This week we caught up with Ellie Tennant to pick her interiors brains and extract some of her valuable interior design knowledge. Ellie is an interiors journalist, stylist and author. She worked at magazines such as Ideal Home before going freelance. Nowadays she spends most of her time compiling features for magazines and newspapers, writing about inspiring interiors. She also interviews homeowners and writes in-depth pieces on specific home-related topics. She gathers images, sources stories, writes copy, edits pages and sometimes styles real homes for photo shoots.
Ellie also writes and styles books; her latest release is called Chic Boutiquers at Home, which we’re a huge fan of (£19.99, Ryland Peters & Small) and explores the homes of online sellers. There’s also a chapter about how to set up your own online shop, which is very inspiring.
She also wrote Design Bloggers at Home in 2014, which is another great addition for your coffee table collection! We asked Ellie our 3 crucial questions, to discover a little more about her natural interiors intuition…
What’s been the most enduring interiors ‘phase’ you’ve come across? One that’s gone beyond a trend and been a real keeper?
I’ve seen fashions and fads come and go over the years and it’s hard not to be influenced by what’s ‘new’ or what’s ‘cool’ but I find as I get older, I’m much less concerned about what is the latest look and am instead drawn to simple, timelessly-stylish interiors. I suppose this is the one ‘trend’ that is the most enduring really – well-made, artisan pieces that have clear origins, are beautiful, practical and long-lasting.
What would your advice be to someone who wants to keep their interiors fresh, but avoid it getting dated quickly?
Don’t ever shop on a whim. If you like something, wait. See if you still like it in a few weeks – or months – time. It’s often better (for your pocket, the environment and your home style) to save up for one, amazing and good quality item that you know you can live with for years or decades to come than to buy a succession of cheaper, less well made pieces that are very much ‘of the moment’. As a rule, invest in timelessly chic bigger items – such as sofas, tables, beds etc – and ‘update’ your look with smaller, less expensive accessories if you regularly crave a change.
Can you tell me what your top 3 favourite pieces of furniture are? Those in your home that you couldn’t bear to live without!
My favourite piece of furniture is this 1950s kitchen larder unit. I love it partly because it’s the first piece of furniture I owned – it’s from a weird (possibly haunted) little flat I lived in when I first moved to London which had an ancient 1950’s kitchen. It used to be painted in a glossy bright apple green finish, but it wasn’t the original paint and it was a bit garish.
I sanded it down and painted it in French Grey by Little Greene and I stripped old paint from the original handles. It’s a really compact, useful little unit. It’s been in a dining room, a bedroom and an office – and I’m pretty sure I’ll have it for life. I also love my two beautiful Cintique 1960s teak-framed armchairs which I bought on eBay. I loved the shape of them but they were in a terrible state (I think somebody might actually have died on one of them…!?) but I had the foam replaced and got them reupholstered in a dark charcoal wool fabric from Bute. Now they’re stunning and so comfortable. I have a real thing for super-comfy chairs and really love my new outdoor Canadian Muskoka chairs, which are Western Red Cedar wood and by far the most comfortable garden chairs I’ve ever sat (or napped) on.
We’re a big fan of Ellie’s work, she’s always creating new and inspiring interiors stories. To keep up to date with all of her projects, follow her on Twitter or visit her beautiful website; www.ellietennant.com,