Interview: Heather Cameron
Advice from a West Coast domestic maven.
Heather Cameron pretty much does it all: she's a magazine stylist, story producer, organic farmer, author and photographer. She's worked in the magazine industry for over a decade (including stories for House & Home), and she shoots a large percentage of her stories on her organic farm outside Vancouver, B.C. She styled and photographed her first book, Farm Fresh Recipes, with her then four year-old daughter Lily, proving there isn't much this mother can't tackle. We spoke to her about how she makes "picture perfect" a reality.
House & Home: You seem to have created such an idyllic life on Missing Goat Farm. Do you have a philosophy that guides you?
Heather Cameron: I suppose my philosophy has been to let my farm guide my life... and it has. It started my styling and story producing career when a magazine did a shoot here 13 years ago. Then my organic jam and farm career followed which then lead to the being offered a book deal. Now, I've come back full circle to magazines again... focusing on producing lifestyle stories which is my absolute favourite thing to do.
H&H: I am sure many readers fantasize about doing some of the work you do so well. Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to get into styling?
HC: My advice would be to focus on your strengths — what are you really really good at? Is it styling modern homes or finding the perfect accessory, food stories, propping? Find it and excel at it – become known for it. Then come to terms with what you can't do and learn to say no to those jobs. I spent years torturing myself trying to style modern or mid-century homes. I absolutely suck at it and simply won't do them now. I don't like my work at the end of the day, and it's not worth the mental struggle.
H&H: Do you have any styling tips that readers can do in their own homes to make them "Heather Cameron" pretty?
HC: I really just believe that mixing things you love will always make you smile. I have paintings from my father who is an artist alongside finger paintings by my daughter when she was 4. I have flea market fabrics stretched on canvas, and bowling pin displays that I found one day at a vintage market. I never decorate my home with re-sale in mind. I decorate it to make it fun and enjoyable to be in each day.
H&H: What's your favourite, go-to recipes from Farm Fresh Recipes? Is there a type of food that's a staple in your kitchen (ie. fresh fruit, homemade bread?)
HC: That book is full of food that we really do eat week after week. We always make the tomato soup and the chicken kale soup — but we don't add the chicken anymore as my 5-year-old daughter has declared herself a vegetarian! It's still really awesome without the chicken! The best 'treat' would have to be the Damn Brownies (we have the recipe here, as well as two others from her cookbook). I always have kale in my kitchen and garden — in the fall and winter I have a huge crop. I LOVE kale.
H&H: Is there a new trend you are embracing or some new gadget for the home that you are particularly loving right now?
HC: I've never really gone for gadgets. I prefer simple old fashioned methods that our grandparents used. Bread, pasta, pie...even Jell-O. I make it from scratch. I guess my trend is going backwards instead of forwards. It works for me.
Browse more inspiring West Coast homes in our Best of The West gallery.