Heart Home meets... Deborah McLean

Blogs are always incredibly useful for finding inspiration and new style crushes, and it was through several high profile interior blogs, as well as her own Busy Being Fabulous blog feed, that I came across this week's interviewee - Australian stylist Deborah McLean.

I'm constantly visiting her blog for renewed inspiration,and Busy Being Fabulous really does reflect Deborah's creative flair, with the colour and style influences she shares showing her keen eye for detail and the beauty of the everyday. Her own style portfolio is equally refined, and I adore the simplicity of her styling and the subtle interplay between the objects in her vignettes.

I'm delighted she agreed to be interviewed for Heart Home, and am very happy to share some of her pearls of wisdom with you here today...

{photography by Colin Doswell}

A make-up artist friend of mine suggested I get into styling because she knew how obsessed I was with fashion, interiors and food. This was over 20 years ago, and I didn’t even know what a stylist was. I went to see her agent and they took me on that day. I have never assisted anyone. I haven’t really done any training whatsoever, not that there is a ‘styling’ school. There was a lot of trial and error during the early days. I used to practice in my living room, setting up shots and laying things out before I went to the actual job. I was winging it a lot of the time. These days it’s a very different scenario. Opportunities exist to assist and learn on the job as experienced stylists mentor young stylists and teach them how it all works. I had no one to show me. I just worked it out myself.

Quirky, eclectic, arty and fun… and often with a Scandinavian twist (my private obsession). I’m not high-brow, however I do love designer pieces, but put together in a playful way. Design in my world is always fun!

{photography by Maikka Trupp}

As old as the saying is, art imitates life. Inspiration is all around us. I do gravitate towards the unexpected. The beauty of things that aren’t perfect, mixed with slick high-end designer pieces. A few things that have constantly inspired me are black, white and snow… in all their forms. Beyond that, it’s micro-moments in nature, clouds, my iphone and, always, my partner Colin.

{photography by Colin Doswell}

Things can be memorable for very different reasons. I therefore have a couple. A huge TV commercial for the launch of Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia was memorable. The pre-production for this job was 3 months. I had a team of 5 designers working for me, and I was only in charge of the food! I had to create giant food installations for court jesters to carry along the casino promenade. They carried giant towers of crayfish, crab and other crustaceans, huge twenty-tiered jellies and masses of green vegetables laced with peacock feathers. It was an extravaganza. Highly stressful, but an amazing experience.

Another memorable moment was being asked to shoot for Li Edelkoort’s trend forecasting magazine, Bloom. It was for their issue 20 natural dyes project. She has been my long-time inspiration, someone who is at the forefront of trends and truly understands what happens in our world and can translate that into design for the everyday.

But shooting with my partner, Colin, for our company Doswell & McLean, has recently been the most amazing thing. It’s a new, developing and very exciting stage of our lives.

{photography by Maikka Trupp}

Change your drama. Try a new colour on the walls… all of a day to achieve. Beyond that, a gorgeous fur throw and masses of scatter cushions. Instant fabulousness!

Being appointed to develop conceptual imagery and photography that portrays emerging trends for forecasting companies and the like. I’ve always been fascinated with the concepts and ideas that trend forecasters come up with to portray a feeling, a colour, an idea. I love looking to both the future and the past for inspiration. Truly great design always seems to be timeless. It therefore seems natural that the past and the present seem to be an ongoing trend throughout all facets of design. Maybe it’s because we are so uncertain of the future that we look back to the past for safety. It is art imitating life again.

{photography by Colin Doswell}

Irina Graewe – the German interiors editor & stylist. Also, anything that IJM studios in Amsterdam produce is incredible.

{photography by Doug Cambel}

I love creating moments. There are so many styles that I love, this is the perfect way to celebrate them. What I do in a job may not be my own personal style or taste, but I can appreciate the design aesthetic in anything. After all, it’s all make believe. We have been entrusted the job of delivering a little bit of magic that hopefully inspires others to want to create the same.