If Instagram is the first port of call for a snapshot of perfection, it is no wonder that a trend for images of immaculately ordered pantries, playrooms and dressing rooms of celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Mandy Moore is now upon us. The urge to declutter and reorganise is nothing new; but the need to share your colour-co-ordinated cupboards and shelves with the world is a product of the social media age. Our homes, and what they reveal about us, have never been so visible and whether it's your book collection or your gallery wall, there's an expert out there who can help you get the message right. Meet the interior curators you never knew you needed.
The pantry queen
"People want a good-looking pantry. It's becoming a thing," says Caroline Caron Dhaouadi. Reorganising people's kitchen cupboards, larders and walk-ins now takes up a sizeable chunk of her time as an expert home organiser.
Dhaouadi's service begins with a visit where she measures up the cupboards and shelves and talks to the client about what they use daily and what they use less frequently, then she and her team go off to plan the layout. Next, they order in boxes and containers returning about a week later to organise and label everything, a process that normally takes three to four hours.
"It's very relaxing to the mind, to open up a cupboard and see everything neat and looking beautiful."
Dhaouadi's service costs around £150 ($299) for the shopping fee (plus the price of the products) and £250 for a three-hour organisation session.
The book curator
The advent of the "shelfie" — that's shots of beautifully ordered bookshelves — has had its impact on the work of Philip Blackwell who puts together collections of books for luxury hotels and private clients. But the content is where the fun starts: "we've done one for a horse-racing fanatic, and we did a witchcraft collection for someone the other day. We try to make them playful and amusing," he says.
Each collection starts with a conversation, when Blackwell discovers what his clients' interests and passions are: his team buy from the UK, Europe and America, and source secondhand if a book they feel is important to the collection has gone out of print. In the end, "The raison d'etre for what we do is that, in a world of excess, we all value curation," he says; "selecting, finding, cutting down to what really matters."
Blackwell's service costs from a few hundred pounds to thousands.
The wardrobe whisperer
Anyone who has battled with an overstuffed wardrobe in search of that elusive uncreased shirt will appreciate the value of a closet curator such as Julia Dee. Having been in the business since 1992, when she started a tailoring company, Dee now takes on everything from decluttering to alterations and mothproofing.
"They're overwhelmed," says Dee of the state she normally finds her clients in at the initial consultation. "Sometimes they've put on or lost weight, or had a bereavement, or they've had children and are going back to work. There's normally a trigger; they realise they need help."
Once a clothing collection has been cleansed of superfluous pieces, Dee can alter things that don't fit, but that her client wants to keep, so that they can be worn again.
And crucially, if you're getting new wardrobes, "think about how many pairs of trousers you have, and how you like to hang them, and measure them. That's the only way to know how much space you'll need."
Dee then helps to assess any gaps in the wardrobe and fills them with made-to-measure clothes, so the client ends up with a wardrobe that's as tailored as the clothes inside it.
Dee's service starts at £80 an hour, or £600 for a full day.
The art assembler
For the would-be serious collector, how to spot the most promising young talent? That's where Scarlett Colicci comes in. Colicci, an artist herself, sources collections for hotels and luxury developments and private homes. Colicci's advice is to find a curator whose taste you share: "They will have a thorough knowledge of where to look and which artists to put forward, and will know where to go for which type of artwork the client will be interested in."
A curated artwork proposal by Colicci costs £400.