• Jessica Bellef

Making 'Individual' the book

My book launch whirlwind is spinning into its third month. While things are slowing down slightly, I definitely can't call it a year and head to the beach just yet. I've been speaking with journalists and writers non-stop about Individual, and it's given me the chance to reflect on my motivations for making the book. I thought I would share with you my response to one of the questions I was asked.

"What was the impulse behind Individual? What made you want to write the book? "

Interiors, just like people, come in all shapes and sizes. The spectrum of ways in which we live is dotted with many moments of beauty, charm and character. I am a fan of beautifully produced high-end interiors publications, of course, but I know that an overload of aspiration will ultimately get us down. I wanted to create something accessible and inclusive, something that made people feel good about their homes. I wanted to create something that counteracts those yucky feelings of inferiority that bubble up when a comparison is staring us in the face and we feel like we come up short. I also wanted to create a tonic to the cookie-cutter aesthetic that surges through all media channels; the book is a response to the 'blanding out' of unique style in order to appeal to the masses.  

I have a deep-set fascination with human behaviour and I love learning about why we do what we do. I have a degree in psychology and marketing, and I’ve always been obsessed with how we express our personality externally, through the clothes we wear and the items we corral around ourselves.  When it comes to interiors, it's the layered, creative spaces that catch my eye and hit my heart. It’s the spaces that are filled with evidence of people and a lived life that are the most valuable because those spaces can teach us about ourselves. We will feel connected and validated if we see an element of ourselves in a space, and that’s empowering and good for the soul. 

I wanted to create an interiors book that was a leveller of sorts, a book that demonstrates the fact that even if our homes look different to other homes, we all are actually are getting through each day with similar fears, desires and experiences at the core of it. For that reason, it was important for me to focus on the homeowner’s story and how their particular experiences shaped their spaces. Because the homes are real, with no camera trickery or stylists’ additions (besides the occasional vase of flowers), the story of the space is also the story of the people, and you shouldn't separate those two things.

Images by Sue Stubbs, from "Individual: Inspiration for creating a home that is uniquely your own" by Jessica Bellef; Published by Murdoch Books 2019

Available to buy online and in all good book stores