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Meet Interior Stylist Selina Lake

Loads of color and pattern — there’s no better way to kick off a new week! I recently came across Interior Stylist Selina Lake, a fresh young talent who has already at age 26 accomplished so much – including a book soon to be released in April called Bazaar Style. Based in the charming countryside of Leicestershire, England with regular visits to London for work, her job is one many express an interest in so I thought it would be fun to interview her. Perhaps some of her words may stick and encourage other budding stylists out there to go for it! Her portfolio is certain to stimulate your creativity today so let’s meet Selina Lake, shall we?

From Living Room shoot, Photographer Andrew Boyd.

decor8: Hi Selina! The first question I have is pretty basic but can you tell us how you came to be an stylist?

Selina: With lots of self-PR — a lot of hard work and perseverance! In the beginning I posted letters, had postcard business cards printed, sent loads of emails and made hundreds of phone calls. I basically bombarded magazine editors until I got my first styled shoot commissioned.

decor8: For those who aren’t familiar with what a stylist does, can you tell us about a normal workday for you…

Selina: Everyday is different with this job, ahead of a shoot a lot of prep work is done before hand. I work from home calling in products, organizing couriers and booking the locations. On the days when I’m shooting it usually involves arriving early at the location, after making a flower stop on the way. Then I get set up, sometimes I have a set builder to do any wallpapering, painting etc. I then work with the photographer to produce the best possible shots ? this involves lots of tweaking, plumping, polishing, ironing, flower arranging, pinning, sticking, etc.!

From Summer Room shoot, Photographer Andrew Boyd.

decor8: In England, what is the difference between an interior designer and a stylist?

Selina: I imagine all designers and stylists have a slightly different opinion on this, my understanding is an Interior Designer tends to design residential and commercial properties. They come up with designs, which meet their client’s specific requirements. An Interior stylist’s role is usually to produce images, which are used to sell products, and to inspire magazine and book readers.

decor8: What formal training do you have or if self taught, how did you learn?

Selina: I trained as a Surface Pattern designer, which was a good base to start. I learnt styling skills through assisting other stylists when I first started out. I worked on shoots for Elle Decoration, LivingEtc and Ikea Home magazine. I think a lot about being a stylist is instinctive as well you can?t be taught what looks ascetically pleasing its just in you, however I picked up lots of useful tips from the stylist I assisted.

decor8: Who are some of your clients?

Selina: I work for many UK editorials Inc: Marie Claire, Real Homes, Ideal Home, and House Beautiful. I also style advertising shoots for the Next Directory; on the last shoot I was styling the children?s bedlinen/furniture section. Plus the publishers for my new book Ryland Peters & Small.

Cover and images froom Bazaar Style.

decor8: Impressive client list! Did I hear you say earlier something about a new book? Can you elaborate? :)

Selina: Yes, my new book Bazaar Style published by Ryland Peters & Small releases in April 2008 and is about real homes furnished with intriguing pieces from different eras and cultures, which mix and match color, patterns and designs. The Bazaar look is so achievable because anything goes, in the book you discover an inspiring mix of vintage and retro influences, flea market finds and pieces inspired by a French brocante market or a Moroccan bazaar. The book will appeal to magpies who have an eye for a hidden gem on a yard-sale table or in a thrift store, so its ideal for collectors. I shot the book with photographer Debi Treloar, who has taken beautiful photographs for many Ryland Peters & Small books including: Flea Market Style and Cheap Chic. The writer I worked with, Joanna Simmons is a regular writer for Country Living UK and contributing editor for LivingEtc magazine.

decor8: That sounds fantastic, especially since Flea Market Style and Cheap Chic are two of my favorite books. Lots to look forward to. So if someone reading this interview is interested in becoming a stylist, how do you suggest they get started?

Selina: Well, I started by contacting magazines and offering (begging) to do work experience. I think that?s the best way, although there are now college courses in styling so that could be another option.

decor8: Do you blog?

Selina: No, but I?m loving looking at and reading all the lovely blogs I keep coming across. Including decor8!

decor8: Since you’re not a blogger, how do you network online?

Selina: My website has recently gone live and so far I have had lots of positive feedback and interest in my work from all over the world ? which I?m thrilled about!

decor8: Let’s talk about where you work, which I imagine is a mix between home and on location…

Selina: I?m often out propping for shoots, attending meetings or researching locations so I don?t spend all my time at home, and when I do I?m usually so busy the time whips away. When I was shooting Bazaar Style I got to travel to Amsterdam and Morocco which where both amazing!

decor8: Tell us about your workspace at home.

Selina: Sure. I work from home when I’m prepping for an upcoming shoot or when I’m writing copy. I have a large old desk (painted white), with shelves on the wall above which is storage for brightly colored hand painted Indian woven boxes, filled with old magazines, catalogues and press releases. I also have a large pin board for pinning up inspirational pictures and reminders ? it?s decorated with pink fairy lights. I use a decorative Chinese lantern as the main light shade in the room, which gives off a pink glow, and a retro desk lamp, which actually gives decent light when I?m working. Oh and I sit on a chair which I bought from village bazaar for a ?1 and painted bright pink.

decor8: Sounds lovely. Any advice for others who want to work from home but have never done it before – what keeps you focused and on track?

Selina: I feel like I?m always thinking about work? with ideas popping into my mind at anytime. My best advice would be to have a notebook to hand to scribble down notes and ideas to explore, when you?ve put that load of washing in or when the dinners cooked! My job doesn?t really feel like work, because I enjoy it so much, I think if your doing something you enjoy it?s easy to stay focused. (It works for me until I have a day of doing my accounts anyway!)

decor8: Where do you find your inspiration for design?

Selina: From all over the place, often a fabulous new product or flea market find can spark an idea for a shoot. I also love looking at my contacts photos on Flickr.

decor8: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Selina: My Mum and Dad always told me to smile, be myself and try my best, and these gems of wisdom have served me well so far!

decor8: Describe how you feel about your work…

Selina: I LOVE my job I feel really lucky to be doing something I enjoy so much and make a living from it too.

decor8: And finally Selina, if you weren’t a stylist you would be a…..

Selina: Shop owner. I?d have my own boutique, which would sell all the bits and bobs I love, if I could bring myself to part with any of the treasures that is!

Thank you Selina for visiting with us here on decor8 today. Readers if you have questions for Selina please ask by posting your question below. Selina will do her best to answer them for you. Yay! This was fun, thanks again for your visit Ms. Lake!

(images all from selina lake showing her styling work)

Posted by decor8 in interviews on January 28, 2008

Your comments...

  1. Leah L commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 5:48pm

    I love your interior images. Everything is beautiful. I am wondering, in that last photo of the living room, where are the floor seating cushions from?

  2. Dionna commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 6:04pm

    All of these images are so stunning-
    I’m wondering if she remembers/has the source for the blue shaggy outdoor umbrella????
    Thanks, Holly for posting about her.

  3. Selina Lake commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 6:08pm

    Thank you for your sweet comments!
    The floor cushions were actually made in morocco using fabric sold in the local suks… check out Bombay Duck for similar.

  4. Kelly commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 6:11pm

    wow, these are beautiful. i’m LOVING the pink couch in the first photo. it looks like you could just curl up and stay there for an afternoon. or twenty.

  5. moodboard commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 6:40pm

    What a great post Holly, I love Selina’s aesthetic. If she is reading, do you have any more info on the pillowcases that spell out love?

  6. decor8 commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 6:44pm

    Moodboard, the pillowcases are from Cross:

  7. Selina Lake commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 6:53pm

    Hi Dionna
    The blue Hawaii Parasol is from Woolworths
    I’ve also seen them in Garden/DIY shops.

  8. Peggy commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 6:55pm

    I adore that last image. Her home office sounded so cute, I wish we had seen a picture of it!

  9. Jan commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 7:02pm

    Just discovered the blog. Beautiful. I LOVE the yellow dress on the wall.

  10. michelle commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 7:16pm

    Oh, I love these images! Thanks so much for this post, I am very inspired.

  11. Elizabeth commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 8:41pm

    what great pictures! looking forward to this book!

  12. nina commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 9:40pm

    I recently discovered Selina’s work on flickr and really liked it. Great sense of style, print and colors. And what a great achievement to have your book published at the age of 26. I’m 25 now and can only dream of something like that… I really admire Selina for knowing what she wants and working very hard to achieve it!

  13. corine @ hidden in france commented
    January 28th, 2008 at 11:54pm

    Another marvel. This is incredibly charming.

  14. Susy commented
    January 29th, 2008 at 12:04am

    wow. thank you for such an inspiring post. her work just gets better and better….i love that yellow dress on the wall. it’s a beautiful and spontaneous idea.

  15. brandon & brittany commented
    January 29th, 2008 at 12:41am

    wow, what a beautiful job! i’m loving the last image in the post…it’s exactly what i need to do for my future living room! Do you have any suggestions on where i can find the tables, the cushions, the couch, etc…?

  16. jen commented
    January 29th, 2008 at 2:44am

    mmmmmm – like a bowl of candy! her work is beautiful – you are making me hungry today holly! lol!

  17. Lobster and swan commented
    January 29th, 2008 at 8:37am

    Amazing post, so inspiring. Just love her work. really fresh and pretty!

  18. Melanie commented
    January 29th, 2008 at 5:14pm

    Really beautiful work Selina! I’ve just pre-ordered your book as you definitely have a way with “bits and bobs”!

  19. Kristin commented
    January 29th, 2008 at 10:23pm

    I can’t wait for the book! Such lovely photos – so very inspiring!

  20. Sussie Bell commented
    January 30th, 2008 at 4:12pm

    Hi Selina,
    Great interview, you’re as inspiring as ever, that’s why I love working with you. Your creativity always lifts my spirits.

  21. Sussie Bell commented
    January 30th, 2008 at 4:16pm

    Hi Selina,
    Great interview, you’re as inspiring as ever, that’s why I love working with you ! Your creativity always lifts my spirits.

  22. jen commented
    February 2nd, 2008 at 5:17am

    I work as a stylist as well, and I found it really interesting to hear someone else’s perspective on what we do. thanks for that.

  23. Anonymous commented
    February 2nd, 2008 at 9:28pm

    the images you have found are great. ive always liked the idea of having a roon as a blank canvas and then throwing in vibrant and unmistakable feature items.
    my favorite design movement is english eccentric, you dont feature any inspirational ideas for this movement on your site. may i suggest sourcing images and ideas from ‘Graham&Green’ their furniture and accesories can help to add a touch of glamour and drama to a room.

  24. decor8 commented
    February 2nd, 2008 at 10:10pm

    Hi anon! These images were not found but contributed by Selina Lake as this is her design portfolio and not a write up about a company or anything.

    Yes Graham and Greene is a great company, I’ve talked about them a few times on decor8. You may really like this post featuring their poufs.

    Thank you for stopping by!


  25. Louise commented
    May 28th, 2008 at 8:50pm

    wow how lucky are you…..i’m an interior stylist for a company who’s client base is mainly showhomes. i would love to move into what you do, all your images of your work are fantastic, i always look at those images in magazines and wonder who does them.
    you should be very proud of yourself i think your fab a what you do.
    louise in staffordshire

  26. bettina commented
    April 10th, 2011 at 2:33pm

    Te admiro,me encanta todo lo que haces,pero en la Argentina,no he visto tus libros.Te cuento que pinto ,decoro,y te invito a que visites mi blog,ideas vintage bettina.,un beso grande desde Argentina,BUENOS AIRES.
    bettina´s last blog post ..Colores que lo dicen todo

  27. Perla Cardoza (NYC) commented
    September 17th, 2011 at 8:55pm

    Hi Selina,

    I’m a young aspiring interior stylist. Is there any way I can intern & learn from you.. You are such an inspiration!

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