Delving deeper than decor to explore the power of home as a path to wellbeing #happyinside

January 30, 2019

Talking interiors with Soho Home

A trio of talks curated for Soho House in celebration of the first Soho Home pop-up shop/event space in Shoreditch (see pictures below talk details). Ending with a discussion on one of my very favourite topics…

Talk 3 How to interpret colour trends, and who sets them anyhow?

Talk: Every year colour companies jostle for January headlines with pronouncements on their ‘Colour of the Year’, magazines and forecasters publish and post annual trend reports, and many a declaration is made for what will be in, or out, for our homes in the year ahead. But where do such trends start? How can you tell truth from hyperbole? Or is it all marketing claptrap pushing paint and products you don’t need?  Michelle Ogundehin talks colour confidence, and the inside track on trends, with unabashed colour queen, Sophie Robinson, and Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director for Dulux in the UK and Ireland.

Date: Wednesday 13th February, 7-8pm at Soho House White City, TV Centre, 101 Wood Lane, London W12 7FR

Tickets: Sadly, this event is for Soho House members only. However, I have two tickets for two names picked at random from my IG messages by end of play on Sunday 3 February. Just DM me here.

Marianne Shillingford @m_shillingford With a career in colour that’s spanned over 30 years, Marianne studied art at college but, as she puts it, “although I was pretty good with a pencil and paintbrush, it was the colour, craftsmanship, and business of earning a living with creative skills that really got me fired up.” Cue then a City & Guilds qualification in sign-writing and decorating, learning how to paint traditional fairground rides (think full sized galloping carousel animals) leading to the setting up of her own interior decorating company.

In due course, her painting and colour skills workshops led to a position as the founding tutor and Artistic Director of the National Design Academy, alongside journalism, TV presenting, event hosting and in 2014, her current appointment at AzkoNobel, parent company of Dulux, a role she describes as, “a dream job which involves working closely with many creative disciplines from designers, architects photographers and videographers to new design talent, global colour experts, professional decorators, the media… and of course the Dulux dog.”

Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux for the UK and Ireland since 2014

Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux for the UK and Ireland since 2014

Sophie Robinson @sophierobinsointeriors Sophie freely admits to being “bonkers about colour!” And having worked in all things interior design for over 20 years — across magazines, TV and some of the top retailers in the country — she’s had plenty of opportunities to share her extreme colour joy, most recently in her new podcast with Kate Watson-Smyth, The Great Indoors. However, she says she’s not an interior designer in the traditional sense. “I studied BA Hons 3D Design at Brighton University with early aspirations to be a designer-maker or furniture designer. I learnt woodwork, jewellery, ceramics and metalwork before majoring in plastics.” Regardless, early training as an Interior Stylist on BBC Good Homes magazine, her understanding and appreciation of the handmade, passion for the design process, and enthusiasm for championing young designers as well as being a much-loved judge on BBC2’s Great Interior Design Challenge and lead designer on Channel 5’s Cowboy Builders (to name but two TV credits), keeps her at the top of her game.

Colour queen, TV presenter, and all round jolly person, Sophie Robinson

Colour queen, TV presenter, and all round jolly person, Sophie Robinson

Talk 2 How to create an influential instagram or award-winning blog

Mural on Ebor Street for Soho Home

Mural designed by illustrator Natalia Vico to celebrate the launch of the new Soho Home pop-up shop/events space in East London

Talk: For design and interiors, the digital interface is where it’s all happening. Interiors blogs today are beautiful, informative, and full of wit and wisdom. And bloggers frequently get the scoops, break the news and can publish before anyone else. But, what makes an award-winning blog, or an influential Instagram feed? How do you build, and keep, an audience to make blogging financially-rewarding? And what’s with all the fashion influencers moving in on the interiors scene! Michelle Ogundehin talks tips and traffic with multi award-winning bloggers, writers and journalists Kate Watson-Smyth, Alex Stedman and Claudia Baillie.

Date: Thursday 8th November, 7-8pm at Soho Home, Top Floor, Barber & Parlour, 64-66 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP.

Tickets: £10 each via Soho Home  This talk is now sold out.

Soho Home

Talking interiors at Soho Home: from left to right, moi, Kate Watson-Smyth; Alex Stedman and Claudia Baillie. Photograph: Alex Huckle

Kate Watson-Smyth (@mad_about_the_house), author, writer and journalist, has been sharing her knowledge and expertise about property, interiors and design for over 20 years. She writes the multi award-winning blog ‘Mad About The House’ described as “a veritable sourcebook for the modern home” detailing not only the complete renovation of her own home, but also showing you how to decorate your own with interesting and unusual items. Plus, she hosts, with colour queen and TV presenter Sophie Robinson, a brand new interiors podcast, The Great Indoors, which went straight into the Design charts Top Ten the week it was launched.

Alex Stedman (@thefrugality) is a freelance fashion journalist who, having worked for magazines for over 10 years — Conde Nast Traveller, Red, Eve, Stylist and Marie-Claire — founded her blog ‘The Frugality’, this year named Best Interior Lifestyle blog of the Year at the Amara Interior Blog Awards. Her blog, in her own words, is “not about living off toast every night. I still want to look stylish everyday, I’m just sensible with money where I can be in order to afford the luxuries.” In other words, as her Instagram bio puts it, she wears her clothes more than once and spends all her money on her house.

Claudia Baillie (@claudiabaillie), graduated in fashion and believes she came to design relatively late. But today as an interiors editor/journalist, she has years of experience in magazine editorial, with roles at Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Sunday Times Style and ELLE Decoration under her belt. Now freelance, she writes for a broad range of publications, as well as undertaking art direction, styling and consultancy work.

Talking interiors at Soho Home

Talking interiors at Soho Home’s pop-up venue in Shoreditch

Talk 1 How to Build a Homes Brand

How to Build a Homes Brand: Talk at Soho Home

Talk: Today, everyone seems to be getting in on the interiors act. Fashion houses are launching home collections left right and centre, department stores have their own lines and even established home brands are searching ever wider in the hunt for innovative collaborations. But what is it that enables some brands to really own a look and become an adjective, while others fall by the wayside? And if you’re a budding designer/retailer/stylist, how can you get a little of this action for yourself?

Talkees: I spoke to Soho Home Design Director Linda Boronkay, and tastemaker extraordinaire, Abigail Ahern, to find out.

Soho Home

In conversation with Linda Boronkay, Design Director for Soho House and Abigail Ahern, tastemaker extraordinaire, discussing How to Build a Homes Brand.

Abigail Ahern‘s trendsetting designs have become synonymous with glamour, eclecticism and wit. Her first foray into product design in 2008 resulted in the hugely popular animal lamps range. These quirky ceramic lamps quickly reached iconic status, having been snapped up by celebrity clientele, television set designers and hospitality. Successful product collaborations followed with British brands Craig & Rose, sofa.com and Debenhams, where the Abigail Ahern/Edition range of home accessories frequently tops their bestselling list. In 2015, the Abigail Ahern own-label collection was launched. With over 100 pieces, it’s a definitive statement of Abigail’s style encompassing furniture, lighting, accessories, textiles, art, sculpture, faux flowers and plants.

Linda Boronkay was appointed Design Director for the Soho House group in 2016, and her title now is UK, Europe & Asia Design Director reflecting both the incredible growth of the brand and her remit. Where did it all start? She won a Best Emerging Interior Designer award while she was still at university, then went on to work for some of the world’s top design firms including Tom Dixon, Martin Brudnizki, Woods Bagot in Australia and Tara Bernerd & Partners, and has completed projects across four continents and 10 countries. And there’s no doubt that under her direction the ‘Soho Home’ look is very much an adjective today.

Date: Tuesday 16th October, 6.45pm at Soho Home, Top Floor, Barber & Parlour, 64-66 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP.

This talk has now closed. But there’s a precis of the evening on the Soho Home website, here

The Soho Home pop-up…

Top Floor above Barber & Parlour, 64-66 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DP.

Soho Home

The Soho Home pop-up in Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street above Barber & Parlour.

Soho Home

The Soho Home pop-up in Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street above Barber & Parlour.

Soho Home

The Soho Home pop-up in Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street above Barber & Parlour.


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Writer, Author, Brand Consultant & TV Presenter

Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends, wellbeing and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.