Collaboration is at the heart of the recent StillLife project between stylist Emma Barnett and interior designer Chelsea Hing. The Melbourne duo met when Emma engaged Chelsea to design her house - a renovation project. Impressed with each other's work and way of working, the pair struck up a partnership. Emma would style the homes of completed projects by Chelsea and her design firm. Following a series of photo shoots, the duo decided to take their partnership one step further. They would create a limited edition collection to help clients and homeowners create an instant vignette for areas often in need of attention - the entrance, coffee table and mantel. As a point of difference from other products on the market, they decided to engage three emerging Australian designers to create the wares - Thread Architecture, Andrei Davidoff, and Brahman Perera. After launching the range in June, Emma and Chelsea are working on their next collection, which will introduce some colour.
Which five words best describe you? Thoughtful, enthusiastic, happy, creative, passionate.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My background is actually in marketing, however, after taking some time off to start a family, I was eager to leverage my passion for interior styling. The renovation of my house was my first big project and where I met and worked with interior designer Chelsea Hing.
I then did some work assisting the fashion stylist Sophie Hexter. She is an amazingly inspirational woman and she gave me the encouragement I needed to really pursue a career in interiors. Shortly after I was lucky enough to assist Glen Proebstel, which was a turning point for me. I am constantly overwhelmed at how generous creative people are with sharing their knowledge and encouraging others to follow their dreams.
I had kept in contact with Chelsea and we started working together initially when I styled some of her projects for photoshoots. We had a great synergy and really enjoyed working together. I was therefore thrilled when she approached me to work on a new project. Several months later, StillLife was born.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Having confidence in myself and my ability. The moment I doubt myself things start to fall apart.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Without a doubt it would be launching StillLife. Both Chelsea and I were passionate about finding a way to make interior styling easier for people, which is what StillLife is all about. We put in tireless hours, with a business model that was constantly evolving. To see all that work come to fruition was very rewarding.
What’s been your best decision? Deciding to leave the corporate world of marketing and follow my creative passion.
Who inspires you? The list is endless. Inspiration is drawn from so many places. With so many well produced blogs, Pinterest and Instagram, it can get quite overwhelming. I try to follow just a few at a time and change them regularly. In such a electronic world, I love that my favourite inspirations are often the product of everyday life. Just going for a walk can inspire something really amazing. Oh, and I really couldn’t talk about inspiration without mentioning my mum and amazing husband.
What are you passionate about? There is no better feeling than turning somebody's house into a home. It's such a privilege to style someone's personal space, so to see their happiness is something very special. People are often shocked at how a few carefully selected pieces can totally transform a room.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? A lunch date with Coco Chanel would be pretty amazing.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I dream of establishing a life where the time taken to work, raise my three children and play are balanced in perfect harmony! I'm not entirely confident this dream will ever come true, or does for any mother, but I'm defiantly giving it a red hot go.
What are you reading? I've just finished Gone Girl. I'm still deciding if I should see the movie.