About a year ago I produced some guest blog posts for Design*Sponge and have decided to publish the posts here as well. Please, enjoy them as I publish one a week over the coming weeks.

The original post on Deborah Bibby is here.

During the day I’m lucky enough to be deputy editor of an Australian interiors magazine Real Living. I recently read that if you love your job, you don’t work a day in your life – that’s true of what I do: visiting people’s homes, interviewing creative types, showcasing amazing interior design and sourcing great buys as well as brainstorming feature ideas, writing, commissioning and reading proofs all to make the best magazine possible… plus so much more. I never look at the clock – except maybe to say, “It can’t be that time already.” Through Real Living I have met some incredibly talented people. Most importantly, for me, they’re inspiring too. There’s no greater motivator than to meet someone who is passionate about what they do – it makes me want to stretch that little higher. This week I want to showcase some people who I truly admire – not only for their output but for their outlook on life.

Note: All photos, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of Real Living Magazine

Today… I want to start at the beginning. Before blogs there were magazines. This is where the ball got rolling of showcasing people, places and ideas. And, importantly, it’s where bloggers turn to every day for pics. Creating a magazine is no easy task and some do it with more flair than others. Here are two of my favourites…

image courtesy of elsa dillon

Burst of inspiration: Deborah Bibby

Deb is not only a great boss who inspires me with her enthusiasm for the mag, but she’s got a great eye for all things beautiful. She started out editing fashion magazines, moved into interior styling and after many other projects, including a stint as a book publisher, is now editor of Real Living.

When you were working as interior stylist where did you find your inspiration? Inspiration always came from everything around me – a pattern on a fabric could trigger a whole look or feel; flicking through overseas books and magazines; quite often a movie, the styling on film sets is sometimes incredibly beautiful and I can find myself missing the storyline because I have been caught up in the interior detail; artists/photographers’ studios are a great source for spying new uses for old things which can trigger a feature idea and always friends’ homes – it’s there you see the everyday in action and that is what really inspires ideas (especially now for Real Living).

What was the best lesson you learnt? Be brave - the most unlikely combinations of items can sometimes be perfect, but there needs to be a basic thread whether it be a colour or a material. And creating an emergency vignette will always help bring a bland space to life or make it instantly fashionable.

How has your own personal interior style come about? I’ve never been asked this question before and it feels quite indulgent to ponder your own interior style because you never quite see yourself as having a particular style. Working in the business you are always looking at others style so I’ve tried to step back and decipher my own home – it’s hard to see it with fresh eyes to be honest. What look is it exactly and how has it come about? My thoughts: I think interior styles are an extension of your personal style and I also think it is intrinsic to where you grow up. I grew up in Africa; it was a part of my life for so long and I do see that influence reflected in my interior style as a constant. From the love of lanterns for night lighting (I even love the smell of the citronella in them), to the raw earthy colours and textures of the rugs, sofas, cushions and throws that I have collected over time. I think it is very important to create very welcoming spaces; you want a home to comfort you and feel tranquil. You want to be allowed to curl up on the sofa or sit on the edge of a coffee table and flick through well-thumbed books. So my furnishings are soft, tactile and the lighting is low and moody – not unlike being in a tent in the bush at night, if that makes sense? I also have a genuine love of old Australian houses, especially beach cottages, and they inspire a sense of casual interior again – sand through the house, old fly screen doors and marble-top kitchen benches worn down over years. Important to not just see an interior but feel it and through these emotions I think my interior style has developed. I also love Australian native plants, the colours of the desert and the richness of Aboriginal artworks – not dissimilar to the things that inspire me from Africa really. So I think my interior style is a romanticism of Africa and Australia. It’s casual and classic and that is really how I like to live, and it’s my own personal style too.

How would you describe Real Living? We are not precious, we are down to earth - but we have great style.

How is it different to other interior mags? Real Living’s demographic is much younger and hipper than other interior magazines. We source everything in the magazine for our readers (no other interior magazine captions all their products, and I mean all of their products). We always aim to showcase affordable homewares and furniture and love the challenge of hunting out a bargain. Most interior magazines act as an inspirational source, Real Living is inspirational but also actionable – fall in love with an item in the magazine and you can go out and buy it (and afford it too)! We really are an affordable interior, lifestyle bible and that sets us way apart from all the others.

Where do you look to for inspiration for the mag?
Believe it or not but Italian Vogue gives me great hits of inspiration. I love flicking through overseas fashion magazines in general and translating fashion ideas into interior ideas. You’d be amazed at how closely linked they are. Interior blogs (such as Absolutely Beautiful Things) are increasingly becoming a new source of ideas and interior books also give me inspiration - check out: Home is where the heart is? by Ilse Crawford and Midwest Modern by Amy Butler.

What have been some of your favourite features? [note: the interview was conducted March 2008]

Colour Tricks for small spaces (May 07) - Image courtesy of Elsa Dillon.

Alyson Fox’s house (March 08) - Image courtesy of Amanda Elmore
Italian Food for Friends (April 08) - Image courtesy of Mark Roper

Inviting Rooms (Sept 07) - Image courtesy of Elsa Dillon

Stylish storage tips (Jan 08) - Image courtesy of Nick Scott

The list goes on…

Who inspires you?
Image courtesy of Vogue and Peter Lindbergh.

Elizabeth Tilberis – Past editor-in-chief of Vogue UK and Harper’s Bazaar USA
Liz started out as an intern on British Vogue and flew up the ladder to become editor-in-chief. Her first cover was shot by Peter Lindbergh and featured supermodel Helena Christensen. One of the images inside had Helena in silver suit on a white horse - it took my breath away and I have collected all Liz’s issues. She became an inspiration to me and I did get to meet her while living in London: she was so welcoming, warm and genuine. Not long after editing Vogue she was headhunted to edit the old, stale Harper’s Bazaar in the States - she turned it on its head. It became the cutting-edge fashion magazine. Unfortunately, Liz died of ovarian cancer while still at the helm of the beautiful magazine. She was only 51-years-old (during her battle she became a champion of women with cancer and wrote a book No Time to Die: Living with Ovarian Cancer).

Image courtesy of Peter Beard.

Peter Beard – Visionary artist and photographerHe was a champion of wildlife conservation and recorded this passion in Kenya through photographs embellished with drawings, diary notes and clippings. He also used animal blood like paint sometimes splattered over his pictures. As the blood aged the patina changed to a deep, dark red which looks extraordinarily beautiful. I have his book Fifty Years of Portraits and simply open the pages and a million ideas flood my mind.

Images courtesy of Signature Prints.

Florence Broadhurst - Flamboyant designerI admire her bravery in such a conservative time – she became famous for her bold and rather unique pattern design. She also printed on unusual surfaces such as transparent mylars, foils and metallics. The book Florence Broadhurst by Helen O’Neill is something anybody interested in interiors should have on their shelves. The patterns can’t help but inspire you – I especially love The Cranes – they translate into every colour, every treatment whether printed onto fabric or wallpaper.

Image courtesy of Isle Crawford.

Isle Crawford – former editor of the UK’s Elle Decoration and director of Studioilse, LondonElle Decoration is still my source of inspiration, and I look forward to the “thud” of it landing on my desk each month. I have also followed the career of Isle, and her book Home Is Where the Heart Is? is my new tucked-under-the-arm inspiration. She is a brilliant stylist: in my eyes the best! And, again, an emotional stylist – so I must be constantly attracted to the elements of REAL.

Image courtesy of Architecture Week.

Peter Stutchbury - ArchitectPete is one of Australia’s wonderful, inspiring architects. I have visited his house on numerous occasions and it’s like being in a tree house. His houses bring you close to nature; they are very emotive and you feel the elements surround you. The simplicity and hidden complexity is what inspires me about his work.

Image courtesy of View Images.

Fleur Cowles – Editorial Director and Creator Flair USAThis has to be the most beautiful magazine ever created. It was born in the 50s and cost so much money to produce that it only lasted a year – a magazine like this will never happen again unless, of course, another crazy passionate creator comes along with a pocketful of dollars. I am inspired by her creation and her passion for publishing something seriously beautiful.

Image courtesy of Vogue Italia

Carine Roitfeld – Editor, Vogue ParisAnother Elizabeth Tilberis but grungy – check out French Vogue and see if it does anything for you.

Image courtesy of Creative Review

Fabien Baron – Art director He has the EYE. He moved from Paris to New York to become art director of Self and GQ magazines and at the same time was made the creative director of Italian Vogue, which was where I noticed him – his use of typography was fresh and exciting. He started his own company Baron & Baron and later went on to become creative director of Harper’s Bazaar, for which he has won numerous awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Society of Publication Designers. At Baron & Baron he has designed advertising campaigns for Issey Miyake, Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Pucci, Michael Kors and Norma Kamali. Baron is also creative director at Calvin Klein… phew, can one person do anymore?

Image above (left) courtesy of Arthur Elgort
Image above, right, courtesy of Peter Lindbergh

Arthur Elgort and Peter Lindberg – PhotographersThey both shot for Liz Tilberis, they both love to work in black and white, and their fashion shoots are more like stills from movie sets – they incorporate interior and exterior spaces into their work and that is what attracts and inspires.

What are you passionate about?
My job, magazines are my passion and my gorgeous son of course!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published