floral & interior stylist - author
floral & interior stylist - author
Willow Crossley has a background in design. After a degree in fashion journalism at the London University of the Arts, she worked on magazines before moving to the South of France. From here she began her online business Willow Rose Boutique, selling her word art designs, handmade fabric-covered books and antique, decorative treasures found on her travels. Following the success of her blog, she wrote her first book, The art of handmade living which was published in 2012. Her new book, Inspire, the art of living with nature, is coming out in March 2014.
Willow now lives in Oxfordshire with her husband, Chaz and their two small boys, Wolf and Rafferty.
I've always thought employing an interior designer was the ultimate luxury. Something only for the seriously wealthy or those who have more money than taste. But now I have my own home, I understand the minefields and difficulties that you come across when trying to decorate your own house. What colour paints to choose, fabrics, should you have curtains or blinds? where on earth can you find a table to fit this tiny space? It can feel like the most monumental challenge and if you don't have the time or inclination to do it yourself, it can become one big old chore.
I am not a trained interior designer. I just have a serious passion for decorating and truly believe that creating a home, rather than just a house, is all about the detail. The dressing. Dressing or re-dressing a space can completely transform the look and feel of a room or even a whole house.
My aim is to make you love your home. Be it through starting from scratch in the decorating process or just by doing a spot of revamping. Changing paint colours, adding a wallpaper, re-framing pictures, updating lighting or simply re-upholstering can make the world of difference. And importantly, it doesn't need to cost a fortune. I can work with you and any budget to create something magical.
I am completely mad about flowers; nothing makes me happier than creating ravishing floral bouquets and displays. I grew up in Wales surrounded by nature and wonderful gardens and inside we had flowers on every surface. It feels wrong to me now not to have some sort of floral decoration at home. If I cant get my hands on flowers, I'll compromise by using other natural treasures - shells, plants, branches, feathers.
I am a floral stylist based in West Oxfordshire and create floral arrangements for events and weddings, on any scale. I offer hand tied posies, bouquets, topiary flowers, wreaths, garlands - as one offs or on a more regular basis, for local homes and businesses.
I am also available to hire as a prop stylist - for photo shoots, window dressing, launches, press days... Or anything else you might dream up, I'd love to talk to you about it.
My style is very, very natural. Tight and compact is not really my thing - think more wild and wayward; Less dark red roses and orchids, more cabbage rose and cow parsley. As much as I can, I use seasonally appropriate, locally sourced flowers and materials. Much of the foliage I use comes from my own garden.
My skills have mostly been learnt over the years from my mother; a wonderful florist, gardener, painter and all round green-fingered-genius. The more technical side of my training came from the Covent Garden Academy of flowers.
Garden centres and flower shops are two of my favourite places in the world - I feel calm the moment I walk in. The scent of the flowers, the greenery, the wholesome wooden tools, the exotic orchids...Throw an antique shop into the mix and I'm in decorating heaven.' Willow Crossley. In Inspire: The Art of Living with Nature, Willow combines these passions and shows how to use both flower-shop purchases, beachcombing bounty, home-grown harvests and hedgerow finds foraged on countryside walks to decorate your home. Divided into five chapters on Woodland, Flora, Fauna, Edibles and Beach, here are more than 50 ideas ranging from hellebores displayed in test tubes to a wreath made from hydrangeas, spring narcissi planted in wooden wine boxes, a tabletop display incorporating apples and pears, displays of pebbles, coral and shells, sea urchins fashioned into napkin rings, hollowed-out red cabbages used as vases, a colourful posy of chillies and a stylish wall display of antlers and feathers.
Special stockists: Anthropologie and London Boutiques
Willow Crossley believes that everything in the home, however mundane, can be beautiful. This book shows her ideas for turning the most basic objects into original life enhancers. Willow casts her crafting style all around the house and beyond, making things you will want to keep for yourself or reluctantly give away as presents. The first chapter, 'To Decorate', includes floral napkin rings, seasonal wreaths, Christmas baubles and vintage fabric bunting. 'To Hang' shows how to fill printers' trays with your own treasures, make pictures from buttons and create your own pinboard with fabulous ribbons. 'To Nest' includes ideas for grainsack cushions and pillows, block print napkins and heart-shaped lavender bags. In 'To Wear', there are fabric-twisted bracelets, silk-trimmed straw hats and simple linen aprons. 'To Use' is a visual feast of candles made in vintage teacups, fabric-covered books, bath salts infused with lavender and coat hangers decoupaged with fabric scraps. Having lived in France, Willow is besotted by their vintage textiles as well as their knack of making life's necessities, such as a straw hat or bicycle basket, so effortlessly decorative. None of her ideas are difficult to make or demand serious sewing or crafting skills. The only requirements needed are patience and the desire to find those raw materials that work their magic.