This month’s flamboyant purchase was Creative Living London by Emily Wheeler. Let’s take a peek!
Why did I buy this book?
I know that you really can’t judge a book by its cover, but a great cover certainly attracts a reader to a book, and boy was I attracted to this one! One look at the stunning typeface and bold cover photo and BAM, I was ready to dive in. The title, of course, also grabbed my attention as my London days aren’t far behind me and its the place where I first cut my teeth in the creative interiors world. As space is sacred in London homes, you need to have a real knack for maximising every centimetre available and designing spaces that have multiple functions. It was while working in London that I learned how to hunt for beautiful compact sofas, to micro-design storage and to space plan like a god. The capitol is, of course, an excellent place to seek out furniture both new and old, and I love that you can walk into Heal’s in the morning and pop into Camden market in the afternoon. London isn’t just a practical place to learn interior design or a great location for shopping, it’s also a terrific source of inspiration and the minute I saw this book, I knew I needed to make it my own.
So, what did I think of this book?
Much like the city itself, Creative Living London is divided into two distinct sections: West London and East London, and each chapter is focused on a particular property and tells the story of its creation. It feels like a very large edition of Living Etc. with its stunning atmospheric photography and page-upon-page of beautiful homes.
At first, I wondered why author Emily Wheeler decided to split the book into East and West but as I delved in, I loved the way the book so wonderfully embodied both the types of property and the people who inhabit both areas- with the more established crew living in the large properties of West London and the younger and more hip creatives living in lofts and converted industrial properties in East London. Despite the divide, the one thing that unites each home owner featured in the book is that they are all quite well-known creatives in fields like architecture, interiors, art, and jewellery design. Quite refreshing that there isn’t a banker or insurance broker in sight!
The thing that really hit me was that each of these homes has had an awful lot of investment put into it. Unlike what we’re used to seeing online or on cheap-and-chic interior design television shows, there isn’t a single quick fix or “get the look for less” renovation amongst them. 90% of the homes featured have been fully renovated, predominantly using the services of an architect, with projects spanning 18 months to 2 years. The homes also feature carefully curated collections of art, figurines and furniture, each collection complete with a story about a visit to a foreign country, a talented maker friend, or pure love.
For me, these homes are the kinds I’m most attracted to as they are well designed spaces with great attention to detail and are full of unique personality. In any home, this combination of good design makes my heart sing! The book features a variety of homes in many different styles, so no matter your aesthetic, you’ll likely find a home in this book that will make your eyes pop. My personal favourites were Graham and Jo Atkins-Hughes’ sexy, dark home and Pippa Smalls’ cheerful and colourful home.
Would I recommend this book?
This book feels very personal to me as it’s completely up my street design-wise and, to be completely honest, it made me a little homesick for my old house in Easy Finchley. If, like me, you love lusting after beautiful homes (and picking up some major inspiration), then this one is for you. There aren’t any design tips or hints in this book, just pure beauty! The book definitely left me wanting more and I was delighted to find out that Emily Wheeler and Ingrid Rasmussen have a blog called The Interior Stylist which offers similar design stories. You can bet I’ll be keeping up to date with more stunning homes over there!
Yet again, I want to send out an extra special thank you to Toby Dicker, Amanda Dicker and Jimmy Goodwin for inviting us to use the super cool colouring area at their amazing salon, The Chapel, for this photoshoot and for taking such amazing care of us while there.
Styling by Smartstyle Interiors and photos by Kate Sims.