Source: Anne-Claire Rohé
I love the simplicity of this shot. It’s minimalist and graphic but not unfriendly like minimalism can sometimes feel. The mosaic floor is a curious choice? Not sure I would have gone in that direction, but I like the contrast in texture to the very clean sharp walls.
Do you ever come across a photo and it just sticks in your mind? I felt this way when I spotted the fourth image above posted by Dustjacket Attic on Tumblr, which led me to the accompanying blog post. There was just something about that combination of parquet flooring (a lasting obsession) and dado panelling, combined with the classic Mies van der Rohe daybed and the rather glamorous drinks trolley, and how this elegant combo is offset by the contemporary abstract painting. It’s a great mix.
And then this Stockholm apartment popped up again on Design Milk. Looking at it again I realised: it’s too good not to share.
Leading British stylist Hilary Robertson has taken her creative skills stateside, set up home in Brooklyn, New York, and launched her beautiful new book, The Stuff of Life. Revealing inspirational and creative ways to style and display ‘the stuff’ we all have in our lives, from the multitude of possessions, ornaments and pictures, through to life’s necessities such as hats and bicycles, which we all gradually accumulate over the years. Hilary will take you on a journey to show you that the simplest of collectibles can look artfully arranged, with minimum effort. Whether you are a serious collector with a passion, or a minimalist lover wishing to tame and curate your clutter, The Stuff of Life will make you look at your possessions with a whole new creative vision! The Stuff of Life by Hilary Robertson, photography by Anna Williams, published by Ryland Peters & Small and available online here. To win a copy of The Stuff of Life simply visit Facebook and leave a comment why you need to sort your ‘stuff’! A winner will be picked on Friday 25th April at 6pm. Good luck!
I HEART WORK
Who are you: Hilary Robertson
What is your work: Interiors stylist/art director/antique buyer/visual merchandiser/writer - many roles but all connected!
Describe your work in 5 words. Finding beauty everywhere.
Describe your book. It’s a book about collections and display. As a stylist and a merchandiser, this is what I do; I find things and move them around - arranging and re-arranging until I like what I’ve done. Although I don’t usually analyse this process, I can see that there are organizing principles that people like me, stylists and visual merchandisers take for granted, and which could be illustrated and explained in a book. I have a lot of beautiful (to me) things. I don’t have ‘clutter’. But what is the difference? I think it’s about how it’s organized.
In NYC you can hire someone to style your bookshelves, and you can order books by the yard from Strand. Many of the houses that interior designers show me, with a view to being featured in magazines, look more like hotels than homes. And that’s because there is often nothing personal about them: a designer created them, and the owners haven’t managed to add those personal layers that real homes need: decorative things, vases, sculptures, children’s drawings, hats, bicycles…’the stuff of life’, as I like to call it.In every home there are essential functional pieces of furniture; chairs to sit on, dining tables, desks, beds to sleep in, coffee tables to set a glass or cup on, cupboards and sideboards to store stuff in and, while we could put much of our stuff away (and if you are John Pawson, your home is all about clever storage to hide that ‘stuff’), there are things which are just meant to be displayed. That’s why we acquire or keep them. There are the things that make up a sort of ‘museum of me’ - things that we want to display because they tell a story; where we’ve travelled, what we like to read, decorative stuff, ephemeral stuff. Who doesn’t like to examine people’s bookshelves and see what they are reading?Describe a typical day at work. My days are either ‘prep’ or ‘shoot’…so quite different. I’m a working mother so it goes like this:
a) Walk 20 minutes to school with son while he scoots. Borrow scooter and scoot back to house in 8 minutes. Sit at desk and write loads of emails while listening to the BBC news on NPR. Surf internet. Write. Surf internet. Scoot back to school and retrieve the son. Discuss snack options. Argue about practicing instrument. Make dinner. Collapse. Or…
b) Take the Subway to the city to find props in Chelsea and Flat Iron. Write emails and texts on iPhone as I walk around the city. Come home laden with bags of props. Or…
c) If I’m on a shoot my assistant might come to the house at 6.30am to help me gather up all the props clogging up my hall. We often have to be on set at 8am. I sometimes go to the flower market at 28th St before the shoot, and Rachel, my assistant, arrives on set first.
What is the first thing you do when you get to work? It depends if I’m on a shoot, prepping a shoot or writing. If it’s writing I play Stabat Mater by Pergolesi, some Rufus Wainwright, or recently the soundtrack from The Great Beauty, to get me in the zone. If I’m prepping a shoot I might peruse Pinterest for ideas and put a mood board together.If I’m on a shoot we have to unpack and lay all the props out on tables.
Where is your office/studio and what is the view out of your window? I work at a dining table in the middle room of the ‘parlour floor’ of the Brownstone we live in. Brownstones are narrow houses but long, so there is usually a space in the middle of the floor plan which gets no light. Ours, however, is open to windows at two ends (I leave the sliding doors to my bedroom open) so I look at trees in the garden and on the street side, which is calming in a city as noise-polluted as NYC.
What are the tools of your trade? I have a lot of different packing tape, masking tape, duct tape, string, scissors, pruning shears, and I stockpile recycled bubble wrap and tissue paper. Not very thrilling, but necessary for all the packing and unpacking.I do have an extensive prop department which is very useful: ceramics, organic things like pebbles and birds nests, shells, sculptural things, vessels, candlesticks, vintage cutlery, lab ware, paint palettes, driftwood, stone slabs, bits of patinated metal. Stuff!
What can’t you work without? Organic things such as flowers and branches.
Why do you love what you do? It’s like playing. It’s different everyday. You get the result, as in the photographs, instantly. I’m always learning. I also really appreciate the beauty of light. Light is everything in a photograph. I can change things very quickly so it’s always unfolding, which I find exciting.
Who or what inspires you? Painters, sculptors, and nature.
What is the best advice you have received? I’m too pig-headed to seek or listen to advice!…probably a big mistake!
One moment in your career you will always remember? Can I have two? A shoot at Stourhead which was very hard work and a logistical nightmare - but it was enormous fun to make pictures in such a sublime historic setting.And I really enjoyed writing for the Telegraph Magazine when I lived in England.
What is the best part of your job? Serendipity. The moment when all the elements I have brought together fuse…the props, the location, the photographer, the day light. Or, when you see some unexpected but beautiful thing happen on set and you just go with that.
And the worst? Two things: 1. I’m not very keen on bossy, controlling art directors. I need some freedom to do my best work. In Europe, stylists often art direct themselves, so I am more accustomed to that way of working…sorry art directors! I prefer to produce most aspects of a shoot myself.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I’m always moving forward. Never satisfied.
What are you working on at the moment? A book for Rizzoli on Brooklyn Interiors, another book for RPS for 2015 about monochrome interiors, and putting together my own online store of vintage objects (www.mrsrobertsonstore.com).
What single thing would improve the quality of your life? It’s boring but true: more money.
What have you learnt the hard way? Everything.
If you could do another job what would you like to do and why? I’d like to have been a musician. I love the way music transports me when I sing or play music with other people.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you are doing? Get a proper job. I don’t think I would advise anyone to be a stylist. It’s better to be a photographer or a graphic designer.
If you could be someone for a day who would it be? Maira Kalman - I’d like to live in her head for a day. She’s brilliant.
What is your personal motto? “It is better to travel hopefully than arrive.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)
What would you like to be doing in five years time? I’d like to be a creative director. It would be interesting to be able to focus on one brand. There is a ceramics company I have my eye on. Since I discovered it in the USA, I have collected Bennington pottery (from Bennington, Vermont) and I’m amazed that it isn’t known in Europe. The designs from the 60s have enduring appeal but the contemporary stuff is disappointing. That’s my fantasy job…just putting it out there! I do still harbour a hankering to make a magazine. I’d also like to introduce more British design to America. I’m imagining a studio location furnished with furniture, accessories, paint, lighting, wallpaper etc by British makers.
If you had an extra hour each day what would you do with it? Learn to play the cello. I got one for my birthday and have just started to play it.
How would you like to be remembered? That’s tough…I’d just like to be remembered.
Thank you Hilary for talking to The Lifestyle Editor.
April 22, 2014 at 10:46PM
”Do one thing every day that scares you.”
- Eleanor Rooselvelt
INTERNATIONAL FRIDAYS: MINIMAL IN STOCKHOLM
Another Friday, another super-minimal apartment in Stockholm - and another example of Fantastic Frank's cool styling. This space will either leave you swooning thanks to its sleek lines or you'll be running for some soft furnishings - or, indeed, colour. But I'd argue that in terms of styling a property for sale, the simplicity works here, even though I couldn't imagine actually living in a space this bare. This loft apartment is all about volume and light, with a dramatic double-height and open plan living, dining and kitchen area (with a ceiling height of 4.5 metres) and a mezzanine level sleeping zone.
Things to love: the height of those dramatic arched windows, and the gorgeously pale wide plank oak flooring - Kährs Oak Nouveau Snow, which has a distinctive white hue that accentuates the light.
Absolutely beautiful images from Botswana, the colours and patterns are breath taking. It’s so easy to forget how incredible nature can be. 7
‘Being above the ground at such low elevations, and having the ability to precisely maneuver, was like gliding over an enormous painting and being able to create brushstrokes at will. As soon as I saw the landscape from above I knew there was potential to create a special body of work.’
Stunning. The colours of nature - stunning.
Saint Augustine (via nofatnowhip)
photo britt ambridge | domino