September 24, 2014 in interior styling
Earlier in the year I worked with Beth Evans on this colour story. I had been styling a lot of food and tabletop shoots and this influenced the story and led to using Nature Paint‘s powdered paint products. The act of mixing the paint became similar to cooking and baking. We decided to make the story pale and neutral – the soft colours of pastel confectionary, sugared almonds, pale pinks sitting next to tangerine and aubergine. Soft whites like meringue, whipped from powder into paint. I made little dishes, bowls and discs from air-drying clay that I could paint in the pale tones and food was used to prop the story and create an ambiguity between the processes.
We created a short Issuu publication to show the images. Please click to view it full screen.
We hope you enjoy it.
Thank you to Nature Paint for providing the paint for this story. Find out more about their ethos and colour range on the Nature Paint website.
To see more of Beth Evan’s work please click here.
I had the pleasure of being asked to style this month’s Style Steal for Elle Decoration magazine as part of their 25 year anniversary celebration. My brief was to scour the major brands from the British high street for the best 100 finds under £100 and to celebrate accessible, affordable and stylish products for our homes in a unified photo story. We all need a fix of newness in our home every now and again and most of the time practicality calls, but sometimes a new piece of beautiful crockery, some storage, a cushion or new light can give our home a lift especially when they don’t break the bank.
I shot with the talented Danish interiors photographer Heidi Lerkenfeldt who flew over to shoot the story especially for Elle Deco.
I divided the story into, shelving, kitchen/dining, living/study, bedroom and bathroom over 9 pages and found lots of great products that belie their super value.
The products featured are high street brands including Anthropologie, BHS, The Conran Shop, Debenhams, French Connection, Habitat, H&M, Heal’s, House of Fraser, Ikea, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Muji, Next, Toast, The White Company and Zara Home.
The June issue of Elle Decoration magazine is out now.
What would you choose?
April 21, 2014 in flowers
I have so many favourite flowers but one that comes up very high on my list is the snake’s head fritillary – Fritillaria meleagris. I have been fascinated by this spring bulb ever since I was at art college in Edinburgh and came across a beautiful drawing of one made in 1915 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The pattern fascinates me, as I’m sure it did Mackintosh, and they really are a miracle of nature.
As a long-time member of Kew Gardens there are swathes of them located in an area that I hunt out each Spring to see them growing en masse. Some are pure white with the faintest trace of a pattern, but mostly they are the richer shades of purple with their contrasting chequerboard.
I photographed them against simple backdrops devoid of fuss. The vase above is by Akiko Hirai and the black cup in the last photo is by Kaori Tatebayashi, both from Flow Gallery. In the photo below you can see how these flowers get the name snake’s head from their shape and pattern just before they open up.
I grow them each Spring in my own tiny garden and always get excited to see their little heads poke up in the flowers beds or in pride of place in pots on the garden table. Nature is amazing.
The Tate Modern gallery is one of my favourite places to visit. I am not alone in thinking this as it is the second most popular musuem attraction in the UK after the British Museum and the 4th most visited art museum in the world. Five million people visit it every year. Not only is the art it houses world class, its industrial architecture is stunning too. The galleries are housed in the former Bankside Power Station and the scale of the Turbine Hall is awe inspiring and the views from the sixth floor overlooking the Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London skyline are breathtaking.
The enormity of the building and the views from the upper floors looking downward to the Turbine Hall floor captured my imagination. I photographed the concrete to lose its sense of scale and confuse the eye, making the people below seem like ants at my feet. A fun photographic trip to Lilliput.
If you live close enough to make regular visits, annual Tate membership is brilliant value as you can access all the big name exhibitions for free, the members’ cafe and get discount at the great shop. We’re looking forward to returning soon for the Matisse Cut-outs show which opens on 17th April. Can’t wait!
Today I’m featuring a new book written by friends Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring: Decorate with Flowers – creative ideas for Flowers and containers around the home, as part of the UK blog book tour.
Books started my friendship with Holly four years ago after she wrote the sweetest review of my first book The Homemade Home and I emailed to thank her. We kept in touch and met for a drink a few months later when she was in London. A year or so later I helped Holly with the London launch of her first book – Decorate. That is where I first met Leslie and we, and our respective husbands, had lots of fun for a few days in London – they are the ones who talked me into starting this blog! So as books have featured so importantly in connecting our lives it seems fitting to post about their lovely new book and congratulate Holly and Leslie on the fruits of their collaboration.
Decorate With Flowers is packed with images, ideas and useful information and tips to keep your home full of life and scent with the addition of flowers. It really reflects Holly and Leslie’s personal styles and their love for flowers, craft and decorating – it is bright, light, fresh, colourful and pretty.
The book is divided into sections to suit different interior styles, such as happy brights, neutral pop and girly glam and has a craft section in each chapter showing you how to upcycle vessels for displaying flowers. There are pages showing you how to create large flower arrangements in easy-to-follow steps, so you too can create a large impressive centerpiece, but really what shows through is a love of flowers from both of them. They mix shop bought with sprigs snipped from the garden, showing you that you can bring flowers into any space with any budget.
The book itself is also well designed on tactile, uncoated paper and there is always something new to grab your eye as you flick through.
You can see lots of colourful photos and spreads from the book over on the Decorate With Flowers website.
The chapter that appeals most to my own interior design aesthetic and the way I live, is chapter 8 – Black & White. I photographed some of the pages to show here.
In this section Leslie and Holly present graphic and organic schemes influenced by Scandinavian style. Black and white interiors with flowers and foliage in whites and creams with greens and touches of yellow and deep purples.
One of my favourite projects is the graphic stamped bags, seen above.
After reading through the book I couldn’t help but nip outside to add a few cuttings from my own garden to my photos, all in the spirit of the book!
My husband helped me film a little flick-through video to give you a peek inside, although by coincidence my friend Caroline posted one on Tuesday but I thought I would share this one too as we had already filmed it. Click the settings cog to HD for better quality.
A huge amount of time, thought, love, work and energy goes into creating a book like this with so many photographs, ideas, projects and information and my congratulations go to Holly and Leslie for producing a lovely book they can be really proud of.
February 27, 2014 in interior styling
These images are from a collaboration with photographer Joanna Henderson, taken last Autumn. I worked with Jo on a few projects last year, firstly a perfume book by Karen Gilbert which I will post about another time, another title for Cico Books that will come out later this year and also the Liberty Christmas stocking images. We ended the year off with this shoot – an experiment with paint and paper.
Objects were sourced from around my house: my Croatian grandmother’s trinkets, a glittered leaf purchased at Sibella Court’s shop The Society Inc in Sydney last year, a pile of vintage labels bought at Kempton Park antique fair. I painted canvases, wooden cubes and discs in a selection of coloured emulsions and Jo and I created the still life images up in my loft room. The paper adds great texture, crinkled up sheets or in piles like the labels.
Paints included Little Greene‘s Heat (rust orange), Roman Plaster (biscuit/taupe) and Pink Slip (dusky pink) and Farrow & Ball‘s Downpipe (dark grey), Pelt (dark aubergine) and Strong White (the wall colour).
With Spring approaching I am ready to embrace softer colours, pinks with taupe, aubergine with rust, cream with bronze and a little sparkle sprinkled on top for good measure.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.