WELCOME TO MINFORD
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.
De Gournay and Aquazzura create dream shoes
It’s no secret that whilst my house is largely an ode to grey paint, I have a split style personality that is equally obsessed with the idea of one day decorating my home in the ‘English Country House’ style. Think elaborate floral wallpaper, rattan furniture, wide brimmed hats to wear whilst pruning in the greenhouse (you get the picture).
So imagine my delight upon seeing that the master of luxury wallpaper de Gournay (essential to my floral chinoisere decor dreams) has collaborated with Aquazzura on an exclusive shoe collection sold on MatchesFashion.com
Now not only can I plaster the walls in the paper, but get some of Claud Cecil Gurney genius on my feet. The specialist handpainted wallpaper designs inspired Colombian shoe designer Edgardo Osorio to create a five piece collection.
The collection is modelled by one of my favourites, Arizona Muse. I worked with her on a shoot last year and I can confirm she is delightful and VERY beautiful. Imagine my horror when she suggested joining me on a run after shooting one day. “Yeah sure Arizona, can’t think of anyone I’d like to run up a Tuscan mountain with more, if you’re sure you’ll be able to keep up with me?!!
Personally, I am taking my cues from Miss Muse and hence forth I am going to be matching my outfits to my wallpaper more often!
Above Image Arizona wears: Aquazzura for de Gournay embroidered flats
Galvanise Your Garden
I can’t think of an interior stylist on the planet who won’t have a galvanised vintage dolly tub with an olive tree plonked somewhere in their outdoor space. These pots are a stylists best friend.
I am in the fan club myself for a few reasons: they’re an interesting alternative to terracotta that would be the usual go-to for garden pot plants and they weather beautifully.
The vintage dolly tubs are like gold dust. So if you’re at an antiques market and miraculously see one without a sold sticker on BUY IT. I’ve found 2 on Etsy if you’d rather not leave your sofa.
If, like me, you’re in the ‘grey is great gang’ and can never get enough of the shade then consider galvanising the rest of your garden with metal tabletops, chairs and outdoor lighting.
My stash of watering cans in the sun in the garden. If you’re in the market for a vintage galvanized watering can I found three in this etsy shop.
Garden Trading Swan Neck Light . Vintage Galvanised Dolly Tub and also here. These and these are probably the best I’ve found as far as a new get the vintage look version goes. Cox & Cox 3 Aged Zinc Planters . Metal Chair . Galvanised table (not strictly for outside but I like to put mine in the garden).
Camping Chairs But No As You Know Them
*WARNING PRACTICAL CHAIR ALERT*
Ok so I’ll be honest the word ‘practical’ rarely comes out of my mouth. I don’t own a waterproof jacket, I’m not known for my sensible footwear, basically for me the phrase just conjures up an item that will look minging.
Last year I went camping for the first time since I was in the Girl Guides and I actually loved it. I brought the most excellent tent (and no it wasn’t a canvas bell tent). A slight problem however, was the camping chair situation which I felt style wise definitely had room for improvment. Clearly the guys at AM.PM felt the same when they produced these foldable numbers. A take on the iconic butterfly chair but with machine washable covers and a fraction of the price.
You get £50 off when you spend £100 at La Redoute right now with the code HOME — the chair is are priced at £101, so you’ll get it for £51. I did two separate orders to see if the code worked twice and what do you know it did! Yes. Two chairs for £102. I think that’s what’s referred to as a no brainer.
How To Style Flowers On A Mantlepiece
One of the major plus sides of my job is that at the end of a shoot I often get to bring half the contents of a florists shop home with me (actually half of the flower market in Vauxhall which I will have visited at some ungodly hour that morning). Sometimes, I’m tired so they just go in a big zinc bucket and sit in the kitchen, but yesterday morning I decided to channel my inner Constance Spry and have a bit of play.
I thought I’d show you how I decided to style them. The idea here is to demonstrate that you don’t always have to plonk everything in a big vase. You can go all out with a mantlepiece and if someone comes over to ask who got married, so be it.
Here are my tips to nailing the composition
1.) You don’t have to buy lots of flowers to create a really beautiful effect. A collection of single stems can be just as dramatic.
2.) Consider hacking off the odd tree branch or shrub. Don’t just stick to flower stems.
3.) Use a whole mishmash of vases. Play with different shapes.
4.) You don’t always need to stick to a vase. Use a bottle or a water carafe.
5.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, always have an odd number.
If you want to ‘try this at home’, here’s a selection of vases I’ve put together.
Shop similar vases: Cox & Cox Recycled Glass Vase . House Doctor Set of 3 Grey Handblown Vases . House Doctor Large Bottle Neck Vase . Vintage Hungarian Handblown Bottle Vase 3 sizes available . Garden Trading Recycled Glass Bottle