Yes it’s definitely a verb.
It’s officially no going back Autumn. Time to embrace the change, wrap up warm (then unwrap cold) and channel the beautiful Autumnal colours and simply glorious sunlight. Thank goodness both houses for our shoot were close by (I get slightly twitchy when I have to travel further than the postbox at the end of our lane) and that the sun shone in extremis for both shoots.
Naomi Jones (www.naomijoneshomes.com) set the brief “Autumnal cosy” naturally I ran wild and gathered as many cushions, blankets and candles as my little wicker baskets could carry. Both houses are stunningly beautiful and super old………filled with heavy beams, wonky floors and heart of the home kitchens so we knew most of our brief was already fulfilled!!!
Today’s blog focuses on the first shoot at Flowers by Alexandra Grace at her glorious 500 year old home. Alexandra is the most fabulous florist who spends her days going into other peoples homes or events and filling them with beautiful floral creations. It was her turn to fill her gorgeous home with incredible autumnal displays (which apparently is far more stressful than going to a clients home and decorating!!) so once the ancient woodburner that came from her Grandmother’s house in Scotland was lit, we were ready to magazine our way into Autumn.
Alexandra’s home is so warm and welcoming, all we had to do was add a few Autumnal touches and bring some seasonal colour to the room. Naomi swapped the sofa blanket, using the original to add focus and colour to the central footstool. Naomi added a soft warm woollen mustard blanket from The Natural Blanket Company in a herringbone stripe that still adds interest and texture but doesn’t deflect the focus from the rest of the beautiful room. Gorgeous heather and green tones were introduced to reproduce the colour from the beautiful floral display with checked cushions from Harrison Cropper. Ali’s beautiful blue cushion from Hattie Pattison brought the whole scheme together, tying in the blue armchairs and the blue of the blanket on the footstool.
An interesting aside is how Naomi styles trays, initially a traditional tea was set up for the shot but then she discovered a beautiful pink glass jug made by Alexandra’s cousin which worked beautifully with the pink roses but it was decided that the jug and roses were too summery so Naomi reverted to the simple silver tea pot and rustic iron candle holders from Isary Home reflecting the candlelight off the silver pot. As mentioned in a previous magazine styling blog, Naomi spends a long time arranging the handles on mugs, cups and pots! This seems a little zealous but when looking at a single image the eye is easily thrown in different directions. It is far more calming to look at diagonals or the same direction.
Rob ( Robert Sanderson https://robertsandersonphotographer.com/ ) patiently waits whilst we move cushions and tea sets, using his time cleverly to capture Alexandra’s stunning floral display on her kitchen table. Imagine a table filled with flowers every day instead of glitter and pritt sticks?!
We moved onto the kitchen to allow poor Rob to actually photograph the Sitting room! Rob has a passion for creating a super cosy kitchen and will often lift the lid on a hob to create more interest and a feeling of a lived in kitchen (he couldn’t do this in my kitchen as La Aga is far too grubby!!) thankfully Ali’s range was sparklingly camera ready.
A sweet tea towel from Ratty Golightly draws the eye to the beautiful range oven whilst a cheeky Emma Perring painting of Autumnal trees adds some seasonal colour to the scene and a beautiful dark wooden chopping board from Isary Homeware grounds the view and allows the red tomatoes to pop with colour and draws the eye to the amazing Burleigh Pottery collection – begun by Ali and her husband on their wedding list, deliberately mismatched so that when breakages occur it could be easily replaced (why didn’t I think of that with our crystal glasses of which I am now down to one?!!!)
Naomi looked pointedly at my Very Important Assistant Stylist badge and sent me scurrying upstairs to style both bedrooms whilst she continued to work her magic downstairs.
Given that we were in the home of an incredible florist, I knew that I wanted to include an Emma Perring painting so had popped this beauty onto the wall. Ali wandered in and saw another EP painting on the chair and immediately responded to the blossom painting.
The beautiful bare brick wall was crying out for a focal point but Naomi is always keen to “honour” the homeowner – it must be their style and their choice so Ali and I ascended her bed and with some magical wire managed to suspend the second painting from the beams!
Rob managed to capture me adding more colourful bedding and cushions to the bed – this is my best plumping action!
The bed was beautifully simple and perfect for a calming bedroom but it just needed a little more colour for magazine interest.
I used soft linen bedding from the fabulous Bedfolk, rose pink and palest ink grey linen and cotton throw and added in the gorgeous Voyage Maison Briella and Tamar cushions, Ali bravely whispered that she wasn’t sure about so many florals on her bed but the joy of these cushions is that they are reversible so we flipped them round for a more calming pallette that Ali was comfortable with in her room.
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Ali has such a beautiful bedroom that it really didn’t need much styling. I edited her bedside tables, removing any personal photos and books and added a pile of gorgeous blue antique books that were published by Ali’s great Grandfather A & C BLACK PUBLISHERS in the early 1900s The books finished the simple vignette, with the different colours of the pom poms on the cushions tying in the pinks, blues and greys.
Ali’s simple arrangements complete the look in purest white and zingy green.
NB: the lights were switched off when Rob took the proper shot! When shot professionally, the lights add a harsh yellow tone to the shot.
I span through 180 degrees (spot who paid attention in her homeschooling last year) and turned my focus on the other half of the room.
This really was a simple case of editing the personal photos and trinkets. Ali whipped up a glorious Hydrangea display and I magpied several silver and glass pieces to add a sense of elegance to this beautiful chest of drawers.
The ceramic lamp was wonderfully already in situ, tying in with the colour of the lamps by the bed so I added a couple of Ali’s books in coordinating colours and referencing her love of nature and added a pop of pink to pull in the bedding with the Forever Candle from Constant Candle Co
I wafted my way to the guest bedroom to make just a few tweaks. It is such a beautiful room with a gloriously old fashioned elegance that there was barely any styling to be done.
We added a similarly textured eiderdown to the second bed to create a more harmonious feel – Ali had bought the beautiful vintage striped eiderdown intending to cut it into smaller sections and enthusiastically offered to cut it and use on both beds immediately but my grey pallor and swoon onto the blanketed bed convinced her to do this another time – when I couldn’t be blamed for ruining an heirloom piece!
Magazines look for a good sitting room, beautiful kitchen, a bathroom and at least two bedrooms. We were thoroughly spoiled in this incredible home but you will have to wait for the magazine article to come out to be able to see the rest of this fabulous shoot.
Tune back in next week…oh no, that’s not right…come back next week to read the second half of this blog about the shoot at Rebbekah’s pink Timber Framed House.
With thanks to the beautiful Alexandra Grace for allowing us to invade her home
the amazingly talented Naomi Jones Homes for her incredible eye for style and her patience with a very enthusiastic Very Important Assistant Stylist
the inimitable Robert Sanderson for being an extraordinary photographer who has the talent to capture a tiny fairy in a huge woodland glen but is also the kindest, funniest and sweetest of gentleman photographers.
As a tiny additional extra, given that we were in the presence of an amazing florist here is a montage of Alexandra responding to a Very Important Assistant Stylist’s self chastisement for not bringing a few just in case blooms for one of the children’s bedrooms…Ali dismantled the most beautiful display and created a smaller child sized friendly version: