Five minutes with UKIA judge and interior stylist,
UKIA: What made you realise that you wanted to work in interiors? Was there a defining moment?
PJ: "My obsession with colour and materials started from a very young age, apparently. My parents tell me that I was rearranging my bedroom from the age of about 4. I continued to study art and textiles throughout my education and ended up as a styling assistant, that was 20 years ago. At that time there were only a few interior magazines on the market.
I will always remember my first shoot, assisting a stylist for a World of Interiors feature. I think I knew from that moment that I'd found the career I wanted to pursue. I fell in love with the creative process of designing, shooting and then seeing the work published or aired. In some ways my day-to-day hasn’t changed much since university, as I am always researching and designing, and I still have a studio-style office with a big pin board full of my tear sheets. The main difference is that I now get paid for doing what I love. I feel very lucky as a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like work."
UKIA: What three words would you use to describe a day in the life of an interior stylist?
PJ: "Creative, resourceful and varied."
UKIA: What’s been your career highlight?
PJ: "There are a few jobs that I have been thrilled to be a part of, including landing my show for ITV, Bad Builders Bang to Rights (a prime time series offering to fix property disasters caused by shoddy builders). It was great to be able to fix and transform homes, and I absolutely loved shooting with Dom Littlewood. Also being asked to help with the branding and marketing of large, well-known retail companies, which has often developed from just a simple shoot."
UKIA: What’s your biggest style secret?
PJ: "Flowers, as they can transform an image. Take a look at editorial and advertising photography and look at how they are incorporated into the set. They can enhance the style, colour and mood of your shot. Visit New Covent Garden Market, but give yourself plenty of time. And you’ll need to get up early, as it opens at 4am!"
UKIA: Have you any career-focussed goals on your bucket list? If so, what are they?
PJ: "Yes. I have a product that I am in the process of launching but like most people, trying to get the work life balance right is tricky. I think this is going to be the year, I can feel it in my bones."
UKIA: If you could style any property in the world, which (or whose) would it be and why?
PJ: "This is a difficult one as there are so many types of property that I love, such as beautiful French farmhouses that have rustic charm, chic Parisian homes, cool Brooklyn apartments, boho Ibiza penthouses. It’s impossible to choose!"
UKIA: What one piece of advice would you give budding interior stylists?
PJ: "Don’t give up!"
UKIA: What are you most looking forward to about the UK Interior Awards 2018?
PJ: "I can’t wait to look at all of the beautiful homes! I know it’s going to be tough to judge."
UKIA: What will you be looking for when choosing your winners of the UK Interior Awards 2018?
PJ: "As well as looking for great style, I want to see how a room has been put together using colours, fabrics, accessories and furniture."