Creating Beautiful Spaces

Sophie Hitchens Thursday, 5th January 2017  0 Comments

Twig Hutchinson is an Interior & Prop Stylist and an Art Director and owner of the beautiful Light Location, Lorn Road. With an eye for all things beautiful it is not surprising that Lorn Road is a wonderful combination of Victorian history with modern class. As a top stylist in her field we asked Twig what inspires her.

How would you introduce you and your work in one sentence?
Oh that’s far too tricky to answer in one sentence! I suppose I am Earl Grey drinking, linen, unlacquered brass and pink ceramics obsessive (though that list is not exhaustive!) who likes to be in, and create beautiful spaces. And I have three little children to keep things forever interesting.

What/Who inspired you to become an interior stylist?
I’ve always loved interiors ever since I was a little girl I’ve been designing rooms and making plans for as long as I can remember. I started my career assisting lots of wonderful stylists who were always really inspirational. I used to assist Kristin Perers when she was a stylist and she was amazing. She’s now a photographer so I have the fun of working with her all over again.

How do you begin your journey of inspiration when styling an interior shoot?
Head straight to Pinterest. And then I’ll stack up on fashion magazines which I always find really inspiring for interiors. Seeing certain print clashes and mixes in fashion often lends itself to my work.

Being a prop stylist involves shopping for props for photo shoots - a dream job for many! What inspires you when doing your prop research?
I like visiting places with a really good edit of pieces. Farleys China Dept is pretty amazing. I love spying on who’s shooting what film or TV series. It makes me laugh when you’re watching a movie and you think ‘I know where that tea cup’s from!’

How does your role as an Art Director for clients such as Wedgwood differ from your prop and interior styling work?
I get involved much earlier on in the shoot process and come up with ideas for the overall images as well as for the props. You cast models, choose the location etc. On the day I’m constantly editing images and working closely with the photographer to get the best shot.

How would you describe your interior style?
Pared back and tonal. Soft. With an emphasis on textures.

Do you have a favourite team/photographer you work with?
Yes. They know who they are! The best teams are really good at what they do and really fun. Shoots can be quite stressful so it’s important to be able to laugh.

Do you have a favourite location you like working in?
I love it when I get to travel. Shooting in a Tuscan villa in or a chateau in France is always pretty great. I recently spent four days in northern Italy surrounded by olive groves and eating the best pasta each night after long days shooting.

If you weren’t a stylist, What would you like to be doing?
I’d be a spy. I’ve taken an online test on the M16 website but now I’m telling you I guess I’m scuppering my chances!

I think you have started a blog so do tell us about it!
Yes it’s called Minford. It’s an interiors and lifestyle journal for grown ups and their minis. People often find it difficult to make interiors decisions so I try to distill my years of experience into practical advice and inspiration. And I show you where to shop the best pieces. I kept seeing amazing fashion blogs but there didn’t seem to be so many vibrant interior ones. I’m really enjoying it.


Multi talented Louisa Grey

Sophie Hitchens Friday, 18th November 2016  0 Comments

Louisa Grey is a busy stylist and interior designer and also owns a photo shoot location. With three different strings to her bow, we asked Louisa more about how she approaches the 3 different strands of her working life.

How would you introduce you and your work in one sentence?

Evolution is central to my approach in design.

Your company House of Grey is a creative Interior Design studio. What approach do you apply to the spaces you work with?

We approach each project with energy and functionality as this is key for making our spaces really work hard for the client. With the increasing lack of space in our everyday lives, we design spaces that encourage comfort and calm for our clients. I trust my intuition with all our design work and over see all of our projects personally.

Wray Crescent is a stunning house which clearly follows your love of cool grey interiors - What was your inspiration when designing this beautiful Victorian terrace?

I had a very clear idea of the design and direction that I wanted the house to follow. I am rather inspired by Danish design and this was a heavy influence with the light and soft hues I have painted the house. Our architect drew up several sets of plans as I wanted the space optimised. This allowed us to walk through how we would use the space and this enabled us to renovate the house and it works extremely well. We had a list of requirements and of course a budget but this combined with my experience in designing has meant we have been very happy with the layout. 

Tell us about the project of doing up Wray Crescent - What was the state of the building in when you bought it?

The house had been owned by the same family for over 60 years and they where keen to sell to a family, which was lucky for us as there where 12 offers on it. It needed fully renovating from top to bottom. We lived on the middle floor for 3 months (as the roof leaked and the basement was too cold and damp) so this was the driest floor.
Originally the house had three kitchens in it with one on each floor so we ripped them out which was a very satisfying cathartic process. I tried to do as much of the work as I could before the builders started (but we did have a new born so this was when he was sleeping). I feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy the light and space here, especially when I remember back to how it was when we first moved in.

What has been your favourite photoshoot that took place at Wray Crescent?

A Homes and Gardens shoot that Ali Brown styled and Damien Russell shot. They really used the main living space so you could appreciate the high windows and had a lovely huge dining table across the three windows, which is exactly what the space was designed for.

Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of utilising their home as a photo shoot location?

I definitely think it helps if you are in the industry as you know what to expect. You need to be pretty relaxed and sociable. I feel super fortunate as I get to see stylists or photographers that I do not work with regularly. Which is so lovely and definitely the bonus part of renting the house for shoots…

When not working at House of Grey or being on site at Wray Crescent you provide styling for interiors and food. What do you look for when taking a brief in this area of your working life?

I accept projects / brands which interest me and I know I can push the boundaries with. It also very much helps to work with creatives who I am inspired by their work so this always sways me when accepting work.

Do all 3 different strands of your working life always work in harmony?

I am very lucky that the three strands do compliment each other very well, but add motherhood in to the mix and it is rather a juggling act. I have made sure the office is situated at home so I can see my son a lot otherwise I would not have that luxury of spending such a good amount of quality time with him.

A Photo Shoot Location in the Making

Sophie Hitchens Thursday, 14th July 2016  0 Comments

One of our new Light Locations this year, Kingsley Place, was love at first sight for owner Jemima and her husband, although it did take their passion for contemporary architecture to transform the almost derelict bungalow in to the stunning home it is today.

When Jemima and her husband bought 13 Kingsley Place in 2002, they had been scouring North London for two years, trying to find a property from the 1960s or 70s – a period of architecture they love. As soon as they saw the compact little bungalow, they fell in love with its retro architectural lines, the beautiful and private courtyard garden and the peaceful location. Despite its state of repair, the views of the sky, the trees and the city captivated their hearts and they put their minds to how they could transform it into the house of their dreams.

The family moved in immediately, despite the dodgy electrics and plumbing and the fact that rain poured in through the roof! The plan was to transform the home within a couple of years, but it wasn’t until a decade (and an extra child) later that they had finally saved up enough money to realise their increasingly ambitious plans.  By then, some of the less desirable elements of the 1970s such as the avocado bath were wearing thin, not to mention the ivy climbing through the wall!

Despite starting the project later than planned, living in it for so long before rebuilding meant they knew exactly where the light fell, which views they loved best and how they used the house. This helped them to shape their plans to maximise the house.

The couple chose Luke Zuber as their architect, having approached him after an Open House weekend at his own Crouch End House. They appreciated Luke’s laid-back attitude and felt he really understood what they were aiming for. The plans were ambitious and initial estimates made the couple question whether they were too ambitious. However, they really didn’t want to compromise on their dream and with no additional budget they continued to source quotes. They then found Golden Houses - a brilliant contracting company who managed to bring the project in on budget, in part by pointing out that the work classified as a new build so was VAT exempt.

To keep costs down and to ensure that the project remained on budget, on time and that every single detail remained within their overall design, the couple chose to project manage the transformation themselves. Fully prepared from watching endless episodes of ‘Grand Designs’, the couple were careful with their budget and anticipated occasional hold ups. Beyond getting the house of their dreams, they also felt that their greatest achievement was to finish the project on great terms with all their neighbours.  Any project of this size is going to upset neighbours and their advice to anyone taking on a similar task is to communicate with the people who live near you before and during, and then have a big house warming afterwards for them all to come and see what you’ve done!

The result of the couple’s fastidious attention to detail and belief in an overall aesthetic has resulted in a building with a very strong and coherent style, making it appeal to our clients looking for a contemporary photo shoot location.

It is already proving popular with photographers and stylists and Jemima, love opening their home to shoot crews. They find it fascinating to see their home transformed and their kids loved seeing Christmas coming early with the help of a snow machine for one shoot! The shoot crews have also found it a very accommodating environment, with the courtyard not only providing a structural backdrop but also proving the perfect spot for storing kit and props. The downstairs room has found itself an ongoing role as hair, makeup and wardrobe space and the little details like the wood feature wall and the wood burner are becoming very popular backgrounds.

Doubling up as a photo shoot location never detracts from the fact that 13 Kingsley Place is still a home – built from a long held dream of its owners, which has become a reality they are proud to have seen through. ‘We have always loved this house even when it was derelict. We feel that we have stayed true to the architects’ original ideas and think if they had had these modern materials available to them they would have done something similar. I think one of the most successful things we have done is to balance all the glass with wood.  Some modern houses end up feeling rather cold but with all this walnut and other darker panels there is welcoming warmth to the house, especially when the wood burner is going’.  

We love Kingsley Place too and its history from humble 1960s beginnings through to its modern open plan beauty. Squirreled away in its own peaceful sanctuary it’s a little slice of welcome serenity from the hustle and bustle of its city location – both as a home and a photo shoot location.