Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tea Party Crasher Exclusive: Q&A with Selina Lake

After writing about the playful, fabulous work of interior stylist Selina Lake here, I finally got my hands on a copy of her wonderful book, Bazaar Style. It's full of inspiring décor ideas, beautiful photography and bold, gorgeously eclectic rooms — a book I'll want to reference again and again. Selina very kindly took time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions, so without further ado, here's a little peek inside her world. 

Your fantastic book, Bazaar Stye, was published last year. How did that come about? 
My dream was to produce an interiors book and I've always loved [British publishing company] Ryland Peters & Small, so I approached the commissioning editor with my concept for Bazaar Style. She loved the idea and I was thrilled when they said yes!

What's the main message you wanted to convey with Bazaar Style
I wanted to celebrate a look that’s easy to achieve in any home, with fun elements and happy colours. With Bazaar Style, anything goes.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I'm always drawn to things I love. Colour is a big part of most of the looks I create, and it’s my biggest inspiration. 

How did you become an interior stylist? 
I did work experience with established stylists and worked as a freelance assistant stylist, which gave me a great insight into the job. I also made lots of good contacts. After two years, I got my first commissioned job as an interior stylist for Real Homes magazine. 

What advice would you give someone trying to break into the industry as a stylist?
Be persistent! It takes time to build up contacts and lots of confidence to go freelance!

What are the best and worst parts about being a stylist? 
There are loads of “best” parts: I love producing gorgeous pictures, getting paid to shop, organizing shoot days, working with amazing photographers, going to lovely locations, discovering new products to feature, etc. etc. etc. The “worst” is packing up after a shoot! 

How would you describe your own home?
I rent a flat with my boyfriend in a large converted Victorian house in Surbiton — we love it because we’re close to London and also near the lovely Surrey countryside! Perfect. It’s filled with things I love — and a few things my boyfriend likes, too! My latest purchase is a framed “Love” print from Dandy Star. We've hung it over our bed. I also have loads of tea-light holders and candles in glass jars. My all-time favourite scent is Baies by Diptyque. I also love buying vintage eiderdowns from markets, so our bed is always cozy. I mix and match different floral-pattern pillowcases as well.

In your book, you advocate flea market finds and secondhand pieces over mass-produced design items. Is this something you've always felt strongly about? 
I like to mix and match old with new. Secondhand pieces tend to be well made and are unique, but I like new things too. 

Where are your favourite places to shop?
Kempton Antiques is a fantastic antiques market near where I live, and it’s held twice a month. I also like Hema in Holland, its good for colourful basics; I always buy tea towels and jersey bedsheets when I'm there. I love the souks in Marrakesh where I bought a gorgeous wedding blanket and my white leather pouffes. I'm also a big fan of Zara Home

What makes for a great home or a great room?
Good lighting is key! I always have a few lamps in each room; it gives the room a lovely soft glow.

What are your favourite colour combinations right now? 
I'm loving black, plums, pinks and grey.

What are the three things that are most important to you? 
My family, my work and my home!

What would you be doing if you weren't a stylist?
I might own my own gift shop, or boutique B&B. 

What's next for you? 
I have a new book coming out in next year! 

You can buy Selina's book, Bazaar Style, here. Be sure to check out her website (here) and her blog (here). Thanks, Selina! 

All photos courtesy of Selina Lake 
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