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Interview with Designer & Stylist Claire Delmar


There's a sense of comfort that comes from recognising the work of one of your favourite interior stylists before you even read the credit. That's how I feel about Claire Delmar, whose styling, though incredibly varied in terms of projects, carries a distinctive feel. Transcending trends, Claire creates elegant, nuanced interiors that weave her signature textural elements with warm muted tones. Having carved out an impressive career that has seen her hold top editorial roles with several leading magazines both in Australia and abroad, Claire now runs her own consultancy, Studio Delmar, where she is in high demand. Working on a vast range of interior styling projects, a few of which have been featured on TDC, I thought it was time that I reached out to Claire to find out more about her processes, inspirations and what's to come.

Riverview House by David Boyle Architect / Styling by Claire Delmar / Photography by Chris Warnes

Tell us about your styling career, how it began and how it has evolved over time.

My career is quite varied within the styling world and started after completing a Bachelor of Media. From this I stepped into the editorial world as a fashion stylist for five years until deciding to focus more on the world of interiors. This pivot included the role of Style Director for Home Beautiful magazine. 

I stepped out of the editorial world to share my knowledge and experience in the senior position of Department Head of Advanced Diploma of Styling & Design Coordination at the Whitehouse School of Design until my passion for editorial lured me back and I became the Style Editor for Inside Out magazine. 

Back in the creativity of styling I followed work overseas with freelance roles in London working for Elle Decoration and Living Etc magazines and upon returning to Australia I expanded my skills into the culinary world with Gourmet Traveller magazine along with exciting conceptual work within the advertising industry. 

My consultancy business now works within spheres of residential and commercial styling, interior design projects, concept stores and merchandising, interior and cookbook styling, advertising campaigns and TVC’s along with my own creative projects such as the STILL art exhibition with photographer Felix Forest.

How would you describe your personal aesthetic and how does this translate to both your styling and your own home?

Paired back, considered, textural and a love of grey. I have a passion for art and ceramics which have become my signature style through both my work and home as I feel they create comfort and add layers to a space especially when still life moments are created.

Raglan Street Project by Alexandra Kidd Design / Styling by Claire Delmar / Photography by Pablo Veiga 

You work on some incredible architectural projects. Many are newly completed renovations or new builds, yet you manage to bring the spaces to life with character and a lived-in feel. How do you do this?

It’s a consideration of many things that will work together coherently including colour, shape, scale, materials and textures. Raw, organic and textured materials are signature to me as the rawness brings a stronger connection and portrays the lived-in-feeling you get through the shot. I then balance this with contemporary lux fabrics that add a modern touch to the space. 

What are three of your favourite local haunts for sourcing furniture, lighting and objects for the projects you are working on? 

Instagram has become a fantastic, and albeit dangerous, resource for purchasing interesting pieces for projects. Sites such as Curated Spaces and En Gold have unique one off pieces of furniture and accessories. 

Marz Designs – They are designing affordable lighting that is classic and their new range in particular is stunning. 

Hearth Collective - I love how Alichia plays with different materials and forms through her sculptures.

Woolwich House by Daniel Boddam / Styling by Claire Delmar / Photography by Pablo Viega

Stylists are known for having to be resourceful, going to great lengths to get what they need for a shoot. What has been the most challenging or ‘out of the box' thing you’ve sourced or created?

Everything and anything! From fields of grass to coat hangers. It’s the best part of the job though as you never know what you’ll be tested to find and beg to loan. You end up in some very interesting locations always searching and never accepting ‘no' for an answer.

You’ve spent time abroad working in freelance roles and for top UK magazines Elle Decoration and Living Etc. How has travel influenced your work?

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot throughout my life. My parents loved to travel so I grew up in markets around the world. It has had a huge influence on my style as I mix so many cultures and eras. I try not to stick to a style but mix and interplay with shapes to get the best effects. My background in styling means I turn over projects so fast that always having different briefs has really meant my style has evolved and I try not to produce anything similar.

Styling by Claire Delmar for Armadillo & Co / Photography by Sharyn Cairns 

Where else do you find inspiration?

Inspiration for me is very much a sensory objective and I find it through everyday moments from walking down the street, something in a film or small details I see in objects that don’t necessary relate but spark a creative journey.

How has the digital age and rise of social media changed the way you work?

While there is still a lot of on the ground work when sourcing and keeping up with current pieces social media and the digital age has broadened the content available. Whether it’s now finding pieces through Instagram or newsletters it’s much more instantaneous and the range infinite. We’ve even been able to use our social media as a way of finding up-and-coming creatives that we maybe wouldn’t have found otherwise. And this is the same for sharing our work also, while magazine editorial is still very important, social media platforms allow us to present our work with our own voice and the ability to reach who we want also.

In addition to running your busy styling consultancy, you also write a blog, The Palate Project. How do strike a balance between work and family life, and what do you do to unwind and recharge?

Trying to find balance is the constant struggle when owning your own business and having a young family especially when we often have small kids climbing all over the office.

I have a wonderful team behind me and I couldn’t do it without Karen and Margo. I’ve been lucky enough that I’m surrounded by amazing people and we love to have a laugh. You only live once so you have to try and be happy everyday.

Styling by Claire Delmar for The Palate Project / Photography by Chris Chen 

What are you currently working on? Any exciting projects on the horizon?

We’re currently working on the interiors of luxury apartment suites in Melbourne before I jet off to Paris for Maison et Objet in early September and to London as we’ve been Shortlisted for the International Design Awards. 

What's one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to become an interior stylist? 

Work experience is key for both experience and relationship building as you never know if a position will come up and it will help you be front of mind. Stylists are always in need of extra hands on set and it’s a great way to work out if it’s something you would desire to do in the future. Research and contact people that you feel align with your style. Also it’s not as glamorous as many believe. It’s fast and exhausting and not for everyone so it’s always great to get your foot in the door and start networking and navigating your own path.

Claire Delmar / Photography by Russell Horton 

Huge thanks to Claire for taking time out of her busy workload, and best of luck for the International Design awards in London!

I hope you've enjoyed gaining more insight into her work as much as I have. 

For further inspiration, be sure to follow Claire on her Instagram, STUDIO DELMAR.

Images courtesy of Studio Delmar

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