She goes by the moniker Style Structure, but Helen-Jayne Driscoll’s life is perpetually in motion. In the past six months alone, the UK photographer has travelled from her home in Wales to Sydney, Byron Bay, Mallorca, New York and Portugal, not to mention fashion weeks in London and Paris. “I hardly get jet lag now, so that's a benefit of travelling a lot!” she laughs.
When she is at home, Driscoll’s one-bedroom apartment in the centre of Cardiff is an oasis of calm. This is partly due to her signature colour palette of caramel, cream and taupe – which applies as much to her interiors as it does to her wardrobe – but it’s also a by-product of all that travel. Having moved back to the UK only 18 months ago after an extended stint living in Australia, Driscoll is taking her time to assemble her home from scratch, enjoying the process of slowly building a collection of pieces with which to surround herself.
“When I moved back to the UK 18 months ago, I had a vision of bringing back parts of Australia with me,” Driscoll recalls. “I've always been drawn to neutrals in the home and in my wardrobe, so white and wood were a good base. Over time, I’ve added in some warm-coloured prints. The apartment I rent came furnished, so I've had to work around some of the pieces already in the space.”
Fittingly, her favourite elements are also structural ones: “I fell in love with the high ceilings and the south-facing windows, which allow me to get sunlight for most of the day.”
You’ve split your time as a creative between the UK and Sydney. How has your interiors aesthetic changed between the two locations, and how has it stayed consistent?
When I lived permanently in Sydney, my home style was very similar, but I would say it's developed slightly with notes from Europe. When I head back to Sydney, I try to make the most of staying at hotels I really want to capture for my portfolio, so don't have the same base every visit. Next year I’m hoping to spend three months in Sydney, so I will definitely look for an apartment over that time, where I can get creative and capture content in my space. I’m hoping to be based in Paddington or Bondi; I miss the eastern suburbs, it was the first place I lived when I moved to Sydney five years ago.
You obviously travel a lot, is it important to make your home a sanctuary for you to come back to?
The weeks I have no travel planned are actually some of my favourites! I love spending time here; I always thought I'd work from cafes when moving back to the UK but I've never actually done that, as I love working from my space. I’m also a bit of a clean freak, so always make sure I clean and change my bedding before leaving so I come back to a tidy home.
What time of day do you most enjoy being in your home?
I'd have to say the last couple of hours of daylight. In the summer months the sun can be a bit intense, but in the evenings I open my windows wide and let a little bit of golden light play on one of the walls. I also try to not work in the evenings and have a 9–5pm schedule as best I can, so evenings are for free time and to relax in the space.
What are some of your most treasured objects?
As I only started from scratch 18 months ago, I don't have too many items that are treasured just yet. I really like the artwork I have, and hope to print some of my own photography soon, so I’m sure I’ll treasure those. I also bought a vintage gold mirror for my bedroom not long ago, and I'd say that's the favourite part of my bedroom. I don't want to collect too many items before buying a property as it might not fit in the space and I might change my taste a little by then.
Can you share the highlights from your recent trip to Mallorca?
I’ve been to Mallorca three times, but every time I try to visit new places. I hired a car on this trip as I like to shoot my content at sunrise. I stayed in the Palma beach region but one of my favourite spots was down the south of the island in a place called Calo des Moro. The water is aqua and the rocks are a burned-orange colour. It took about an hour to drive there and was so worth it. I also found a really cute cafe called La Molienda. I’m actually considering spending a month in Mallorca next year; I lived in Spain for a year in my early 20s, so it would be great to go back and practice my Spanish!
How do you like to bring mementos or souvenirs of your travel into your home?
I’ve started to collect mugs from where I visit. I bought a brown clay mug from the Byron Bay markets in May and I use it every day for my morning coffee. I also like buying fashion magazines from different countries. I like to have them as coffee table books, and I think it's nice to pull inspiration from places other than Instagram.
Are there any specific scents or notes that you connect with your travels?
The first candle I ever had from LUMIRA was Tunisian Mint Tea, and it always takes me back to Sydney! The scent of oud also feels familiar, as I always travel through the Middle East on my way to Sydney and the women always have the best smelling oud perfumes. And rose reminds me of my best friend Sarah who I grew up with – we used to love that scent when we were both students.
How do you like to use scent in your home?
In winter, I lean towards woody or oud notes (and always love a Christmas candle!), whereas in summer, I prefer fig, citrus and rose scents. I try not to have too many different notes as the space isn't big and I don't want to overwhelm it. I have a candle burning the majority of the day. I like to have one next to my laptop while I’m working, and then one burning in the evenings while I’m watching TV.
Which products from the Lumira range are you most enjoying, and why?
My favourite summer scents have been Sirocco and Sicilian Citrus. I also love the perfume oils and they’re great for travel. I also find them a lot stronger in scent on warmer days. Tuscan Fig is my go-to for summer, and in winter I will change to Cuban Tobacco.
What are you most looking forward to for the rest of this year?
I’ve booked Copenhagen for Fashion Week in January – I’m starting to plan travel in advance over last minute! I love to moodboard before leaving, and each place is so different. I'm also excited to see where the year takes me creatively. Christmas is my favourite time of year so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into festive campaigns!
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Driscoll’s favourite scents for the home and for the self
Written by Michelle Bateman