I am so delighted to introduce author and stylist extraordinaire Emily Henson to you guys today. Anyone in the biz will know that Emily is one of the very best. In fact if you’ve flicked through any achingly cool interior in a magazine, book or newspaper lately chances are Emily is behind it! She’s also the talented lady behind Anthropologie’s stunning displays and visual merchandising.
I am obsessed with her book Modern Rustic (a style I particularly gravitate towards) and so you can imagine I was pretty excited to find out she has another one on the way. Thanks so much Emily for taking time out of your incredibly busy life to speak to us.
Tell us about Modern Rustic?
It’s been a long time coming really. I moved back to London three years ago after living in the US for 17 years (I still have a house in LA). I had to completely start over career-wise when I got here because no-one knew me, and I made it my mission to meet everyone who hired stylists, including publishers. I met London and New York based publishing house Ryland, Peters & Small about possibly doing freelance styling work for them and they said they liked my portfolio and would I be interested in pitching book ideas to them. After pinching myself repeatedly(!), I pitched a handful of ideas, including “Modern Rustic”.
In LA where I’d been living, and in London where I had just returned, I had noticed this movement towards using wood in interiors but not in traditional ways. A room might still be clad in wood, but rather than the “ski lodge” look you might expect in a traditional rustic home, huge sheets of plywood would be used instead, stained to make the grain pop, and furnished with vintage industrial pieces. Or maybe a home was more traditional rustic, but it was made modern by painting the wood panelling grey and adding pops of neon in the accessories. I was lucky enough to travel to amazing homes all over the world and feature some of the very best Modern Rustic interiors.
And don’t you have another book on the way? Exciting!
Thank you! Last week I wrote the final chapter of my second interiors book, Bohemian Modern. It’s out early next year, and I’m very excited about this one too.
The title is pretty self-explanatory and focuses on bohemian living in a modern era; so 1970’s favourites like macramé, Moroccan rugs and masses of houseplants, but placed in modern interiors and styled in a very contemporary way. I wrote it in a more anecdotal style than Modern Rustic, with a focus on the incredibly creative homeowners, and not just their interiors. These are people – artists, designers, architects – who are shunning the status quo and breaking all the rules in interiors. I travelled all over to some stunning homes – Morocco, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and of course London – and met some incredibly talented people who have created homes for themselves that are beautiful and inspiring.
So are you modern rustic or boho?
Definitely boho. I loved making my first book but it was more an exploration into a trend I’d spotted, rather than a style I personally use. With Bohemian Modern, it’s a style that resonates with me on a personal level. I’ve always loved a bit of boho, eclectic style, but now that I’m a bit older I’m aiming to create a more refined boho.
What makes a place feel like home to you?
For me it’s all about textiles. I’ve always collected them and my collection is very interesting to show how my tastes have changed over the years! Having fabrics at the ready to sew into curtains or cushions is really important to me, and is great for putting your own stamp on a place.
I also like to have stacks of books and loads of plants. I cannot stress enough the transformative power of plants to a home, whether real or fake (like your amazing Abigail Ahern ones!) they can totally change a room in moments.