Minford – An Interiors and Lifestyle Journal by Twig Hutchinson
Photographer Kristin Perers
Once upon a time I was the girl who got paid to sit on an M&S sofa smiling like a goon. (Don’t bother Googling it – you won’t find me – PHEW!). This was one of the giddy heights of my modelling career, that and becoming the face of Müller Light yoghurt. A bit of modelling allowed me to do work experience on magazines for free and assist the top interior stylists in the industry.
One day I found myself sitting in a bath full of bubbles artfully styled by Kristin Perers. From my vantage point I observed how she could make even a dodgy high street bathroom set look amazing. She had the best southern drawl, drove a vintage Mercedes and could style like no one else. I knew I just had to assist her.
Fast forward 16+ years and now I’m a stylist and she’s a photographer for the likes of Vogue, House & Garden and Sunday Times Style. She also finds time to run styling workshops from her Columbia Road studio, write a blog championing women over 50 and (after doing up the vicarage that she shares with her husband), rennovate a house in Suffolk.
Talk to me about your interesting career. You actually first started out in fashion first?
I grew up in small town Florida where I made up for the limited horizons by developing a very rich fantasy life. As a young girl I also learned to sew and I would design and assemble the most outrageous getups, my own take on the things I saw in my mother’s copy of Glamour or Vogue. It was all sort of a dress rehearsal for that ‘someday’ when I knew I would be out of there and I would be living a life as a grown-up.
What then prompted the move into interior styling?
As soon as I could I moved to NYC where I studied fashion design and went on to work as a designer. When I got married I moved with him back to London although to begin with I continued the transatlantic commute. When we started a family my focus changed. At the time we had we also moved into a house that needed a lot of attention and I kept a scrapbook of the renovation and this became the basis of my proposal for my first book the Seasonal Home.
What is/was your niche or particular style in that world?
My motto is “Make it yourself”! I love homemade, handmade and ingenious (i.e. cheap) ways of solving problems.
What were some of your favourite styling jobs?
Working with Sarah Maingot and Jenny Zarins as a stylist for Toast certainly took me to some far flung corners of the globe in Argentina, Chile, Greece, Sri Lanka and working on the catalogue I learned so much about improvising with what you found on location.
How did your fashion and interior styling roots influence your home now?
From a technical point of view I learned the importance of keeping a neutral base that can shift as the light and environment changes. That way it’s all about layering the textures & the colour palette.
Decorating a working vicarage is like doing up a rental property, you can’t totally gut the place. How did you go about personalising the house?
Ah! Good question. I found the vicarage a fascinating challenge in that it’s not yours and you don’t know how long your going to be there. It is also a hybrid between a public and private building. This made me think in a more careful way about which aspects of the house it would be worth upgrading and which could be adapted.
Life must be full of entertainment at your home. Tell us how you like to decorate your table?
I like to decorate it easily and quickly. I have piles of washed linen in soft colours that I start with (I stopped ironing years ago and love the natural texture when they are hung dry), beeswax candles (the smell is so lovely and wont overtake what you are serving), cuttings from the garden (I’ve started a ‘spring walk’ to supply the church with posies). China is one of the things I’ve been able to bring over from America, my Grandmother’s Spode, plate by plate its come back to England, mixed with some pieces from my-mother-in-law.
Shooting ‘Round to Ours’ by Jackson & Levine (Supper club creators Laura Jackson and Alice Levine’s new cookbook come party planning bible) got me thinking about styles of entertaining, some of it was shot at the vicarage so I got the rare treat of seeing my home dressed up for someone else’s event. It’s inspired me to do more entertaining this summer.
Why did you decide to move into photography?
At first it was because I wanted to stretch myself. I’ve been freelance now for almost 30 years – since I came to the UK – and as a freelancer you are not on a natural career trajectory. Nobody is going to give you a promotion or a raise so you have to dig up your own challenges.
Tell me a little about the courses you run in your studio. Why?
Although I love the opportunity to connect that comes with social media, I also know how we need the human contact too, how that’s part of the creative process. So a big inspiration for me is the possibility of reciprocal learning – inspiring and getting inspired. It’s good to be visible to each other and not just a twitter handle or profile picture.
Below is Kristin’s latest interior project in Suffolk. For all the interior, food and styling inspiration you could wish for, have a scroll through Kristin’s Instagram here.
Round to Ours is out now.
Lisa Mehydene of edit58
Remember my current obsession with those kids baskets? Well I thought I’d let you into the world of the woman behind them…Lisa Mehydene is the founder of edit58, an online interiors site that specialises in homeware from around the globe – baskets from California, cushions and blankets from Africa and wall hangings from Nashville. And THE most incredible rugs from Morocco.
It’s the vintage, pink and orange sploshed berber style rugs that first piqued my interest. Then seeing them displayed in her London home, that she shares with her husband and twins, she had me hooked.
I asked Lisa to share how she builds a space and for more details on the task of choosing a rug – something I am seriously picky about!
What draws you to the rugs that you source?
I don’t purchase any rug that doesn’t make my heart sing. It’s an immediate response upon seeing a rug. I know instantly if I want it for edit58. If I have to catch my breath. It has to be mine! It’s really hard to put into words what makes a rug special but I suppose it’s a combination of the colours (i’m a sucker for some pink) the pattern and the overall feel. I’m particularly drawn to those rugs that manage to combine a traditional design with a contemporary twist.
The hardest part of sourcing vintage rugs is that each is a one-off. I find it difficult to part with them as I know I’ll never see them again and they each have a piece of my heart. But it’s also what I love most about sourcing vintage rugs – that a customer has a unique item that no one else in the world has. In an age of mass production that’s something special.
What’s your top tip when buying rugs for your home?
If you choose well, a rug can be in your home forever. Based on that, try and transcend trends and select a rug that really makes your heart skip a beat. Rugs are basically art for your floors. You’ll look at it everyday, it can enhance your mood, change the feel of a space, move with you from home to home. Don’t overthink the decision.
You’ve recently started selling candles can you tell us a bit more about them?
I hold my hands up – I’m a candle addict. It’s an evening ritual to light candles and so it’s become an expensive habit. I had to launch my own brand! In fact, myself and Jon Harvey had been waxing lyrical (sorry!) about doing it for a while, and then mid last year we just decided to bite the bullet and get on with it and ‘atelier58’ was born.
It’s been such an exciting experience. We worked together with a UK scent house to develop our launch scents (Charcoal, Ochre and Blush) and Jon (with my bossy interruptions) developed the branding and packaging all based around a colour palette. We’re so excited to be also launching two new scents/colours for Spring 2017.
What’s your decorating philosophy?
I’m a firm believer in mixing high street, vintage and designer pieces – exactly as I do with my wardrobe. By sticking to this philosophy I feel you end up with a home/space that has texture, history, interest and warmth.
I like to walk into a space and have my eye travel. Based on that, I’m not a minimalist. I surround myself with things picked up on our travels, from special occasions, letters/cards from loved ones etc. I like to look at things and have a memory come to mind. It makes the space personal to me and my family and is what (to me) creates a home.
Again, much like dressing, a room needs layers – so I take into account the space, what the room will be used for and by whom. Furniture can be kept simple, but I like vintage pieces mainly as I like that they have a story to tell. I then like to add texture with rugs, cushions, blankets, wall-hangings and art.
Most recent favourite purchase/ purchases?
The new bed (‘The Beaumont’ from The White Company) is most certainly up there. We had wanted a new bed for years but just couldn’t agree on the one. I had my heart set on a rattan one by Anthropologie, but it sold out and in hindsight I think I would have regretted it in a few years. So when I spotted this one last year (and for literally half the price of similar designs) it ticked all the boxes. I wanted it to be a statement bed, but simple in its lines.
I used the January sales to take the plunge on some Merci linen pillowcases I had had my eye on (with 40% discount). They’re a lovely quality, and the perfect old pink/grey check, that perfectly matches (mismatches?!) with our La Redoute tassel linen bedding in dusty pink, and our edit58 extra extra long cushion. I really like to mix up the prints on our bedding as I feel it gives a nicer feeling overall. We end up with about 6 layers on our bed (duvet, blankets, eiderdowns, cushions etc) and my husband moans – but I’m the bed maker so I feel I have the right to dress it up as I please!
We are very excited to announce our first giveaway. One lucky reader will be selected at random to win an atelier58 Ochre scented candle. All you have to do is like the instagram picture on @minford_journal and tag two friends who don’t follow Minford but should. The winner will be announced next Monday and we’ll be in touch to arrange posting the candel to your home. This competition is open to international readers too. Good luck!
Kate The Cook
This is the first of my ‘Meet the Expert’ posts where you get some serious insider tips from, well, the experts.
First up is the fabulous Kate Trelawny. She’s the fashion world’s go to chef and frankly, who better to ask about where to find the best kitchenware than someone who cooks for a living.
Despite a client list that makes the Oscar guest list look lame, Kate’s incredibly down to earth and never happier than escaping from the fash pack’s frenzy to her cottage (pic above) with her husband and two children, with no TV, no WIFI and phone reception.
I grabbed a few minutes to talk about what she loves to cook with and what she’ll be cooking this Christmas.
What’s your top tip when it comes to buying for the kitchen?
It’s incredibly important that it is as long lasting and hard wearing as possible. I love a bit of le Creuset, it looks good and lasts for life. You get what you pay for with cookware.
Do you have any favourite places to buy things for your kitchen?
I LOVE Summerhill & Bishop. It’s the most beautiful store and they have the most amazing glassware. When I’m in Wales I love to go to thrift stores and find old enamelware. I love the green and cream.
Are you cooking a turkey at Christmas or something more unusual?
Turkey! It’s Christmas!!!! I get mine from Moen & Sons and ask them to stuff it for me. I also get my pigs in blankets ready prepared from them.
Ok so that’s the bird sorted what else is happening for Christmas lunch in the Trelawny household?
Roast potatoes in goose fat and roast parsnips.
Cream carrot and celeriac puree. Whizzed in the Magimix for a smooth texture.
Red Cabbage. I love a bit of apple in my red cabbage but I can’t bare when people put raisins in it. What a nasty surprise that is! Last but not least my take on sprouts…
A Take On Sprouts
600g sprout tops available in most supermarkets
100g cooked chestnuts (a real treat if cooked and peeled by oneself)
1 x mild chilli deseeded and finely chopped
4 cloves of smashed garlic
1 x sprig of rosemary chopped
Glug of rapeseed oil
Knob of butter
Fry the whole lot together over medium heat for about 10 mins.
What happens for pudding?
Most people are not really fans of Christmas pudding so just get a small one. My personal preference is mince pies for pudding. You spoon out the mincemeat and then fill it with brandy butter. Pour on some extra brandy and hey presto a brandy butter pie. Much better!
So if you’re an avid foodie or have someone to buy for who is, take a leaf out of Kate’s book and stock up on her gift list below. You can get in touch with Kate here or follow her on Instagram for more inspiration.
- Blenheim Forge Petty Knife
- French Linen Tea Towel
- Summerill & Bishop Classic Wine Glasses
- Le Creuset Round Casserole
- Labour & Wait Enamel Milk Pan
- Pallares Solsona Kitchen Knife
- Labour & Wait Bib Apron