We are so excited about the launch of a brand new Designers at Debenhams homeware range by the lovely Lisa Stickley. I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview her at our AW10 press show and I have a little bit of a girl crush. Read on for an insight into the new range and the designer behind it…
How did the new collection come about, what is the idea behind it?
I was approached probably about 2 years ago now, it was all very exciting and I felt incredibly flattered. I love what I do so it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring my brand to a new audience. Debenhams loved the essence of my brand and the idea was to create a diffusion line. I started designing the collection about a year ago and I’ve designed everything from scratch, along with the design team at Debenhams. I came into the design studio and had a look at the trend boards and we just started building it from there. Essentially it’s about the print, making things that are functional with a naïve twist. Fresh and uncomplicated design is important, these need to be things people love and love to use.
Are there any key pieces we should be looking out for?
I really love the house. When we began work Debenhams suggested some sort of novelty item and I was wary, I wasn’t sure how it would fit. When the first design came back it was quite kitsch and old-fashioned. Everyone loved it and we’ve done a teapot, cookie jar, sugar pot and ceramic bread storage. You could almost have a Russian Doll of these houses!
Where in your house do you like to spend the most time?
The kitchen is really where I spend most time. My boyfriend and I love to cook, bake and we tend to fill the kitchen shelves with unusual, bold colourful food packets that we collect from our travels!
Do you do much entertaining?
I very much like a big Sunday roast with slow roast pork, crackling and apple sauce. My girlfriends are very appreciative when I bake, especially a batch of brownies (well, actually they’re Nigella’s brownies, it’s a great recipe). It’s also great fun to put on an afternoon tea with home made scones. If my mum calls and I’m making scones she always asks me what’s wrong because I often used to make them when I was under pressure, revising for exams or panicking about something. I find it very therapeutic.
Which era of interior design inspires you?
I’ve always been drawn to British days-gone-by and the values of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s. Not just in the home but in all aspects, including things like music and cars. I’m just drawn to that era and I absorb all the inspiration, collect like mad and then re-interpret it by giving it a contemporary twist.
What should we invest in, even if we’re on a budget?
I think people should invest in soft furnishings, bed linens and cushions. You can create a real impact with colour and it can be quite inexpensive. I’ve recently edited down my things in my own home. You can take 80% away and just keep the key pieces around you that you really, really love. Put things away that you don’t use now and then bring them out again in the future.
I’m moving house soon; do you have any moving day tips?
I moved house myself, with the help of one other person and it was hard work. Get some delivery men to help if you can and put the kettle on to keep them sweet with cups of tea! When unpacking work room-by-room and make sure the boxes are well labelled. Unpacking takes longer than you think so make sure the most important things are easy to find.
Do you have any possessions that you know you should throw away but you can’t get rid of?
Chairs. I’m a hoarder of chairs. I’ve been quite good recently and gotten rid of some but I do have a habit of falling in love with chairs. We’re actually doing upholstering and modernising of some chairs for my bespoke range. There was also a ladle that my aunty Joan gave me before she passed away. It kept breaking and I would fix it, until there came a point where I just had to throw it away which was hard. Another thing is wooden spoons. I’ve got some that are completely worn on one side from using them in the mixing bowl. I’m sure they shouldn’t be kept for so long, but I can’t get rid of my wooden spoons.
What would your dream home look like or are you in it now?
No I’m not in it yet. My dream home would be sophisticated but eclectic, warm with edited possessions. I’d have a big garden because I haven’t got a garden at all at the moment and I think its important to have some outside space, even just a little bit. I like Victorian and Edwardian properties and with history but I’m also coming round to modern architecture too. I have an architect friend who creates the most amazing modern spaces and a careful balance of modern and vintage would definitely bring a wonderfully inviting feel to a contemporary home.
We hear you’re working on a book. Can you tell us what to expect?
The book’s finished now. It’s called Made at Home by Lisa Stickley and it covers simple sewing projects, 30 different projects for the home with my own illustrations. I made all the projects myself and it’s set out by room, so bedroom, kitchen, living room, utility. It includes things like ‘how to make a napkin’, ‘how to make a Roman blind’ and ‘winter curtains’. It’s explained in a way that would inspire a creative mind to have a go. It’s about choosing the best components, very much like following a recipe. If the ingredients are good and you follow the instructions it will turn out well.
House & Home by Lisa Stickley will be available to buy online at debenhams.com from 16 August 2010.