Glorious gardens – 10 of the best

With spring’s dew and rain well and truly behind us and temperatures soaring into the high 30’s, there has never been a better time to get out into the garden! Since our last best gardens article, we have seen an exponential number of locations come on with us. And with the scorching summer we are in the midst of, we just had to give you the rundown of our best gardens you can shoot at in 2022. Ranging from London family homes with enchanting gardens, to country estates with the best views you’ll see this year, as always, there’s a little bit of something for everyone! Without further ado, let’s dive straight in and let you make your decision on your favourite this summer.

Dacres 

From the front, our first location to feature may first appear as a slightly understated double-fronted family home. Interiors are subtle and nuanced, combining premium touches with period elements, however, it’s not the interiors that bring Dacres to this list. Venture into the back garden and Dacres truly comes to life! Filled with an array of plants: bushes, flowers and obscure trees, including an outstanding branch arch; as well as two ponds and an art studio, Dacres is one of the most enchanting gardens you’ll find in London. We like to call it the secret garden of South East London. 

Medallion 

From a magic garden, to a manor house, you can’t say we don’t offer a diverse range of locations for you to have a gander at! Set within 88-acres of parkland, on the edge of Salisbury Plain, Medallion is a classic Georgian manor house, located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Approached through an alluring tree-lined drive, Medallion will have you swooning before you even enter the property. With 4 acres of formal and informal gardens, a swimming pool, a garden kitchen, tennis court and a Georgian stables complex, you won’t struggle for unique shooting opportunities at Medallion. 

Valentine

Moving from the South West to the South East, our next garden to feature is Valentine – a gorgeous country home situated in West Sussex. Set atop barrelling hills, Valentine offers spectacular views as far as the eye can see. If this wasn’t enough to entice you, Valentine also showcases a patio area, a beautiful landscaped garden and a glorious swimming pool, overlooking the hills. Perfect for the summer months. Imagine having a dip in the pool gazing over the English countryside.  

6ixteen Country 

Part of two separate shoot locations – 6ixteen Country and 6ixteen Cottage – 6ixteen Country is the larger, main part of the complex. Situated in the heart of Kent, this gorgeous property is the ultimate outdoor destination for photoshoots and filming. With beautiful formal gardens outside the main house, this might alone be enough to make the list, but they’ve taken it way further – there’s also a lake, informal grounds, woodland areas, a tennis court and a swimming pool. You won’t struggle for that perfect outdoor shot here. 

Poulton Farm 

Made up of a number of large Cotswolds stone barns that have been brought together through a gorgeous French colonial interior style, our next location is Poulton Farm. Offering an extremely eclectic aesthetic, the outdoor area is a vast vineyard with incredibly extensive and beautiful grounds. Areas to shoot include formal gardens, a greenhouse, vineyards, considerable grounds and a tennis court. 

Rooke

Rooke screams opulence from the moment you lay eyes on the property – offering a deluge of premium features, including a home bar, home cinema and wine cellar. However, we are here for the plethora of exterior features that wouldn’t be out of place in the Hollywood Hills. Check out the exquisite landscaped garden with gorgeous views of the surrounding hills and River Thames, a hot tub, swimming pool and a fabulous exotic tiki bar. 

Simax

Designed by Sandy Rendel, our next location – Simax – is an award-winning home that had to make our list. Offering something a little different to the rest of the properties on this list, Simax showcases a less conventional garden, set atop the River Ouse in East Sussex. With an indoor/ outdoor patio area to shade from the sun and a stretch of grass that overlooks the river and surrounding nature reserve, Simax is the definition of idyllic. 

Swan Court 

From a modern grand designs style building to a classic Georgian manor house, we always like to offer as much diversity as possible! This fabulous shoot location is embedded within fields of trees that overlook a beautiful lake. With a delightfully groomed maze, woodland areas, landscaped gardens and a collection of the most marvellous flowers you’ll see today, there are boundless opportunities for that perfect shot. Every nook and cranny offers another possibility; Swan Court is a real gem, with endless charm and opportunities!  

Burlotti 

While the majority of the locations on this list are either large detached homes or manor houses in the countryside, we thought we should throw in something a bit more relatable (whilst gorgeous).  Burlotti is a late Georgian East London semi-detached family home with a glorious south facing garden. Receiving tons of natural light throughout the day, this incredibly pretty garden is lined with an array of beautiful flowers and trees. Showcasing a cobbled path leading down to a fabulous garden studio and a stone garden, Burlotti offers a distinct Mediterranean feel – this is every Londoner’s dream garden! 

Somerley 

Last but never least, we give you Somerley. Perched on the high west bank, overlooking the River Avon’s Water Meadows, two miles north of Ringwood in Hampshire – Somerley and its 7,000 acres, sits nestled between the New Forest and the Dorset border. A Georgian stately home, Somerley features a unique walled garden with an ice house built into the side of the bank. There’s also extensive grounds that include large formal gardens, a trident water fountain, 180 acres of parkland, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis court and stables. If this wasn’t enough, Somerley also contains deciduous and evergreen woodlands, a 4×4 driving track, a quarry, a river and lakes as well as a shooting range. What are you waiting for?

Spot the Difference at Spratts Factory

In our fifth edition of the classic spot the difference, we bring you Spratts Factory. As always, it’s all a bit of fun, but if you can find all ten differences, you could get a half-price booking fee on your next shoot in August! Top tip – most of them are pretty obvious…

Top five for June

As we look forward to the rest of July, we can reflect on what an incredible 6 months of new locations we have had; and when we reflect on new locations, you know what it means – time for another instalment of our top five series. Carrying on in the same vein as the rest of the year, June saw us take on a wealth of fantastic shoot locations. Ranging from industrial barn conversions in Warwickshire, to eclectic family homes in North West London, there’s something for everyone this month. Your next shoot location could be on this list, so make sure you stick with us as we jump into our top five for June. 

Buchanan 

First up this month is Buchanan, a beautifully styled, Victorian family home, with colourful furnishings and modern features. An interior designed home, Buchanan has delightfully mixed modern extensions with old Victorian features – making for a truly unforgettable space. These include an original tiled hallway, original wooden floorboards, extremely high ceilings, bay windows and original fireplaces. Bold colour draws your eye, however, premium elements including large skylights, a vast kitchen island with wooden extension, a walk-in-wardrobe and a master ensuite all add to this special property’s splendour! With heaps of natural sunlight, welcomed in through the folding patio doors that open up onto a pleasant south facing garden, Buchanan is perfect for stills and small-scale filming.

The wonderful blend of colour, modern and Victorian features at Buchanan

Five Trees 

Next up, we remain in North London and take you on a short journey to Highgate – welcome to Five Trees. Five Trees is a rather spectacular 1930’s family home with an unforgettable exterior! This gorgeous property has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment, leaving you with mid-century elements, complementing a contemporary feel; and thanks to its unique L-shape layout, this four-storey home won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Five Trees showcases a modern interior with comfortable furnishings and bright spacious rooms, offering tons of space for creative shooting opportunities. However, the standout area comes from the sky lounge, finished with wall-to-wall glazing and a wrap-around roof terrace, boasting unparalleled views of Hampstead Heath and the London Skyline. With bundles of space inside and out, Five Trees is perfect for all your shooting requirements, whether they be stills or filming. 

Five Trees offers a unique layout and outstanding views of London

Cuva 

Moving from London briefly, we bring you Cuva, a fabulous, contemporary new build, situated in Surrey, an hour outside of London. Cuva is a truly exceptional shoot location, set within a glorious 2-acre plot of land, offering tons of premium features and endless creative scope. Check out the vast open-plan rooms for stills or filming, the luscious green garden and compelling woodland area outside for something slightly different, and then the games room with pool table, the wine room and striking hallway with steel and glass staircase for pure opulence. Premium features are a running theme at Cuva, with exposed brick, steel framing, huge floor to ceiling windows, beautiful polished concrete flooring and an impeccable curved wooden island grabbing your attention from the moment you enter. Thanks to its large open-plan rooms, as well as the substantial garden and woodland area, Cuva is ideal for both photoshoots and filming. 

Cuva is a modern location with incredible features

Roma 

Making the short journey back to London, our fourth location this month is the magnificent Roma – a gorgeous North London family home with an unforgettable aesthetic. This striking property showcases a very spacious open-plan living area that offers the majority of the shooting opportunities. It is here that you’ll find the bulk of the eye-catching features, including concrete flooring (something extremely popular right now, by all accounts), exposed brick, steel framing and wooden beams. With a minimal and uncluttered look, Roma displays earth tones, complemented by shades of industrial chic – making for a bang on trend shoot location. Thanks to its fabulous wooden framed kitchen, finished with a glorious kitchen island against a concrete backdrop, Roma is ideal for all your kitchen and food shoots. 

The kithcne and living area at the fabulous Roma

Wellspring 

For our final location this month, we take you north to Warwickshire and give you Wellspring, a phenomenal industrial barn conversion. Recently renovated, Wellspring has been impeccably designed, with thought going into every nook and cranny. Offering a premium feel, this contemporary shoot location includes rich colour tones, crittal windows, steel framing, wooden beams, wood panelling, incredibly high ceilings and sublime polished concrete flooring that varies in colour tones throughout the house. With more space than you could shake a stick at, Wellspring is ideal for any filming requirements as well as your photographic needs. 

Outstanding interiors at Wellspring

In the Spotlight: Maximalist Design

After what feels like a lifetime of ‘greige’ living rooms, paired with carefully positioned coffee table books, next to the same arrangement of Diptyque or Jo Malone candles, it’s a pleasant change of pace to see maximalist design entering the mainstream again. After many years, confined to the kooky corners of the interior design world, 2022 has seen maximalism burst back onto our feeds – with over a 5,000% increase in searches across Google over the past year. Stay with us today as we deep dive into what this design style is, its key characteristics, design tips and unpack where it came from and why it’s so popular right now.

What is Maximalism

Maximalism isn’t just a trend that goes against ‘less is more’, it actually goes one step further and actively says ‘less is lacklustre’. Ingrained into its very fabric, perhaps fairly self-explanatory, Maximalism is about designing the space around you to the absolute max. You can’t miss a maximalist design! As you can probably imagine, the style is hyper-personal and oozes with personality, character and individuality. Teetering on the edge of chaos and what’s acceptable, maximalism is a cheeky modern off spin of clutter and cottagecore. Expect to see tons of layers, textures, colours, prints and a hatful of objects that carry intense personal meaning to the beholder. Nothing is off limits with maximalism – chintz with leopard spots and stripes with explosions of florals, all working in harmony with your treasure trove of personal objects. That being said, there are ways people can get it wrong, so don’t go anywhere if you want our key design tips and tricks, as well as the few mistakes people often make. 

Bold patterns and bright colours at Unicorn and Marilyn

History 

Whilst maximalism is certainly having its time in the limelight, it is by no means a modern trend that has burst onto the scene out of nowhere. It has in fact existed around the globe for centuries, with it first popping up in the mainstream around the 16th Century. It was a way for the rich to flaunt their wealth, showcasing all the artwork, and lavish pieces of furniture they had obtained from their travels. A private museum of sorts into the lives of the mega rich at that time. When Queen Victoria came to the throne 200-300 years later, we saw a return to opulence, extravagance and ostentatious living.  The Victorians had a penchant for materialistic things, they were eclectic people with busy interiors. Every inch of the homes of those who could afford to, were covered in the goods they could acquire – again showing their levels of wealth. It was a time when people started to develop their own individual personalities through design and items such as rugs, drapes, wallpapers and decorative accessories were great ways to do this; reflecting their personal selves onto their visitors. 

Pop is the epitome of maximalism and Tierney showcases how to use colour and prints

What people get wrong 

Whilst we did mention that nothing is off limits in maximalist design, there are ways you can get this off-the-wall design style wrong. Sure, in its purest form, maximalism is about an abundance of decor, however, there is still an art to curating this style. The art is about telling your story – showcasing your individualism, your character and your personality through your favourite colours, textures and objects. When people get it wrong, they throw everything they own into a space and are left with a cluttered and mismatched space that screams junkyard more than treasure trove. Maximalists that know what they are doing acquire decor that holds value through time, rather than obtaining as many pieces of furniture and decoration as they can. Maximalism is about investing in timeless pieces that look good and tell your story, however you decide to style your place. Look to add a few bold pieces that add texture and originality, whilst grabbing your viewer’s attention immediately.  

Two more examples of how not to overclutter your space through Pinterest and at Pollard

Recent popularity 

Taking cues from the past, modern maximalists are curators of their own space, showcasing their own personal style and personality through the adoption of having belongings on show. However, following the economic crash in 2008, interior trends moved towards a more minimalist look – making statements with less. As the country recovered, however, the next decade saw people start accumulating wealth again and filling their spaces with meaningful objects and accessories. In recent years, social media has been a big driver in the boom of maximalism, with platforms like Instagram and Pinterest giving it a vast audience to curate their own variations. Maximalism is particularly popular with millennials who want to decorate with eclectic decor, plants and their accessories from their travels around the world. 

Plants and eclectic decor on show through Pinterest and at Flora

Design tips 

Maximalism can actually be one of the hardest design styles to get right – tying an array of concepts, colours and patterns together can easily make a space look disjointed or cluttered. However, as a starting point, experts say you should think about the top-level items that are a ‘must’ and then work your colour, texture and pattern play in from there. Whether it be a room dominated with plants, or a feature wall with a myriad of abstract art, have something take the lead and design the rest of the space from there. Once you have your ‘wow-worthy’ pieces that draw the eye, you can turn to walls to express yourself further; add oomph through wallpapers, colour and that all important texture. Layering is vital in a maximalist home, take the things you love and spread them across multiple surfaces, including furniture, tables, walls and even bookshelves. Remember, however, know when to stop, no-one wants to walk into a mismatched junkyard of clutter! Think about the right pieces that tell your story and the rest will flow naturally. 

The Kitchen and Wonderland showing how to find your centrepiece and work out from there

Spot the Difference at Billie

In our fourth edition of the classic spot the difference, we bring you Billie. As always, it’s all a bit of fun, but if you can find all ten differences you could get a half-price booking fee on your next shoot this June! Top tip – most of them are pretty easy… 🙂

Top 5 for May

It’s that time of the month again! April was incredibly busy, aside from all of the shoots that took place, we’ve been shooting videos and interviews, which you should all check out here! However, we know how much you all love our monthly round ups, so here are our highlights for May. It was another fantastic month for taking on new locations, we brought on a wealth of incredible properties, making our lives that little bit harder when it came down to picking our top five. Nevertheless, we decided to opt for five family homes that differ greatly from one to the next. Make sure you read on to check out the locations, ranging from grand designs style homes, to vast renovated period properties; as always, we have all bases covered for you here.  

Caldera

First up this month, we take you just north of London to a gorgeous Hertfordshire-based family home that has recently undergone a glorious full renovation. This vast property has been finished to an incredibly high standard, making for the perfect shoot location. Downstairs showcases a largely open-plan aesthetic, where you are greeted by a double-height void and parquet flooring in the outstanding entrance hall. The open-plan kitchen/ living room is where the majority of the shooting opportunities come from, and it’s here you’ll find a blend of carpeted and tiled flooring, as well as an abundance of crittal, wood panelling, an eye-catching central island and a beautiful juxtaposition of neutral tones with dark hues. With more parquet and crittal, as well as a striking deep sage palette – something bang on trend right now – the main living room offers another imaginative shooting space. Extremely high ceilings, large rooms and a wealth of designer furniture give Caldera the ability to be perfect for photoshoots and filming wherever you are in the home.

Coco

Moving on to our second location this month, Coco is a real treasure trove of special features. Located in the picturesque county of Staffordshire, Coco is immaculately styled, with thought going into every element, touch, nook and cranny. Overall, the aesthetic oozes with industrial-chic charm – from the polished concrete flooring and exposed brickwork, to the crittal windows and eye-catching spiral steel staircase. You are never short of creative shooting opportunities here, with a range of different backdrops, themes and styles across the entirety of the property; including a home cinema, powder room, huge rear garden and wallpapered areas, that add tons of visual weight to the space. Each area is thoughtfully decorated and subtle colour accents make it an even more interesting property. With its versatility, Coco represents a perfect photoshoot location, however, due to the size and open-plan aesthetic, it’s also ideal for filming. 

Flute 

Coming back down the M1, our third property is Flute, a gorgeous Edwardian semi, built from London Stock brick. It’s all about the details in this special home! The original house features a classic Edwardian aesthetic of extremely high ceilings, ornate cornicing, ceiling roses, bay windows and wooden floors, alongside an unusual central staircase and a statement glass chandelier. However, the real gem in its crown comes from the recent rear extension that houses the snug, cloakroom, internal courtyard and contemporary kitchen/dining space. This exquisite area is oozing with luxurious charm, through the parquet flooring, crittal double doors, exposed brick vertical bond and feature fireplace. There is also a beautiful kitchen island, striking lighting and compelling artwork adding to the visual weight of the room. If you are planning a food shoot, Flute offers the perfect kitchen for this!

Longbury 

Longbury is an outstanding grand designs-style new build, situated in the barrelling hills of West Sussex. The exterior is clad with black timber, atop a reclaimed brick foundation, with wrap around gallery windows. Thanks to its unique look, Longbury grabs your attention from the moment you walk in. Consisting of eye-catching concrete flooring, a black timber island, exposed brick walls and a white palette, the interior is largely open-plan with industrial touches. There is also a snug tv area and a detached cabin on the ground floor, plus four bedrooms on the first floor, offering immense views of the English countryside.

Honeycomb 

Heading back to London, we bring you our last feature property this month. Honeycomb is a superb contemporary Victorian home, located in the heart of East London. This spectacular property offers tons of unique features including a one-of-a-kind blend of timber and concrete construction with a double height void. Downstairs boasts a particularly large open-plan space that runs the length of the property. Within this area you are treated to the living area that is finished in a crisp white aesthetic and features a concrete feature wall, equipped with a large, built-in wooden tv unit and engineered oak floorboards. Wood is a consistent element of the property and this is seen through the wooden beams in the living room and in the main bedroom, however, the main focal point is the timber and concrete blend found in the kitchen. A dark kitchen island complements the unique feel found in this room; and upstairs there are four shootable bedrooms, one master, two children’s bedrooms and a guest.

9 home decor accounts you should already be following (Part 2)

The past two years have undoubtedly seen home decor Instagram accounts boom like never before. Lockdown had the world evaluating every inch of their homes; and where do you find inspiration in the 21st century? Instagram! With hybrid working environments showing no signs of going anywhere, we have seen a huge rise in people looking to touch up and renovate their home, giving it that much needed makeover. You could go scouring through interior websites like Ideal Home, House Beautiful, or perhaps even Arch Digest to find what is on trend right now. However, home decor accounts on Instagram are having their moment and for good reason – there are tens of thousands of accounts showcasing every style imaginable, all under the setting of someone’s real home. Not only do these accounts show how they style certain pieces, but many of them give you tips and tricks, ranging from how to style on a budget, to how to style in limited space and so much more. If you haven’t already, check out our part 1 of home decor accounts you should be following (a pre-covid perspective) for more brilliant accounts! So, without further ado, let’s get into it. 

Victoria_road_restoration – 56.2k 

The first account you need to be following this year is actually a property on our books; named Minton House on our website, victoria_road_restoration is run by the fabulous Lucy and Dan. Their incredible home was voted Winner of the Most Creative Interior at the UK Interior Awards and Evening Standard’s Best Reno Account to Follow. From a complete wreck only a few years ago, Minton House is now an utter dream! With incredible design touches throughout, you can expect pops of colour in every room, premium features and a wealth of quirky accents, including a parquet feature wall and Kelly Hoppen Mickey Mouse wallpaper. Despite the obvious inspiration that this account showcases, it is not just the decor that gets Lucy and Dan on our list, it is also the ingenious hacks, tips, tricks and tours that are in abundance that earns victoria_road_restoration a spot on our top ten! If you want to become an interiors digital creator, Lucy’s fabulous reel ideas are a great place to start for inspo!

Gold_is_a_neutral – 68.3k 

With 68.2k followers it is easy to see why gold_is_a_neutral is so popular among home decor enthusiasts and why it had to make our list this year. Run by Jess Hurrell – the interiors and lifestyle blogger – showcasing a mix between lifestyle, beautiful interior inspiration, before and after reels and house tours; it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about home decor. Gold_is_a_neutral is a proper one-stop shop for all your style needs! Contemporary decor takes centre stage, but what we love is that nothing is unobtainable on her feed – after all, what is the point in following these accounts if they can’t give you ideas and motivation for your own redecorations? What’s more, there is a link to her website where she gives advice on everything from renovation ideas and tips, style and shopping advice, to travel tips and home envy. If you are into lifestyle and style, this is the account for you. 

Houseofgreylondon – 121k 

Our next account is slightly different to the rest on our list, in that it is more dedicated to showcasing a particular design style. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of minimalist ‘greige’ interiors, houseofgreylondon is the only place to be! Promoting Circular Salutogenic design – design that focuses on the positive impact of design on human health. It’s the measurable aspect of design that can help a building’s inhabitants operate at their peak performance. This account is a true beauty on the eyes, with its focus on minimalism and eco-friendly design, and will have you scrolling for hours in awe. With a link tree promoting products you can buy, books you can read, design studios for inspiration and in-depth blogs looking at circular salutogenic design, you won’t be short of stimulus and incentive to get that reno started. 

The_brixton_home_boys – 18.6k

This one is for people who are struggling for inspiration on how to get the most out of tight spaces! Living in an end of terrace London home can often throw up its difficulties; people frequently refer to the lack of light and space as the reason behind being unable to do anything spectacular, but the_brixton_home_boys are showing this need never be a worry! If you are straining to get light into the back of your home, make sure you follow these boys – their side extension will have you itching to do the same! There is something for everyone, their glass roof skylight is a thing of beauty and their mix of upcycled vintage finds will have you scrambling to get down to the nearest antique store. Oh, and if you ever needed kitchen flooring inspiration for your moodboard, check out their brick herringbone flooring – it’s a true masterpiece of design! Likewise, if you are looking for an account that will give you all the tips and insights they’ve accumulated along the way, you’ll be sure to get ideas from these guys! 

The_idle_hands – 89.7k

Voted ‘Who to follow on Instagram’ this year by The Sunday Times, it was a no brainer including the_idle_hands on our list this year. Sandra Baker showcases her outstanding Victorian renovation to her 89k followers – the girl’s doing something right! Dubbed ‘considered, courageous design’, her fabulous account flaunts incredibly eclectic decor, eye-catching furniture and the most striking wallpapered areas you’re likely to find on Instagram. If you are after motivation for darker tones in your home, Sandra’s account is a great place to start – with her own design blog, a wealth of striking imagery and engaging reels, the_idle_hands is a perfect account for all-over home decor inspiration. 

Thepalm_residence – 6,144 

We had to include another of our locations: Palm Residence. While some of our other location owners have home decor accounts with larger followings, we wanted to showcase something completely different; and with her smaller following it’s evident that she’s incredibly engaged with her audience. You won’t see many locations offering a brighter aesthetic than thepalm_residence, this Victorian family home with vintage, tropical vibes offers a different colour scheme in every room and we’re all for it, here at 1st Option! Whether it’s a piece of furniture or wall colour, if you want to incorporate colour into your home, the_palm_residence is the account for you. Oh, and the house is chock-a-block with hanging and potted plants, brightening up your feed!

Apartmentapothecary – 40.9k 

Next on our list is an account of interest for anyone wanting to give their home a makeover, but has worries about how to make the most of a small space. Katy Orme is an interiors blogger that focuses on design within small spaces, however, with her attainable design, anyone can gain inspiration. Her fabulous page, apartmentapothecary, shows how to turn a regular house into something special. With reels presenting the constant upgrades she’s making, despite limited time and space, this account offers a breadth of insights to anyone thinking about renovating their home. She also offers consultations and has a blog for all the tips and tricks she’s learned along the way. With eye-catching interiors, natural materials and a neutral palette (plus many photos of her dog), you can’t go wrong.

Budgethomeinteriordesign – 10.5k

In a similar vein to the last account, budgethomeinteriordesign is the perfect account for anyone looking for home decorating ideas on a budget. If you are merely looking for pretty imagery of a monochrome home, then Natalie’s account is definitely worth a follow. If you fancy learning a few things along the way, check out her fabulously insightful captions that accompany the imagery; she goes into incredible detail about some of the best ways to decorate each area on a budget – never breaking that bank!

Angelarosehome – 1.4m

Lastly, we have the account with the largest following. We had to include an account whose following is in the millions, as there is generally a good reason for it. With the display caption of ‘Stop pining, START DOING’ on her feed, angelarosehome shows her audience that DIY shouldn’t be feared and that anyone can transform their home into those designer, Pinterest-ready spaces that we all love to admire. If you are trying to elevate your space on a budget, her DIY hacks and informational reno videos will give you all the inspiration you’ll need. What’s more, for the general admirer of gorgeous homes, there is a wealth of spectacular shots of her outstanding home to ogle over. A great all-round account showing that anyone can achieve these DIY masterpieces.

In conversation with Stephen from Nash

Rob – “So, what would you say your design style is, in your property?” 

Stephen – “Here, eclectic I’d say, with a bit of a mid-century overtone on everything. I’m quite a fan of everything being quite clean, this is why the big space is white and concrete. You know, I’m quite into stuff being quite functional. That’s because of the style of the front of the house being a proper red brick cottage, so at the front of the property we’ve maintained quite a bit of the traditional elements; the original stairs, the darker colours in the hallway, the more sort of sumptuous living room, which isn’t necessarily my style, but lends itself to the space perfectly with the bay window and such.  

“But yes, the styling of the house in general, I’d say is a bit of a mix. The bedrooms are again all quite clean and modern, we’ve got the nice white floorboards; I’m big on character and honesty, so that’s why upstairs we’ve kept all the original exposed floorboards, just painted them white. But furniture wise, quite eclectic I’d say. I obviously love my mid-century stuff, which a lot of was handed down from my grandma and nan. But I love it anyway, even if they weren’t heirloom pieces, I’d have mid-century stuff in – I just love it. I’ve always loved mid-century stuff, it’s so well made, so clean, these things are 60/70 years old and still are absolutely fantastic.”  

The mixture of eclectic mid-century furniture in the more modern parts of Nash

Rob – “They’re having a bit of a time in the light again right now aren’t they”  

Stephen – “Yeah, for sure! There is definitely a bit of a comeback for mid-century furniture at the moment. But again, it’s just because it’s so well made and well designed. So yes, there’s probably more mid-century furniture than anything else in the house, but we’ve chosen things that I think all go really well together. We’ve got a super modern Danish low-slung sofa with the Samsung framed TV, which is again super modern and then we’ve got the big old traditional log burner to complement them. It’s a bit of a challenge getting everything to work, but if I do say so myself, it’s all well-chosen.” [laughter] 

The Danish low-slung sofa and the eye-catching Samsung framed TV

Rob – “It all flows really well also…”  

Rob – “What are your biggest influences in design? Not just this property, but anything you have designed in general?”  

Stephen – “That’s a really big question…almost everything and anyone. I don’t necessarily have massive amounts of favourite designers and architects. However, I do read every interior design magazine that’s published; every architecture magazine that’s published. I have subscriptions to everything, which is why the house is full of them and why my wife hates me [laughter]. I love coffee table books, if there’s a publication about design, I’ve got it and I’ve read it. So, even though I don’t necessarily have favourite people and designers, I read and look at literally everything I can. “ 

“But even coming back to my mum (as I’ve said off-camera) my mum was a massive influence. She was always taking me around furniture shops and decoration centres, making me help with Laura Ashley wallpaper choices. Mainly dragging me I guess, but I do think it played a big part and definitely comes across. You know, the fact that I understand how much people love their house and that a house has to feel comfortable, it has to feel nice, it’s got to have something you can show off and It’s got to feel homely for the kids. It’s got to have a bit of everything and I definitely picked that up from my mum. Overall, probably not the answer you were hoping for, but it really is a bit of everything.”  

“I’ll walk past a building I’ve never seen before in Hackney or Copenhagen and I’ll stand and look at it for ten minutes (my wife will get really annoyed and frustrated with how it takes me). But yeah, anything and everything can and does inspire me.” 

Stephen’s never-ending array of coffee table books

Rob – “What’s your favourite city architecturally wise?”  

Stephen – “Good question! There are definitely a few favourites, but if I had to pick one, probably Barcelona, just because there’s such a mixture of styles.” 

Rob – “I thought you might say that [laughter].” 

Stephen – “Yeah, Gaudi is obviously an absolute mad man and an incredible architect, but even the sort of more modern stuff, I love that too. But yeah, if I had to choose one, it would be Barcelona. Just because there is everything and anything you could ever want within three square miles – and it’s got a beach as well [laughter]!” 

“I can’t remember the name of the little place down by the beach with all the cobbled narrow streets; I was walking down there and it’s just crazy with all the fire escapes and some of the doors are half-height. I love it, it’s just beautiful, my wife and I genuinely got lost down there for half a day! Absolutely fell in love with that part of Barcelona and then the next day you’re up in Gaudi’s gardens and on the Ramblas. Ah, I just love it!”  

Rob – “It’s a very cool city isn’t it!”  

Stephen – “It really is. I actually thought I was going to say Copenhagen, but no, it has to be Barcelona.”  

Rob – “Yeah, Copenhagen is definitely on my list of places to go.”  

Stephen – “It’s wicked mate! I just loved it. I’m sure there are many places people would say are like it, but I loved how chilled it was.” 

Rob – “You know what, every one of my mates who has been, has said the same thing, so relaxed and that it’s actually their favourite city.”  

Stephen – “I’d say it’s my favourite city also. Architecturally wise, Barcelona, but a city as a whole, Copenhagen. We didn’t want to leave, so wicked, loved it so much. Also, the people are great, awesome people, awesome food! And from my side of things and my wife’s cause she obviously also cares about this stuff as well – the design, oh my god! Every single shop window is beautiful, everything is presented stunningly, everything is made beautifully. Ah, I just loved it!”  

Barcelone from Gaudi’s gardens and Copenhagen from the docks

Rob – “What’s your favourite area or element within the house?” 

Stephen – “I can’t lie, the kitchen is definitely up there. We spend all of our time in here. From a living perspective, rather than a shooting perspective, we have this beautiful front room that was designed to be our really cosy, chill space – we never use it! It’s because the kitchen is where it’s at.”  

“So, my wife or I will be cooking and without the sales pitch, we have this huge island and it’s just a really sociable space. We’ve had dinner parties here with 30, 40, 50 people and the entire party is around the island. This is where we live; in this space between the kitchen and the sofa area. This house doesn’t need to be anything more than the kitchen.”  

“But as I mentioned in the video, my favourite room in the house is the bathroom, just because it was so difficult to design and fit in. During the whole process of designing it, we were really worried that it just wasn’t going to work. When it was completed, again if I do say so myself, it far exceeded our expectations!” 

Stephen’s favourite areas in Nash, the kitchen and the bathroom

Rob – “It really does look incredible!”  

Rob – “So, what made you decide to become a shoot location? And did you design the house with that in mind?” 

Stephen – “No, I think a lot of it was happy accidents that lent itself to being, as far as I know, very good for shoots. In as much as I said with the kitchen and living room spaces, because it’s a cottage and not a Victorian terrace, it doesn’t have a long back, so it’s not narrow. It’s a really wide house and with the extension, it’s now also pretty long. It’s around 7 ½ odd metres wide and we essentially doubled everything in size with the extension.”  

“So going back to the original question, why did we decide to become a shoot location, aside from the size and design etc, I think it was actually a friend of ours who had his place as a shoot location. He had this ginormous place; I think called The Dairy, in Clapton and he did huge shoots for TV and film. Our intention was always to Airbnb this place out to try and recoup a bit of the money we spent on the extension. But when he came round, he saw the place and was like, ‘hey, you should do shoots.’ At first, knowing the size and grandeur of his place, we thought there was no chance we could get movies in here, but he opened our eyes to the fact that people do smaller shoots for editorials and advertorials. He put us in touch with you guys and we’ve never looked back.”  

The open-plan kitchen/ dining/ living room and the original living room at Nash

Rob – “Was 1st Option your first choice when you were looking to sign up?”  

Stephen – “For sure! Yeah, definitely. I can’t remember if it was my mate who put me in touch with you, or if he recommended shoots and we found you online, or on Instagram – I think I may have been originally searching on.” 

Rob – “You know what, we have an owner, Ed, who’s got Blackwood House round the corner from here. We were doing an interview with him around a month or so ago, and he was saying, you can sign up with all the smaller agencies, thinking they will make you more money, but you can actually end up losing money; they might double book you, or forget to tell you a shoot has been pulled and you can then end up missing potential shoots”  

Stephen – “Honestly, professional is a great business term, but you guys have been better than that. The whole team is amazing, lovely to work with, great at your jobs and just a joy in all aspects. Never had any dramas! If there’s ever a minor problem, it’s sorted immediately and always on hand for any questions. Just brilliant and that’s not a sales pitch [laughter].” 

Rob – “That’s what we like to hear.” 

Rob – “So moving on to my last question – what’s your craziest shoot story to date, or most interesting client you’ve had here?” 

Stephen – “To be honest, we don’t tend to stick around the house when clients are here, so we don’t necessarily have any crazy shoot stories, but we have seen our house in magazines and on Instagram etc. So, that’s been pretty cool to know that’s our house.”  

“But I do remember one time, I was sat here having a quiet night in with the wife, and I suddenly got about four messages from separate individual people. All four of them had gone to the premiere of a movie and all four of them sent me a picture of my house on the massive movie screen. It was an advert for the JUUL vaping company and there was just this random guy sitting on my sofa vaping. Was just quite funny that all four individual people were like ‘oh that’s Stephen’s house’. It was quite weird also to see it on the big screen.”  

The more modern parts of Nash, the dining room and the bedroom

“But, honestly other than that, we are never here for the shoots – there could be an array of celebrities wandering through our house on a daily basis and I wouldn’t have a clue [laughter].”  

Rob – “Do you just let them in and leave straight away?” 

Stephen – “Yeah, exactly that; let the teams in and run straight off. I’m sure you hear this from everyone, but I hope you hear this from clients, but we are so chilled about everything. On recces, whether clients know what they want to do, or turn up and they aren’t sure of where to put stuff or exactly what they’re going to do, I say the exact same thing to everyone – consider it your house till 6 pm. If I get back and things are roughly in the same place, that’s all I need.”  

“It’s funny because they often take photos and try to get everything back perfect, which is great, but because I’m OCD, it will never be perfect. So, these days I just say, put the stuff in the right room and I’ll take it from there.” [laughter] 

“But other than that, we couldn’t care less about what clients do while here, we could honestly have tap dancing elephants in here, as long as they’re paying us and don’t break the house, we’re golden [laughter].” 

Rob – “Amazing, Stephen thank you so much for your time – that’s it from us.”  

My Home. My Haven. Style with Nash

In the first episode of our new video series, ‘My Home My Haven’, the wonderful Stephen, who is an incredible interior designer and owns our fabulous location Nash, takes you on a tour of the house, highlighting the features that make his style unique, his favourite elements and the challenges faced throughout the renovation process. If you are interested in design, this is a must-watch1, with a wealth of insightful, interesting and truly fascinating tips, tricks and stories!

Spot the Difference at Store Cupboard

In our third edition of the classic spot the difference, we bring you Store Cupboard. As always, it’s all a bit of fun, but the lucky so and so who can find all ten differences before the end of May will receive a half-price booking fee on their next shoot! Will it be you?