Ever gazed at pictures of a particularly cool home and wondered what it would be like to live there? Yep, us too: since we discovered the mad, maximalist East London home belonging to Emilie Jacob from brilliant interiors blog Stella + the Stars, we've been dying to step inside.
So when Emilie recently announced that she and her family were decamping to the Dubai desert, we experienced mixed emotions. Sadness, because we love going out on the lash with Emilie (recent memories include riding inflatable animals at a prosecco-fueled Mothers Meeting X Primark event; and sampling ALL the cocktails at Shoreditch House while discussing the tried-and-tested parenting technique of Leaving The Kids To Run Feral While You Drink Gin (we feel a how-to book coming on).
And excitement, because while Emilie is sunning herself in Dubai, her fabulous home is up for rent on Airbnb. Dreams do come true!
Which was how, when Susie and I headed to London for four days of meetings last week, a mere half hour after landing at City Airport we found ourselves unlocking the actual door to Stella + the Stars HQ. There was a moment of confusion when we thought it was the wrong house, but when I glanced through the window and saw a) a gold pineapple, b) a bright blue wall, and c) a crazy yellow chair, I knew we'd come to the right place.
And Emilie's house didn't disappoint - it was every bit as bright, bold and beautiful as it looks on her blog (and the bed was super-comfy). Plus, I got loads of interior inspo as I wandered around...
Styling tips chez 'Stella + the Stars'
- Remove all dust jackets from hard-backed books: This will make them look more attractive - and more high-end. It's amazing how even the tackiest of sports biographies (ahem, 'Gazza My Story', ahem) can look intellectual when stripped of its garish paper cover and arranged next to similarly-hued tomes (ahem, 'Martin Johnson The Autobiography').
- Faux flowers are fabulous: I used to think fake flowers were for charity shops and old people's homes. Abigail Ahern and Rockett St George have since taught me otherwise, and this house sealed the deal. Emilie's high-quality faux blooms are arranged by colour and placed in eye-catching, opaque vases in the bedrooms and living area. The vases a) detract from the non-real nature of the flowers, and b) are lovely to look at in their own right. Plus, being opaque, you can't see that there's no water inside, so the illusion is complete. They might have been fake, but these flowers made me feel welcome - and the home feel well cared-for - from the moment I walked in. Highly recommended if you're considering Airbnb-ing your own place, too.
- Go cray-cray in the hallway: On the ground floor it's a blackboard paint-covered wall, filled with welcoming chalk messages and underlined with a shelf laden with glass snowstorms from around the world. On an upper landing it's thickly striped black-and-white wallpaper and a flocked velvet rhino head. And it all made me smile every day.
- Create some cosy with grey walls: Emilie's is a modern house, but clever use of warm grey paint in the living room and bedrooms mean that far from feeling like a series of sterile white boxes, her home is warm, welcoming - and seriously cool. If you're a colour-pop lover like Emilie (and me), grey walls also help the colours sing out.
- Be brave with your colour combos: One of my favourite aspects of Emilie's home was the kitchen: here you can find the inspired pairing of bright turquoise walls, and a sunshine-yellow dresser: happiness kitchenified. Special mention goes to the dresser's cockatoo handles, and its pleasing display of glassware and mis-matched crockery. Yes, there's a lot going on, and yes, somehow it all just works.