designer jane cumberbatch

I'm always fascinated to know what projects former magazine editors take on once they leave a publication. Jane Cumberbatch is a magnificent example of someone who has created an enviable niche for herself. She is the former editor of the UK's House & Garden and has gone on to write a series of successful decorating books, styled for various esteemed British companies, and produced a beautiful blog and website, which includes a "ask jane" segment.

Which five words best describe you? Happy, emotional, resourceful passionate, open-minded, imaginative.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? My very first job was beauty assistant at Good Housekeeping magazine in London. Since then I have worked as beauty editor on Sayidaty, the first Saudia Arabian women's magazine, followed by five years at British House and Garden, where I developed my passion and honed my skills for all things decorating. For the last 20 years, I have styled campaigns for everyone from Laura Ashley to Habitat, and contributed design features to leading interior publications such as Elle Decoration. More recently I have devoted my time to writing books on design and living.
What's your proudest achievement? My children, Tom, Georgie, Gracie.
What's been your best decision? To leave full time employment and become self employed so that I could continue a better work/family balance.
Who inspires you? It's a long list, and depends upon the projects I'm working on. If I'm thinking about photography, I adore the work of fashion photographer, Tim Walker and Bill Brandt; colour: artist David Hockney; the words of 19C architect, William Morris' "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
What are you passionate about? Nature's colours and textures.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Carpe diem.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Elizabeth 1.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To write a novel.
What are you reading? Philip Hensher,
The Northern Clemency.

Images courtesy of Jane Cumberbatch

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