The not quite Christmas magazine shoots but by gum we will make them as super cosy and probably even as atmospherically moody as we possibly can (mainly because the photographing day is chopped in half by the light fading!).
Our first house this month was in the Norfolk Broads, an incredibly beautiful part of the world, which was apposite given just how beautiful both the home and the homeowners were! We drove through mist shrouded lanes ooohing and ahhing at the Autumnal colours until we reached a gasp inducing sweeping driveway that led us to a most imposing Edwardian Villa. Built in 1897, the house had only been owned by two families before the gorgeous Susan and Tim bought it and gently encouraged it into this century. Susan and Tim flung open the front door and ushered us inside, they could not have been more welcoming and this was reflected in the stunning interiors.
Susan runs @myedwardianhouse on Instagram so it was no surprise to us that her home is absolutely beautiful, our job was made incredibly easy with large rooms for all of Rob’s camera equipment, Karen’s flowers and room for my ubiquitous cushion stash and amazing decor that simply needed some candles lit and some extras thrown in for cosy Autumn atmosphere.
You might already be able to see that this house has been designed with the owners hearts in its rooms, each room is a party room, ready to entertain guests, to warm them with roaring fires, soothe them with gorgeous lighting and fill them with glorious food and bars fully stocked for any occasion.
Naomi (the big boss Features writer and stylist) and Rob (the amazing photographer) shipped off the very important assistant stylist to the library (this is my natural habitat so I was very happy!) whilst Karen (Floral Styling) created amazing floral displays in the utility room of dreams.
Spot the gorgeous Cranberry glass collection that I noted in my magpie brain for later use.
Naomi set to work creating a cosy Autumn kitchen. Really very little was required, just a tiny edit of personal items and a few candles. Naomi removed some of the functional items and kept the shot very simple as “It’s a large space and it could get too busy and any little bits and bobs would clutter the space, confuse the eye or simply get lost in shot”.
Having had a ruddy good rifle through all the glorious books in the library, I realised that I actually needed to do some work so set to, removing a gorgeous brass table that looked so beautiful but would have been a bit lost in the photos. I scoured the house (went to the next room and asked Susan) and ‘found’ a perfect gold and glass coffee table that beautifully fitted into the “Gatsby” theme that was emerging. Naomi had walked the house and decided that we could tell a beautiful story through our pictures of a special evening with friends. Tim and Susan are obviously amazing hosts and Naomi always ensures that the homeowners personalities shine through.
The library has gone through a few colour changes until Susan finally settled upon Farrow and Balls Green Smoke, this works so well with the original curtains and gave me the colour theme for the styling.
All the elements were in place for a luxurious, relaxing room – velvets, deep rich colours and an array of period features. I knew that I wanted to add some red to the room (traditional rooms start with the basic colour pallet of red, yellow and blue in a variety of tones). The room already had blue in the sofas and yellow on the cushions, I added a soft yellow throw to carry the yellow a little further and then brought in my trusty Phillips and Cheers cushions to add more soft texture and a rich red to balance the walls.
I added a larger table that could hold more and be a central point, filled it with beautiful crystal glasses and bottles in an array of jewel colours to sparkle from the candlelight and added as many candles as I dared! I removed most of the personal family photos from side tables and played with the deep recess in the window:
I was keen to make more of the mantelpiece so Karen created the most incredible vase of flowers and I added two stunning green vases either side and a few pieces of Susan’s Cranberry glass collection that she inherited from her Mother to bring out the red of the stripe in the curtains and the red in the cushions.
I removed more personal photos from the windowsill and added a little splash of colour with the green vase, balanced the fabulous lampshade from Baker Rhodes with the leopard print candle as well as an additional beautiful glass candleabra.
I have picked up little tricks from Naomi so that now, as I look around a house, I clock interesting pieces. I found these gorgeous leather binoculars in the bookcase and paired them with an antique book and a pile of books to balance the lamp.
Fire roaring, candles lit, greenery in place and just a few extra touches of pink and green glass and the gorgeous limited edition Kirsty Kins festive napkins (I had to make the teensiest nod to Christmas somewhere) and the room was guest…camera ready!
Whilst I was creating a cosy cocktail room reception, Naomi and Rob moved upstairs to photograph the beautiful bedrooms. Originally 6 bedrooms, Susan and Tim decided to keep three of the bedrooms and create extra bathrooms, creating three large bedrooms with stunning ensuites.
This really was a dream room and aside from fighting the call to jump into this beautiful bed and gaze at the amazing views, Naomi simply had to create a draw for the eye with some pattered cushions from Fitward and Hayton, soften the dominatingly handsome wooden bed with a cosy blanket and tie it in beautifully with a collection of pinks at the end of the bed, complementing the wallpaper perfectly. Naomi’s main concern in this room was for the actual magazine article: “When I walked into the bedroom I was blown away, it looked incredible, everything was so lovely. But when I had to think about breaking the room down into two separate shots, one looking towards the bed with its bold feature wallpaper, the other into the corner towards the drawers and armchair. a vision of powder pinks, I realised I’d need to switch up the colours so that the two shots would make sense together. So I softened the bed with a lighter throw from another room, and to boost the strength in the corner Karen helped me out with a strong pink floral arrangement that picked up on darker shades in the artwork”. (Naomi Jones).
The second bedroom was another straightforward shoot. A gorgeous little haven with the beautiful Wayfair bed tucked into a cosy nook. Naomi simply had to remove a few items that could have distracted the eye and added a little more cosiness with the Vintage Liberty print quilt .
My next assignment was the Dining room – yes – I have graduated from bedrooms!! Woohoo!!! This really was a dream of a house as Susan and Tim have worked so hard which gave us the opportunity to play styling…ahem..style…the rooms rather than rearrange them. The dining room really is the most spectacular space and Susan has so many elegant items that I rather lost myself in creating a room of evening elegance.
Another gloriously huge room painted in cossetting and glamorous Green Smoke with chandeliers, a stunning Dining table that reflects the light from the sweeping window framed by Baker Rhodes curtains perfectly. The bar at the end of the room immediately sets the scene for an evenings fun so we went to town in this room, raiding all of Susan’s cupboards and creating a magical sparkling tablescape.
The beautiful velvet chairs from Amazon Home add another level of glamour so I tried to match this level with a Royal Doulton dinner service edged in silver, golden chargers and silver cutlery. Pale green linen napkins soften the china and silver whilst blending with the floral arrangement and wall colour. Sparkling crystal glasses add another level of sophistication as well as adding a different height level and a variety of silver in candlesticks and salt pots add interest and more sparkle.
Karen and I edited the bar area, added a gorgeous silver wine bowl, silver candleabra, more sparkling crystal and Karen created a pop of pink with another floral arrangement.
Susan and Tim have designed the most beautiful home and made our jobs very, very easy. Susan has an incredible eye for style as well as fun and this house vibrates with warmth and hospitality. Our only problem was leaving, it was all just too welcoming! Thank you Susan and Tim for allowing us to invade your home, rifle through your cupboards and force you to light every candle and fire in the house! We had the most amazing shoot, it was a total pleasure to work in your rooms that only needed a tweak here and there for the camera. You have created a truly beautiful home.
Thank you so much to Susan and Tim at @myedwardianhouse for inviting us into their beautiful home.
Thank you gorgeous Karen @flowersandlifestylebymargot for her truly incredible arrangements – planned and spontaneous!
And with thanks to Naomi Jones for all her wisdom and allowing me to learn acres of interiors styling in just minutes and to the truly fabulous Rob Sanderson for telling the best stories and patiently allowing us to feather and nest and then capturing the light to create the most beautiful photos.
Thank you also to Kirstykins for her gorgeous vintage napkins and softly softly Liberty silkie eiderdown.