MICHAEL MINNS my Rockett St George Interview

The next Extraordinary Interiors homeowner to be featured on the blog is the super talented interior designer Michael Minns! Our first ever #10MinsWith guest Michael has gone from strength to strength and his photographic location agency and filming location library: The ShootFactory is a huge success. Living in Hull, Michael took on the interiors challenge to renovate his home and documented the process on his blog at the time, 47 Park Avenue. With a lot of TLC, creativity and a little bit of Michael magic, he has transformed his home into an absolute showstopper.

rockett-st-george_extraordinary-interiors_michael-minns_6Michael’s living room oozes creativity with its colourful accessories and velvet blue sofa. As featured in Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99) Photography by Debi Treloar.

With home interiors that are bold, brave and breathtaking, we just had to sit down with this creative talent one more time, to hear more about Michael, his career and favourite RSG pieces…

rockett-st-george_extraordinary-interiors_michael-minns_1Dark walls are the perfect backdrop for this pink velvet sofa, As featured in Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99) Photography by Debi Treloar.

1. You were our very first #10MinsWith guest. How have things changed for you since the days that you wrote your very successful interiors blog, 47 Park Avenue?

I suppose the biggest and saddest change for me since the days of 47 Park Avenue was the break down of my 15-year relationship with Jonathan. The home that I was creating for us both ceases to exist in my head and heart, everything that 47 Park Avenue was and everything that it stood for changed for us both, in the words of Rose Royce “love don’t live here anymore”. Taking up great solace within my work as I work my way through the healing process, making huge changes to Shootfactory along the way, some of which you can see. New branding – new website – new style location photography – a new studio space for us the work from, employing my sister – our social media updates…and – this is just the beginning for us.

2. You run your own location agency, ShootFactory. Tell us about this exciting business venture and what inspired you to originally set it up?

I was working as an art director for a large worldwide brand when I met Jonathan, I would hire homes and studio spaces for jobs that I was working on. When things started to get serious between Jonathan and I, and we decided on buying a home with one another, I looked for spaces with the view to renting it out for film and photographic shoots. I found the Alaska Buildings in Bermondsey which was a great space, but – was in need of up updating. After a 9-month renovation process, Jonathan was offered a job which was based in Sweden, which left me in London to concentrate on my work and the launch our home within in the industry. It was pretty full on for 2 years, working long hours and travelling with my job and having to come home to clean and get the house ready for the next shoot, all this with Jonathan in and out of Sweden helping where he could. After the first 2 years of location work at the Alaska buildings, I started looking for another space to buy, again with the view to renting it out within the industry. Jonathan and I spoke about him running and managing both location houses if we were to purchase another home, with us setting up a website to promote both spaces, as Jonathan was looking to do something new and different to the work he was doing, the conversation gradually turns from us thinking small to thinking big! I had a little black book of contacts that we could use – I also had the experience and the knowledge of working from both sides of the job, client/location owner. Shootfactory was born!

rockett-st-george_extraordinary-interiors_michael-minns_4A colourful, wonderful and maximalist space! As featured in Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99) Photography by Debi Treloar.

3. You live in East Yorkshire but also have a location house in Alaska Buildings Bermondsey. Tell us about one of your ShootFactory projects?

It would have to be one of our first really big jobs, Jonathan received a call from a locations manager looking for locations for a job he was working on. Jonathan called me at work to say he had to leave to show some locations to this location Manager and someone called Madonna who was a film director! I was like Madonna – Madonna? He said no – this Madonna is a film director!?!? I was like There’s only one Madonna for FFS! So – I dropped everything and went to the first location house. Jonathan and I are talking to the location manager in a room at the front of the house when I saw a woman coming down the stairs…I’m thinking FRIG!!! I know her…where do I know her from? So – I’m preparing myself for that embarrassing moment of “ hey girl long time no see” and serving face as I try to remember who the fuck you is!!! and – how I know you!!! As she made her way over to us – it hits me! BOOM!!! It’s only the queen herself MADONNA!!! Of course, it is, that’s why I’m here….My legs buckle and I’m fighting for air and trying not to pee myself! My eyes drinking in everything as she steps closer. The location manager then looks at her and says Madonna this is Jonathan and Nigel from Shootfactory?!?!?! Nigel!!! FFS!!!

rockett-st-george_extraordinary-interiors_michael-minns_7Next level organisation, Michael’s attention to detail is second to none. As featured in Rockett St George:Extraordinary Interiors (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99) Photography by Debi Treloar.

4. Your home is the epitome of creativity and genius combined and is featured in Jane and Lucy’s first book, Extraordinary Interiors, what was the original inspiration behind your home?

Thank you! At the beginning, my first and overriding intention was to scrape out all of the pale chintzes and strip the house back to an unadorned blank canvas. I wanted black and white. You can’t go wrong with black and white It’s the perfect uncomplicated backdrop, I’ve always loved a pure black and soft white palette, its a classic colour combination. I like to combine a traditional classic aesthetic with a kind of wild abandon. I think it’s a very English trait. We don’t like things to be too perfect. There has to be an oddity or a strangeness amongst all the tradition. I wanted to reveal features. I wanted to keep the beautiful wooden doors and window frames natural and unadorned. That was as far as it went really, as aesthetics go. Structurally, and in terms of configuration, I knew that the house’s five bedrooms would need to be transformed and adapted into usable spaces to suit my lifestyle. I wanted to utilise all that space, so dressing rooms appeared together with a master-suite.

rockett-st-george_extraordinary-interiors_michael-minns_5A delightful zebra adorns the wall and is a playful and humorous feature that we just love. As featured in Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99) Photography by Debi Treloar.

5. You work incredibly hard and so it must be really important to you to have a workspace in your home that inspires you. Describe your office space and tell us how you have styled it to suit your needs?

It used to be important to me to have a space to work from at home when I blogged about the renovation work of 47 Park Avenue, not so much now. I cant remember the last time I fired up that desktop. I now spend all of the working day in our new studio space down Humber Street. I didn’t set out with a plan or idea of having a space to work from at home. But it all started with the glass-topped dining room table that I picked up from the Old Cinema in Chiswick when I got it home, I found out that I didn’t like it for the dining room, it didn’t look or feel right! So – it was moved from room to room until I found the perfect fit which was at the top of the stairs. I then picked up the industrial factory lights from Trainspotters as I wanted something the was the polar opposite in style and era to the glass dining table – I also wanted to carve out the walls with something that made the space feel like a room within a room, I knew that I wanted texture, so looked at wallpapers that could offer up the look I was seeking, but – on a trip to the antique fair at the Lincolnshire showground, I came across a guy selling wooden panels that had just been imported from Bali and he had just enough to fill both walls. Some things are just meant to be! I also painted a cork pinboard black, layered up some artwork behind the desktop screen so that it didn’t stand out and look like a home office.

6. In terms of décor, what was the first thing that you did when you moved into your East Yorkshire home?

Scrape out the wall to wall chinz.

rockett-st-george_extraordinary-interiors_michael-minns_3A characterful, well-used, paint-splattered ladder leans against the dark walls As featured in Rockett St George:Extraordinary Interiors (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99) Photography by Debi Treloar.

7. What/ Where / Who inspires you?

I get inspiration and inspired anywhere and nowhere, I’m a very visual person so, I tend to see things that other people may miss or cant see – seeing one small thing can set me off! I’ll then live it – breath it – losoe sleep and obsess over it.

8. For someone who is looking to inject a little personality into their home, what would be your top piece of advice?

You need to have one! A personality that is – that’s number one on the list. ( joking ) Take little pieces from here and there think about how it would work for you, or if it could even work for you. Too much colour – texture – detail – layering – statements pieces, I find to be overwhelming. Would you really leave the house wearing a multicolour outfit of different textures and patterns with a massive hat! 6 necklaces and 20 bangles? No! ( but – if you do! all power to you ). Your home for me is the same, its a reflection of who you are and what you are about. So keep your colour palette to a minimum, make sure they complement one another, add one or two statement pieces, three at a push anything more and they’ll all be fighting for your attention ( information overload ) the same with texture and layering. If all else fails, just buy the things you love and surround yourself with it – that should make you happy and remember it’s only paint at the end of the day!

rockett-st-george_extraordinary-interiors_michael-minns_2A bath tub that we’d like to spend hours in takes centre stage in Michael’s bedroom. As featured in Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99) Photography by Debi Treloar.

9. What is next for ShootFactory?

I’ve huge plans for Shootfactory moving forward and I’m going to keep them to myself. You’ll just have to keep watching. But – I’m very excited by them.

10. Finally, name three new RSG products that you love?

minns_-3-fave-rsg-productsHandmade Artisan Wall Hanging – BlackOrnate Candle Chandelier | Distressed Black Display Cabinet with Botanical Lining

Quick Fire Questions
1. My ideal day would be spent….  waking up at home in Mykonos next to someone that loves and respects me, someone who is open, honest and faithful! Maybe with a little George Michael playing in the background! ( Listen without prejudice ).Then heading out to Sketch in London for brunch with friends, busting full on Gucci realness, popping along to the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican, before dropping it like it hot on rue Saint Honore Paris. Lunchtime liposuction and nose job! Maybe some new teeth because mine look like they’re made of wood! An early evening stroll with my dogs on Champagne Beach in the Seychelles, then bath time with my nephews, tucking them into bed with a bedtime story. Dinner with my family at Selene Santorini wearing full-on Valentino couture. Going all out gay in black leather hot pants and white Adidas gazelle trainers, dancing hard to Katy Perry Swish Swish bish with my significant other on top of The Standard New York until the early hours of the morning watching the sun rise over the Hudson. Then home to bed for some spooning. Amen to that. I know it’s a physical impossibility and that I’m never going to be Mariah Carey, so – maybe something a little bit more vanilla.
2. If I could spend one day with one person (dead or alive) it would be… How do you decide!?!? Someone from ancient Egypt! Mary, Joseph!?!? Yeezus ( Kanye post-meltdown ) So -many questions. I don’t know- Bryan boy – Kate Moss – Iris Apfel – Princess Dina – Donald trump!
3. My dream holiday would be… Spent sailing around the Greek islands and the Amalfi Coast on a yacht with huge white sails, the wind blowing through my hair the dogs at my feet, a wardrobe full of banging couture gowns and diamond encrusted tiaras. With my friends and family by my side.
4. My guilty pleasure is… A packet of fags, 20 Marlboro gold…a bottle of Hendricks and a massive cucumber, a big bag of Rowntree’s fruit gums, a grey cashmere onesie with a pair of Ugg boots and the real housewife’s of New York.
5. The last film I saw was… Mommie Dearest “Don’t fuck with me fellas”
6. My favourite book is… A coffee table book given to me by a lifelong and very good friend/family back in the early 90’s, when I was a half-naked, druggy -clueless – genderless – mess with a bad attitude and an eating disorder “Kate”
7. My go-to track is… So – many, it really depends upon which one my personalities is most dominant, what level my mood is on and what I’m doing at the time! But – my anthem at the min seems to believe Solange Knowles “Losing You”.
8. My signature dish is … Homemade Gnocchi with fresh Basil Pesto, toasted pine nuts and maybe a rocket and parmesan salad if I can be arsed.
9. My superpower would be… To fly.
10. The three things I can’t live without are… Oxygen food and water.


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