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Q & A with Michelle, The Design Chaser

22 Feb, 2021

We love partnering with talented locals to create beautiful collaborations. We’ve always been fans of The Design Chaser blog, so when the opportunity arose to work alongside the talented Michelle Halford on our mid-summer shoot, we jumped at the chance. Working with our in house team, Michelle added her expert styling touches to our campaign, which shows the beauty and versatility of our range.
We caught up with Michelle for a chat about all things interior design and her top picks from our new collection.

Q: How did you get started in interior design?
A: I've always been creative, but my focus shifted to interior design while working for a magazine publisher. I became passionate about the interior publications and while taking time out to start a family I started reading international design blogs. An idea started brewing for my own online platform where I could share my love of Nordic-inspired interiors in New Zealand. After growing a large Pinterest following, I launched TDC and quickly gained interest globally. Embarking on our home build introduced a new angle where I could share my own interior design, and I also began to focus on my styling and photography. Our home featured in both local and international publications, and as my brand grew, I started working with more and more clients on content creation and styling campaigns.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your role?
A: I'm not one to sit still for long periods of time, so the variety and physical aspect of styling and photography is really enjoyable. I'm probably most content when I'm styling or holding a camera, but I also crave office days as I find them grounding. I'm passionate about interiors, architecture and design so I thrive on researching these topics for the blog and my own creative development. I feel very lucky to be doing what I love every day.

Q: Can you describe what a typical day felt like on location with Wallace Cotton?
A: It's a very collaborative process, where we all have a key role but work closely together. There's a tight schedule and a lot to get through so it's fast paced, but we have a lot of fun, laughs (and coffee) along the way! It's such beautiful product to work with and it's exciting to see everything come together on the day, especially at such a gorgeous location.

Q: If you could take home one piece from our mid-summer collection, what would it be?
A: Oh, it's so hard to choose just one! It would be either the Loft pure linen in white or the Raffles duvet set. Both have a fresh relaxed vibe that's perfect for summer.

Q: What are your essential styling tips for creating a beautiful bedroom?
A: I see the bedroom as a sanctuary, a place to escape to at the end of the day. I love using textiles to create tactility, comfort and a sense of calm, so bed linen is a key element. Choose pieces that speak to you – it might be a certain fabric that you love the feel of, a favourite colour, or a pattern that draws you in. Don't be afraid to mix and match. Play around with different fabric, colour and pattern combinations, and choose versatile pieces such as white or neutral coloured sheets and reversible duvet covers so that you can change things up when the mood strikes. It's amazing how much a change of bed linen can transform a space.

Lighting is another key element for the bedroom. In addition to creating ambience, good task lighting is essential for reading, while accent lighting will provide visual interest. I'm currently loving clean and functional architectural style wall and table lamps, and classic side table lamps which have a timeless combination of stoneware and linen materials.

Don't forget the finishing touches. Hang a piece of art on the wall, light a scented candle and bring some of the outside in by way of plants, fresh or dried flowers. If you love reading like I do, choose bedside tables with storage to accommodate books, and use shelves to display some personal touches such as favourite objects or small ceramics.

Q: What were some of your personal styling touches that you added on the shoot?
A: Sculptural pieces in ceramic and wood finishes, handmade objects and unique vintage finds. Beautiful interior and design books, natural foliage including fresh and dried flowers, minimalist art prints and statement lighting.

Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: I've always been inspired by Nordic design principles, due to the focus on material, form and craftsmanship. I follow a lot of Scandinavian brands and designers on Instagram (too many to name!) and I'm also inspired by Belgian interior designers and architects. I have a growing collection of interior and design books that provide constant inspiration and I love reading Danish magazines Ark Journal and Rum International and Swedish magazines My Residence and The New Era magazine.

Q: What interior design trends are you hoping to see in 2021?
A: I believe this year's trends are being shaped by the events of 2020. Our homes have become more important than ever and there is a growing emphasis on how spaces make you feel, rather than just what you fill them with. I hope that this brings sensory styling into focus with tactile pieces that provide comfort, along with an appreciation for buying sustainable design including local, handcrafted and vintage. I also hope that we'll continue to see sculptural design – from smaller objects through to furniture and lighting – and plenty of natural materials like stone and wood, especially darker wood varieties, which I'm loving right now.

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