StyleTails speaks to Helen Powell, the very keen eye behind inspiring interiors blog, Design Hunter along with with her rather refined Whippet, Albert.
If your flat is feeling rather, well, flat, then a visit to Design Hunter is sure to do the trick. Launched by Helen Powell in 2009, Design Hunter scours the globe to bring you a daily dose of interiors inspiration. From the unique and fascinating to the simply beautiful, each object is carefully curated for your pleasure. Alongside the hugely successful Design Hunter Helen also edits and curates Obsessionistas, an utterly amazing treasure trove of the wonderful and often curious objects people choose to collect. Helen and Albert tell us what inspires them and why kennels are for losers.
What inspired your to launch Design Hunter?
I was inspired to start blogging by a friend. When I began the blog back in 2009 it was really just a personal place for me to record inspirations and ideas. It has changed and evolved a lot since then and opened up opportunities that I couldn’t possibly have imagined when I first started out.
You’ve won numerous awards and accolades for Design Hunter. What do you think it is that has made it so popular?
Gosh I don’t know. I just try to write about things that I genuinely love and find interesting and hope that other people will enjoy what I share with them. I also try to keep the content fresh so that my readers know that they can expect to discover things that haven’t been widely featured elsewhere when they visit Design Hunter.
Does your taste in interiors change all the time or are you fairly consistent?
Yes, it does shift because I am interested in discovering new designers and observing emerging trends, but there are definitely consistent threads that run throughout.
What has been the most inspiring interior you have seen lately ?
I love Ilse Crawford’s work – she always gives just as much consideration to how a space feels as she does to how it looks. I’ve been lucky enough to stay at The Olde Bell and The Crown (both designed by Ilse Crawford) and would love to visit Ett Hem, a hotel she recently designed in Stockholm.
Interiors are not as fast and easy to update as fashion – what tips would you give to people wanting to freshen up a space without spending a fortune?
I’m not really interested in quick, easy fixes. I prefer to go without until I can afford to buy something I really love. I believe in buying less but buying better and choosing things that will hopefully endure, but a new cushion or a bunch of flowers will always cheer things up.
Is there an era or style that you particularly dislike and would never want in your own home?
No, not really. I think it largely depends on the type of property you live in. I currently live in a 1960s modern house so my style is influenced by that. It’s quite minimal and pared back with some mid-century influences mixed with more contemporary design, but I also love more ornate and decorative regency style interiors.
Where do you like to shop for objects for your own home? Can you share any tips for finding unique pieces?
I’ve been on a de-cluttering mission lately but I do have a weakness for ceramics. I enjoy buying things directly from the maker whenever possible. For example, I recently visited Elisabeth Edwards at her studio near Shipston on Stour and picked up some lovely hand thrown pots. My husband and I also occasionally pick things up at student degree shows. We enjoy hunting down interesting pieces by emerging designers before they hit the shops.
The idea behind your other project, Obsessionistas is to showcase and explore people’s personal collections. What do you think inspires a person to collect?
I think the urge to collect can arise from many different impulses. For some people its an appreciation of objects from a particular era, for others it’s a desire to rescue and preserve forgotten objects that might otherwise be lost forever. And then there are those that are interested in cataloguing different variations of a particular object and ‘completing the set’. Often it’s driven by nostalgia and linked to a desire to reconnect with certain aspects of our own history or with childhood memories.
What has been your favourite collection and why?
Definitely the Air hostess uniforms – a true obsession.
How did you come to own your Whippet, Albert?
Albert is 4 now and despite his delusions of grandeur he comes from a gritty East Midlands coursing background. I know other people who’ve owned whippets so I suppose you could say I knew what I was letting myself in for!
Whippets are very in-vogue at the moment. What do you love about them as a breed?
Hmm, well they can be quite sensitive and rather highly strung, but they are very affectionate and they love nothing better than to snuggle up next to you on the sofa. If you are very precious about your furniture and believe that dogs shouldn’t be allowed on sofas, then a whippet probably isn’t for you.
They are also very beautiful to look at – no wonder that they have been so widely represented in art and photography, and it’s amazing to watch them run.
QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS – ALBERT
You must be an interiors connoisseur. How would you describe your taste in design?
Comfort is my number one priority. I like to be able to stretch out in style. I’m quite partial to fluffy things too.
What tip would you give to other style hounds wanting to update their kennel?
Kennel? What kind of a loser do you take me for? It’s designer chairs and expensive cushions all the way for me.
What’s your worst habit?
I couldn’t possibly comment.
What’s your favourite treat?
Who would play you in a film of your life and why?
Ryan Gosling, because he’s lean, handsome and adored by women everywhere.