Home Tour: Emily Henson

Emily Henson is a seamstress turned stylist.  After setting up her life and family in sunny LA, she made the bold decision to move back to England and start renting in London.  She talks us through the inspiration behind her life and work;  and some great tips for sprucing up a rented home.

Emily Henson

Emily Henson lives in her rented Victorian townhouse in Stoke Newington with film director husband Erick, 14 year old daughter Ella, 10 year old son Johnny and their lovable French Bull dog, Gracie.

Having moved from the States they have only been settled in their new home for nine months or so, although from the ambiance and collection of pieces, you’d think they’d been here for years. 

Emily Henson

Switching from owning to renting (across the pond I might add), isn’t the easiest of challenges. However Emily somehow makes it look all very easy and has decorated her new home on a shoe string budget.

“I’m incredibly thrifty by nature” she confesses, “ in LA I would go to the local flea markets and load up the car. Things are a lot more expensive over here, but I haven’t let that beat me! Everything you can see has been bought at a charity shop, made by hand or given to us by friends” she smiles proudly. “The only pieces we had shipped over are ones with real sentimental value, like the Chinese cabinet and red armchair.”

Emily Henson

Emily, now a freelance interior designer/stylist, has had a very interesting and creative life to date.  She is English, but moved to America when she was 17; went to High School and University State side, where she met her husband and had Ella almost immediately after graduating.

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Despite admitting it was challenging at times, Emily evidently threw herself into working motherhood with amazing results.  She learnt to sew when pregnant and set her up own children’s clothing line ‘Spike and Ella’.

Emily Henson

Following this, she made the move into styling and worked at LA’s Anthropologie. It was this experience, combined with her “sewing bug” that saw her signature, textile-led style evolve.

“It’s important to follow your instinct and take inspiration from your experiences” she says wisely.  “My time at Anthropologie taught me a lot about fabrics. I also prefer to make things, as I think it makes a house more unique.”

“Even though I would love to go out and buy some new bits for the house, we do really enjoy being creative and resourceful when it comes to decorating and renovating; the curtains in our bedroom were made from an African fabric I picked up in Dalston, and Johnny’s bed was made out of an old metal frame and left over cabinets!”

Emily Henson

When describing her style, Emily says “I love vintage” which has a clear dominance in her home.

“But especially when combined with more edgy, modern pieces, which is where I think my style is heading” she observes.  

Emily Henson

Her positivity is infectious, if there is such a thing as a ‘yes person’; Emily is it.  The words ‘all that now exists was once imagined’ are romantically hung over her bed in pretty (hand crafted) wire; it sits perfectly in her whimsical room of white walls, ethnic fabric and vintage bric-a-brac.  Emily talks passionately about how much she loves this phrase and what it means to her, “it is also something I try and install in my children” she says warmly.

Emily Henson

This sunshine attitude and positive ideology clearly works for Emily, however there is still a strong sense of realism about her; the kids also have signs up in their bedrooms saying ‘Keep me Tidy! And “No Food in Here!”

Well…. she is still a Mum after all.

Emily Henson

See Emily’s blog:  Life Unstyled . Emily's new book Modern Bohemian is out now.

Article written by Liggy Griffiths taken from Summer Issue 2013 of Heart Home magazine.  Photography by James Balston.