Meet Laura Houldsworth, the immaculately dressed Executive Editor of House & Garden Magazine and author of the monthly Out & About design feature on the latest launches and chicest of showrooms. We get her expert insight into the latest trends across interiors and fashion.
You have an incredible eye and you are so knowledgeable when it comes to making a house a home. What is your top tip for someone in the process of decorating their home?
Thank you. My fiancee Rory and I have actually just bought our first house and we are in the process of planning some building works to install a new kitchen and convert the loft. It can feel overwhelming taking on a big project and my main tip would be to live in the property for a while before you change anything. This will give you a better understanding of how light affects different parts of the house and a better feel for the work you want to do. I'm a perfectionist and often get obsessed with wanting a neatly finished product immediately, but with a building project, it is helpful to really strip everything back to the basic elements of a room - furniture, accessories and detail can come at a later stage. Also, choose what you want to spend your money on - not everything needs to be top of the range. Ikea and Howdens do brilliant kitchen units for example, which you can paint and then apply a stone work surface to smarten it up. Lighting is also vital to making a house feel like a home. I have a beautiful white ceramic lamp from Vaughan and a glass lamp from Porta Romana with a dark blue linen shade - both transform our current sitting room. Do not skimp on size with lighting - table and floor lamps look so much better on a generous scale. The same applies to rugs - make sure furniture in the room sits over the edge of a rug, my pet hate is having a small rug in the middle of the room.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I love travelling and exploring new cities and cultures and find inspiration from hotels, art galleries, local shops and even train stations - I take lots of pictures on my phone and absorb the local colours and architecture of wherever I am. I'm lucky with my job that I get to eat in a lot of restaurants and I find them a great source of interior inspiration too, I love considering detail down to crockery, glassware and cutlery. Instagram is great for the sheer volume of images although it is easy to get bogged down with achieving a specific 'Insta-look'; I think it's important to be true to yourself and your own style. Go with what makes you happy rather than copying a look that happens to be trending on social media.
Which 2019/20 interiors trends are you coveting?
Sustainability and up-cycling is something we are all much more aware of now. I am planning a trip to Kempton market to source some furniture and there are also some great deals to be found on eBay. In terms of a colour palette, blush, dusty pink and bronze seem really popular this year - and I love it.
How would you advise we ‘bring the outside in’ when putting together interior plans?
Using natural, organic materials - such a wood floors, stone, and daylight and plant life - remind us of the exterior natural world and will bring the outside and nature into your home. I recently came across some great stone effect porcelain tiles from Mandarin Stone, which come in varying thicknesses so they can be used inside and out - giving one seamless, continuous look. I like the idea of being able to walk out of the house onto an open-air patio and it feeling like an extension of the house.
Do you see some variety in the beautiful homes you see in the country and the town?
The obvious differences are ceiling height, space and light from large windows - all of which allows for use of much more colour and pattern.
What trends can you see across interiors and fashion?
The traditional beauty of floral patterns, both abstracted and straight up chintz, seems ever prevalent. While I like a clean, simple aesthetic in general, I'm a fan of a chintz in a bedroom (particularly Colefax & Fowler).
Do you share a similar ethic when it comes to buying your clothes as you do with interior design?
Yes absolutely. I try to follow the ethos of 'buy few buy better'. I believe in quality fabrics and craftsmanship that stand the test of time. I like saving up for something and treating myself to a pair of shoes or lamp that I've wanted for a long time, rather than impulse buying from the high-street.
Finally, what does 2019 hold for you?
I have a busy year ahead. I am getting married in July at my parents house in Scotland and we have just bought a small house in London which needs some building and renovation work. We have only ever lived in rental properties and I cant wait to start decorating my own home.
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