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One of Livingetc’s go-to stylists, Sophie Brown, shares the things that make her smile and say ‘I must use that in a shoot some day…’



Animals.
And, more specifically, animal figurines. I’ve just unpacked the last boxes in my new house and have been surprised by how many animal ornaments need to be found homes. They’re every where, from taxidermy birds, to owl moneyboxes to a Victorian knitted animal picture. I think this obsession comes from how fun, light hearted and friendly animals can make a room feel. I find that a hat stand made in the shape of deer – I also have this – is much more smile provoking and exciting than any other non-animal shaped one. They add an element of kitsch and a quirk to a shoot or house, yet don’t need to be overwhelming or too much of a statement.

Orange. I am going through a strong bright-orange phase at the moment. It crept into my life via a MAC lipstick and now is appearing everywhere in my thoughts. More specifically, a Seventies orange, I’ve boon buying original Seventies books and interiors catalogues from eBay. Giving great food for thought of why I think things are stylish or well put together and what is exactly that appeals to me in the images.

Paris. I have just returned from a short stint in the city and have come back with a notebook stuffed with ideas and inspiration. Its elegance and lifestyle is awe inspiring. From the delicious shades of the macaroons to the faded grandeur of the Rodin Museum, even the new Ralph Lauren store, sells you a French lifestyle that allows you dream of high ceilings and daily high teas. I think if you are feeling visually starved a day in Paris is what is needed.

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The magical voice of Ólöf Arnalds has certainly captivated her fellow Icelanders – soft as it is bold, playful as it is melancholic. And further afield, Rolling Stone describes her songs as ‘fragile as tiny china swans’ – nice – while Mojo cuts to the chase with ‘Reykjavik’s answer to Kate Bush’. Now, we know we know design, but we also know a beautiful song when we hear one – just listen to forthcoming single Surrender (guest vocals from another brilliant female Icelandic vocalist, yes, that one). And where does this enchanting classically trained multi-instrumentalist find inspiration? Here are three places…

The album, Ho! #1: Roady Music from Vietnam ‘I came across this collection of road music from Vietnam when it was released in 2000 by Trikont. I became totally obsessed with it because it was so different from any music I had heard before. This was before music from all over the world became so accessible online. A few tracks from this record have stayed with me, some because they are so funny and strange, but the songs that moved me most did so because of the unrestricted expression of the voices.’ Listen here.

The composer, Skúli Sverrisson ‘Skúli and I started to collaborate when working together on his music for his record Sería, which came out in 2006. Through my collaboration with Skúli I found my own voice as a lyricist and a singer, which lead me into writing my own songs, too. Skúli has been my main artistic advisor for both of my existing records and he has influenced me deeply as a musician and an artist. He will be producing my next album that I plan to record in the summer.’

The book, Proust was a NeuroscientistThis was the first book I read about art and the brain. This particular book, by Jonah Lehrer, is very inspiring for artists as it validates the significance of creative search from a new point of view. It basically traces how artists from different fields through the ages have, through experimentation and self discovery, come to important conclusions about the human brain that later have become known neuroscientific facts.’

As the team behind Livingetc, the UK’s leading magazine for modern interiors, we’re always out and about, scouting for inspiration. And when we see something that makes our design minds flutter with joy, we’ll share it with you here. To purchase the digital version of the magazine, click here.

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We’re always looking for inspiring houses, full of clever design tricks, to feature in Livingetc. If you think your home is what we’re after, email pictures to our houses editor, mary_weaver@ipcmedia.com.