We are extremely excited to secure an exclusive interview with interior stylist Maxine Brady for ‘Brabantialife’s Design Insights’ – a bimonthly interview with top designers, style experts, creatives and interior design god and goddesses. Maxine is an award-winning interior stylist currently working in London, who, when she’s not out on shoot in Cape Town on the beach doing cover shoots for Country Homes & Interiors, Ideal Home & House Beautiful, can be found styling homes alongside Laurence Llewelyn Bowen!
What or who inspired you to have such a keen interest in interior design? It has to be my mum. She has always had such great style in her home. She has always experimented with fashions and styles. Our home was constantly being decorated in the latest interior trends. In the 80s it was all about stencils, sponging and rag rolling. In the 90s she loved decoupage, and now she loves to paint all her old pine furniture. Her love of change has taught me to try out looks and styles and that nothing is forever. This has given me a flexible approach to styling – although I stay away from the rag rolling!
What trends do you most enjoy working with? Interiors is a fast moving environment, influenced heavily by fashion and leading design. But it is the people in our industry who make the world of interiors so interesting. On a daily basis I tweet and email people with a real passion for homewares who inspire me. That can be a small start up designers making funky cushions or tea-towels, an old family business weaving rugs passing down skills to the next generation, to buyers for high street shops who are making cutting edge design accessible to everyone.
What decorating techniques/ideas would you recommend to a homeowner who wants to update a room without spending a fortune? Oh, this is a tricky one! I love vintage designs and styles. Not only will that retro wallpaper add bold colour and style to your room, but no one else will have it. If you’re budget is tight, then start snooping around charity furniture shops, car boot sales and Ebay for what you need, then update them with a lick of paint. Look out for furniture with unusual lines or shapes, like 1960s or 70s furnishings, fabrics and wallpapers.
What is your favourite design magazine? I work for so many great ones, and I love them all. I’m avid reader loving to sit down and indulge myself with a nice cup of tea and a magazine. I get engrossed in all the latest looks, style and colours.
How about your favourite website or blog? I’m loving pinterest at the moment. It’s a great tool for work, and I can share my ideas with others easily. There are always so many pretty makes on there. I’m trying to build up my own facebook blog and twitter accounts called WeLoveHome.
Tell us about one of your favourite projects. One of my main clients is Debenhams. I love working for look books, showcasing their latest designer collections. I work a lot with Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. He is very talented and great fun to work with. I enjoy being part of his team. On a personal note, I often shoot out in Cape Town on the beach – doing cover shoots for Country Homes & Interiors, Ideal Home & House Beautiful. I produce some of my best work out there. Take a look at www.maxinebrady.com to see all my latest work.
What’s your favourite colour combination for the home? I’ve lived by the the seaside my whole life and my whole house is in pale blue and cream which suit the natural coastal light that floods into my home. I’ve just decorated my bedroom in soft tones of grey which is very relaxing. At this very moment, I’m very drawn to yellows from sherbert lemon to mustards which I’m itching to paint my dressing table in…when I finally find the right shade.
What’s something you should never skimp on when decorating/updating your home? Your bed. It’s where we spend most of our time relaxing, rest and reviving. A lumpy mattress and scratching bedlinen will not aid a good nights sleep. Invest in a decent mattress, then best you can afford. Then layer up with a feather mattress topper, lots of feather pillows to make reading in bed blissful. Snuggle under a feather duvet. And then dress your bed in layers of cotton bedlinen and knitted throws. My bed is the thing I miss most while I am away, and I can’t wait to crawl back into it.
Are there any insider interior design top tips we should know about for 2013? The trend for crafting will stay strong as everyone wants to learn new skills and spend more time being creative with friends and families. There is a move towards injections of strong citrus colours like lime, yellow and oranges. Treat your home to a brightly coloured throw, or cushion to add zest to your scheme.
And lastly…(cheeky I know!) what’s your favourite Brabantia product and why? The retro designs are a style classic and not only add colour but will give your kitchen iconic style. For practical reasons, I love the bin that will divide your rubbish from re-cycling, a space saving essential for the smaller home.