Specialising in interiors, travel, food, lifestyle and thought pieces, Emma J Page is a journalist, editor and commissioning editor. She has a prolific freelance career, writing for publications including Homes & Gardens, The Times Magazine, Living etc, House & Garden, The World of Interiors, Architectural Digest, The Telegraph Magazine and Evening Standard among others. An influential voice among a number of genres, she regularly writes trends pieces, in-depth profiles, homes stories and interiors news. Her first book, London Shopfronts, in collaboration with photographer Rachael Smith, was published in 2021 by Hoxton Mini Press and is now in its second edition. Her second book, London Interiors, was published in 2023.

Grab a cuppa, find a comfy chair and enjoy this wonderful interview about Emma's home, her inspiration and her books.

Emma J Page

"We are a cosmopolitan and rebellious city and – just like in fashion – that sensibility shows up in our homes." 

Where do you live?

At the moment, I divide my time pretty much equally between London and the Amalfi Coast, where my boyfriend lives. Here in Minori, I rent the same flat in a palazzo by the sea each winter. Being a rental, there aren’t many great changes I can make to it, but I’m lucky in that it’s neutral and that it has high domed ceilings and French windows opening onto little wrought iron balconies. I add small accessories such as books, art, ceramics, candles and foliage to make it feel like home. In London, I live in Wandsworth, in an apartment overlooking the Thames. It’s compact and doesn’t have many exciting features so I have to work harder, decoratively speaking, to add character. But it feels cosy and comfortable. 

Does living in Italy either inspire what you write or how you make your own home look?

Both! In terms of my home, I find my taste changes a little when I’m in Italy. There’s a rich tradition of ceramic making on the coast and I tap into it here, where more colourful cups, bowls and platters seem to suit Mediterranean interiors better than my small London apartment. It’s also easy to forage here, so there are often big arrangements of olive or beech branches on my dining table. Italy has taught me to live more simply by necessity – because there’s only so much I can carry with me each time I travel back and forth. That said, my London life also influences my home in Italy – I tend to favour quieter pieces and relatively uncluttered spaces, a sensibility which is less common on the Amalfi coast. I’m also a big fan of soft, layered lighting and candles, both of which are less considered in this part of the world, perhaps because everything is centred towards outdoor living. So there’s a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, I hope! In terms of writing, Italy cannot fail to inspire. I think being in nature has made my writing more thoughtful and has also influenced my tendency to encourage slower living and to make informed decorative choices with longevity in mind.

Country house with flowers and tablescape

Which of the interior trends for this year excite you the most and which are you not so keen on?

I do try to steer away from trends, though of course as a journalist, it’s my job to seek out the new and innovative, so there’s a fine line to tread. I’m always excited by craftsmanship or any piece that shows the hand of its maker. Also, new ways of using well-known materials so that a tension is created between high and low, utility and decoration, whether a plaster wall light or a scalloped jute rug. As for trends I’m less keen on, I’ve never been a big fan of a feature wall or ceramic flooring in living rooms or hallways.

Is there anything from last year that you are glad to see the back of?

None that really spring to mind apart from perhaps Granny Chic – that particular blend of nostalgia and modern design didn’t really float my boat.

Where do you find inspiration for your own home?

I think for me, like for many who write about or work in design, the problem is whittling down influences – there is so much inspiration out there, from Instagram and Pinterest to magazines and coffee table books, design fairs, museums, nature, galleries… I tend to save images I love on Instagram and I’ll go back and visit them as a whole and see what the overarching themes are. Scrolling through now, it seems I have a thing for Parisian-style galley kitchens, bespoke joinery, simple, graphic shapes, oak flooring and natural textures. Budget doesn’t always allow for all those elements in my own home, but I try to buy once and buy well when it comes to bigger ticket items. I have a walnut dining table by Gavin Brothers that I saved up to buy three or four years ago and it brings me joy every day.

Inside Emma J Page

What has been one of your most memorable projects/job?

I don’t think there’s necessarily one, but writing about design, interiors and travel in general feels joyful for me. There are elements of my job that bring me particular pleasure: one is finding new talents and different voices in the industry that I can spotlight. Another is some of the branding work that I do behind the scenes both for interior designers and bigger companies – I’m always happy to see them succeed and if I know I’ve helped in even the smallest way, that brings me pleasure.

And of course, on a personal note, having two books published were milestone moments for me, which I’m extremely grateful for. Now I want to write a third!

Tell us about your most recent book London Interiors – what did you enjoy about it and did you take away inspiration from any of them?

The idea behind the book was to show the multiple design influences that converge in London’s homes. We are a cosmopolitan and rebellious city and – just like in fashion – that sensibility shows up in our homes. Aside from writing the book, I loved curating it, considering every image that went into it and how to give the book visual flow and dynamism. I spent many years creating content for interiors magazines in-house, and London Interiors gave me the opportunity to do the same, but in a more permanent format. I took inspiration from every home featured, be it through colour, layout or furniture arrangement. I love the creativity of city dwellers – especially Londoners.

Did you have a favourite home when writing London Interiors?

Elements of all of them combine to create a favourite for me, from the classic Georgian proportions of John Nash house on the edge of Regent’s Park to a former Southeast London dairy with a hidden, Parisian-inspired front garden.

Inside Emma J Page

"I’ve never been a big fan of a feature wall or ceramic flooring in living rooms or hallways."

Would you say you have a style? If so, what is it?

I think my style naturally veers towards the understated, but that said, I’ve learnt to embrace a bit more colour and pattern in recent years and I’ve realised that to create confident, cohesive interiors, you can’t be half-hearted. I veer towards warm interiors that feature simple silhouettes and fairly graphic lines; I love a vintage exhibition, film or food print, especially from the 40s and 50s and I enjoy an easy marriage of old and new. Pieces that have a dual function of utility and decoration are the ones I treasure most – a silver spoon that I’ve had for years to make tea with whether in London or Italy; a vintage match striker; bowls from Astier de Villate which look lovely on a console but are also good to eat breakfast from. I like the things that I see and touch every day to feel special.

Inside home of Emma J Page

Where do you find inspiration for your features?

I’m a really curious person by nature so I think seeing how other people curate their spaces, keeping an eye on emerging designers and following makers all help feed into feature ideas. I’ve also built up a lovely network of colleagues over the years, comprising PRs and designers (many of whom I’m proud to call friends) who are incredibly generous and take the time to keep me in the loop. But inspiration can come from anywhere, including films, nature, restaurants and hotels. 

Have you got a ‘bucket list’ project or feature you would love to write?

I think having a regular column in a newspaper or magazine with an emphasis on creating easy style in the home would be lovely. I also think it would be great capitalise on my time in Italy, maybe with a third book or as a correspondent in some form or another. 

Easter table Emma J Page

What would be your tips for creating a stylish/beautiful interior?

I think any interior that is brave enough to really show the personality of its inhabitants is beautiful. For me, that means incorporating pieces and colours that you love, regardless of whether they are perceived to be in fashion or not. You are the one who lives in your home and it must appeal to you and no one else. That said, I have learnt over time that there are some tweaks that make my own interiors more comfortable: I like to layer schemes but also allow breathing space so that objects can be appreciated better (Chanel’s advice to take off the last piece of jewellery that you put on also works well in the home I find – removing a piece or two can often make my interiors feel fresher); layered, soft lighting on dimmer switches instead of overhead is an instant game changer, along with warm white bulbs; art and books are the backbone of a scheme to me; good linens give a feeling of luxury. And a subtle hit of dark red or burgundy helps to anchor a scheme – whether on a trim or even via a dinner candle or two.

If you could imagine your perfect home/interior, what would it look like?

That’s something I think about nearly every day! The broad brushstrokes: a period apartment, possibly in London, possibly in Italy; parquet floors; cool marble countertops; plenty of well-crafted storage; floor-to-ceiling bookshelves perhaps painted in powder blue; a striped cocktail chair with contrasting piping; nickel handleware and tapware; a generous desk laden with books and flowers; plenty of artwork and a well-planted balcony or terrace where I can start the day with a cup of tea. 

As you can see, I haven’t given it much thought at all! 

Emma J Page

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February 27, 2024 — Kate Reed