Ellie Tennant is a highly successful freelance interiors stylist, journalist and author who works with titles such as Homes & Antiques Magazine and Ideal Home magazine. We sat down to talk about her most recent book, Chic Boutiquers at Home and to find out a bit more about her personal interior style and that one thing she can’t live without.
You’ve got a wealth of knowledge and experience in interiors journalism, how did you end up in the field?
I’ve always loved writing and knew that I wanted to be a journalist from a very young age. I studied English Literature at Durham University, did a post-graduate journalism diploma, before working at a publishing company writing for business magazines. I did an Interior Design course in the evenings and got a job as Style Assistant at House Beautiful magazine. Next, I moved to Ideal Home magazine, then went freelance four years ago and now pen a wide variety of features for home interest magazines as well as writing and styling books about inspiring interiors.
Tell us a bit about your personal interiors style.
I guess my style could be described as ‘simple’ with a touch of ‘modern rustic’! I’ve seen fashions and fads come and go over the years and it’s hard not to be influenced by what’s ‘new’ or what’s ‘cool’ but I find as I get older, I’m much less concerned about what the latest look is and am instead drawn to simple, timelessly-stylish interiors. I suppose this is the one ‘trend’ that is the most enduring really – well-made, artisanal pieces that have clear origins, are beautiful, practical and long-lasting. I love vintage Welsh blankets, rusty hurricane lanterns and chunky wooden plates. My floorboards are all treated with lye and oil for a Scandinavian look and I love vintage pieces of furniture such as reclaimed chapel chairs. I like a lived-in look and hate show-homey homes, where everything is brand new and you can’t relax.
What inspired the title behind your newest book?
The creatives featured in my latest book Chic Boutiquers at Home (£19.99, Ryland Peters & Small) all run ‘chic boutiques’ and I think ‘online shop owners at home’ sounds less catchy! I’m not sure if ‘boutiquers’ is actually a word, but hey – it is now. In this book, photographer James Gardiner and I explore the homes of online sellers. There’s also a chapter about how to set up your own online store.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?
I’m busy working for some lovely magazines at the moment such as Homes & Antiques and Country Homes & Interiors. The hectic world of media is always moving forward – I’m about to shoot a seasonal feature for an April 2017 issue! I’m also starting work on another book, which is exciting. My husband and I have just moved to a cottage in the countryside after a decade of living in London, so I’ve got plenty of renovating and decorating to keep me busy as well as some new chickens…
Finally, what is the one interiors item you can’t live without?
I love a good bed. I think if you spend money on anything, you should treat yourself to a really comfortable, good quality mattress, amazingly-soft bed linen, plump down pillows and a huge fluffy super-king-size duvet. You spend a lot of your life asleep, so it’s a really worthwhile investment.
Ellie Tennant’s latest book, Chic Boutiquers at Home explores the growing world of online interior boutiques, meeting the creative forces behind these stores and exploring their homes. In a time when small independent brands can trade all around the globe with relative ease, Ellie explores the best of the boutiques and provides advice on how to launch your very own.