There are some women who make family home life look impossibly elegant. There are others who run their dream business from their kitchen table. Meet Lisa Mehydene, who does both...
As the founder of the beautifully curated online homewares store, edit58, Mehydene manages to mix business with her pleasures of interiors, style and travel alongside family life in London. It was after leaving a career in advertising, the expat life, and becoming a mother to twins, that Mehydene launched edit58. “I was looking for an ‘out’ from my career in advertising and falling pregnant with twins was the perfect time to say goodbye,” she reflects. “I had spent the previous 10+ years climbing the ladder and had reached board level. After having the twins, I just knew I couldn’t go back to that stressful world. I freelanced for a brief period and then we decided to move back to the UK. I knew that with a move home I could start my own business.” The stylish mother’s beautiful south-west London home she shares with her husband and twins George and Milla, aged five, reveals her sentimental side as well as her stylist’s eye – a combination that creates a stunning yet inviting and highly livable home. Cue whitewashed wooden floors, colourful Moroccan rugs, gallery walls with family photos, beautiful antiques, touches of whimsy and the most delightfully decorated children’s bedrooms. Through her glorious Instagram feed @edit58, Lisa projects a lighthearted approach to juggling business with motherhood, with glimpses of her gorgeous home, inspiring you to create your own beautiful corner of the world alongside the sometimes monotonous and often chaotic rhythm of daily family life. Read on to discover more about the chic, creative and clever Mehydene and her inspiration and impetus to launch edit58, thoughts on career and motherhood. We’ve also uncovered some brilliant home decorating tips from the woman who constantly proves family life can also be a stylish life. Words: Emily Armstrong | Photography: Lauren Michelle
What has motherhood taught you?
Apart from teaching me that I’m not quite as patient as I thought I was?! I would say motherhood has taught me that it’s not always possible to be in control. I now have two beings in my world that I love with all my heart, but who I can’t be with for every hour of the day. You have to let go, let them be. And, even when I am with them, sometimes ‘control’ is lacking!
What has been the most challenging part of motherhood and how have you overcome any challenges?
For me, I would say that going from a couple to a family of four overnight was the biggest challenge. Our life changed significantly. We became less spontaneous. We had less time to give over to friends and a social life. To just do whatever we felt like on a whim. Luckily, we were in a place in our lives where we were open to this change and you soon learn to adapt.
Can you tell about starting edit58 at your kitchen table over coffee with a friend. Take us through that moment…
I had been considering starting my own business for quite some time. In January 2015, once we had moved home and settled into life in the UK, I really wanted to get the ball rolling. There was a whole new year stretched out ahead and I felt ready. I told my friend, Jon, that I wanted to open an online interiors shop with a really tight edit of products. On this particular day, we were catching up around my kitchen table and we were trying to come up with the name for the business. I was really struggling. Nothing was grabbing me, and if it was – then the domain name wasn’t available to buy. I wanted the word ‘edit’ to be in the name as it so accurately describes the curated offering, but outside of that I was stuck. Jon had a lightbulb moment, pair ‘edit’ with a meaningful number to create a standout brand name that would be easy to recall. 58 is our house number, and it had a good ring to it – so it seemed like as good a number as any. edit58 was born… and fittingly it was a home birth! I knew from the very conception of the business idea that I wanted to just be online and which category of homewares I wanted to stock. I’ve always loved rugs and had them throughout my homes – and I really felt there was a gap in the market for reasonably priced, one of a kind, vintage rugs. Baskets was another no brainer as I have always been a huge fan and love their versatility. Add to that cushions, blankets and wall-hangings and that was the launch edit. Since then we have added prints, wire words, paper – mâché animal heads and our range of ‘Atelier58’ candles. All items I love and have in my own home.
Can you tell us about your career as an advertising director. What inspired the move into interiors?
From about the age of 16, I knew I wanted to work in the advertising world. It seemed glamorous and fun and the perfect way to merge my love of creative with the business side of my brain. While at university I did a work placement for six months at an agency and this cemented my career thinking. After graduation, I was lucky enough to be accepted onto a grad scheme at one of the large ad agencies working on a diverse range of clients (everything from an alcohol brand to charities). I stayed for seven years, only leaving to move overseas. I continued my career in both Dubai and Singapore.
Did your career change after you became a mother? Were you more or less ambitious/determined?
If I’m honest, I was looking for an ‘out’ from my career in advertising and falling pregnant with twins was the perfect time to say goodbye. I had spent the previous 10+ years climbing the ladder and had reached board level. I thought it was what I wanted but the more senior I became, the further away I was from what I most loved about the industry in the first place – being close to the creative product/process. After having the twins I just knew I couldn’t go back to that stressful world. I freelanced for a brief period and then we decided to move back to the UK, and so I knew that with a move home I could start my own business. Motherhood didn’t make me more or less ambitious, it simply highlighted that if I was to spend time away from my children it had to be for something worthwhile and that I was passionate about. I realise not everyone is in a position to be able to have that choice – so I’m forever grateful to my husband for saying ‘go for it’ and for supporting our family while I established edit58.
Can you tell us about you time spent living in Dubai and Singapore – how would you describe expat life?
We moved from London to Dubai in 2007 (my boyfriend at the time, now husband, transferred with his job). It was not a place I had even wanted to go to on holiday, so moving there was a significant step for me. I was inconsolable at first. But after a few weeks I had started working at Young & Rubican on the Harvey Nichols account and I made some great friends (one who is, to this day, one of my best friends, despite the fact we never see each other!) – so before I knew it my days were simply like any other in London, just with a warmer backdrop! Living overseas and away from family/close friends really does intensify your relationships with those around you. I realised that my partner was most definitely the one for me and new friendships I made developed quickly as you rely so much on each other when you have no family support network to fall back on. It also made me realise that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. Moving to a new country, setting up home, sorting out all the life admin that that entails (bank accounts, visa’s, work permits… the list goes on), finding a new job, creating a social circle – it’s no mean feat. But you get on with it and suddenly one day you stop and look around and realise that you’ve established yourself in a new place… and are happy. You learn a lot about yourself too – and for me a positive was realising how resilient I actually am. My confidence grew. I now don’t have any qualms about being in a situation with people I don’t know and having to put myself ‘out there’. Expat life was great training for starting my own business. The plan was to live in Dubai for two years and then move back to London, but we didn’t want to return! So we stayed in Dubai a little longer and then moved to Singapore in 2010. Singapore was a different expat experience compared to Dubai. Dubai was very much a party place – when not at work we would always be out eating/drinking with friends. In Singapore, we knew we wanted to start a family and the general vibe of the place was much more family-friendly. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still a lot of having fun to be had, but we certainly noticed a step change, if only in ourselves. We had our twins in 2011 and life in Singapore with young children is really quite easy, so that was an added bonus, particularly as we had two babies (and no family around!). We had a wonderful household helper and a brilliant set of supportive friends – and expat life meant that we spent our days outdoors/by the pool/in parks etc. I didn’t appreciate how lucky we were and would often complain of being ‘bored’. I suppose while I loved looking after Milla and George – I missed working and the days did feel a little monotonous at times. We were ready to come home. In June 2014 we left expat life behind. Looking back, I’m just so pleased we took that step in 2007 to move abroad and experience living/working in other countries. It was such a positive period of my life and one which I will always remember fondly. Most importantly, this period saw us get married, travel extensively, brought us wonderful life-long friends and our two children.
How do you approach the interior of a family home?
I really don’t think a family home needs to differ too much from that of a home without children. We certainly didn’t do too much ‘child-proofing’ in our home. Yes, breakable things were moved a little higher when they were in the ‘into everything’ stage and danger was minimised (plugs/stairs etc) but otherwise I think it’s good for children to grow up in a home learning to respect items and look after things. I’m certainly not precious about most of our belongings, but the children know not to play with some things and I’m quite strict about always eating at the table or taking shoes off etc. In terms of decorating a family home, I think it’s important to make it feel comfortable while not having to sacrifice on style. A home should feel like a home. Based on that, to me, a room needs layers – so I take into account the space, what the room will be used for and by whom. Furniture can be kept simple, but I like vintage pieces mainly as I like that they have a story to tell. I then like to add texture with rugs, cushions, blankets, wall hangings and art. They really help to soften a room, make it warm and cosy, and add visual interest (I like the eye to travel! I’m a big fan of creating little ‘vignettes’ in rooms). Children’s rooms – I like to keep the wall colour fairly neutral and use toys, artworks and books to provide an injection of colour. I try to make even the mundane parts of a child’s room look good by styling them up. I put all daughter’s best shoes on display on a tray underneath her wardrobe. Nice little toys go under plastic cloches (from Tiger), beautiful vintage toys I’ve picked up along the way (that get played with, don’t worry!) are on display on cabinets. Hair bows and bands go into old Bonne Maman jam jars. In my son’s room, we use a cheap Ikea PS white cabinet to stash his more unsightly bits, alongside vintage suitcases to store the never-ending racetrack and car paraphernalia. It’s possible to make all the kiddy clutter look good if you think about it.
“ Motherhood didn’t make me more or less ambitious, it simply highlighted that if I was to spend time away from my children it had to be for something worthwhile and that I was passionate about ”
What are your top three tips for creating a beautiful family home?
1. Storage! Give everything a place and be creative with storage solutions. Our home doesn’t have much inbuilt storage so we utilise everything from baskets, shelving, vintage trunks, apothecary units etc to put things away, while the storage itself looks pretty and interesting. 2. Rugs – use rugs in your home to create texture and add cosiness. Use them to zone off spaces for different uses. Add them in places where you might not think they could work – like the kitchen or bathroom. They really do have the ability to change the feel of a room, pull it together and make it look special. Plus you can move rugs around from room to room so they are hugely versatile. 3. Make it personal – a house suddenly feels like a family home when you fill it with mementoes from your travels, little notes from friends, bits your children have made for you etc. It really can be anything – but it will make your space special and unique to you and it’s virtually free to do.
Where do you source homewares from? Where are your favourite shops?
Anywhere and everywhere! I always say my mantra for my own home is much like dressing myself. I like to mix high street finds with vintage and designer. My favourite vintage market is Sunbury Antiques. It’s close to my home and packed full of great treasures. It’s my favourite way to spend an (early!) morning. Etsy – I trawl it for little bits from around the globe. Retrouvious – some of the big items in my home are from this brilliant salvage firm. Zara Home/Zara Kids – don’t overlook this high street favourite for great tableware/glassware, linens and children’s room décor. The Conran Shop – I don’t purchase very much as it’s generally out of my price range (I am partial to their stationery though!) but it’s such an inspiring place to visit. Consistently the best visual merchandising around. Museum shops – always great for postcards, coffee table books and little treasures. My husband berates me for always wanting to go in the museum shop before even looking around at the exhibits!
What are your favourite family activities in London?
I love raising our children in London. There’s so much to do and so many great experiences to be had. I find it strange when people say they’re moving out of London for their children… where can you live that has such a diverse range of things on offer? There’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather live. Our favourite family weekend activity is to visit one of London’s markets; Broadway, Maltby Sreet, Columbia Road etc… there’s nothing nicer than a mooch around while filling up a basket with treats (be that flowers/food/vintage bits and bobs…). My husband is a keen cook, so he purchases tasty treats that we devour once at home. We all get something out of the experience and it’s so nice to get under the skin of a different part of London each time whilst also supporting independent producers and local communities. We spend A LOT of time in London parks and not a weekend goes by that we are not in one of them. Our favourites are Richmond Park, Battersea Park and Regent’s Park. The children get their fill of running around in the open space/playgrounds – while we get to take in the beauty of the surroundings. We love going to Kenwood House at Hampstead Heath (we often meet my parents there). On the first and last Sunday of each month they hold family activities which are great fun (crafting/story-telling etc) plus it’s the most wonderful vantage point of London. We are also ZSL members so regularly go to London Zoo so the children can get their fill of their favourite animals. We tend to combine this with a walk to the top of Primrose Hill and Sunday lunch in one of the lovely pubs in the area. We try to make the most of the range of brilliant museums in the capital. We’ve recently visited the new Design Museum (again they hold great workshops for children), John Soame Museum, Tate Modern and The Natural History Museum (again!). Perfect winter weekend hide-outs!
How do you keep your house in order/tidy with children?
I do get asked this a lot and the honest truth is that I’m no different to anyone else. I do that mad post bedtime clean up – where I frantically throw everything into the hundreds of baskets we have at home and curse how much Lego they have. It has been easier to keep the house tidy since they started school. Our days are more structured now so I try to encourage them to do colouring and reading before school (they are early risers, so we have the time!) so the house isn’t a complete mess by the time we leave in the morning. After school, they tend to play in their bedrooms and I’ve designed these in such a way that everything has a place. It’s much easier to encourage them (I’m not saying I’m successful at this!) to put away their own toys if they know where things ‘live’. Our embroidered mini baskets are great for this; they can put their ‘cars’ ‘dolls’ ‘trains’ ‘dino’s’ away in the designated basket – and the room still looks stylish despite the plastic. Their rooms are also full of other storage solutions that look pretty, but do a great job of keeping the place tidy; vintage suitcases, a vintage pram (for my daughter’s books). I’m also a big fan of picture shelves to create an ever evolving ‘gallery’ of their current favourite things; books, photos, letters/cards from family and friends, little treasures. It makes for a lovely personal edit of things that are easily accessible and they can curate it themselves.
Which women in business do you admire?
Natalie Massenet – I admire her hugely for founding Net-A-Porter and changing the way we shop for fashion. She created a beautiful brand, a strong (female led) workforce and did so with passion, determination and style – all whilst raising a family.
What have been some of your biggest career highlights?
In my ‘new’ career as founder and creative director of edit58, my career highlight has been seeing edit58 named in Elle Decor Country in their directory of ‘best interiors brands/shops.’ It’s a publication which I personally love and to see our brand named alongside some of my absolute favourites (Pentreath & Hall, The New Craftsmen, Labour & Wait…) was such a ‘moment’. I also get a huge thrill each and every time I see a picture of a piece of edit58 in someone’s home! I love knowing where our items go to and seeing how clients incorporate them into their space. Every order means something.
Do you focus on or follow interior trends? How would you describe your style?
I’m not an avid follower of interior trends, if I’m honest. It doesn’t matter to me what the latest ‘in’ colour is, or what metal we should all be channelling in our homes! With fashion, I love to inject some trends, but I find with interiors I like a certain look and that seems to transcend trends. I’m not saying don’t follow trends – but I’d recommend you do so with accessories/the small bits in your home; don’t paint every wall dark blue because it’s having a moment, or invest in a pink sofa just because that’s the current ‘it’ item. These things are expensive and you have to live with them for a long time – so I’d say go with what you really love, not what’s in fashion. I describe my interior style as traditional with an eclectic twist. As I’ve said, my decorating philosophy is to mix high street, vintage and designer pieces, much like you would with your wardrobe. For me, one look head to toe doesn’t work and the same applies in the home. This mix gives a home texture and interest. I love to surround myself with vintage pieces that tell a story and items that I’ve brought back from our travels. The house is filled with things that remind us of places we’ve been, people we know and experiences we’ve had. I love homes where the pieces on display give a true sense of the people living there and the things they love. I hope that’s what people get when they visit us.
How do you juggle motherhood with work – what are your time management tips?
Like all mothers, I simply do my best and hope for the best! Our children started school this past September and so that has helped massively in that they have somewhere to be from 9-3pm every weekday! I then utilise the wonderful breakfast and after school clubs when I need to. My husband is also fully hands-on and plays an equal role in parenting, so he does as much as he can too. So together we muddle on through! Starting edit58 was very much about being able to be present for the children, and finding that elusive work/life balance that we are all striving for. I love being able to drop them to school and pick them up every day and then have the post school time with them (which, admittedly, is spent dashing to clubs with me screaming if they have their kit! Buy hey, at least it’s me screaming at them, I suppose!) I do work in the evenings as I find I’m quite productive at this time. Sofa, laptop, glass of wine – I reply to emails, talk to my team of suppliers and update the website. I love what I do so working into the evening doesn’t feel like work. But I am trying to get better at not using this time for edit58, so I can ‘log off’ and spend quality time with my husband (and books/magazines!).
Can you name three Instagram accounts we should follow now…
Minford Journal (@minford_journal) – Interior stylist/art director, Twig Hutchinson, has launched this wonderful interiors and lifestyle journal for grown-ups and mini’s. I adore Twig’s aesthetic and always want to buy everything she recommends! BigJon (@atelierbigjon) – My ‘creative husband’ as I call him and the co-creator of our ‘Atelier58’ candle range. Jon has the most brilliant eye and regularly posts his current design inspirations alongside travel, food and interiors. Amandabrooks (@amandabrooks) – Super stylish writer Amanda Brooks gives us a glimpse into her beautiful Costwolds home and life through her Instagram. I love everything about her cottage, and particularly the old world charm of the interior aesthetic. It’s total escapism and my dream cottage for ‘when I grow up’…
What makes you feel stressed?
A long ‘to-do’ list and no bread in the house.
Lisa’s little list of loves:
Spring flowers – my favourite time of year. I’m filling the house with daffs, hyacinths and tulips. Cheap and so very cheery. Holiday planning – we are off to New York and Italy this year and I love reading up on places to go and things to see. Friends purchased us the ‘Lost In’ Guides and these are my current bedtime reading. Such great guidebooks that seem to get under the skin of a destination. The Voice – I know. It’s my guilty pleasure. But I do love Tom Jones and that little twitch he does when he’s excited! Lighter evenings – I can literally see summer days in the garden on the horizon. Al fresco dining (and a glass or two of rose wine) is a favourite! OMY Wall murals – These keep the children entertained for hours and its something they can do together. They’re currently colouring in the ‘New York’ one in preparation for our trip there. Food Assembly – a community of local food producers who have come together to offer an online ‘farmers market’. We love buying our bits from them – all delicious and so convenient. Our new Atelier58 Candles – ‘Cobalt’ and ‘Chartreause’ – they are filling my home with the scents of spring. Our newly purchased ‘Beaumont’ bed from The White Company. I’d waited YEARS for the right bed (that my husband also approved of!) I love its clean lines and vintage/industrial feel and that I have to climb up to get in! It feels decadent and hotel-esque.