A Minute With: Emily Chalmers, the owner of Caravan

The designer behind the cult London home accessories shop says people take design too seriously.

Emily's exposed brickwork walls are all painted in a delicate off-white. She has made a set of antlers into a place to store her jewellery. Photo by Debi Treloar
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Emily Chalmers is the author of a number of interiors books, including the bestselling Modern Vintage Style. She lives in London.
I live in a 1960s ex-local authority building in East London, right next to the Columbia Road flower market. It's such a vibrant area with so much energy. It constantly inspires me.
I love London. It might be because I grew up in a countryside village where there are only 16 houses and no buses or trains, but I always find it amazing that you can get whatever you want at any time in the city. Everything is accessible, and yet there are pockets that are really peaceful.
My home is still evolving. I've always been interested in architecture and I try to reflect the feeling of a house when I decorate. I've painted all the walls, woodwork and floorboards in the same specific off-white colour: Dulux 1002Y. I've seen it being mixed. It has tiny amounts of grey, turquoise, coral and yellow ochre in it, which just gives it a touch of warmth.
Home is where I can be myself. I like to be surrounded by things that I love and to be cosy.
My first baby, Bunty, was born seven weeks ago, so I've spent so much more time at home recently with her, which is lovely. Before, I used to practically live in my shop. It's exciting to decorate her bedroom, and becoming a mother has made me look at interiors in a different way.
Ilse Crawfordis one of my favourite designers. She shows such integrity in her work. Her interiors reflect society today. They're solid and long-lasting.
It means nothing to say that an object is "designer" - everything has been designed by somebody. I wish that people wouldn't take design so seriously. Everyone's a designer in their own way.
A lot of the design industry is so highbrow and people can be obsessed with names. It's a really male-orientated industry, too.
I'm juggling having the new baby and running my business at the moment. I've had an idea for another book, too. We're expanding the website for Caravan Style this spring and working on a brand new bricks-and-mortar shop, which is due to open next summer. My shop has always been an extension of my home, really, and this new one is literally 90 steps from my front door - the perfect location. I've signed a 10-year lease.
If ever I want to update a space, I clean it, tidy it and rearrange everything. Have a good sort out. You don't have to paint it or buy new things. Just by positioning things in a different way, you can make a whole room feel completely different. It's just energy.
When you've worked in a shop for years, you really appreciate a weekend off. As we're moving the shop, I've managed to have proper weekends recently for the first time in a while. I like to potter around one of our excellent local markets, shopping for food or bric-a-brac, then have breakfast somewhere. Breakfast has always been my favourite meal to eat out.
I still buy CDs. I listen to Metronomy and Emmy the Great. That's the sort of thing I like. I'm into the French 1970s singer Serge Gainsbourg at the moment, too, which is a bit odd.
Good design is when people think practically and aesthetically. It's wonderful when you find something that's really well designed, an item that's built to last and has a story.
I've learnt so much over the past few years: always listen to your instincts, take each day as it comes and be confident in your convictions.
Life inspires me. Nature inspires me. But mostly I'm inspired by people who have a passion for what they do, whatever it is.
There's a dog grooming parlour next door to my new shop and I love it. Today, I walked past and there were two massive poodles at the back, one being blow-dried, the other being sheared. It's the most wonderful thing to see on your way to work.
I adore the photographer Tim Walker's book Pictures. It's huge, and I dip in and out of it all the time. Dyed cats and bunnies - it's surreal.
I find inspiration in the most unexpected places. Having Bunty was the perfect excuse to buy a plastic bucket with a lid from our local grocer's shop. I've had my eye on it for ages. My husband said, "This is an example of why nobody can ever buy you a gift, Emily. That plastic bucket is the last thing I thought you'd ever want."
Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers is available to order via Magrudy's or www.amazon.com. For more on Emily and her shop, visit www.emilychalmers.com or www.caravanstyle.com