Design & Style - In conversation with Zoë

Instagram is arguably one of the most influential marketing tools and an ideal outlet to share your passion to the world. With over 1 billion users worldwide, it’s increasingly challenging to capture an audiences imagination with original content and meaningful posts.

We always admire IG peeps who consistently produce quality posts and their ability to connect with their followers. A couple of weeks ago we were fortunate enough to meet the creative driving force behind one of our favourite IG accounts, @Zoe.interiors.   

Zoë has kindly dropped by to see us in our humble East London office to share her wisdom and tell us a little bit more about what makes her tick.

Bedroom interior styling with muted tones and woven basket
Zoë styles her home to showcase her work and styling skills

Can you please tell me a little bit about yourself?

Zoë: Hi, I'm Zoë, I own Zoë ID, an interior design business based in Hertfordshire.

I originally trained as a graphic designer, then went on to become a visual planner.  I realised quite early on that interiors were where my heart was, after redesigning a restaurant that we had designed the brand identity for.

I’ve been doing it for a long time for friends and family, but for clients, about 2 years. I’ve always got my jobs through word of mouth but this year I have decided to really push the business to see where it can go. I'm about to launch my first website which I`m really excited about.

 

How did you get started with your Instagram account? 

Zoë: I started my Instagram account as a bit of therapy really. My dad passed away in Oct 2016 and the pain I was in was indescribable. I needed something to distract me, that wasn’t the day to day stuff we all have to do.

I really think it saved me from depression as I suddenly had an escape from all the heartache I was feeling. I also see it as my scrap book/diary in a funny way. I’d always kept a scrap book at Art College and had fallen out of the habit of keeping one, so it was nice to start again albeit in a different format.

 

How do you think it has evolved?

Zoë: It’s evolved massively, when I first started I didn’t think anybody would be looking at it, so I was only really doing it for me.

I’m now much more critical of what I post as it has a lot more engagement. What I love though, is looking back at the first posts I ever did to see how much I’ve grown. 

 Designer choosing paint colours  in front of an apple imac with her quotation on the right

How would you describe your style?

Zoë: I would describe my style as modern with a Scandi influence. As much as I appreciate lots of different design styles, I’d be very happy living in a concrete cube filled with only the necessities for living.

John Pawson is my hero, I love the absolute minimum in a home but it would be very hard for my husband and son to live like that, so I’ve chilled a lot more on that front since having a family.

Zoe interiors images of office with vitra chair and accessoires including pin boards

 Home office featuring selection of products by Vitra and Hay

What’s the most challenging element when you style your post?

Zoë: The most challenging element when I style my posts is the light in my house. It’s a Victorian house which is lovely and tall so ceiling height is amazing, but it's long and narrow too so plays havoc with my shots! I live opposite a large church which blocks out a bit of natural light as well.

 

Tools of the trade - What do you use to take your pics?

Zoë: I only ever shoot on my iPhone, I’ve just invested in the new iPhone X Max so I can get the best quality shots possible in the most convenient format for me. I love using it as I always have it on me, it fits in my pocket and I can do all my editing on it as well.

 

Squares, landscapes or portraits?

Zoë: Portraits are my fav as they give you much more room to play around with. I was very happy when Instagram introduced it.Tangent GC organic soaps, hand cream and body lotion by Zoe interiors

 
Yuzu Handcream, £15; Sugar Soap, £18.50; Fir Body Lotion, £28, by Tangent GC

Is your home always this immaculate?

Zoë: It's not always that immaculate but I work from home so it would really stress me out to work in a mess. Everything in my house has a place and I’d not have anything I didn’t love on show. All that stuff lives in cupboards!!

I also have a room that my husband and I call the 'dump’. We literally dump everything in there from clothes and cushions to ornaments I no longer want on show. Every home needs a ‘dump’ room as living like this is actually hard work. I would die if anybody saw that room!

Zoe home interiors with IKEA SVALNÄS system

Strong look with Svalnäs shelving system

Your most treasured item?

Zoë: The most treasured thing in my life is my son Mack but second after that is a piece of art I bought around 15 years ago. It’s by an artist called Tomoya Yamaguchi, who’s a Japanese artist based in the UK. I have a fascination with artworks that take a painstaking amount of time. I’m very impatient as a person, so his work fascinated me. Buying one of his pieces started a trend in the artwork I now buy. My collection consists of pieces that are very time consuming and that makes me feel a little giddy, when I think about the time they take to create.

 

What’s on the top wish list right now?

Zoë: Top of my wish list right now is Kristina Dam’s Curved pouf. I absolute adore her work. The pouf looks like a work of art and could enhance any room that it goes in. I’m just not sure I can justify spending £400 on something that I rest my feet on, but I will get it eventually!

 

Cannot live without?

Zoë: This actually isn’t a possession, but I wouldn’t be able to live without Fight Klub.  It’s a high intensity exercise class set to Drum ’n’ Bass music, a mixture of boxing & kick boxing. It's the only exercise class that’s kept me engaged for well over 2 years. I used to think that people who said they couldn’t function without doing exercise were weird, now I completely get it. You just have to find the exercise that’s right for you and do something you love.

 It's also really important to me that my son sees his Mum being active on a regular basis. It's so great for mental health as well as fitness and I want him to value and have an understanding of both as he gets older.

lemon on wood plates and glass jugs by yod and co

 Left: Rivington Jug, £25; Highball set of 4, £29. Right: Wooden dish from £9, By Yod and Co

Your top 3 must visit place? Shops, restaurants, city etc..

Zoë: I'm going do one of each here.

Fav shop would be Stileben in Copenhagen.

It’s curated beautifully with amazing products, ceramics, jewellery and art, some of which are one off pieces that you’ll only find in that shop. It's a must visit for any interior lover and is one of the world’s most unique shopping experiences, in my opinion. Also, it's based in Copenhagen which is such a stylish place to visit, even the airport has a Ferm Living in it! I love that place.

Fav restaurant would be Scully’s in St James, London.

The food is incredible but so are the staff, their always so welcoming and friendly. It's not one of those restaurants you feel uncomfortable in. The food is outstanding too, Ramael Scully's family has a real mix of eastern heritage which is really reflected in the food he offers his guests. I highly recommend you checking it out.

My fav city would have to be Berlin.

I know I know, "not a Scandinavian city?" but my husband worked there for 5 years so I spent many a weekend there eating nice food, hanging out and seeing a side to the city that you don’t get to see on a short city break. It’s an amazingly cultural city with art galleries everywhere, even on most street corners you’ll find some sort of artistic expression.

Since its reunification there’s been a massive boom in creativity which influences the nightlife scene and restaurants plus a lot of these places were still very affordable for the average man to experience. You could eat in a cool restaurant for under £20 and that included a glass of wine It was a breath of fresh air to a girl from London! I also loved that on Sundays no shops were open, so Sunday really was a day of rest, where people caught up with family and friends. I just loved it.

Rivington glass carafe and highball by yod and co on fermliving grey planter

 Rivington carafe, £25; Set of 4 Tumblers, £25, by Yod and Co

Guilty pleasures - What’s your secret controversial brand crush that you wouldn’t want to admit to?

Zoë: I don't really have one if I'm honest, but I do love popping into Home Sense on a regular basis. It's one of those shops that look really twee on the outside, but you can pick up some really lovely little finds in there, if you visit it on a regular basis.

 

Do you plan to offer your styling / interior services beyond IG?

Zoë: I already offer my interior services outside of IG in my business. If people were interested in using me as a stylist then of course, I would certainly be up for collaborations in that area.group of ceramic bowls and teapot and tangent gc organic detergent on tan linen and woven basket

 Left: Zoë's Collection of ceramics with Epoch teapot & teacup, from £12.50. Right: Denim Wash, £12 by Tangent GC

What advice you’d give to anyone who’s starting out styling on IG?

Zoë: I think the best advice I could give to anybody about to embark on their IG journey is to not take it too seriously and to not live in a world of comparison.

The 'best of the best' are showcasing their work on Instagram and it is very easy to feel ‘not good enough’ in the Insta world, so go easy on yourself. Not many people are showing the shit bits of theirs lives, but we all have them. I read all too often about how Instagram can make people feel really worthless, people who you look at their grid and say “Wow!! They are living the dream” but they still feel rubbish sometimes. 

They also worry about how others may be doing better than them or have more stuff than them. So, I would say, DON'T compare yourself to anybody because they are not you. Once you realise that being you is your super power, your life on Instagram will be a more peaceful one.

 

All images above taken by Zoë

@Zoe.interiors  /  Zoë.ID

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