Interior Stylist, Michelle Halford, is the inspiring woman behind the blog The Design Chaser. Know for her focus on Scandinavian interiors and design, we visited Michelle in her beautiful Auckland based home and workspace - to chat all things stationery, organisation, business and future goals!
Name: Michelle Halford
Occupation: Interior Stylist & Blogger
Ok, so first things first, you founded The Design Chaser in 2012, how did it all begin and what was that light bulb moment when you decided to start the blog? What was your background before hand?
Prior to having kids I was working in magazine publishing and I became obsessed with the interior/home titles. Buying our first house further fuelled my passion for interiors and then as the digital age started to take off I started reading interior blogs. With the idea already brewing, I became hooked on Pinterest and as my following started to grow rapidly, so too did my confidence. A natural progression, the blog was the perfect platform to share what I loved along with the journey of our new home build.
The thing I love about The Design Chaser is how you have such a clear niche with your love for Scandinavian Interiors and Design. Where did your love for this style come from?
It was on Pinterest that I started to hone in on my love of Nordic design. With a focus on form and function, the clean yet warm aesthetic really resonated and I when I started the blog I would spend hours researching and learning about design from this region. Sharing what inspired, I then applied this to the interior design of our build and day to day styling. Collaborating with Scandinavian brands is now my favourite part of the business and I love nothing more than creating warm, minimal spaces with textural elements and a lived-in feel.
What have your biggest pinch me moments been?…
I still pinch myself when renowned Scandinavian design brands reach out to collaborate. Many are surprised to learn that I live in New Zealand! Travelling to Copenhagen with two greats of the Danish Design world, Erik Jørgensen and Montana to attend 3 Days of Design has been the biggest pinch me moment to date. Curating the Nespresso Creatista Pop-Up Cafe and Hôtel du Marc inspired rooms at the Hilton Hotels and Resorts around NZ were incredible projects to work on. Being invited on a blogger tour to Spain and press event in London with Jo Malone London were also pinch me moments!
As a business woman it's always important to have a support network by your side - who are yours?
I couldn't have juggled motherhood, blogging, long styling shoots and travel without the support of my incredible husband. Working on your own can be isolating so I always make time to catch up with other creatives to discuss work and bounce off ideas.
Looking back on your career to date - what would your advice be for budding like minded entrepreneurs …
Though I have a natural eye for design, I'm largely self-taught when it comes to styling and photography. Study the work of those you admire. There is a wealth of (free) information out there such as webinars, podcasts, and blogs. Read, listen, learn and put it all into practice. Work hard and the results will follow. Stay true to your brand (learn to say no!) and take time out to recharge.
Where do you find your inspirations for your beautiful home?
Scandinavian designers and stylists who I follow online are a constant source of inspiration. Interior books and international editions of my favourite Magazines - Residence from Sweden and RUM from Denmark.
What are your go-to brands for homewares and interiors personally?
For furniture, lighting and homewares I can't go past Danish brands such as HAY, Menu, Muuto, Kristina Dam, Montana and BoConcept. For bedlinen I love Australian brand Cultiver and for scented candles, my favourite brands are Lumira and Jo Malone London.
Why is organisation so important to you? and have you always been organised?
I've always thrived on being busy and staying organised comes with the territory. Managing a business, home and family requires a certain level of organisation to keep the wheels turning smoothly. Even then, they sometimes fall off!
What are the top 3 ways you organise your life?
- I make daily to do lists to ensure I work as efficiently as possible between school hours.
- I use an online calendar as a reminder for meetings, but I have to write things down - I'm a little old school like that - so a diary is a must.
- I'm a very routine person, so while I love being away from the office all day on shoots, productive days in the office are really grounding. I generally divide the day into blog research and writing, answering emails, styling/photography and editing.
Stationery wise - are you a….Diary Lover / To Do List Lover / Calendar Lover / Sketch Book lover - or all of the above?!
I write down key appointments and deadlines in my diary, but I'm also a serial To-Do lister and note scribbler. I churn through notebooks very quickly!
What is the one thing you are notoriously disorganised at?!…
Deleting photos. I usually wait until it gets out of control and delete in bulk!
Talk us through your workspace - What are your essentials you need at your desk and how would you describe the vibe?
Uncluttered surroundings are vital for my sense of wellbeing and mental clarity. My workspace features a calming palette, simple yet functional layout and personal touches including framed art, favourite magazines and textural ceramics. Desk essentials include my An Organised Life Diary and notebooks, a scented candle and flowers/foliage.
And finally - the fun part - what are your plans + goals for The Design Chaser in 2019?
To continue collaborating with like-minded brands and to grow the styling arm of my business.