If you ever read my Tete a Tat with Gabby Deeming, you will know I hold her in the highest regard. She executes everything she does with grace and finesse. It was a glory to behold and something I imagined I would imbibe naturally working under her. Sadly that has yet to come to fruition, but one thing that has come a cropper in the years since we both left House & Garden our the additions to her extensive creative career. Not only has she started Daydress, but she is putting her talents into rugs, wallpaper and tableware. But the thing we are currently most excited about is her new course with Create Academy, 'How to Style with Pattern & Colour'. Gabby has spent over 15 styling, building rooms from nothing in a day. Creating dream-like homes and magnificent pictures. She is a master of styling, and I am so pleased that Create Academy has given us a chance to get in on the action. So we thought we could make this Knock Knock a little different; a few questions were thrown Gabby's way, and we were lucky enough to have the talents of photographer Jasper Fry, to help take us on a tour of her home. So you can see the excellent styling in action.
How long have you been in your Bloomsbury flat?
Almost 8 years Although the last two have been mostly in Devon where I was a COVID evacuee at my boyfriend’s house. At one point I was worried I had inadvertently moved there but London is always calling and the flat is such a happy place to come home to.
Do you have a favourite feature in the flat?
I love the big sash-windows which face south and flood the flat with light. I can’t bear gloom so these are heaven. I’m actually obsessed with windows; I think they make or break a house exterior and are single-handedly responsible for the good-vibes in a room. I’d quite like to be the window dictator who gets to sign off on the installation of every new window in the country! Builders would hate me but I think it’s a national service.
Your favourite thing about the area?
It’s a perfect London village and the little scenes of daily life are so wonderful to watch from the windows, it’s like an illustration from a children’s book. Hearing the schoolbell in the morning and watching the people passing by on their way to work or opening up shop. It’s a lovely mixed community of students, NHS workers from Gt Ormond St and the barristers from Grays Inn. Also - Honey & Co are about to open a big restaurant on the corner of my street so it all keeps getting better!
You were at House and Garden for over 15 years doing a countless number of decorating (styling) shoots, you have now set up a dress line, designed wallpaper and tableware; Has decorating and designing always come naturally to you?
I think so much of it is learned. I have always been very attracted to pattern and colour but it’s not just about honing practical skills, you also gain confidence in your own style. H&G was a brilliant place to really invest in both of these. I was always rearranging my bedroom furniture as a child and I remember wasting a roll of film on pictures of my bed with just the corner of the duvet turned back which I must have seen in a terrible catalogue so I’ve definitely always had it in my system. I really believe that if you love interiors and want to feel good in your home then you can be a great stylist in your own space.
I know many people find styling overwhelming, when you are starting on a new scheme or room where do you like to start?
The trigger for me is usually a little clutch of objects or colours that begin to tell a story through the way they interact which I feel inspired by. It could be as simple as a lovely postcard, a candlestick and a piece of fabric. Then you find ways to expand on the visual language. A lot of the success with this process comes from referring back to what you love about the original inspiration. But also, it’s important to remember it’s an ongoing process; The sitting room I have now isn’t the one I started with. It was more coherent to begin with but I love it more now it’s settled into itself and feels less considered.
Your home has been on the pages of H&G and shared countless times, what would you say is the style of your home?
Like most homes it’s an unconscious accumulation of a lot of stuff that was loved at the time of buying but definitely requires a bit of on-going editing which as a natural fiddler I do quite naturally. Lamps are always on the move. I moved two just today in fact! But I would describe the style as very comfortable, there is a lot of softness and textiles. There’s nothing I love more than squashing on down for the evening.
What is the best advice you have been given when it comes to styling (if any)?
That interiors shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. Ben Pentreath said in his House & Garden ‘Dos and Don’ts of Decorating’ that it’s good to have a little bit of bad taste in a room which I think is very good advice as it stops everything from being just-so. In my opinion, being described as ‘having good-taste’ is not much of a compliment but we would all love to have our style admired.
What would be your ideal outcome for those taking your CA course?
I get so much pleasure from being at home; feeling surrounded by and appreciating all the things I love and I’d be delighted to know that other people are getting the same enjoyment out of their own places after having a go at some of the ideas in the course. I think there are so many small ways you can make a change. For example, think of lamps as nomadic and begin with a lighting switch. I love the idea of people up and down the county wandering the halls with a table lamp or two, looking for a new home.
Gabby Deeming’s first online interiors course - 'How to Style with Pattern & Colour' - is available now from Create Academy. Use code TAT15 to get 15% off.
Also Gabby is holding a Daydress Pop-Up shop from the 7th April to 1st May at the Anthropologie Gallery, 131-141 King’s Rd, London SW3 4PW