety of designs that it can actually feel overwhelming. If you’re not sure what you like, you can save photos on Instagram into a folder by clicking on the flag icon top right of the post. When I look at what I have saved over the last year (I am a serial Instagram Post-Saver and Pinterest Pinner) most of the photos have a similar feel to them. They generally contain the things I mentioned above. If anything hugely different crops up, I delete it, and put it down to drinking too much coffee or wine on that particular day!
I have a few decorating jobs to do this year, but to be honest, my home is an ever evolving entity anyway as I love to change things up and keep it feeling fresh. Fortunately I have a very patient husband who puts up with my constant demands, but this year I am determined to stick to what I know I love.
Would I like to be in magazine again? You bet! But if there’s a next time, I’m going to be more in control so I ensure I am totally happy and can shout from the rooftops that my dream came true!
Until next time,