The rental abode is a slice of cottagecore design in New York City.
Inside Photographer and Florist Victoria Jane’s Whimsical Home in Brooklyn
The rental abode is a slice of cottagecore design in New York City.
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour photographer, florist, and set stylist Victoria Jane's home in Brooklyn.
In true creative person style, Victoria Jane's artistic talents are aplenty and she has embraced a multitude of creative pursuits. The photographer, florist, and set stylist currently lives in New York City creating still-life scenes for brands like Toby's Estate Coffee and Deux Cranes chocolates.
Victoria studied engineering at college before realising she wanted to pursue a career that she felt let her embrace her creativity. An opportunity arose while she was working as a part-time barista and she put her hand up to take photographs of the cafe's food for their website. "A true lesson I learnt is to always keep an open (and hopeful) mind about where your next opportunity is going to come from!" she shares with Bed Threads Journal.
Her work process is primarily intuitive. "Some of my favourite work stems from instantaneous, ‘random’ moments when I’ve spontaneously decided to shoot," she says. "If I over-think, I tend to psych myself out - so sometimes it’s better to almost blindside myself."
Her rental home feels like a slice of cottagecore-meets-retro heaven in Brooklyn and has been styled to feel as open and welcoming as possible. A rotation of floral arrangements in an eclectic range of vases can be found all throughout the abode, injecting each room with life and colour. Botanical prints and vintage furniture can also be found in each room, playing into the homely aesthetic. "I want guests to come over and to be able to enjoy the space to its fullest and relax!" she explains.
In the kitchen and dining area, barn-style hinges and timber joinery with open shelving further play into the sweet, cottage-like aesthetic of the home. Moving to the primary bedroom and you are greeted with Lavender and Lilac linen which add a whimsical touch to the space that features a pretty flower-inspired floor lamp and floral prints. "I’ve become more thoughtful with what I bring and keep in my home which allows me to choose and style with pieces that truly feel authentic to me," she shares.
We spoke to Victoria about how she's become more confident since starting her career, the most challenging lesson she's learnt so far, and how she's styled her home.
Hi Victoria! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
Hello, hello! I am a photographer, florist, and set stylist. I would say I make still-life scenes featuring botanicals, household items, fruit, veggies, and just about anything I can get my hands on!
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
The things I ‘make,’ or my output is very inspired by my mood. Visually, I like to use colour and a variety of shapes to build compositions. The scenes I shoot can, at times, seem a little chaotic and all over the place, but really, they’re all about elevating and appreciating nature’s small details - and I think that’s a good summary of me, as a person!
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
Oh gosh - great question! It has certainly been a journey! But for all its twists and turns and lack of ‘convention’, I’m so pleased to be on the path I’m now on. I went to college to study engineering, but that wasn’t for me, so I decided to drop out. I honestly felt very lost and confused but knew I had to keep myself busy somehow, so I started working in a cafe in the city.
I was working as a part-time barista, and one day I overheard someone saying that they needed someone to take some photos of the food for the website - I put my hand up to do it. After doing the shoot, I had a massive “ah-ha” moment and realized that photography is what I wanted to do. I needed to be creative.
From there, my photo journey evolved and I truly explored many mediums and topics in photography and shortly later, working for florists came along! I have always loved and adored flowers. And one day after taking a floral workshop with a friend, I went up to the florist and asked if I could intern with her. Quickly, my two passions started merging together and now I'm here, photographing, arranging, and styling.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I’m going to slightly shun convention here, and admit that I don’t really have one! Some of my favourite work stems from instantaneous, ‘random’ moments when I’ve spontaneously decided to shoot. If I over-think, I tend to psych myself out - so sometimes it’s better to almost blindside myself.
I guess I’m still developing my creative process, and I know that it would be beneficial to have a little more ‘rigour’ about the way I approach things, but sometimes I’m only in the mood to create for a brief second and I need to try and capitalise on that! I do know, however, that colour and light bring me the most inspiration - I need both! So I try to keep my apartment filled with fruits, veggies and flowers - the weirder the better! I also keep an eye out for other household items that might inspire me - vintage-y cocktail glasses, ornaments, plates and really, anything that you can think of!
Finally, something I really try to remember when ‘creating’ is that I won’t get the perfect shot right away - so I always try to keep an open mind, move things around and find different light sources. Doing that is really integral to my creative process - my big tip is to try not to get in your own way, and keep crafting!
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
Like many creative people will say, you need to give yourself the chance to take a step back from time to time and replenish your creative juice and take a break! Go to a museum, watch a film, take a walk - anything is good! Honestly, every time I've tried to force through an idea or keep working through or pushing a concept that isn’t coming together, I get so frustrated and upset with myself and ultimately, whatever I’m working on hasn’t turned out as good as I know it could have. Creating is such an emotional and mental process to go through. The ability to step away has undoubtedly allowed me to further my career. Aside from that, I’d also say keeping an open mind and saying ‘yes!’ to as much as possible.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?
Sometimes, life will take control at any moment in time, and sometimes that means you lose control. Jobs, timelines, client expectations - all of these sorts of things can throw you for a loop if you let them. Sometimes you have to relinquish control. You can try and plan, and organise until the cows come home, but sometimes the outcome you’ve hoped or planned for just isn’t in the cards. You have to be flexible.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
I think one of the best things to happen to me since I've started my career is my growth in confidence - “Old Victoria” didn’t have a lot of confidence and over the last year, I’ve accepted jobs and briefs that she wouldn’t have necessarily said yes to, whether that was because they were challenging, not my usual style, out of my comfort zone, etc. But each project has steadily allowed me to prove to myself that I am capable! And that kind of mindset goes far beyond my career, it has helped me be stronger and more confident in everyday life as well. But the other most amazing thing to happen since I started my career is the connections I've made. I’ve met and worked with so many different people, artists, and creatives from all over. It’s so inspiring to meet such beautiful souls -- they are relationships that will stay with me forever. This career can take you places if you’re open to it!
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Don't be afraid to reach out to someone with whom you’d like to work with that inspires you. The power of surrounding yourself with people who spark creativity is powerful! And really, people generally want to help and give advice - they were once in your shoes too! Also, don’t be afraid of failure. You will only grow and progress and figure out who you are creatively through failure. I’ve failed so many times, I still fail all the time, but from each failure or mess up, I learn.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
Since September 2019. Wow, where does the time go?!
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
It was all because of the yellow table in the kitchen. The apartment listing showed the space empty except for the kitchen, which had a bright yellow dining table in it. I saw it and immediately asked the realtor, “Does the space come with that table?!” When she said yes, I knew immediately this was the space.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
I'm a serial room-rearranger, constantly rearranging my space (it’s the Sagittarius in me… I need to keep moving and changing!) I’ve lost count of how many times I've re-configured my bedroom and living room, but I think it’s important! Nothing is permanent, so why not move things around? Other changes I've made include replacing the original light fixtures with lanterns and removing my cabinet doors (all renter-friendly fixes!) They’re small changes, but it is crazy how much moving your furniture around or changing a light fixture can evolve the space.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
The main question I continue to ask myself is: How do I make the space feel as open and welcoming as possible. The biggest compliment I’ve received regarding the space is how comfortable and ‘homey’ it feels. I want guests to come over and to be able to enjoy the space to its fullest and relax! And if they can get inspired themselves, that’s a total bonus!
What are your favorite pieces in the home?
My checkered rug… I have a bit of a checkered obsession… but it brings me joy! I also love my slightly weird mirror side-table. I came across it at a thrift shop in Williamsburg while I was out prop shopping for a project I was part of a few months ago. I saw it and was immediately obsessed with the reflections and the shape-- so I bought it, carried it up my stairs and almost fell backwards and got squished by it! You could say I underestimated how heavy it was! The blood, sweat, and tears to get it was 100% worth it!
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I’m currently on the hunt for a large mirror. As is my style, the weirder the better - I just want something curvy and maybe with a colorful border…?
Which is your favourite room in the house?
Definitely the living room! It’s so open and receives the most light throughout the day. I’m very, very lucky to live in this space - and there isn’t a single day that goes by where I take it for granted.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
Don’t be afraid to take your time building and styling your home. Like so many things, it’s all a process, which takes progress and time. Initially, I definitely rushed to fill my home with furniture but over the past year, I’ve slowly started replacing pieces, moving things around, swapping, selling or giving away other elements. I’ve become more thoughtful with what I bring and keep in my home which allows me to choose and style with pieces that truly feel authentic to me.
Also, don’t try to follow all the trends. For the longest time, I tried to be a “minimalist girl” and create a very neutral-toned home because it was trendy and looked so beautiful! And it is beautiful! But I've realised it’s just not my style or what brings me joy in my space. Follow your gut and focus on what makes you happy. After all, it’s your space, you're the one living in it!
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
It has already been a crazy year for work-- but I have some really fun shoots coming up with a few brands I’m excited to work with. There will be lots of colour, mixtures of textures, and playful experimentation with light! I will also be spending this summer working on some personal projects that I have been brewing in the background for a while.