Charlotte Collins of The Style Shack is an advertising stylist whose extensive decor experience includes tackling the renovations and interiors of many homes. After growing up in Johannesburg, UK-born Charlotte came to Cape Town 10 years ago. Having renovated seven homes for herself, she started doing the same for friends and then, inevitably, for clients.
On a visit to the rural village of Greyton in the Western Cape, where she’d been looking for a place to transform and later sell, she met a local estate agent who suggested she view an old house that had been on the books for quite some time. With a reliably good eye and, recognising the potential of the neglected property, Charlotte immediately put in an offer.
She talks to HL about her inspiration and the most important room in the house, the kitchen.
How important is the kitchen in a home?
I’ve always loved a good kitchen. The renovation of every home I’ve ever done has usually started with the cooking area – it’s my favourite part of a project and sets the tone for the rest of the house.
When it comes to your commissions, do you have a preference? For example, working on an old house and keeping it authentic versus creating an entirely new, modern space?
Many of my clients to date have favoured a more modern look even though it is not my personal taste, so I have found myself enjoying creating this aesthetic more and more.
What kitchen design trends do you foresee for this year?
The move today is towards the increasing personalisation of the kitchen. Everyone wants theirs to be unique and individual. Even a basic Sembel-It template can be transformed into something unique with just a few special, individual elements.
The effect has been to recreate the house’s authentic sense of age and what Charlotte’s idea of a perfect small-town cottage should be. It is not a modernisation; it is, instead, a respectful restoration.
Where do you find your inspiration when styling a project?
Pinterest used to be my sole source of inspiration, but now I combine it with Instagram. Social media is amazing: type in #brasshandles, for example, and there’s an instant wealth of ideas right there.
What role does your imagination play in coming up with ideas?
In another life, I think I could have been a trend forecaster – I often seem to hit on a decor idea and implement it, only to find a year or so later that it’s suddenly become quite the trend! The problem is once it becomes a trend, the appeal is no longer there for me. This can turn out to be quite an expensive foresight to have when you are dealing with decor, unlike fashion.