Meet Chloe Thurston

Interview //

Chloe Thurston

The talented children’s interior stylist behind @chloeuberkid invites us to a gorgeous doll’s party and tells why you’re never too old for toys

Mother-of-five Chloe Thurston’s eye-catching pictures of her beautifully styled children’s rooms have inspired a huge following on Instagram - 108k followers and counting. With an eye for color and detailed displays, she captures the playfulness of childhood, yet she isn’t afraid to reveal the chaos of family life too, sharing pictures of the same rooms in casual disarray. Alongside interiors, she also has a flair for throwing fabulous children’s parties. Featuring whimsical decorations and dress up, they’re the kind of imaginative celebrations that you wished you had been invited to when you were little. Here Chloe takes us behind the scenes of a dreamy doll’s party shoot and her life at home on the south coast of England. 

What inspired you to create a doll’s party?

I wanted to take pictures of the Meri Meri dolls as I knew it would be fun! One of the things I enjoy most about what I do is that I genuinely love it. Who wouldn’t want to style up the gorgeous tipi, dolls bed and those beautiful dolls and outfits?

As a children’s stylist you have a lot of experience with dolls and dress up! What makes the Meri Meri collection special?

I love the fact that they are soft enough to take to bed and hug, as well as play with during the day. The range is diverse and full of different characters and the beautiful clothes are actually really easy to get on and off, which is a plus for the kids (and me, who is normally tasked with getting some fiddly outfit over awkward stiff-limbed dolls!) I love the added touch of being able to clip on cute little hair clips too.

We don’t like to play favourites, but sometimes you can’t help it - if you had to choose, which doll would you pick?

My daughter’s favourite has to be the Evie fairy doll she got at Christmas and mine would have to be the Mia rainbow doll (outfit goals!).

A doll’s party is just one of many celebrations that you have created for children - what do you love most about throwing a party for kids?

I would plan parties all day if I could... Any seasonal event is an excuse for a party for me! I love that I can go overboard with decoration, even in places normally left quite bare like the garden, and that all ideals of healthy food tend to go out of the window!

Your top tips for party planning?

I like to make list after list but my priority is always the decorations of course and the more the better. Bunting, garlands, confetti and balloons everywhere are a must for me to get into the party spirit. My top tip though would be to put someone else in charge of taking photos... Being a host takes up every second there is and it will fly by in a whirl, and before you know it the party is over and you haven’t got one photo to document it. I like to take photos of the table and decoration before the party starts, just so when the kids look back they at least have something to jog their memory (even if no photos of the actual partying exist!).

A large family means lots of opportunities to celebrate - what do you love about having five children?

Everyone always has a playmate! Although there are obviously more chores that come with having more children and the laundry/washing up pile is probably a lot bigger, I can fit it in easily as there is always something going on/someone to help/another child to play with. I once read an article that the more children you have, the less stressed you are, because in theory your brain literally does not have room to be worrying about too many things after you have remembered every fact that you need to (imagine the brain cells alone remembering the name of every child in your kids classes!) And I think it is true that by the time I have got on with dealing with everything I have to do in the day, work, cleaning up, homework, or even just keeping on top of the kids hectic social calendar (not mine of course!), the day is over and there is little time to feel anxious about any of it!

Have you always loved children’s interiors?

I’ve always been obsessed with kids rooms and some of my earliest memories are of rearranging my own bedroom and making toy set ups. I started blogging after my fourth child when I realised that I was taking photos but never doing anything with them and I wanted more of a physical record of the kids childhood.

 

You have a skill for capturing beautiful images, what inspires your photography?

Thankyou! I am inspired by the toys and rooms I am taking pictures of. I am a firm believer in having nothing in your house you don’t truly believe to be useful or beautiful (and preferably both!) so I genuinely love every item in my photos and try to only include things we have tested to have a great play factor.

How would you sum up your interior style?

A minimalist within who can’t help their maximalist tendencies, obsessive rainbow colour sorting and toy and book hoarding!

What do you love about children’s interiors in particular?

The freedom to display all their (and my) favourite toys! I have always been a bit of a toy addict, a trait I got from my Mum who kept all mine and my brother’s old toys, so I love being able to see the collection on a daily basis. I used to have vintage toys everywhere around the house but my husband wasn’t quite as keen (he would basically like a white house with absolutely zero items in it) so kids rooms are an escape for me!

We all know children love to make a mess! What is your approach to the chaos that children tend to create?

Embrace the chaos! I tend to let the kids make as much mess as they want throughout the day and then we have a massive clear-up session at the end of the evening. Persuading (or moaning at) them to tidy up constantly is too stressful for me so I would rather have zero expectation. I do like to go to bed knowing things are clean and tidy though, so unless their set up is majorly important then it has to be put away at some point! 

What it is the one thing you want to teach your children?

Apart from the obvious skills they need to become a well-rounded empathetic adult, I would like to think I have taught the kids how to enjoy and appreciate their surroundings. And I don’t mean by liking things exactly like I do, but just to surround themselves in things they find inspiring… books that are like art and toys and decor that make them happy.

What has motherhood taught you?

To enjoy the moment! With every child I’ve had I realise more and more how fast the time goes and that you shouldn’t worry about the little stuff. The tidying up can wait and they won’t wake you up for a hug in the middle of the night forever!