Q&A With Joanna Thornhill

joanna thornhill dining room

Credit: Home of Joanna Thornhill; Photograph by Olly Gordon 

1. What is your favourite piece in your home?

I’m always acquiring new things and can be a bit fickle when it comes to favourites, but I’m still really pleased with our dining room and the way it so perfectly fits two really special items – a bizarre vintage wooden wall hanging I ‘inherited’ from an old flat when I realised the landlord was throwing it away, and a 1950’s kitchen larder which belonged to my partner’s Grandmother. They both fit the space perfectly, both physically and aesthetically. I gave the cupboard a bit of a makeover by repainting its exterior in three different tones of blue, but the wooden sign is exactly as I found it. I’ve never got to the bottom of what it actually IS – best guess is an old film or theatre prop – but it often gets me daydreaming.

joanna thornhill dog with charlotte gerard print

Credit: Joanna Thornhill 

2. What was the last thing you purchased?

It was actually an art print I picked up at an open studios event last month as part of the E17 Art Trail, which is a bi-annual event where I live (Walthamstow in north-east London). I like to buy things that have a connection to me, whether it’s something picked up on a special holiday or purchased directly from the designer or maker. I chose this print as it made me chuckle – it’s actually a misprint of a dog with its head missing so was massively reduced, and it reminded me of my own little Romanian rescue dog, Stan Lee. As he’s a total mutt, we’ve never really purchased any doggy-themed homewares as nothing ever looks quite like him, but as this print is the back half only I figured we could pretend it was an official portrait of him! The artist, Charlotte Gerrard [https://www.charlottegerrard.com/], even wrote his name on it and marked it as 1 of 1, so it’s certainly one of a kind and I think our pup approved.

3. Who or what is your inspiration / Do you have any style muses or places you always return to for inspiration?

As I spend much of my working day scouring magazines, catalogues, lookbooks and the internet in search of inspirational products and ideas for my various commissioned projects, I confess to sometimes feeling a little design fatigued! So I actually find the things that get me excited aren’t necessarily directly related to interiors – it can be a trip to an art gallery, or a rummage round a salvage yard or just a walk in the woods.

4. What are your five favourite OFL pieces / how would you style them

Having got to know the pieces pretty well when I styled the current Oak Furniture Land press lookbook, I’d say I had great fun styling them in their respective roomsets! I loved the Chesterfield sofa, which I instantly thought would work well with the current trend for minerals and muted pastel tones, offering feminine colours but with an edge. The Jasmine accent chair really stood out to me when I was doing my initial shoot research and I knew I had to use it somewhere – its punchy hues really lend themselves to a colour pop setting and they worked wonderfully with these two-tone art prints by Lane by Post.

chesterfield sofa in muted colour palette room

The glam theatre-style of the Calgary floor lamp could have worked in an industrial-style space but equally, I thought it had a bit of a cool beach vibe so I teamed it with the pale grey wood of the St Ives furniture range and the ticking striped Westbury sofa and armchair. Equally, The Kemble bed and wardrobe seemed to really lend themselves to a wafty seaside-influenced setting, particularly when paired with casually styled linen bedsheets from Secret Linen Store . And finally, I couldn’t resist doing something really creative with the Mantis Light display unit – it would work really well used as a visual room divider in an open-plan space but also makes a great storage and display area for this season’s big trend, succulents and greenery.

mantis light display unit

5. What are your favourite trends for right now?

I think on a broader term, I like the way we are moving towards a personal, eclectic interiors style, away from overly ‘perfect’ spaces and towards a look that reflects the styles and tastes of the homeowner. By being a little less rigid, it’s easy to mix in furniture and possessions from different ranges and even eras and build a layered look that reflects our growing and evolving tastes and trends.

6. What are your favourite trends for 2017?

I managed to shoehorn a lot of my favourite trends into the lookbook shoot luckily! I do really like the Minerals trend we are seeing, which favours (of course) minerals and luxe materials like marble and quartz, teamed with dusky pastel hues for a look that’s feminine without being overly girlie. The space in which we shot the lookbook was an industrial warehouse setting and I’m still a big fan of the Industrial trend but it can look a little themed if you go all-out, so I liked being able to use it as more of a backdrop for other trends, to give it all a bit of an edge.

7. What’s your style like? / How would you describe your style at home? Are you a contemporary / scandi or vibrant / eclectic type etc.

My personal style is very eclectic and almost ‘unstyled’ – it was never really curated; it just sort of evolved along the way! Most of our furniture is hand-me-downs from various eras, dating back to the 1860’s to retro stuff. Our house was built in the 1890’s and during the renovations we uncovered a lot of unexpected original features, from a hidden wood panelled wall right down to a treasure trove of Victorian food and drink jars, newspapers and ephemera under a section of the floorboards! I do love being able to uncover the character from a building’s past but I’ve been mindful to mix in the odd contemporary piece, too, so it doesn’t just look like a museum!

Follow Joanna on Instagram and Twitter for her top tips and inspiration!

 

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