November 30, 2021
Local Inspiration - Clare Watson, Turmeric House
This month we speak to Clare Watson from Turmeric House, a Surrey-based concept and creative studio specialising in the styling and design of beautiful spaces.
What exactly is Turmeric House?
We are an independent creative studio that creates stand-out spaces, shoots and builds that are founded on a culture of collaboration. We offer everything from styling of events and environments, to commercial photo shoots, art direction, private/commercial fit outs and brand storytelling. We work with retail and hospitality outlets, private clients, photographers and magazine editors to create spaces with soul that take users on a journey.
A space that tells a story, but also functions with beautiful design.
Retail and hospitality spaces have had to change a lot over the past couple of years, how have you helped businesses adapt?
I’ve been so impressed by how open businesses have been to change actually, but sometimes, when you’re working in an environment every day, operating in a certain way for so long, it’s difficult to identify ways you can adapt to different circumstances.
Turmeric House is all about how you don’t need four walls to create a space. One of the local marquee companies I work with understandably took a huge hit with events and weddings being cancelled so I suggested to a restaurant client that they convert their carpark into a gorgeous urban pop-up. That meant they could operate when only public outdoor dining was allowed and it gave the marquee company some ongoing business. The cross over between industries has been remarkable.
I’ve also helped businesses to incorporate all the changes and new health & safety guidelines but in line with their own branding, so it doesn’t take away from the essence of their space. We’ve been forced so far out the box that it makes everything even more possible.
And what about in people’s homes?
We’ve all had to reassess how we feel about and use our own spaces. Our homes have had to evolve to make space for working from home, schooling from home, exercising from home etc. and this can really change the dynamic and flow of how we live in, and use our space.
While some of these activities have, and will continue to, return to areas outside our home environments, many will remain. Moving forward, this will change the way we interact with our spaces and how we welcome people into our homes, so it’s about helping people figure out how best to do that.
You’ve styled shoots and celebrity homes for features in magazines like Vogue, Ok!, NME and Surrey Life, what’s that like?
I love all shoots, it’s exciting and a privilege to get a sneak peek into the home lives of celebrities & interesting inspiring individuals and because they’re usually in their own homes, they’re really relaxed and welcoming. But it is work at the end of the day so it’s not like we can just sit around chatting (although we do have a natter here and there) Shoots are full on and can spread over a few days with set up and take down, but they are great fun
and I love sourcing props and being able to include amazing finds from local independent businesses that I love.
What things should people be thinking about when it comes to interior styling of their own homes?
There is no right or wrong to how you choose to live in your home, it’s about emotions and how you’re home makes you feel. People can get in such a funk about interior styling and layout but there’s no need. My advice is to just try things in different places, if you don’t like something somewhere, then move it. And above all, surround yourself with things you love and bring you joy. People can get bogged down with clutter but I live amongst a lot of my props and things I have sourced for events and shoots (such as a fairground horse we had built for a shoot) but the important thing is that it all makes me feel great & surrounds me with great memories and stories.
What top tips would you give people on home styling?
- Don’t forget your entry hallway. It’s often dismissed as somewhere you simply walk through to get into the main living areas of your home but it is the first place you come to and you can often spend time there greeting guests as they take off their shoes and coats etc. Therefore, it’s important to make it a welcoming space. Candles and room sprays can help create a nice aroma, while a piece of much-loved artwork will give a lovely hint at your style personality, as well as a talking point for guests as they arrive.
- Layering is key. Creating layers of interest within a home is a good way of incorporating all your favourite things without it looking cluttered. Use shelves and places like the coffee table to display some of your favourite things. For example, on a coffee table you might place a couple of your favourite books on a tray and then an ornament or a vase with your favourite flowers on top of the books.
- Think about all the senses. The feeling a space creates isn’t just about what you can see. It’s about the smell, touch and sound too. So, play music softly, light a candle or have a diffuser on display and fill your space with gorgeous fabrics and tactile objects that mean something to you and tell a story.
As we enter the festive season how should we be looking to create a fabulous space in which to dine with guests?
Christmas really lends itself to great styling. Layer fruits and nuts or items you’ve foraged from the garden or on walks on the table, dip the rims of your glasses with icing sugar to give them that festive glint, layered candles are a must and when it comes to glassware and
cutlery, don’t panic if you’ve not got enough that matches, mix your finest with your everyday – you’re with friends and family after all.
What local companies do you enjoy working with and/or recommend?
I source a lot for shoots from Wattle and Daub in Godalming and often fall in love with pieces so end up buying them for myself! I also get visual merchandise and styling ideas from libby at &Hobbs, also Thomas Ford & Sons is a lovely family-run kitchen shop in Ripley and I also love Haus in Haslemere. Sprout Surrey is also a great hub for sustainable businesses with green fingers. There are so many incredible creatives I am inspired by.