Please tell me a bit about your background and why you do what you do. 
I graduated in 2004 with a BA hons in textiles design, and worked as a designer for many years, before deciding the time was right to market myself as an independent designer. It has always been my dream to start up my own design business, but it was the economic down turn that influenced my decision to just go for it. Business funding at the time was hard to come by, but the princes trust came to my rescue, and in 2011 loaned me enough money to put on my first exhibition. I have never looked back, I really love what I do. It is a little scary at times and it’s very hard work, but, the sense of achievement, and freedom to create what I like more than motivates me, and keeps me excited about the future.
Where do you live and work and how do you balance the two? My boyfriend and I recently bought our first home together, and for the time being I have settled nicely into our spare room. I would love to separate work from home, and I have been looking for a suitable studio space for around a year now, but have not found anything that ticks all the boxes just yet. Brighton, where I live, is such a creative place and studio spaces are like gold dust! I am lucky my home has a large loft for storage, so I can just about manage.
What or who inspires you?
So many things inspire me. For me it is important to feel a personal connection to the work that I am creating in order to enjoy the process. My work is more often inspired by the materials I use, from photographs I have taken out and about to a broken stick dipped in ink.
My experimental approach, and curiosity towards materials and subjects is greatly influenced by my upbringing in a creative family and having access to a wide range of materials and an excellent selection of art books. I also think it’s the thirst to have a deeper understanding of a subject, and the motivation to be a better artist! I also spend a lot of time outdoors, which is of course for a textile designer the greatest source of inspiration.



What is your greatest achievement / what are you most proud of?
My greatest achievement is starting and making a success of a business on my own, and with limited means.  I am now a woman with many skills, and not just in design, I never thought I would be able to code a website for instance! I am extremely proud of this, and feel even prouder of the strong relationships I am building with my clients. I have stockists I can be proud of, and some very happy customers. Every-day brings a little reward; nothing beats knowing first-hand the response to the work for instance, or, the feeling of when a repeat order comes in.

Where’s your most inspirational place, home or away?
I keep a little notebook nearby at all times for ideas, However, when I need to get turn those ideas into proper sketches, I feel most inspired when completely free of distraction. Both my computer and my phone have to be turned off, so Sunday is always a good drawing day! Or, whenever I am on holiday.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I like to completely switch off, so a good book, or box set is always good. And of course, spending time with friends and family is top priority.



What is your favourite space in your home?
At the moment it is my garden. I am finding out what its really like to be able to enjoy your own garden, planting as many things as possible and taking a look a couple of times a day to see if anything has popped up!

What is your most treasured belonging?
Just one? Pictures and photographs. I have a couple of paintings by my mother and grandmother which are very dear to me, and boxes of old family photos, including some gems by my grandfather who wasn’t too bad with a camera.

What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?
Being near to Europe.

What is your top tip for creating a lovely home?
Colour and simplicity! Fill your home with beautiful colours and only have things around you that you love. That doesn’t mean I don’t like a bit of clutter, I love it… but I have recently discovered having moved many times lately what it’s like to de-junk and I feel so much better.

See Imogen along with 65 talented exhibitors at Decorfest in Wimbledon this weekend!

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I am thrilled to have been asked to be the official blogger for a fantastic new Home and Garden Festival, decorfest, which is taking place on Sunday 23rd March in South-West London. The event is being hosted by the wonderful decorcafe and will be all about inspiring and helping people to create a more personal home and garden. 
Over the next few months I will be featuring a hand-picked selection of designers exhibiting at the show in my Designer Spotlight section of the blog. First up is the incredibly talented Claire Henman
Claire makes exquisite handmade lampshades and other accessories using British game bird feathers sourced from local game-keepers. She will be exhibiting her gorgeous collection at the decorfest on 23rd March 2013.

Please tell us a little about your background and why you do what you do.
I have always been creative and enjoyed making, painting and drawing from a very young age.  I studied Art History at university and have worked as an art teacher and in an auction house, surrounded by beautiful items every day.  It is only since becoming a mother that I have been able to immerse myself in the more practical side of designing and making.  I had always dabbled in pottery, but began to spend time really improving my skills and developing my own style.  Over the years I developed an interest in interior design, and have enjoyed renovating several homes and filling them with lovely furniture and objects, paints and textures.  The idea of using game bird feathers to make attractive lampshades came to me one afternoon, and the moment I started experimenting, I knew this was meant for me – I even used to collect feathers in jam jars as a small girl, so have always harboured an appreciation of the natural beauty of feathers from our native birds.

Where do you live and work and how do you balance the two?
I live in the Oxfordshire countryside, so my inspiration is luckily all around me, all the time, as I also have my studio at home.  I love being in my studio making, whilst listening to Radio 4.  Putting domestic duties to one side and getting on with creating new lampshades and other decorative objects is never a chore, always a pleasure.

What (or who) inspires you?
The feathers themselves, they are so beautiful.  Interior magazines, interior shops, I love rummaging around antique markets etc.  Ultimately, though, the countryside around me, which I get out into every day with my dog.

What’s your greatest achievement/what are you most proud of to date? 
Aside from my family, I would have to say presenting clients with a completed commission, and seeing the smile on their face and hearing their words of appreciation at something I have hand made for them.

Where’s your most inspirational place, home or away? 
I am a very domestic person so home is always an inspiration, and I enjoy changing and improving my home’s interior, which all feeds into what I do in my studio.  I also love very wild, unspoilt places, such as the Isles of Scilly and Mull.  I find the sea very inspiring, but also being surrounded by mountains.  I have also always come home from African trips feeling full of renewed creativity, I think the big skies there clear the mind and renew energy.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Cook!  I love food, am very interested in health and nutrition and I like trying new flavours and nourishing my family.  Walking with the dog is very relaxing, and I keep fit and stretch the muscles with pilates and yoga.  I try to grow my own veg, and always have home and garden projects on the go…

What’s your favourite space in your home?
Our sitting room has a ceiling full of beams which I laboriously hand painted, and it took days and days, but has resulted in a very calm and tranquil room, which is lovely to sit in.  It also has sea grass on the floor, and I love the aroma this gives the room, very natural.

What’s your most treasured belonging?
Probably my green Landrover Defender!  My dream car.  The Aga might come a close second!

What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?
The seasons.  I just love that first foggy morning, first frost, the snow, first signs of spring and long hot summer days.  And the fact that you don’t have to travel very far here to see very different landscapes, the sea, the hills and wonderful views.  I also love a good British woodland to walk in.

What is your top tip for creating a lovely home and garden
Don’t rush, take your time, collect beautiful things, move things around and experiment with different combinations, using old and new.

{Images via Claire Henman}


























The last few weeks have been both wonderful and incredibly hectic! They culminated in P and I getting married last Thursday in the most magical ceremony at a candlelit Church in a small Somerset village. I’ll share pictures as soon as I can get my hands on them, but before we disappear on honeymoon for a few weeks I want to share a very special Somerset-related post…a stunning home designed by the super talented Pearl Lowe.

Pearl is not just an interior designer, but also a singer, fashion designer, author and mum! I caught up with earlier this week Pearl to ask her a few questions about her work and inspiration for her latest project, a gorgeous house in Somerset that is currently for sale through Killens.

Did you always want to be a designer and how did you begin working as one?

When I was a little girl all I wanted to be was a singer. My mum owned a dress shop in Covent Garden & I once designed a range for her. I used to customize my own clothes. It wasn’t until I started doing up a house in Camden, that I started Designing lace curtains, that then became the start of my business in design.

Where do you find your inspiration for you work? 
I find inspiration in Somerset mainly. I love it here so much here. There are so many talented people that inspire me everyday. My children are also a massive inspiration to me. They are all little artists.

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on so far in your career? 
I loved working for Peacocks, it was really sad when that ended, but two days later I got a vintage interior book deal with Harper Collins, which was a dream come true for me. It’s coming out on May 9th, which is incredibly exciting.

What are your career dreams and aspirations over the next few years? 
I would love to develop my own range, both fashion and interiors. I’d also like to write a few more vintage books. I’m singing a couple of songs on my husbands new album, it’s so lovely to be able to sing again.

Who is the most inspirational person you know? I love Rachel Ashwell. She inspires me daily. I’m lucky to have got to know her. She is such a lovely person as well.

What is your favourite space in your home? My front room, it’s so cosy. When i’m away working, i often dream of having relaxing days spent reading in front of the fire.

Where is your most inspirational place, home or away? Home! I’m not a great traveller as my kids will tell you.

If you could own any home away from home, which would it be? A holiday home! I’d love to own a place in the sun.

What’s your most treasured belonging? My grandma’s 1920’s diamond wishbone ring.

What’s your favourite way to spend the weekend? Hanging out with my kids, Walking my dogs, country pub lunches with friends and family. Total bliss!

What is your favourite thing about living in the UK? Definitely not the weather! The English countryside as far as I’m concerned is the most beautiful place on this earth!
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{Images by Emma Case}


And here we are again, Winter has positively flown by and Spring is now officially here! The sun is shining and temperatures are soaring across the country with 19 degrees predicted in Bridport and London this weekend. The clocks are also due to change on Saturday night and although I can’t wait for an extra hour of daylight, I’m not too excited about the noisy birds outside our bedroom window moving their wake up from 6am to 5am! 

To celebrate the extra hour clocks are the theme in today’s blog post from the uber talented designer, Charlie Turner, an expert wood craftsman who has recently redesigned and revitalised the traditional grandfather clock. His pieces have been making waves throughout the design world since their launch, and have featured in countless articles since their release. And, he’s also practically a neighbour of mine, with his studio based in Cornwall!
Did you always want to be a designer and how did you begin working as one?
Yes I have always wanted to work in a creative field, and my career started in the film industry as a film editor. However I have always loved working with wood, and even as a child I helped to design and make furniture, so woodwork was a passion I have always had.
Where do you find your inspiration for you work? 
Everyday objects viewed from a different angle.

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on so far in your career? Before focusing on clock design I also worked in cabinetmaking and bespoke interior projects. One of my favourite projects was a house in Constantine Bay in Cornwall, where we worked with the client designing and building furniture for a new house. It was a stunning project and lots of fun to help design.

What are your career dreams and aspirations over the coming years?To free up some more time for more designing! There are lots of ideas for new designs in my head, it’s just a matter of getting the time to develop them.

Who is the most inspirational person you know? 
My first art teacher Mr Huxtable – he was so creative and so much fun, and he let everyone have a go!

What is your favourite space in your home?
My shed where I store a huge range of “stuff” that I use to make and design new products, I love recycling things and hate throwing things away. I have just dismantled a staircase and am using the timber to make a table. 


Where is your most inspirational place, home or away? 
The sea, the cliffs, the Cornish coast

If you could own any home away from home, which would it be?
A wood chalet in the mountains – the air and the light is almost as good as the coast 


What’s your most treasured belonging? My imagination
What’s your favourite way to spend the weekend? 
Walking with my wife around the coast

What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?

The different seasons, watching the changes.
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{All Images via Charlie Turner}

This week I am launching the new designer/artist spotlight Q&A on Little Miss Homes and to kick it off I would like to introduce the incredibly talented artist and illustrator Alice Peto. Classically trained, Alice studied in Italy, New York and London and now specialises in illustrations and watercolours. As well as private commissions for paintings {as you can see she’s great at animals!}, she also creates gorgeous bespoke invitations that will guarantee to add charm and individuality to your wedding or home event, as well as bespoke maps to make sure your guests can find there way there in style! 

So whether you want a painting of your pet or to add some pizazz to your party then Alice is definitely your girl…

Did you always want to be an artist and how did you begin working as one?

Yes, I can’t imagine doing anything else. From an early age I drew everything I saw. After school I trained in Florence and then I began to teach art in London 12 years ago. I am now concentrating on my illustrations, invitations and other commissions full time which is very exciting
.

Where do you find your inspiration for you work?

Much of my work revolves around drawing people in everyday situations so I often find myself imagining how I would pick up someone’s character trait or capture a particular event in a picture. I also do much the same with animals – the more absurd the better. I have jut finished a commission of some boxing hares. 

 What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on so far in your career?

A high profile wedding for 300 people where I designed and produced customised invitations, maps, order of services, menus, place cards and signs. My only brief was “wine and France” and otherwise I was given free rein to let my imagination run wild.  I also had a 2 man show at Bonhams, where I exhibited 30 paintings and raised money for Macmillan Nurses.

What are your career dreams and aspirations over the next few years?

To grow my invitation and illustration business and perhaps do another show. That said, I’m blissfully happy so long as I get to spend all day with a paintbrush in my hand.


Where is your most inspirational place, home or away? 

Kircudbright – a little habour town in Scotland near where I was brought up.  It has some wonderful galleries.


If you could own any home away from home, which would it be? 

I would like a run down farmhouse in Tuscany, wouldn’t we all…


Who is the most inspirational person you know?

My mother. She was an artist as well as a great collector of art. Our family home is stuffed with all sorts of weird and wonderful pieces of art which inspire me hugely.

What is your favourite space in your home?

My studio – its south facing so has the light flooding in all day.


What’s your most treasured belonging? 

My mothers watch, she died 2 years ago and I wear it everyday.


What’s your favourite way to spend the weekend?  

If in London a stroll though the park followed by a long lunch with friends or being with my family in Scotland and eating delicious fresh seafood from the beach nearby. 


What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?   

The British sense of humour and our ability to laugh at ourselves.

{Images by Alice Peto}