The utterly gorgeous Naomi Jones and the ridiculously fabulous Robert Sanderson very sweetly allowed me to tag along on another magazine shoot in Suffolk (not that they had a lot of choice, I just sit in the car, waiting to yoohoo as they arrive at their next shoot). Naomi spotted my proudly shiny “Assistant Stylist” badge and kindly ushered me upstairs out of the way to “magazine” the bedroom.
This is the stunning home of Laurie Cripps who owns RattyGoLightly, the most incredible lino cut designs, all handcrafted in her beautiful studio in the garden. Laurie’s designs are so clever, playful and stylish. You instantly recognise her work so I knew that her home would be equally wonderful.
I have mentioned in a previous blog on styling for magazines that the bedroom is often the main room in the house that gets overlooked. When moving into a new home one’s focus is invariably on the kitchen and sitting room, then the children’s bedrooms and bathroom and finally our own bedrooms – although by then one tends to be a little decorating weary and a lick of paint and a bed seem to suffice!
I love decorating a bedroom, it should be a place of calm and peace, a haven of tranquillity (not discarded barbies, hairbrushes and lego as my bedroom so often is – why do they insist on playing in my bedroom???!). I spent months planning our main bedroom, pouring over the Cabbages and Roses fabric book, creating moodboards and thinking of calming colour schemes. Naturally we moved in, created a kitchen (La Aga was the only thing in the kitchen aside from a nasty sink unit), redecorated the sitting room, attacked the children’s rooms and took the bathroom out of the orange squeezer. I hastily painted our lividly pink bedroom white, had my curtains made up in the bliss that is Cabbages and Roses linen and then left the bedroom alone to fester for a good couple of years.
Laurie had a similar experience when she moved into her beautiful Suffolk cottage and with an extension planned next year, her bedroom is still to be properly decorated. Step forward me! with lots of gorgeous cushions, bedding, ceramics and items to bring texture and colour into the room.
The bedroom is absolutely beautiful, with dual aspect dormer windows and a sense of airy lightness. Grey linen blinds and dark inky linen sheers compliment the light filled windows with a neutral carpet and pale grey and white furniture.
A super useful long run of cupboards span the entire back wall which is wonderful for storage but makes furniture arrangement rather limited!
I took my starting point from the existing colours – grey, navy and white and looked through the @rattygolightly instagram page to pick out her favourite colours. I was extremely fortunate as she has very particular taste and the strong colours sing out from each photo: teal, bright pink, dashes of darker blue and her favouritest colour yellow. It is important to think about the home owner and their interests and likes, a floral bomb wouldn’t suit Laurie’s room so although my heart lies in flowers and faded linens, Naomi has taught me that I needed to add what Laurie herself would choose.
My first port of call was the bed, taking Laurie’s love of quality linen (she uses it a lot in her products) I went to the amazing Bedfolk who make the most beautiful, softest, happiest bedlinen and scooped up their moss green flat sheet, paired with my rose pink duvet and and topped up with the lightest, crinkle texture cotton linen throw in Ink – a very pale ink with the palest grey reverse.
Pink, Green and Grey became my base colours for the scheme, centring the room around the bed, drawing the eye to a sumptuous feast of linen. I had to drape the throw, I simple couldn’t help myself but as I have mentioned before : Naomi has commented that magazines currently want nicely folded bedlinen – see further down for her clever tweaks!
Once the bed colours were in place I moved onto accessory colours. I used Laurie’s favourite colours to guide me and considered her interests and passions – I immediately thought of the amazing Zoe Glencross (super talented and ridiculously beautiful fabric designer). Zoe also loves hand printing onto linen, is passionate about colour and fabric and is inspired by nature. Laurie and her whole family are avid sailors and love nothing more than romping through muddy fields under huge inspiring skies so it seemed a natural fit. Zoe was absolutely amazing and provided cushions of dreams, the quality of her fabrics and designs is just outstanding, all her products are made in England which is something that is very close to Laurie’s heart so it was always going to be a happy match.
The colours were beginning to bring the room to life but I was aware that there were a lot of soft textures in the room with the curtains, bedding and carpet and the hard textures of the furniture so it needed something more natural to give more of a sense of nature. The Lloyd Loom chair was a great starting point which I was then able to reference in two beautiful natural bags – one handwoven natural sisal shopper tote bag and one glorious woven sisal laundry basket both from amazing The Basket Room one with a fabulous pink splash to match the pink roses and complement the pale rose linen, I also added two wicker lamps and a woven round basket of mine to the sidetables with a vase of flowers inside but brilliantly forgot to take a photo with the actual flowers!!! Imagine if you will a bowl of glorious florals inside the basket please!
The final area that I focused on was the uncompromising wall of cupboard. With only 6 inches ceiling clearance, it was difficult to find objects to enhance the bare space. I used vintage hardback books to bring more age and texture and colour and then begged Claire Folkes Ceramics to lend me some of her incredible work. These gorgeous pots brought more of the room scheme colour but also provided another texture to help with layering the room.
Even though I had chosen a muted colour pallette for the bedroom, I wanted to pick out those colours in little zingy pops to bring a bit of life to the corners of the room. Aside from Zoe’s incredible Seafoam cushion, I used one of Laurie’s books in the accent yellow with Claire’s incredible pots with the most beautiful light teal colour inside, a reflective silver frame and then a fabulous personifies the word ‘zingy’ green hobnail vase of joy from the gorgeous Ibbi Interiors – my goodness those ladies know how to source beautiful homeware!!!
Styling for a magazine is obviously very different to designing an actual bedroom scheme: we can’t always pool the bottom of our curtains or have fresh flowers every day to highlight our pallette choice but there are certain elements that apply to both scenarios. Layering is key, pick a base of colours (generally a trio), use texture and natural materials to add extra layers, if the bed is the focal point consider how to bring in your colour scheme and use bedding to add comfort and texture. Pick a few items that are in your colour pallette and maybe choose a bolder shade to highlight the colours, use paintings, ceramics, books, even bags to add more layering. There is a fine line between bringing in layering and over accessorising, I cross it every time in all my schemes but thank the lord for Naomi and her incredible eye. She will look at a room and can pare it back to the bones then add just a few items to enhance and beautify, it is a true talent to be able to do this and very difficult to recreate but I think from now on I will create a “scene” and then look at what I can simplify and reduce.
A final thank goodness for Rob and his extraordinary photography skills, he quietly sets up the shot, entirely understanding what Naomi is looking for and creates genius. These are my snaps but wait until you see the real deal in the magazine next year (yes – they often work a year in advance), Rob’s photos sparkle, he seems to bend light to his favour and create incredible images that are elegant and refined yet jump off the page, that are so perfectly framed but enhance what is in front of the camera (yes – as official very important assistant stylist I was allowed to look through the camera lens – woohoo!). Naomi and Rob are an incredible team, they know exactly what is needed in each shot and both have the all important eye for beauty. This is a rare talent and hard to achieve but hopefully following these hints and tricks of the trade might help to create more magazine worthy bedrooms that feel like a place of retreat and rest.
With thanks to all the wonderful companies who helped to create this bedroom of magazine happiness:
Zoe Glencross https://www.zoeglencross.com/
The Basket Room https://www.thebasketroom.com/
Ibbi Interiors https://www.ibbidirect.co.uk/
Claire Folkes Ceramics https://www.clairefolkes.com/
Emma Perring https://www.emmaperring.com/
Constant Candle https://constantcandle.co.uk/