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01 Jun - Interviews

Interview |

Amanda Smith-Corston

After graduating from Chelsea College of Art and Design with a BA in Interior Architecture, Amanda was given an internship at one of the world’s leading interiors magazines Elle Decoration.

Progressing swiftly to Shopping Editor, editing her own section within the magazine, she was given creative freedom to produce innovative and beautiful stories, collaborating with some of the best interior and fashion photographers. She then became the magazine’s Style Director, a dream role where Amanda was responsible for both commissioning and producing the key style and trend stories for the magazine.

Amanda today is a freelance interiors stylist & creative consultant working for most of the UK’s leading high street brands from M&S, Conran, BHS, House of Fraser, Next Home to name but a few, both as creative director and stylist on projects ranging from advertising, catalogues to film.

How would you describe your individual interior style?

Curation is vital to my style as is colour, texture and warmth. In general, I don’t like interiors that are uniform and matchy matchy. I try where ever possible to throw something in that’s unexpected and surprising.

 

What is your favourite item to find?

I love sourcing vintage items there is nothing better than a rummage around a good car boot, vintage market or flea markets. It’s great for finding the unexpected and quirky, something with a story that’s unique! Parting with these finds is often difficult as they are so irreplaceable.

 

Do you spend as much time styling your own home as you do your clients’?

Mostly time doesn’t allow me to style my own home as much as I would like to, it’s often the promise of guests that forces me into action. There is nothing I like better than blowing the budget and choosing some beautiful flowers and setting the scene and table for an evening with friends.

How do you begin the design process with a new client? What kind of questions do you like to ask?

 It all depends on the project but often demographics come into play, before style as I need to know what the project is aiming to communicate and to whom in order to get the tone right.

 

What is the first thing you do after receiving the brief for a new design project?

No two projects are the same but the first thing I do usually is to make a mood board, as it’s a way of visually noting my ideas.I constantly create boards on Pinterest as I find it’s a great way to save and curate new products and ideas. It’s often the first place I go to when I have an impending project.

 

Do you have a key feature or element which your projects would never be complete without?

I usually try to add a pop of colour and an element of dishevelment, as I find interiors that are too pristine and cold unwelcoming.

 

What 2017 trends are you taking inspiration from?

Colour has a big influence on me and this year the interior shows were a wash with warm and spicy tones, from dusky pinks and coral to terracotta. It’s a palette that has always resonated with me as it reminds of my summers spent in warmer Mediterranean climes, of ancient plaster walls, sunsets and cracked clay.

What is your bathroom at home like?

In an ideal world, my bathroom would be a calm, light and tranquil space. I love marble in bathrooms but I would have to bring in some texture such as a wooden parquet floor to add warmth. And no dream bathroom would be replete without a large oval bath to linger in at the end of a tiring day and some beautiful Aesop toiletries!

 

What key pieces of advice were you given at the start of your career that you still give to amateur designers today? 

One of the first things I learnt when I started styling was to think outside of the box, to be tenacious and very organised.

 

Interior styling is becoming more and more of an ideal job choice for people. Do you think it’s a hard industry to crack without the right contacts?

I do think having the right contacts is in important but the rise of social media has made it a lot easier to get your work out there and to be seen by a wider audience so in that sense its easier to connect with people.

You can see more of Amanda’s work on her website