Our blog of the month for August goes to Stylist’s Own written by super-stylist and recent author Joanna Thornhill. Joanna has been an interiors stylist for many years now working with top magazines including House Beautiful, Country Homes and Interiors and Ideal Home. It’s not just interiors that Joanna styles – she’s also a craft/DIY stylist, food stylist and regularly offers top tips on interiors in magazines.
A blog bringing you everything you need to satisfy your interior design cravings, Stylist’s Own showcases the latest brand looks, must-have products and trend predictions, while also giving an insight into her own home.
It’s a blog worth keeping an eye on not only if you’re an interiors fan but also if you’re re-decorating your own abode.
With summer in full swing, our favourite post has to be the write up of her impressive garden makeover. Proving that doing something out of your comfort zone can still be amazing, the before and after pictures are brilliant and have kept us in awe here at Barker and Stonehouse HQ.
So, apart from styling impressive shoots and writing her blog, Joanna has also answered the prayers of ‘generation rent’ with her recently released book ‘Home For Now,’ which demonstrates how to decorate rented properties. It features 15 homes and very different living spaces, showing you that you can make a rented home not only beautiful, but also your own.
We caught up with Joanna recently for a chat about her blog future plans, but if like us you’re really inspired by her work, watch this space for more from Joanna on our social media channels soon.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog….
I’m a freelance interiors stylist and writer by trade – I produce articles and imagery for all sorts of clients, from magazines and trend forecasting websites to homeware companies, designers or professional organisations who need help creating a certain look.
The idea for the blog came about after thinking about the phrase ‘stylist’s own’, which you often see in magazines as a credit for what are often the most interesting props – those quirky handmade pieces or vintage finds. It got me thinking about the idea of a blog where a lot of those styling secrets and resources were revealed, for everyone to enjoy. I sometimes struggle to find the time to give the blog the attention it deserves, but I do always try to share behnd-the-scenes content where I can, and I also blog quite often about the (slow!) renovations of my own home, which I’m doing up on a budget thanks to a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way!
How long have you been blogging for now?
About six years I think, though I started out with a different site which i felt was limiting what I wanted to talk about somewhat, so I started Stylist’s Own to replace that about three years ago.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’m constantly researching new products, shops and trends as part of my ‘day’ job, and I also get sent lots of press releases and attend various press shows and events, so to be honest finding inspiration isn’t really the problem, it’s having enough time to do something with it! Though having said that, to avoid the blog feeling too much like an extension of work, I do tend to favour writing about topics slightly off-piste, which I perhaps wouldn’t get to cover elsewhere, such as a great exhibition I’ve been to or even just a special holiday or daytrip where I felt inspired by the buildings or natural elements I’ve seen.
You’ve recently released your book Home For Now which helps people style their rented homes. Can you tell us about your inspiration for the book and what people can expect?
The inspiration came about after I worked on a photoshoot of my own rented flat – I’d tried to make the most of it within the restrictions of my landlord and budget and thought it looked pretty nice, but didn’t honestly think it would be of particular interest to anyone as it was “just” a rental with lots of dodgy bits I wasn’t keen on, and it didn’t have a proper decorative scheme, just lots of little interesting things I’d done to try and personalise the space.
The response I got when it was published, however, showed me that there was definitely a demand for seeing spaces like this in the media. So many books and magazines are aimed at families set up in their ‘forever’ home with loft extensions and bi-fold doors, and I felt this wasn’t reflecting the way a lot of people are living now, what with property prices going crazy and people renting well into their 30’s and beyond.
So I set about finding a bunch of lovely-yet-real homes, almost all of which are either rented or first-time owned and all decorated on a super-tight budget, to showcase all the great things you can do to personalise your space without upsetting your landlord and doing anything permanent, or spending loads of money. Whilst my main aim was to help inspire people in a stepping-stone home (a home-for-now), there’s also lots of ideas in the book that would work in any home, whether you’re looking to refresh your space or spruce up an area until you can afford a major renovation.
Tell us about your typical day…
Then great thing about being freelance is no two days are the same! I’m based in my little study at home and on days I’m not out and about somewhere I’m generally at the computer, writing up my features or doing research for shoots, along with dealing with boring stuff like admin and invoices (or tax returns – the worst!) If it’s a shoot day I’ll be on location or in the studio with a photographer, or otherwise I’m often out and about in town at press shows or meetings, or buying props for shoots.
Describe your interior style in three words…
Eclectic, homespun, fun!
What interior trends do you think will be big for Autumn 2014?
I’m liking the Gothic Victoriana trend that’s coming in at the moment – lots of dark, moody hues and slightly macabre accessories. And I’m also a fan of the slightly muted pastels I’ve seen at the press shows too – less sorbet and a little muddier, tempered with grey, rather than Summer’s sorbet shades, which feels appropriate for the change of season.
What’s in-store for the blog in 2014?
I’m thinking about moving to a self-hosted site rather than a free wordpress, which will no doubt mean a little bit of a redesign and rejig of content, too. More time to write it too would be nice! Sometimes I think I’d like to have a schedule for it but realistically, I think keeping it a little more ad-hoc works best for me.
What’s your home interior style? Give us a sneak peek…
I’d say it’s pretty in tune with the ethos of the book – somewhat eclectic, with a real mix of pieces. I’m definitely a maximalist and I love colour, pattern and ‘stuff’, and I do enjoy vintage and mid-century style pieces, but I do try to add in the odd modern piece too just to break things up a bit. It’s a look that’s come about through necessity rather than design – many of the things I own I’ve inherited or just picked up along the way, rather than curated as some sort of master plan. But for me at least, it works!
As I mentioned the house is still very much a work in progress but here’s a couple of snaps of the (nice) end of the bedroom, which I decorated as part of a collaboration I worked on with Dulux (the other three walls still aren’t painted!) and my living room, which was the first room we decorated and is a lovely, cosy space. My bathroom was ever-so-nearly finished – we completely redecorated it as soon as we moved in as the old one was falling apart – but since this snap we’ve had to replace a rotten window and now the whole back wall needs repainting before I can do a proper Grand Reveal! I’ve also been busy working on my garden – when we bought the house it was totally barren and nothing more than a patch of concrete, and we’ve worked really hard to transform it with fake grass, railway sleeper borders and tons of pot plants. This picture is part of a set taken for Heart Home magazine’s July issue, which can be viewed here from page 25.
Do you have a favourite accessory?
Too many to mention – I’m somewhat faddy! Though I did just spraypaint an old teapot for a photoshoot and I’m loving the transformation, so that’s probably my favourite thing for today!
Finish this sentence: Home is….?
Always a work in progress, but it’s definitely my own little castle!
Joanna Thornhill is a freelance interiors stylist and writer based in London, who specialises in producing photoshoots and features for both magazines and commercial clients including Country Homes & Interiors magazine, House Beautiful magazine, WGSN-Homebuildlife, Sainsbury’s and B&Q. Having spent a year as the Acting Assistant Homes & Craft editor for Woman’s Weekly magazine, she now compiles all the News and Shopping pages for their standalone monthly title, Craft. This April her first book, Home for Now, was published by Cico Books. Aimed at renters and first-time buyers, it shows clever, practical and reversible decorating and styling ideas, which are both budget and landlord-friendly. She also shares her design thoughts and inspirations on her blog, Stylist’s Own.
The blog: www.stylistsownblog.wordpress.com
Photographer credits (noted on each individual image)
Emma Mitchell http://www.emmamitchell.co.uk/
James Gardiner http://jamesgardiner.co.uk/
Rita Platts http://ritaplatts.com/