Katie Gibbs is a London based interior stylist, art director Next Directory stylist, and an interiors consultant with a wealth of experience in all aspects of interior design. I first worked with her on TV commercials over 18 years ago and I’m still a big fan of how she can bring a room set up to date with just the right on trend details, and how she can transform the space so that you want to step right in and sit down.
“After 25 years in the industry I still get a buzz and derive great personal satisfaction from working with different briefs, thinking up innovative and fresh ideas for my clients that meet both their and my criteria in producing the best possible creative pieces.”
When I worked at GMTV I was busy working behind the scenes when one day Katie popped up in front of the camera! Katie went on to enjoy a career as the GMTV interior style expert. She always succeeded in bringing tired homes up-to-date with clever, simple and very effective makeovers.
Today Katie Gibbs works as a stylist on commissions that include advertising campaigns, TV commercials, retail brochures and catalogues, editorial features and consultancy on residential and commercial interior projects.
Katie, how did you get into interior styling and how did you get started?
“Funnily enough it wasn’t a conventional route that got me into styling. I’d completed a 3 year course in Hotel and Catering after school but didn’t fancy working in the industry and it was my granny who know that I had a creative bent and suggested I shadow a stylist friend of hers. Rosin, the stylist, took me around the prop houses in west London sourcing crockery for her shoot for a food magazine she was working on. I loved her job and I wanted to do the same. There was no Google then, so I bought all the interior and food mags to find the relevant editors to contact. At that time I’m not sure that many people cold called but the home editor on Woman magazine seemed to admire my persistence and invited me on a shoot to help out. She saw my potential, linked me up with a young photographer and I did my first shoot. He had friends fresh out of college who also needed a stylist and I managed to pick up more work through them. Contacts led to more contacts and its been like that ever since!”
How would you describe your style?
“Graphic, not frilly, clean edges but with eclectic mixes. Now that could mean lots of different things to different people as visual cues are not quite as easy to explain by the fact that they are visual!”
Which trend are you most excited about working with this year?
“I’ve just finished working on The Next Directory producing some press shots and a video and I’m seeing a move at Next towards the brights and colour blocking. 80’s retro is getting a revival in fashion and its also happening in interiors too.”
Which colour combinations are your favourite to work with?
“For a stylist seeing a combination of colours that gel is like listening to a favourite piece of music or eating the most delicious meal. These combos do it for me: Cadburys milk chocolate brown with plaster pink; Airforce blue with emerald green with claret and a touch of lime green”
Which room in the home do you enjoy styling the most and why?
“Probably the sitting room as its relatively easy to make changes that refresh the look. If you start with a plain stylish sofa in a neutral colour and the same goes for the furniture then you can change a wall colour, cushions and accessories and not only has the colour combo changed but you can go for a completely different style too.”
Which 3 objects do you believe have the ability to completely transform a room?
“Apart from walls and changing the colour I’d say: cushions in the sitting room (but change them all); Bedlinen in the bedroom; Kitchen fronts in the kitchen (a little more pricey than a set of cushions I know!)”
What inspires you when styling an interior?
“Styling a home is different from a shoot where you have more freedom to change almost any aspect. However with both there is usually one or, in the case of a home, several items of furniture that have to stay. Its with these items that I like to imagine what my ideal room would look like with these at the centre. I then work back from that. Without wanting to sound “arty and airy fairy” it is a process that kind of grows organically.”
Buildmumahouse is a blog that focuses on creating your forever home. Do you have any tips how to keep you home fresh and on trend without a complete refurbishment?
“I’ve managed to do just that in my own home in East London. When we moved in I wanted neutrals throughout and sleek furniture with non fussy, minimalist accessories. The open plan sitting room had a wallpapered wall in off white damask, the rest were white with a charcoal painted wall ascending to the next floor. The furniture was modern, neutral and a few carefully placed accessories.
All change now and we are feasting on colour. The wallpapered wall is now airforce blue. I made navy blue velvet, drape on the floor curtains to replace the silver venetian blinds and bought and made a new set of cushion covers in gold, green and pink. TK Maxx was a wonderful source of weird and wonderful nick nacks like bell jars and candle sticks. I even painted a large rectangle of plywood pink and have it perched on the sideboard as an art piece with a weathered branch i found in the forest propped up against it.
With all design ideas, whether its for an individual room or for a room on a shoot, the most important process is to create the finished image in your head before you start otherwise you’ll not finish off with a cohesive look and you’ll be disappointed. Pinterest and Instagram is a fabulous source of inspiration and by creating a board of bits and pieces that you like you then get to realise the look that you’re aiming for.”
Katie’s Instagram is always full of interesting knick nacks, colour ideas and shots of upcoming trends, visit her Instagram and follow her at gibbs_katie for inspiration and ideas to transform your home.