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This is a big call but Charlotte Stuart could quite possibly be the nicest person to work with in the world. Her charm is infectious and her projects are bursting at the seams with well refined colour, fabrics and attention to detail. Charlotte is a master when it comes to textiles and colour, no surprise – she’s presented for Colefax and Fowler, Julian Chichester, and Farrow & Ball! It was our honour to get an insight into Charlotte’s playlists and creative flow! 

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

As an interior designer every day is so varied. I can find myself on site, knee deep in mud one day, then up early the next morning to style an event and spend the afternoon presenting new collections for an interiors brand. My morning song choices can really get me in the right frame of mind for the task at hand.

As a huge Dolly Parton fan nothing gets the blood pumpin’ like “The Sacrifice”. ‘Grindstones and rhinestones have made up my life but I’ll shine like a diamond!’ This song is fun and fabulous, just like Dolly and always reminds me to go the extra mile and do my very best for my clients.

Standing up in front of an audience and presenting can be daunting so I need a song that will really energize me and help me get into performance mode. The song ‘Rocket Man’, version by Tarron Egerton (current secret crush) sums it all up in the first line “They haven’t come to see Reginald Dwight, they have come to see Elton John”. Say no more!

Lastly, ‘The Greatest Showman’. Having started my career as a costume designer before moving into the world of interiors, I learned a lot about how to put on a show. Being an interior designer definitely has similarities as my team and I work hard behind the scenes, creating imaginative and innovate schemes that will hopefully delight and surprise my clients.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a Hampshire based interior designer who works with private homeowners and property developers across the UK. With an extensive knowledge of textiles and colour, I am also focused on the end to end practicalities of a project. Adding to this, I work as interior stylist and public speaker. I have presented new collections for brands such as Colefax and Fowler, Julian Chichester, and Farrow & Ball. With an eye for detail sharply focused on the finishing touches, I always ensure that the final design remains personal to my clients and reflects their own style and personality.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Honestly and truly, a Barbie Designer! She is a global design icon that we are still talking about today. She’s plastic, fantastic and still looking incredible at 60 years of age. Barbara Millicent Rogers never stopped believing in her doll that went on to inspire so many children around the world. She opened up opportunities to play creatively and explore the endless possibilities of design within fashion and the home. She even ran for president six times and traveled into space in 1965 proving the sky was the limit.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

I have been given lots of nuggets of wisdom over the years, however the two that always resonate with me are;

“You’re only as good as your last job” I hold myself accountable to this because reputation is everything. Despite the world of social media making opportunities more accessible than ever before, often work still comes through referrals. The power of word of mouth is so strong and it can make or break a business, so this little gem definitely helps to keep me focused.

The second piece of advice is “Leave your ego at the door”. A designer is nothing without the team behind them. Everyone plays a vital role in bringing the scheme to life and the client always comes first!

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing? Where does all that great writing come from?

I love the V&A museum and in particular, the costume department. Imogen Taylor, who worked for John Fowler at Colefax and Fowler, told me that he frequently visited the museum to study the Eighteenth dresses on display for trimming and embellishments inspiration. Another firm favourite has to be Deco Off in January. There’s something about the crisp, cold Paris air and being surrounded by the latest designs which makes my heart skip a beat. I will also be honest and say that I have the support of a great editor. If left to my own devices, I could right reams!

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

In 5 years time I hope to be in collaboration with an interiors brand, designing my own product range. In my dreams, perhaps a coffee table book full of luxurious glossy pictures showcasing my recent projects. I would also be hosting a fabulous party to celebrate all the wonderful people in the design world who have helped and worked with me throughout my design career. Jonathan Adler and I would be dancing the night away in an interior homage to Studio 54!

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I worked for Farrow & Ball as a colour consultant for 5 years. This role enabled me to read properties quickly and the experience gave me great confidence with colour. Being able to leave the clients feeling excited and inspired was always a highlight of the role for me.

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

There are so many people that I admire in the design world. I swoon over Ashley Hicks and his incredible craftsmanship, furniture and bespoke Totems. Nicky Haslam’s creativity and hands on approach to all his work is inspiring. And of course, not forgetting Kit Kemp whom I admire hugely. Not only for her unique vibrant interiors but also her kindness and support to others in the design world, no matter the size of their business. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I am a regular at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. Everything is at your finger tips, it’s wonderful and so are the people! Also, I’m a huge fan of Andrew Martin in Walton Street. My clients are always impressed with the quality and price point of their products. For clients wishing for something a little more exclusive or unusual, I tend to visit the interior showrooms on Pimlico Road. Or, I’ll commission one off pieces with very talented artists like Margit Wittig whose range of lighting is absolutely stunning.

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Love, passion and grit! Work hard, create your own opportunities and remember to be patient and kind along the way. 

Okay right off the bat, Lily Paulson-Ellis is a boss! We had the pleasure to interview the Interior Designer and all round Superwoman to find out a little more about the woman behind the name, and what that morning playlist looks like! We fell in love with Lily after seeing her Barnes Townhouse, Elm Grove Road SW13, I mean seriously… you haven’t seen it – thank us after! 

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

I tend to listen to Radio 4 in the mornings as depressing as the news is at the moment! But if I need a bit of song motivation it would be ‘Start Me Up’ by The Rolling Stones every time.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I live in Barnes, London with my husband, 2 (soon to be 3) children and 2 labradors. I established LPE Designs in 2015 and we create homes that have comfort and practicality at their core and that stand the test of time. We enjoy getting rooms to work practically at a really detailed level. We don’t believe in imposing a signature look onto our projects and instead work closely with our clients to establish how they will live in their home, their values and their identity. Our clients are mainly private residential families who know what they like but might struggle with pulling everything together or lack the time required. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Gosh everything from a vet to a dinner lady when I was very young! But our home was destroyed by a house fire when I was 9 and my parents let me choose how my bedroom was re-decorated and that really sparked my passion for designing interiors. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

That you can achieve anything if you work hard enough. Similarly the worst advice was probably careers advice at school, which at the time was very limited to pushing everyone into law or finance. I think these days we are all much more aware that you can have a great career in such a wide range of fields.

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing? Where does all that great writing come from?

Walking my dogs! If ever I feel a bit stuck on a design problem , leaving my desk and taking the dogs to the tow path really helps clear my head and invariably helps me find the right answer.

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I’d love to have a bigger studio and team with some international projects

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I’m just about to have my third child!

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

Absolutely – there are so many fantastic Architects and Interior Designers out there and even though we may all differ in style there is much to take inspiration from in terms of detailing and finishes.

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I love Instagram & Pinterest but also bars, restaurants and even shops are a great source of inspiration when it comes to detailing

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Family & friends

Photography Credit – Nick Smith Photography

Okay right off the bat, Bee Osborn is a boss! We had the pleasure to interview the Interior Designer and all round Superwoman to find out a little more about the woman behind the name, and what that morning playlist looks like! We fell in love with Bee after seeing her Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France, I mean seriously… you haven’t seen it – thank us after! 

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

Krask & Smaak, I’ll be Loving You

Jacob Banks, Unholy War

Claptone, No Eyes

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m an interior designer with a small, brilliant team, focussing on hotel & residential design all around the world.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A mummy to 6 children with houses all over the world…. I am a mummy to three daughters and live in a small stone 1530’s cottage and consider myself extremely lucky.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

To understand that your thoughts become things, so visualise your goals and dreams daily.

To stay within your comfort zone and not take risks.

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing? Where does all those great ideas come from?

Maison et Objet in Paris in September and January.

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

Doing more and more unique boutique hotel projects, with attention on sustainability.

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

That I find double sausage and egg McMuffins from MacDonald’s the best hangover cure.

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from?

Steven Gambrel, Veere Grenney & Vincent Van Duysen.

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly?

Travel, travel and travel.

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Finding your passion and do it daily……

Okay, Linda Clayton is a boss. We love her energy and passion in her writing, and her instagram bios are infectious. Seriously, we’ve made it a thing of following her posts, eagerly awaiting those bios. Linda is an Interior Journalist regularly writing for Real Homes, Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. We had the pleasure of interviewing Linda to find out a little more about the woman behind the name, and what that morning playlist looks like.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

I can only cope with background music when I am writing so generally do old-person Spotify playlist searches like ‘laidback pop’. Boring I know, but anything that makes me want to sing along will make me lose the plot, literally, of a feature.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I write about cushions and curtains from dawn ‘til dust. Actually it’s more like cookers and stopcocks (I specialise in kitchens and bathrooms) but you get the gist. More interestingly (for me), my husband is a cabinetmaker and we’re currently renovating our third home together, in Devon. I LOVE the design-plotting/shopping potential but HATE the physical pain of painting skirting boards until I want to stove my eyes in with the brush. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A journalist. True story. But in my head it was the Kate Adie, serious reportage type. I tried news reporting when I left Uni, and only lasted eight months. Door-stopping a family whose 13yo son had committed suicide was the straw that broke…

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

There’s more to life than houses (from the woman who we bought this house from. I think she was trying to excuse the state of the décor but it did make me realise we need to find time to live between the relentless DIY). The worst…that I should launch a glossy interiors mag with a fellow journalist. Bankruptcy aged 26 is a major buzzkill.  

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Where does all that great writing come from? I’m pretty Low Brow if I’m honest; I love RED mag, The Midult and any columnist with dry wit. Charlie Brooker has been a life-long muse.

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

Done with wallpaper stripping and sat on the beach with Nick and our two girls. Hopefully they’re not too unbearably tweeny by then.

Okay, true story, how long does it take you to write those Instagram bios?

Depends on how ranty I am feeling. If I’m on a properly narky roll, not long at all! 

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I have four piercings and a tattoo, but you will never, ever see the latter.

Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from?

If I had even half of Barbara Chandlers’ energy or work output, I’d be a happy bunny indeed. She’s remarkable.

What are your main sources of inspiration? 

I get most of “my” best interiors ideas from the interior designers I interview every day. In fact I shamelessly plug them for free design advice when I am stuck. One day I’ll be sent a bill but until then, I’m rinsing them for every last tip.

Complete this sentance… Life is about…

Being happy. It’s far easier said than done but I am increasingly discovering the joy-making power of saying NO (thanks).

Okay right off the bat, we love Joanna Thornhill. We had the pleasure to interview the Interior Stylist/Writer/Crafter and all round Superwoman to find out a little more about the woman behind the name, and what that morning playlist looks like! We fell in love with Joanna after seeing her styling work for TK Maxx and HomeSense, I mean seriously if you have children, you need Joanna to style their bedrooms and parties! 

Laurence King Publishing

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

Boring, but I find music pretty distracting when I work so I tend to opt for classical/instrumental stuff just to fill the silence – recent listens have been This is Antonio Pinto, Apollo by Brian Eno and (bizarrely), the Diego Maradona motion picture soundtrack. I tend to just set them off on Spotify and listen to whatever else it offers up next

Photographer Mel Yates Stylist Joanna Thornhill

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m self employed as a commercial interiors stylist, writer and author, which means no two days are ever the same! Predominantly my work involves either producing and styling photoshoots for brands (usually for for their catalogue, website or social media/for editorial use), or for magazines themselves, as well as writing things like trend reports, articles and shopping pages, again for both magazines and corporate brands. I also work on designing and styling events, again usually for brands, to showcase new product ranges or launches for press, bloggers and influencers. 

Alongside this I’ve styled and written a couple of books: the first, Home for Now (CICO Books), was aimed at offering affordable, realistic and temporary decorating ideas to renters or cash-strapped first-time buyers starting their journey up the property ladder, which was republished in 2018 with a new title, Insta-Style for your Living Space. Then in Spring 2019, my latest book, My Bedroom is an Office (Laurence King) launched, offering a unique, dip-in Q&A approach to a myriad interiors dilemmas, from how to decorate a north-facing room to what to do when your walls are too crumbly to put up shelves (joannathornhill.co.uk/books

Photographer Rita Platts Stylist Joanna Thornhill

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Either a journalist or a fashion designer, so I’ve kind of achieved the first goal! I studied Fashion Design at uni but then realised my interest was more in the promotional side of the industry and of branding/image-making, so I switched to a degree in Fashion Promotion. But I THEN realised that actually, my interest was SPECIFICALLY more in the backgrounds to the clothes rather than the clothes themselves, so after uni I went to work as a runner in TV before moving into more art department-based roles, and then eventually started assisting other stylists and working ad-hoc in various magazine offices as an assistant, and it all took off from there!

Photographer Graham Commons Stylist Joanna Thornhill

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

I think generally speaking the best advice I’ve been given is to know your worth – when you quote a potential client for a job, you’re not just charging for your time and costs, you’re charging for all the years of skills, experience and expertise you’re bringing to the table on TOP of your time and costs for that particular job. When you’re good, your work can make a huge positive impact on the brand who are employing you, so all of this needs to be taken into account. I can’t really think of any ‘bad’ advice per se but one thing I’ve learned along the way is, despite what clients may have promised to do or said they wanted, to always have alternatives and back-up plans in place so you can react quickly to any unforeseen requests or changes to the original brief!

Photographer Jake Curtis Stylist Joanna Thornhill

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Sometimes I think the best thing is to just step away somewhat and just go for a walk somewhere inspiring, or go to an art gallery, or even just wander round a pretty town you’ve not visited before. I love visiting interiors trade and press shows but sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming, whereas a calm walk somewhere can give you that clarity to notice a gorgeous colour combination or provide the headspace to allow new ideas to pop up

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I’m not very good at planning ahead but I’d like to still be working in the industry, doing more of the same yet expanding on where I’m at now. I’d love to write another book and possibly do more collaborative work with brands – perhaps cross-platform. Things move so quickly it’s important to keep on your toes and diversify or adapt to suit changes. The mainstream magazine industry has undeniably suffered during the growth of blogs and social media, yet people still yearn for tangible printed materials, so it’ll be interesting to see how things evolve

Stylist Joanna Thornhill

What advice would you give to emerging go getters who want to follow in your footsteps?

It can be a really tough industry to get into and you need to be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices, but if you’ve got a creative flair, a lot of common sense and are willing to graft, it’s certainly do-able. The majority of work is in London, where stylists and magazine staff seek out freelance styling assistants for help on shoots or research (often at very short notice and for odd days here and there), so most assistants make it work by mixing assisting with other flexible revenue streams, from selling handmade jewellery to bar work and office temping, to allow them to jump onto assisting opportunities at the last minute. If realistically you don’t think that lifestyle is for you, maybe consider starting an interiors blog instead, to immerse yourself in the industry a little more and possibly open up more opportunities that way which are easier to fit in around other jobs or commitments

Any up-coming trends? Don’t worry, we won’t tell a soul…

Wellness and sustainability are such hot topics right now and this is feeding into interiors through the use of natural materials (and decorating with colours inspired by nature), the never-ending trend for biophilia and incorporating plants into the home, and in details such as candles made with essential oils to encourage relaxation or creativity. Conversely, bold, maximal interiors are set to be big this Autumn/Winter, with lots of rich colours, oversized floral patterns and luxe fabrics like velvet to add warmth and vibrancy – though this trend also incorporates vintage pieces and ‘brown’ furniture, so has a sustainability angle in its own way

Laurence King Publishing

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I’m a bit of a dog geek and since consecutively adopting two ex-street dogs from Romania, I’ve become fascinated by canine psychology and behavioural rehabilitation through positive reinforcement training techniques. Sometimes I have moments where I wonder if I should change career and retrain as a behaviourist, but then I remember that I don’t really like going out if it’s too cold (or too hot, or raining, or overly muddy) so swiftly come to the conclusion I’m best off sticking with a career in cushions…

Laurence King Publishing

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from?

I don’t really have any go-to influences as I prefer to see what piques my interest naturally, but it’s always interesting and helpful to look back over design history – I’m a big William Morris fan and have several of his fabric designs throughout my house but I also like the work of the Bloomsbury Group, Bauhaus, fusty Victoriana, Mid Century Modern…

Laurence King Publishing

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

Depending on what I’m working on, I generally spend a fair bit of time searching for trends and seeing what people are up to via Pinterest and Instagram as well as by reading design websites such as Dezeen, and the weekend newspaper supplements are always a good way of seeing curated trend round-ups and product launches, as they can react far quicker than the monthly titles

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

…if I knew the answer to that I’d probably be making my millions elsewhere as a self-help guru!