HOMES & ANTIQUES: ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR
I’m not sure where to begin with this particular post but I’m going to start by introducing you all to a very good friend of mine and talented journalist Jo Leevers. Jo is one of those people that walks into your life and changes it in the most incredible way, the craziest thing is that it all started with a tweet. I don’t know about you but twitter was one of those things I never quite understood what the fuss was all about but over the last year it has been one of the most beneficial social outlets for my career and has essentially changed my life.
One Saturday morning whilst polishing the silver and watching Saturday morning kitchen I received a direct message from Jo asking if I had ever considered having my home featured in a magazine, at first I laughed but then it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe it was a possibility. Part of my job as an interiors PR is to read every interiors publication going, which to be fair isn’t exactly a chore, I would see all of the readers homes features which made me think to myself ‘one day luke, one day that could be you’. Keen to know more I got straight back in contact and sent a selection of photos taken on my phone of various corners of the house that I had styled which Jo then very kindly offered to pitch to her press contacts to see if anyone would consider doing a feature on the house which I currently rent in North London with my two friends Lucy and Rhona.
As you can imagine I was on edge for days waiting for an e-mail with what I hoped would be good news and one sunny Spring afternoon that e-mail finally came complete with an offer from Homes & Antiques, a magazine that I grew up with for many years as my mother was an avid reader and antiques fan herself. Any of you that know me me will know that I also have a slight obsession with all things antique so the fact that a magazine specialising in this area wanted to run the feature felt like the perfect partnership.
Preparations were well and truly underway and Cinderella came to Tuffnel Park with a bang, well cillit bang in fact. For weeks I was cleaning, polishing and styling to within an inch of my life, the house had to be perfect. The weekend after I received the news I was down in Brighton buying up half of the cities antiques and returning to London with a set of Georgian drawers a 19th century marble table a couple of victorian paintings, I did however make sure I had enough money left to buy myself one bag of pasta which was to last the month but I didn’t care. It was the day before the shoot and I had planned to go and buy insane amounts of flowers to fill the house, imagine the scene from the film The Hours where Clarissa walks into her local florist and asks for “buckets of roses” to take to Richard, it was kind of the same but I asked for buckets of whatever I could get for 30 quid and as soon as the woman showed me an orange gerbera I span around on my Farrow & Ball covered converse and ran straight for the bus to Hampstead Heath in order to ‘borrow’ a few branches.
The morning of the much anticipated day had arrived, the silver was sparkling and my stolen bush was trimmed, I put on my old Balenciaga blazer complete with gaping hole in the elbow and was ready to greet the H&A team as well as the amazing interiors photographer Rachel Whiting. It took everything in my power not to utter the words “follow me to my gracious drawing room” so famously said by Patsy Stone when Hello magazine came around for her at home interview but alas I didn’t. Everyone had now arrived and my mind was in total overdrive but all I could do was watch it all happen around me and move the occasional tea cup. Ttowards the end of the day when everything was wrapping up and a quick trip to Greggs for a tuna mayo baguette the wonderful Jo turned up and joined me for a celebratory glass of prosecco which we ‘sipped’ elegantly as she conducted the the interview to accompany the piece and an hour later it was all over and the waiting game had begun.
It was the day the September issue hit the shelves, I got up and ran to every newsagent in Soho prior to a meeting I had in town and picked up as many issues as I could find, I couldn’t wait any longer and flicked through furiously until I found the article spread over ten pages and thats when it all became very real. It was certainly one of those moments where you think to yourself everything is going to work out fine and you’re on the right track, to some it may of seemed like an ego project but it really wasn’t as to me it was getting my styling work onto the pages of a leading interiors publication which is essentially what I want to do as a career. The reaction from friends, family and press was incredible which gave a huge boost of confidence pushing me to get on and do start this blog.
I will never forget Jo’s kindness, not only for getting this amazing piece of press for me and helping me forward my career but for being their over the last year when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was a tough time but thankfully she is on the road to recovery and doing brilliantly, Jo has always been there with a kind word and good advice and all I can remember is the ‘I’m very proud of you’ smile my mum had on her face when she finally got her hands on the magazine, thank you Jo for making that happen
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