Ali Crossland is a primary school teacher come fashion designer, having established Act V earlier this year. According to Ali, colour plays a key role in her label. We were invited into her home which she shares with husband Ant, to see if the same applies to her interiors.
Immediately when you step inside Ali’s hallway there is a sense of calm and comfort, everything is fresh. There is an oversized stone urn adorned with a luscious green fern, a classic touch against an otherwise contemporary feeling space. Ali says that “Creating a home means giving it an atmosphere that makes you miss it. I wanted to make a haven that I never want to leave!” This approach has been inspired by Ali’s mother, Bindy Crossland, who is an artist “My Mum has always been amazing at interiors, I love seeing how she constantly changes and re-styles things. I also feel that creating a home is accepting that you might want to change it around a bit in a few years. So I try not to take it too seriously and to have fun doing it!”
We make our way into what is a chic, colourful living room filled with beautiful objects old and new. With a gentle hue of pink colour blocking all surfaces, it’s clear to see that Ali has a natural eye for styling a room simply and coherently, which perhaps stems from her design work “The more I think about it the more I feel fashion and interiors come hand in hand. Fashion has always been my biggest passion and actually I never really considered myself as someone who would be able to do up a house. I guess for me personally the trick is not to overthink or force things and always be true to your own style.”
The more we see of Ali’s home her bohemian aesthetic really starts to take shape, with one-off pieces in every room “I am obsessed with bric-á-brac shops and car boot sales - I literally go to them and sell clothes I don't want and use the money to buy home stuff! Bridport Market in Dorset is amazing and so reasonable - we got loads of bits there.” Much of the furniture has also been reworked to give them a current feel “I love the old school vibe but definitely couldn't clutter my house with it. So I try to mix it with new objects, or by painting it a fun colour like yellow.” This alongside modern high street items as well as rugs and paintings Ali inherited from her grandparents, who lived in Africa and India. “Finally we have a couple of pieces of artwork by my Mum filling the walls, which bring the rooms together.”
Alongside her work as a primary school teacher, Ali has to find the space and time to manage Act V, working mostly during the evenings and weekends. “Creating an environment that is semi-uncluttered and calming was so important to me in order to not become too overwhelmed during my “down time.” Working in the front room of the flat or the back bedroom facing the garden, with my own music and a cafetiere of coffee is perfect. I like having the choice of moving between both, to give me some variety and to keep my creativity going! The front room gets all the morning light and has a studio type of atmosphere whereas the back room is cosy, filled with cushions, so more relaxing.”
Not only has Ali made her spaces flexible enough to work in when needed, she also alters how they can be used throughout the seasons “During the summer months I keep things quite simple and light in the front room, then in winter I layer it softer things and more throws. My favourite time of year is winter and Christmas, when I crave being at home with long baths and comfy sofa sessions.” As mentioned earlier Ali views her space as constantly evolving, keeping things characterful “I am actually in search of a big rug that I can take out for when it gets colder, I can’t wait to find it!” Ali’s first collection with ACT V launches this summer.
Words by Joseph Walker
Photography Amanda Nelson