Interior Design

Behind the Scenes: Styling at Christie’s

16th November 2015
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Last week I was involved in a project where I had to style a room for Christie’s using objects from their November Interiors catalogue. It was a fun project and also was very exciting to see how an organisation like Christie’s operate. As you can imagine, only the best will do for Christie’s and I want to take you along with me on my journey through the day so you can see just how great the people at Christie’s are.

When I arrived at Christie’s, I was quickly introduced to Nic McElhatton, Chairman, Christie’s South Kensington and he led myself and Gaby on a guided tour of their South Ken operations. Past the auctions, which were fascinating to watch.

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Nic explained how the South Ken auctions differ to the auctions held in King Street and the history of both sites. He took us through numerous offices and store rooms that were packed with goods that were coming up for auction. It was fascinating to see some of the items, and some of those store rooms I could just spend weeks in going through the items. Absolute heaven for me. Unfortunately due to security reasons, I couldn’t take any pics – but I did ask as I’d love to have shown you.

After our tour with Nic, he took us over to the space where I we would be styling our spaces. It was so exciting and there were a lot of people around which was a little unnerving, but the excitement was palpable. The items that we had chosen were all over the place.

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I was introduced to my assistant and also two art handlers who would be helping me style my space. These 3 team members were excellent, and I couldn’t have done the job so quickly and to such exacting standards without these 3.

I started off by hunting around for my chosen items. It’s one thing to see things in a catalogue and then to see them in real life for the first time, I was eager to have a look at everything just to make sure that the size and proportion was exactly what I had in mind.

The green square vases were awesome and I was so happy with them.

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This was my favourite bronze statue out of the 3 that I had chosen. Just something about this made me love it!christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 14

My chosen carpet was somewhere in this pile. Thankfully I had two strong men to help move things about.christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 13

We started building the room from the ground up. Carpet first, this carpet was almost 4m long, so it took some serious manipulating to get it fitted into the space. christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 12

Next up, the screen needed to go into place so I could start to really think about how it needed to work in the space. Did I need it raised? Was it good enough resting on the floor? Did it need to concertina or did I want it flat against the wall with the two sides folding forward? Decisions decisions…christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 11

The mirrors and artwork were next. These needed to be hung exactly right and in symmetry with the pieces around it, so that it worked just right. You’ll see in the second photograph below that the spirit level came out – my team was going to make sure that this room would be perfect!christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 10

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Moving onto the other side of the room, I wanted to create a gallery with the botanical prints. Once we had all 4 pictures up, we noticed that the one picture was just a bit out of alignment. To be exact, it was 2mm out of alignment, it needed to be perfect, so it was measured and hung again. Nothing less than perfection.

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I had planned for these round vases to be on the same side as the bronze statues, but the scale was wrong, they were far too big for the table, so I swapped them around with the square vases. christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 7

It was then that the day bed arrived. This was to be the focal piece of the room, and it was even more fabulous than I thought it would be. I love pieces like this that are so flamboyant, yet still quite practical.christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 5

I decided that the screen needed to be hung as it was a bit low in comparison to the mirror and botanical print gallery so up it went.christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 4

I started to take photographs so that I could see whether the styling was working on screen. Remember that when you are doing a commercial styling job, the images are the end product, not the real room, as that just gets taken apart after the photographs. So you’ve got to take some pictures while you are styling, just to make sure it all works.

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My amazing team helped me with the final touches and we were ready to be photographed.christies styling interior style hunter behind the scenes 2

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And voila… a professionally styled room.

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Photo by Carol Sachs

As you can see from the behind the scenes tour. Styling takes a lot of work and I was so glad to work with such a professional team as the team I was given from Christie’s.

I am a lucky chap.

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