Sally Denning is a freelance interior stylist specialising in interiors, home and food who often works at our locations. For many in the creative industry, a key challenge is keeping ideas current and also fresh. We asked Sally how she manages to keep meeting these challenges.
How would you introduce you and your work in one sentence?
I’m prone to waffling, so not sure I can answer that succinctly! I guess first and foremost I’m a mum who is lucky enough to also have a job that I adore. I love nothing more than being with my family and I’m a real home bird at heart despite being away on location a huge amount. I do think us stylists have the best job in the world, getting to work with all sorts of super talented creatives and photographers. We are also brilliant at packing and organising couriers! On a personal level, I’m a big fan of the modern rustic style with a relaxed vibe and I have a bit of a thing for the colours black and chartreuse!
Your job demands that you stay on top of the latest trends, designs and fabrics. With so much information at your fingertips, how do you keep focused on what are the key trends?
Mini trends can come and go quickly. Some trends stick around for a little longer. I keep on top of what all types of designers, fabric houses and furniture companies are launching which gives you a good insight into what key trends and looks that are coming through. I also look at other sources like fashion magazines, exhibitions, and popular culture stuff as these filter down into interiors too. I also love instagram and pinterest which are constant sources of inspiration.
One of the challenges of a stylist is the need to keep coming up with fresh ideas. How do you keep things fresh?
I love coming up with ideas, I always seem to come up with the best ideas at the worst time, so I keep a notebook for sketches and thoughts in my bag (very old school I know!). Keeping things fresh is the easy part as everything is naturally changing and evolving.
Do you have a favourite team you like shooting with?
Yes! Shoots can be very hard work and sometimes a little stressful (!!), so it’s important to be with people who understand and most importantly that you can have a laugh with. Work should be fun at the end of the day despite everything that a shoot may throw at you.
Do you have a ‘go to’ location?
Not really as you have to pick the right location for the brief, but some are definitely better to shoot in than others. I like to shoot in lots of different places to keep my ideas fresh and interesting, plus I’m pretty much house obsessed so I love nosing around people’s homes. I find houses of all shapes and sizes, their history and architecture fascinating; If I wasn’t a stylist, I think I should be an estate agent!
Is there a particular job that you will always remember? And why?
Shooting abroad in Cape Town have always been great trips for me, guaranteed weather and amazing locations. Another shoot I remember was when I was assisting in the South of France and the Stylist (not me thankfully!!) reversed the car into a river with all the camera gear and props in the back. We desperately tried to find a local farmer, spoke our best pigeon French to him, and luckily he came and pulled us out with his tractor. The most exciting bit though is seeing the collection of images you have produced at the end of the shoot.
Do you have a favourite time of year for shooting?
Not really, though trying to style summer shoots in the depths of winter especially if you are outside, can be a little taxing. Snow machines in summer can be fun though!
Being freelance is it hard trying to keep your work consistent?
I think that every stylist has their own style, so by default there is some sort of consistency, but it’s great when occasionally you may get a ‘carte blanche’ brief from a client which may allow you to have some fun with different concepts and styles.
If you weren’t a stylist what would you like to do?
See above! Failing that, a florist. I adore flowers and I love shooting them, I’m just not an expert with names or how to grow them! The only down side of being a florist is the super early mornings, so given that I’m more of a night owl; a Jazz Singer.
See below some recent work Sally has just done for Little Greene at our beautiful location Homewood House.