Walking a New Path (in my culottes)

Posted by Phoebe Oldrey in Story of Us

Phoebe Oldrey

We’re already halfway through January but it’s only now that I’ve been able to wrap my head around what it is that I want to get from this fresh new year. I feel that for many people, New Year’s resolutions are easy to make. As soon as the bell tolls midnight they seem to already be sprinting toward whatever new goal they’ve set with a resolute determination. For me, it always takes a little longer to settle on exactly what I want to do with the year, with all the new opportunity and optimism. This isn’t to say that I was trying to lay out my goals for the New Year, because I was mulling them over whilst consuming a mountain of cheese over the Christmas break and these three ideas– resolutions– kept circling round and round and round my brain. I’ve let them settle these past few weeks and have finally created the path that I will travel this year.

Be 100% More Phoebe!

Last autumn, I had the exciting opportunity to screen test for a new show on Channel 4. I loved being part of the process even though my three callbacks didn’t result in becoming the new dynamic face for daytime property (boo!), it did made me consider exactly how I’m presenting myself and how much that’s aligned with, well, me. As I was going into the interviews I kept saying to myself, “Be 100% more Phoebe,” and then wondering why is that is difficult? After all, I am Phoebe. Because I play so many different roles in my life– interior designer, mother, wife, project manager, chauffeur, etc.– and because I deliver many different styles of design to my clients, I sometimes feel that Phoebe can get a little lost and disorientated. Coincidentally, in order to be the best designer, project manager and mother I can be, I really need to be more true to myself, my aesthetic, and point of view.

As such, I’m embracing me this year. I’ll be buying more of the stuff I love for my wardrobe (yes I know I may be a bit bigger in the butt department but is giving a pair of culottes a whirl the worst thing in the world?) and for my home, regardless of what others may think of it. I want to make the things that make me go Ooooh, not the things that make others go Ooooh, and I want to share more of these Oooooh-worthy things here, on the blog, so I can share my inspiration, taste, journey and design with more people who resonate with it.

And this blog? It’s going to be 100% more Phoebe! In the past, I’ve always held back a little on this space and have worried that people would judge my professionalism as a designer if I talked about my personal life and more eccentric tastes. However, I’ve come to realise that the best way for a potential client to know if they’re a good fit for me is by sharing more about, well, me. Looking back on past blog posts, the ones I’m most proud of have all been those where I do open up and share something I’m really passionate about, even if pressing “publish” was a bit scary. This isn’t to say that I’m going to go full-on lifestyle blogger over here, but I will be sharing much more of my work, my inspirations and the ways in which design effects my life.

Do more of what I love

Though it’s easy to rattle off a million things I would like to do with my family and friends at any given moment, it’s often a lot more difficult to pin-point exactly what I want to do with my career. When I look back at 2015, one of the moments that gave me the biggest thrill career-wise was reshaping the Smartstyle Interior’s blog and receiving a Highly Commended second place at the Amara Interior Blog Awards. Not to boast, but I’m still really chuffed with the win and now, when people ask me what I do, I feel I can legitimately say that I’m an interior designer and blogger. Though the blog was once a sideline to my business, I’ve realised that it’s grown to become an important asset for my business and is something that I get a lot of pleasure from. As such, I’m looking forward to building this space and posting something about design once every week.

Continue to Grow

All this talk of blogging doesn’t mean that I’m going to be doing less interior design work. On the contrary! Interior design still remains my passion and I love it and remember what I said about doing more of what I love? I love designing dream homes for my clients, I love the beautiful products I get to play with as a part of my job, and I love working alongside talented craftsmen to see my designs literally come to life. I even love the practical side of designing and enjoy getting my geek on with all the knowledge of regulations that comes with being an interior designer.

I also love immersing myself in great design and as Smartstyle Interiors grows, so too will my time spent studying and enjoying the great design here in Tunbridge Wells, London, and the world around us. This year, I’m going to visit that exhibition, enjoy dinner at that that trendy new restaurant, and get a drink that that divine hotel. I’m not just going to create great design, I’m also going to experience it. Watch out, 2016!

So what’s the first step on this fabulous new path? Well, I have my culottes on and I’m getting this post out there. I really hope you’ll join me on the journey.

I’d love to know, have you made any resolutions for yourself this year? Go on and leave me a comment below and tell me what they are. With the proper support, we can be sure to accomplish anything we put our minds to!

Photography by Kate Sims.

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