We’re travelling to England’s beautiful south-west coast to visit the Scandi home of a young professional who has cracked the balance between work and life.
Olivia is a Swiss, Italian and English photographer, blogger and editor; well, that’s the easy way to put it. In reality, she is so much more. At the age of just 24, Olivia runs 3 full-time businesses from her Cornwall home.
Olivia began making a business of her photography when she was still in high school in Geneva, Switzerland - where she ignited a spark that would later lead her to study Fashion Photography at Falmouth University. Now she is a successful fashion & wedding photographer. 5 years ago, she co-founded the Atlas Magazine, an online publication like no other, that gives young creatives a platform to showcase their work. More recently, she's started her very own lifestyle blog (which we at Homewings are a little obsessed with – we’re not gonna lie).
Olivia is a true poster child for living life the way you feel it. She lives a hybrid life - with one foot in the extroverted world of social and fashion media; and the other in her own secluded, and magical, bubble by the sea.
"I get inspired by taking in the places I’m surrounded by. Just being outside, going out for a walk, and being inspired by the natural world - whether that’s here I the UK, or in Switzerland."
“I’ve always known I wanted to work for myself. The idea of working in an office was terrifying to me - I’m a massive introvert” she admits. However, she has attained a perfect balance between her two worlds. Fuelled by her passion for capturing the people, and the world around her, she happily adapts to life outside her magical bubble.
“I go into a completely different mode when I’m shooting” she explains, “my job is to get the client to feel comfortable - you can’t expect someone, especially someone who’s not a model, to feel comfortable in front of a lens! I like to just go for a walk. We’ll chat and stop every once in a while to take some photos, and then just keep going. It becomes so natural – people don’t even realise they’re having their photo taken.”
Her effortlessly comfortable style seems to permeate all aspects of her life, and nowhere is that more evident than when stepping into her bright Falmouth flat. Decorated in soft tones and flooded with natural light, Olivia's apartment reflect her personality to a T.
On Her Home:
"I remember walking in for the first time, and I knew immediately that this was our home. The living room has floor to ceiling windows, so as someone who is so obsessed with light, it’s my happy place".
Stepping inside her perfectly manicured, Hygge-filled home we ask her about how she decorated. Olivia looks at us with a giggle in her eye, “In short” she grins “cheaply!”, however, her house looks anything but cheap. There is a weight, and sense of belonging and homeyness that was definitely not pre-packaged in £20 Ikea plywood!
As many renters, and young home owners do – Tom and Olivia did not start with a blank canvas. But they were able to take these pieces and incorporate they’re style into their home - tailoring the space. “We took elements of what we had, elements of what was here and elements of what we were given and created our space accordingly, and made it reflect us.”
“In terms of decoration, we’ve tried to keep it as de-cluttered as possible. It’s not a big space, so we didn’t want it to feel overrun with stuff. We kept it simple with blues and neutral colours”.
“We painted one pale blue wall in our bedroom, and the wall in the hallway was already painted a bright azure blue by the previous owner – as soon as I walked in I loved it! I’ve brought in colours with pillows and lots of plants everywhere.”
Olivia's top tip for making your home your own is to not be afraid of switching things up! “Take the things that you have, look at the space you’ve been given, and try and move things around. We had one big wall where the TV was that I spent months hating. And it took just two things – a lamp and a painting – to bring the entire wall together”.
She’s also a fan of brining the outside in wherever possible. “I brought a lot of plants into the house – it was a bit of a conversation with Tom, but every couple of weeks, I’d bring a different plant in, and before we knew it we had like 50 plants around the house!”
On the Quirkiest thing she owns:
One of the things we love about Olivia’s beautiful Cornwall apartment is that she was able to so thoughtfully bring the outside in. From plants and light, to more unconventional pieces of furniture. “We have this ladder shelf in the living room that Tom’s parents bought us - it's actually a piece of garden furniture! I had wanted a a wooden ladder shelf for months but could never find one. It looks amazing, and you would never know it was garden furniture!”
On Her Home Office:
“We live in a 2 bedroom apartment – one is our bedroom and one is the office.” She says, “and, this is where I work.” She explains. As straight forward as it sounds, this is one of her success-secrets; a separation of church and state, if you will. “When the door of the office gets shut, I don’t come back in until the following morning. That separation means that I don’t have a problem switching off, and that is so incredibly important!”.
“My office has really evolved” says Olivia, looking around the room “when we first moved in, Tom and I were going to share a desk.” She remembers. Within 3 days, it became clear that the desk was not the ideal his & hers situation. “I couldn’t do it! There was his stuff and my stuff – I went on Argos and bought myself the tiniest £15, school kid’s desk.” And that was that, the start of a 3-businesses-strong home office.
Always surrounded by inspiration, Olivia admits she would never work anywhere else. “I always keep nice notebooks, an old camera, a photo of me and my mum – I try to make it somewhere nice to work and somewhere i absolutely love to be."
"It definitely reflects me, and it’s evolved. It makes me happy to be here, and that’s a really important thing".
We asked Olivia what her top 3 must-do’s are for anyone looking to start working from home. “It’s really important that when you’re working, you’re in your work space. Whether that’s your dining room table or in a separate room – when you’re done with your day, leave that area and don’t get back to it until you’re ready to get back to work the next day. I don’t even bring my computer to the living room!”
"Having that separation is so important – it’s hard, but really try find the balance".
As we leave Olivia to it - we can't help but think of going back one day to see how the space has evolved and grown with her. For now, we'll have to be satisfied with reading her blog, enjoying her incredible photography on Instagram, and flipping through the virtual pages of the Atlas Magazine.