Interview with interior stylist Selina Lake, plus images from her new book Outdoor Living
Pretty, vintage and romantic style is what you’ve become known for. Could you tell us about your career in styling to date?
I’ve always had a passion for creating different looks and enjoyed putting together inspiration boards. At art college, I got my first taste of styling while I was still studying my Surface Pattern HND course. I was lucky enough to gain work experience working as a styling assistant on photo shoots for Living Etc and Ideal Home magazines, plus a selection of interiors companies. Once I’d finished my course, I started working as a full-time freelance stylist assistant, assisting various freelance and in-house stylists. After a year as a self-employed assistant, I decided to make the break and set about getting my own commissions. One of my first shoots was for Real Homes magazine and when the issue was published, I was overjoyed to find that they had used one of the shots I’d styled as their cover image. After that, I started getting more and more styling jobs and a year into working as a freelance interior stylist, I got my first book ‘Bazaar Style’ commissioned by my publishers Ryland Peters & Small (RPS). I was just 24 at the time! I’ve now been styling for 10 years and have since gone on to produce four more books for RPS including my new one, Outdoor Living. And I’ve styled plenty more magazine covers too! I also style photo shoots for commercial clients such as Tesco Home, Dobbies Garden Centre and British curtain pole company, Byron & Byron. I like to mix old and new together to create pretty spaces. And I always use lots of wonderful flowers to add a romantic feel.
This is your fifth book. Could you tell us what prompted you to write a book on Outdoor Living?
In each of my four previous best-selling books, I’ve included an outdoor chapter and I really enjoyed putting those looks together. I love the freedom of styling spaces outside, as there aren’t as many restrictions as there are inside, such as walls, ceilings, radiators, etc. I wanted to share my ideas for how to pretty up outside spaces on a budget. You don’t have to have green fingers either, as the book is all about styling and decorating ideas for outside. You don’t even need a garden, as I also include lots of ideas for getting out and about, like having pretty picnics in your local park, relaxing in an outdoor hideaway or camping in style.
What are your tips for arranging cut flowers outside?
I’m a fan of loosely gathered posies rather than tight bunches, as I think they look more relaxed and dreamy, especially when displayed outside. I mix fresh cut flowers from the florist with cuttings from the garden, such as lilac and sweet peas. I also like to add a few sprigs of herbs like rosemary, mint and thyme to posies, to add to the heady scent. I use antique galvanised buckets or oversized ceramic jugs to display lots of flowers or reused glass jars for smaller posies.
Where do you get inspiration for your floral decorations?
My trips to the flower markets really inspire me. I go quite often as I’m always buying flowers for my photo shoots. I also like to visit gardens filled with flowering plants when in season, including my parents’ garden, which looks amazing during the spring and summer. I’m often on the hunt for antique flower books as I love the illustrations. I buy them from charity shops and at flea markets. I also keep images and ideas I find on the web together on my Floral Party Pinterest board.
‘Bringing the inside out’ is currently a big trend for weddings. Could you explain to us what it actually means?
Using typically indoor furniture and accessories outside can really ramp up the style factor. Who says just because you’re hosting your party or wedding outside that you need to use outdoor furniture? The trend is to decorate outside venues with large framed mirrors, hanging chandeliers, textiles and use kitchen tables with mix & match dining chairs to seat the guests and old wooden dressing tables or chests for desert tables and somewhere to stand the wedding cake. I love this trend. Vintage armchairs look amazing as the bride and groom chairs. And there is something very magical about seeing a beautiful upholstered armchair in the middle of a wild flower field.
What is your favourite flower?
I’m a fan of most blooms. I love hydrangeas, spring blossom, peonies, stocks, wild flowers, sweet peas and lilac. But my absolute favourites are David Austin roses…all varieties.
Here is just a small selection of the stunning images that you’ll find in Selina’s new book.
Many thanks to Selina for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. To celebrate the launch of her new book, she’s organised a book tour across the UK. She’ll be attending and hosting a series of events, signing copies of her books, doing styling demonstrations and craft workshops, as well as giving out free goodies bags, chatting about her inspirations and sharing her style tips. The book tour kicks off on Saturday 12th April at the The White Orchid in Weybridge in Surrey. Selina will be in store from 11am till 4pm. Simply click here for more details.
Outdoor Living by Selina Lake (photography by Debi Treloar) is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available from their website.
(Images : Debi Treloar)