At home: An eye for style

By Amanda Linnell

Emily Chalmers. Photo / Debi Treloar
Emily Chalmers. Photo / Debi Treloar

Her work appears regularly in leading British design magazines such as Elle Decoration, she owns the ultra-hip design store Caravan, in London's Shoreditch, and she has written a number of books including Cheap Chic, Flea Market Style and Table Inspirations. To launch her latest project, the book Modern Vintage Style, leading interiors stylist Emily Chalmers chats to Viva about her love of design.

I became an interiors stylist because ... I couldn't believe there was actually a job where people were paid to do this.

The highlights of my career as a stylist are ... working on my books. An amazing excuse to get inside other people's homes - something I never tire of.

People should read Modern Vintage Style because ... hopefully it will inspire them to develop their own style at home or try something new. Modern Vintage Style isn't a theme, it's an approach. There's no need to go out to buy anything new for this way of decorating - it's about editing what you've got and working with it.

The lowlights are ... it's a close call between loading the car before setting off for a photographic shoot at 4am on a cold and rainy winter's morning or cleaning up after very dirty people before we can take a shot.

I opened my store Caravan because ... it gave me another excuse to edit and display objects and create environments, just like styling does.

At the moment, when it comes to interiors I'm loving ... anything by StudioIlse. Ilse Crawford has such a magic touch and I admire her integrity in design.

My most prized possession is ... such a difficult question! It's not like me to have favourites but my special things in the day are my cats, Monkey and Mouse at home and our Caravan shop cat, Bagpuss. Monkey and Mouse also enjoy my special chair - a swivel fleamarket find that I've had re-covered with vintage floral Sanderson fabric.

I think shiny, modern homes are ... interesting. So long as there's a bit of character to them [such as] vintage furniture ... ?

If someone wanted to bring more personality to a minimal interior, I would suggest they ... add floral cushions to a plain sofa, amass a group of assorted frames on a wall (with and without pictures), lay a lovely thick, textured Berber wool rug. The list would be endless.

If I were to describe my own home, I'd say ... vintage, floral, bohemian - three words used as a description by a magazine editor in Britain - perfect.

My favourite room at home is ... depending on the time of day, each room becomes a favourite. We have lots of windows so the light changes as the day goes by - even the upstairs landing has a "special" hour.

When people come around ... there is music, candles, food, and laughter.

* Modern Vintage Style (Ryland Peters & Small $59.99) is distributed in New Zealand by Southern Publishers Group and goes on sale next month.

- NZ Herald

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