Today I want to share one of the most talented flea market junkies that I know, London-based author, shop owner and stylist Emily Chalmers. Her work has made a difference in my life and in how I look at interiors. She really stands out as one of my top 10 favorite creative women. I’ve always loved the finer details but through her, I’ve come to appreciate the little things even more that can be easily overlooked in the hustle bustle of the everyday. Some of most cherished collection of books in my library are yours, which have served as my primary connection to your marvelous brain and have given me loads of joy and inspiration. Through Emily, I’ve learned how to delight in more than just the beautiful “perfect” things that as an American, I am naturally drawn towards — my culture is all about perfect packaging and perfectly made crafts and perfect looking interiors (being part of the Martha Stewart generation).
Through her book, Flea Market Style, so many (me included) felt set free from all of the poshness that exists in interior design and instead, were exposed to a world where perfectly symmetrical and stuffy rooms are unknown and instead, rebellious rooms with plenty of quirk and character are the norm. All who know her work are well aware that she was there celebrating this trend of imperfect interiors long before it became cool to publicly confess to liking it. In fact in 2005, her book introduced so many to the chic side of Flea Market Style and after that, there was no looking back. To me, she is pioneer of flea market style, granny chic and boho chic.
Her eye and talent have given so much to so many and I hope that she recognizes this. So often as a pioneer of a movement, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been left behind by what you yourself started. She may or may not feel this way, I don’t know, but I feel this way sometimes as a blogger as I enter my 7th year of doing this “professionally” and sometimes wonder if anyone remembers that I was writing in this space long before it was cool or the press gave a damn about me or what I had to say. I remember writing 10 articles a day on this blog during a time when few people even read design blogs. I didn’t know where it would lead me but I had a desire to connect and share and get noticed so that I could one day write for magazines. I know other “old school” bloggers like me who are reading this right now wagging their heads thinking of those early days when blogging didn’t have any drop of coolness associated with it. Today it seems everyone wants a piece of the blogging pie and for good reason, it’s a great pie! It takes a true love affair though with what one is doing to stick through it through the “thin” because god knows it’s easy to love it while it’s “thick”, isn’t it? But I digress…
But yes, it’s easy to forget how key Emily was to what is happening today in interiors. She is one who paved the way for so many closet flea market junkies to come out with confidence and share their own love for granny chic, homespun, flea market and the fabulous mix of old and new. I see so much of her work in the work and even retail spaces of others. What an amazing thing for her to witness all of this – she can see what has become of her willingness and courage to share her vision and how it’s taken off. Her courage to go out there and tell the world what she thinks and loves really rocks.
I’m also so inspired by the many intricate pieces that make up the whole of who Emily is, from her sweet emails to how she made a special effort to meet me at my book launch in London. Her reputation is unblemished – everyone who has met Emily says she is gracious, generous and a kind and caring soul. This means a lot because it’s not common in interiors to find down-to-earth people who happen to be trendsetters. She uses good old-fashioned warmth, talent, hard work and honesty to advance herself and I admire that. Emily is the real deal!
Emily, you have made an enormous difference to me and so many others and if you didn’t know this already, well now you do.
(photography: inga powilleit)