How to shop at HomeGoods like an interior designer

Annie Elliott has gained a huge following on social media with her advice on how to scour discount stores for decor that just looks expensive. So, we took her shopping.

With the exception of the plant, everything here came from a shopping trip at HomeGoods with interior designer Annie Elliott. (Marvin Joseph for The Washington Post)

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Who better to help you buy home accessories than someone who does it professionally? Enter DC interior designer Annie Elliott, whose TikTok videos traversing the aisles of big-box stores and dishing out design advice have made her a Gen Z sensation—her first HomeGoods video garnered 4 million views. (She also took her followers with her to Ikea, Target and HomeSense.)

We recently went with Elliott to a Maryland HomeGoods to learn what the designer looks for quality amid the store’s discount decor. “That’s one thing about HomeGoods: You really have to inspect things because they’ve jumped around a lot,” she says. “Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a bargain.”

So which items are worthy of a place in your home and which are better off staying on the shelves? Here, Elliott shares her tips for spending wisely at the decor store.

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Put furniture to the test

Elliott generally advises against giving out large upholstered pieces at the retailer. If you see something you like, she suggests inspecting the fabric closely. “Heavier wovens with texture are fine, but if the pattern is printed on, it can look cheap and may not wear as well,” she says.

She also recommends trying the merchandise on: Take a seat to make sure it’s actually comfortable, then look at the frame. No one wants a wobbly chair, so Elliott suggests giving it a good shake to make sure it feels stable and solidly made. “When you grab the armrests, you shouldn’t be able to feel the piece of wood that forms the arm,” she says.

Finally, consider the cost. During our shopping trip, most lounge chairs cost around $500—not bad, but as Elliott points out, “Once you get to that price point, you have to ask yourself, ‘Is this better than Crate & Barrel, which has really good quality?'” The Verdict: Only go ahead if the price is right and it looks well made, otherwise you might want to invest in better pieces elsewhere.

Examine assets carefully

Make sure doors on sideboards and cabinets are aligned, and that all drawers open and close smoothly. While shopping, Elliot stopped to give a trendy cabinet a second look only to discover that its facade showed visible paint drips in the trim and that its doors were crooked. “If you’re handy, I think you can fiddle with the hinges and level the doors, but if you have to take it home and fix it, it might not be worth it,” she says.

When asked if trendier pieces of furniture are a good investment at HomeGoods, she advises, “If the price is really low, and you know it’s not going to last forever, by all means go ahead.” However, she offers a more sustainable alternative: vintage. “You can paint a piece of wood you get at a vintage store, and the quality is 9 times out of 10 better,” she says.

The 7 rules for buying vintage furniture online

Elliot says the retailer is a good source for inexpensive, stylish side tables. A wooden mid-century-inspired end table that cost $130 caught her eye, as did a small rattan table for $60 that could double as a plant stand. She also liked a small live event table for $100. “You can’t really fake a live edge, so something like this is a good buy,” she says, inspecting the wood. “It’s a little worn, but because it’s the look of the piece, it feels intentional and it works.”

However, not all tables were winners. She pointed out those with flimsy or cheap metal legs and joints that looked like they were poorly welded. “The thing I advise people to stay away from the most is things that look cheap or poorly put together,” she says.

HomeGoods is a godsend for well-priced, designer-looking lamps, and you can often find an identical pair. Elliott says to always look for ceramic styles, and spotted several designs that were a steal with price tags in the $35 to $50 range. What to skip: lamps with full metal bases, “because when there’s so much metal in one place, it just doesn’t look expensive and the finish might not hold up as well,” she says.

Consider the mirrors, but pass on art

Elliott recommends checking the mirror section, as you can often find hard-to-find smaller sizes that measure 24 inches or less—perfect for small powder rooms. However, when it comes to wall decoration, the designer treads carefully. “Art is highly subjective; I would rather people buy art from a local art school, or vintage store, or get a print from Etsy rather than buy something really generic,” she says.

Make a beeline for the baskets

Elliott is a big fan of the many organizational solutions at HomeGoods, with twine and straw woven baskets at the top of the list. Many of the styles rival Moroccan-inspired versions from higher-end retailers like Serena & Lily, but at a fraction of the cost. “The big ones are especially great for stashing firewood or blankets in a family room,” she says.

Check out the accessories

With everything from hourglasses to obelisks, the decorative object section of the store is a treasure hunt in its own right. What made Elliott’s cut? “Animal figurines because they come in interesting shapes and are a non-controversial way to fill a hole on a bookshelf,” she says. Another endorsement: decorative trays. “If you’re trying to clean up clutter, just put it in a tray and suddenly it looks intentional,” she says.

Many designers and stylists—not just Elliott—will tell you that HomeGoods is their go-to source for large glass containers to display artfully arranged branches. “Most of the glassware says it’s made in Spain and the quality is excellent for the price,” says Elliott, who used several of the glass bottles to fuel her own malfunctioning fireplace.

Elliott says the store can be a reliable place to pick up extra sets of sheets—just read the label to make sure they’re 100 percent cotton, linen or bamboo, and stay away from man-made materials like polyester or microfiber. “I don’t worry too much about thread count, but look for the words ‘percale’, if you want a cool, crisp finish to your sheets, or ‘Egyptian’, if you want a fuzzier, softer feel – both is cotton,” she says.

Pick up and throw pillows

According to Elliott, no trip to HomeGoods is complete without a stroll through the pillow aisle—high praise coming from a designer accustomed to custom creations in luxurious materials. She suggests looking for pillows with zippers, removable covers (because they can be cleaned easily) and avoiding those that are sewn. Her one pillow pees: Tight, overstuffed pillows with no give. “I really object to polyfill when the pillow springs back into shape,” she says. Her preference: a mix of polyfill and down feathers.

When shopping for throws, Elliott says to look for natural fibers. And she believes the more realistic-looking faux fur throws will have a longer life than shaggier options, which already seemed to lose and fray on the shelf. “You have to think that if it doesn’t look good now, once you get it home and use it for a while, it’s really not going to look good,” she says.

Michelle Brunner is a writer in DC, covering interior design and culture.

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Better Together: Our Picks of the Season’s Best Designer Collaborations
Designer Sabine Marcelis’ sculptural lighting is available at IKEA. (IKEA)

There are a multitude of reasons why brands engage in designer collaborations. For starters, they can instantly energize a product line, not to mention some serious buzz.

“Brand collaborations are growing in popularity because they are a royalty-free way for brands to reach new but relevant audiences,” according to Claudine Harris, CEO of brand-matching company Miai.

“This is a credible way for brands to increase their awareness and exposure, which can also lead to increased sales. It makes them something of a no-brainer.”

Read on for six sought-after collaborations you want on your radar right now.

Among the highlights of the new 20-piece VARMBLIXT collection: sculptural lighting fixtures inspired by designer Sabine Marcelis’ creative ability to play with unique shapes and objects. For example, a pendant lamp has curved pipes made of frosted white glass; An LED wall mirror has a semi-transparent glass panel.

In addition to lighting, the collection also includes tableware, furniture and rugs. (IKEA)

“I wanted to take an unexpected approach to explore the idea of ​​how lighting functions within the home and inspire people to consider new forms and elements that blend into and highlight different types of interior spaces in a new, bold and artistic way,” said Marcelis.

This durable, eco-friendly collection of mineral-based paints is the handiwork of Color Atelier and design agency FrenchCalifornia. Choose from six lush colors, each simulating vintage textures—think yellow-toned Poudre, earthy Terre, and silver-green Cap Ferret.

Environmentally friendly paint dries to a velvety matte finish. (French California)

Design lovers on a budget will want to check out Target’s collaboration with interior designer Shea McGee, author of the New York Times bestseller Make Life Beautiful. Among the Spring 2023 offerings: indoor and outdoor furniture, rugs, bedding, tabletop plus a robust selection of decorative items.

The Studio McGee patio collection includes lounges, dining sets, chaises and more. (Target)

AD100 designer Giancarlo Valle has joined forces with Swedish carpet manufacturer Nordic Knots to create a collection of New Zealand wool floor coverings. The folk-inspired designs are handcrafted in small artisanal batches, with playful motifs and distinctive cut corners.

Giancarlo Valle’s hand and loop rugs for Nordic Knots will be available February 1st. (Magnus Mårding)

Best described as luxurious and livable, Ginny Macdonald’s second furniture range for Lulu & Georgia includes upholstered beds, clean lined sectionals, classic dressers and comfortable media lounges. “I want the spaces I design to feel layered, elevated and cozy with a good dose of color,” said the British-bred, LA-based designer.

The latest Ginny Macdonald for Lulu & Georgia collaboration is the second for the duo. (Lulu and Georgia)

Known for creating high-quality reproductions that capture all the detail and nuance of the original, this collection from Los Angeles-based Art Patron and CB2 includes photography, reductive prints and the company’s own textured canvases. Discover works by contemporary artists alongside archival pieces sourced from flea markets and museums.

Using groundbreaking technology, this reproduction of artist Garret Low’s painting recreates every brush stroke. (CB2)

“It’s about living with art in a way that benefits your life and brings you joy,” according to Art Patron’s creative director Slater Herman.

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Houston Interior designer fills her house with soothing colors

The first home Charles and Sherrell Neal bought together is a 1990s-era manufactured home in Cypress. It has too many interior corners and a dated exterior, but Sherrell saw its potential.

Sherrell, who launched her own interior design firm, Sherrell Design Studio in 2016, tackled her own home as a major first project, creating a new palette for the exterior, then moving inside and reshaping its landscape as well.

Her vision for the home’s exterior included painting its pinkish-brown brick Benjamin Moore’s “Revere Pewter,” a light “greige” that reads quite white on this house on sunny days, and installing new, black-framed windows and replacing of the brown roof with one that is light grey. New lantern porch lights (Ralph Lauren’s Carrington lantern for Visual Comfort) and dark green paint (Benjamin Moore’s “Bassett Hill”) for the front door add a little color and a lot of style.

The house is only 2,100 square feet, so when they started to tackle interior changes, Sherrell wanted to get rid of as many angled walls as she could to maximize room sizes. Any room that didn’t get wallpaper was also painted Benjamin Moore’s “Chantilly Lace,” a popular shade of white because it has virtually no undertones.

The kitchen was nicely finished with modern European-style Foscari cabinets, so the Neals didn’t need to spend a lot of money to update that space.

In the living room, however, a previous owner installed similar modern cabinets on one wall and an angled fireplace wall—from ceiling to floor—covered in 20-inch squares of brown limestone tile.

Sherrell’s reinvention of the space was to remove the cabinets and allow for more seating, then replace the wall of tile with a sleek and simple mantle that will work with any style of furniture. The Neals tinkered with the windows in this room, removing two smaller windows with a single larger window for a better view of the backyard.

She used a large Stark sisal rug under an antique Oushak rug, then used a light color palette of neutrals and blues in solids, stripes and florals for furniture and pillows. Their white sofa was reupholstered in a light beige stripe, fabric from Suzanne Kasler’s coastal collection for Lee Joffa. A pair of swivel chairs are made in a soft, muted blue Belgian linen with a Greek key strap finish, and a few more antique reproduction chairs are reupholstered in a geometric print, with gold leaf applied to the wooden arms, legs and trim .

Sherrell said she knew the tight stripe on the sofa would read as a simple neutral rather than a pattern, allowing her to play with patterns elsewhere in the room.

“I love fabric and pattern, but there’s a balance in mixing patterns well,” Sherrell said. “I like pairing a floral with a stripe. You have to be mindful of scale; you need a small print with less white space, and if you use a floral with more than one color, you can have a draw color from it as a coordinating color.”

Sherrell loves chinoiserie-style wallpaper, but didn’t want the big investment of Gracie or de Gournay wallpaper, knowing it wouldn’t be a forever home. But she found a beautiful Tempaper mural peel-and-stick wallpaper with soft-toned botanicals that wraps around the dining room.

“It was cost-effective, but, honestly, I loved the pattern and color. It’s black and gray and soft warm white, and it’s a great look,” she said. “I wanted people to feel like they were in a garden.”

She covered her Schumacher dining room chairs in cornflower blue fabric and used a similar color for curtains in the room.

The room’s chandelier is a Visual Comfort piece designed by Julie Neill in New Orleans, who gifted it to the Neals. Charles Neal is a longtime employee at Visual Comfort, a lighting company started years ago by Andy Singer. Charles worked his way up the ladder and is now its executive vice president. In fact, all of the home’s lighting is of course from Visual Comfort.

Sherrell has lots of fine china, crystal and flatware, and sets a formal table when friends and family come over.

“In my family, we see each other all the time, and they’ll say, ‘You don’t have to do this for us,'” Sherrell said. “I want them to eat at their best. I can mix things from different collections because I gravitate towards the same colors and style. I can layer different glassware and I have tons of napkins, some with and some without a monogram. I switch it up for dessert and appetizers and soups — the whole experience.”

Sherrell is all about textiles, and that’s evident in her primary bedroom, where she used a form of bedspread called a “tester.” It brings in curtains and the equivalent of a valance behind the bed and its headboard, creating a romantic scene reminiscent of a four-poster bed, but without the canopy.

She put white and ivory and a soft blush in curtains, bedding and upholstery on a footboard sofa and had a new king size bed made with an 80 inch high headboard that backs up to the “taster” curtains for a bit more drama in traditional style.

A pair of Made Good nightstands, covered in faux ivory, add some texture to the room.

They started over in the primary bathroom, removing the old version that had a large corner tub and a small shower to create the reverse: a freestanding tub that took up much less space and a larger shower. Getting rid of an angled wall in an adjoining guest bedroom added a bit more space to the primary bath, allowing for two larger vanities, each with a tall storage cabinet.

They used luxury Italian Cararra marble for the counters and wall tiles and chose a mosaic version of it for flooring. Removing one of the room’s windows and reducing the size of the other allowed for two wall niches for towels, flowers or other things.

The three-bedroom house has two guest rooms, the smaller room has just a single bed with a small desk and the larger room gets the full design treatment with Brunschwig and Fils’ Talavera wallpaper, a pattern repeated in a large lumbar pillow and ‘ a bed For the bed, Sherrell took the headboard from the bed her husband bought years ago—a short, brown, nondescript headboard—and had a studio reupholster it after making it larger and adding a camel back detail .

Both of the guest rooms had carpeting, so the Neals found wood flooring similar to what was in the main living area and added it to the two bedrooms.

The two rooms also share a guest bath, which was cut off so they could install a wide dark blue vanity with a marble top, wallpaper, a new mirror and, of course, a beautiful chandelier.

“Color has had such an impact. You can use blue and yellow or colors that make you feel alive or awake. If you want moodiness, have a cigar room and paint it something masculine and strong,” she said. “Right now, all my clients love color. I’m painting more rooms with color, and there’s wallpaper everywhere. There’s no limit to color in the architectural story of our home.”

[email protected]

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Tesla Cybertruck Is Finished “From A Design Perspective”, Chief Designer Says

Tesla’s chief vehicle designer Franz von Holzhausen recently said in a podcast that the long-awaited Cybertruck is basically ready for production, but in typical Tesla fashion didn’t provide concrete facts.

As a guest on Ryan McCaffrey’s podcast Ride the Lightningthe man known for breaking the unbreakable armored glass was asked if the company’s electric pickup truck was ready “from a design perspective,” to which von Holzhausen replied, “Yes. Basically, yes.”

The statement comes three years after Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the angular EV and after several delays in production due to supply chain issues caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As noted by Teslarati, the host of the podcast mentioned the rumors surrounding the start of production, trying to find confirmation for the mid-2023 estimate floating around the Internet. Tesla’s chief designer neither denied nor confirmed the information, saying the company doesn’t have a “pencil-down” mentality with vehicle design, meaning Tesla can make changes to a car’s design whenever it feels like it that there is a need for it. .

“We’re working consistently throughout the process, and we’re constantly working on every detail, and refining it,” von Holzhausen said on the podcast. “And we learn things through the engineering phases and the manufacturing development phases that we can improve on, and so we do,” he added.

Tesla’s chief designer also half-heartedly confirmed that the upcoming Cybertruck might come with the controversial juk steering wheel as standard, saying it “makes sense”, but the company has not confirmed this and it’s unclear if it has ever released any information on the matter before the truck comes to reservation holders.

Tesla previously offered the yoke steering wheel as standard on the Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid, but it recently introduced a conventional round steering wheel as a no-cost option for new cars ordered on its website. So, while the yoke looks cool, the American EV maker seems to have listened to those who said it’s impractical, especially if you have to do a lot of maneuvers in confined spaces.

Hints of Tesla’s intentions to begin production on the Cybertruck have been spotted several times, with photos and delivery notes of the 9,000-ton Giga Press from IDRA making its way to the car company’s Texas factory earlier this year.

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Crochet designer Shawn Layne heading to Atlanta catwalk in 2023

Never in his wildest dreams did designer Shawn Layne imagine that his act of comfort would take him to a global stage.

Shawn is a crochet designer and founder of BNHO Crochet. He is a professional musician, a music teacher and an outstanding creative spirit.

He started crocheting at the age of 15 with the aim of making a girl swoon at school, but he later became fascinated with the intricacies and details of the craft.

“I didn’t go in to really heckle, it was just a prank. Her mother also crocheted so I really had to learn because her mother would come and watch,” he shared with Loop Lifestyle.

“I learned she made the tablecloths and doilies and it wasn’t particularly exciting. . . . I saw this girl making a beanie, a rasta hat, and I thought it was cool because she used yarn and a bigger hook. I thought it was more masculine than the dolls and the tablecloths.

I think that’s where it really started,” Shawn continued.

Shawn’s love of crochet fell by the wayside for several years until 2017 when he was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.

He later found peace or rather a refuge in hate and he started doing habits like drinking water. Every day, whether in a coffee shop, or while taking a short break, Shawn picks up his hook and yarn and starts weaving.

“I found I had a lot of free time on my hands that I really needed to use for my mental stability and health and so I started crocheting again. Since then it has been with me. I crochet every day. It was that happy place, that place where you could have your thoughts and not be debilitated. Crochet for me is that filler, that thing that keeps the demons and the dark thoughts at bay.”

“The more I made, the more I needed an audience to see the pieces, kind of like a validation. A beautiful piece of art without an audience is incomplete, so it has to be out there.”

As Shawn created more and more pieces, he began giving them away to friends, fellow artists in the entertainment fraternity, and colleagues. An uproar ensued as individuals posted the creations on social media. This led to the formation of BNHO Crochet.

“I realized that crochet is a business for other people and I had to maintain that market integrity. So I can’t just give away as many pieces as I crochet every day and it’s nice and fun, I still have to respect the other persons who do it as a means of livelihood and income for them and their families. I maintain market prices when I charge.”

Under his brand, Shawn not only produces ready-made crochet garments, but he offers written crochet patterns, pattern editing and testing.

“Some of my designs I would actually write down using traditional crochet technology and I would sell those patterns in PDF form online, so that’s where other crocheters out there can make one of my designs or other people can wear my designs and I don’t make the actual physical product,” he explained.

Shawn’s hard work and dedication for the past five years has certainly paid off. He was selected as the only Caribbean and Barbadian representative at the first Crochet Fashion Week (CFW) in Atlanta, George. Scheduled for February 11-12, 2023, CFW: Evolution of Stitch will feature 20 crochet designers from around the world.

As he prepares for his range of resortwear and streetwear to hit the catwalks, the news still stunned him.

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, even though I’ve started designing and making the pieces for it… I’m happy to be recognised. It’s a huge confidence boost for someone to recognize your work and you’re chosen,” Shawn told Loop.

He indicated that he will proudly fly the Barbadian flag in the ATL next year.

We are all rooting for Shawn on this new journey!

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Houston interior designer Nina Magon, ACC’s Entrepreneur of the Year

Magon opened her design firm in Houston in 2008 as Contour Interior Design and later rebranded as Nina Magon Studio. Design has taken her around the world and to a competitive home renovation show for NBC. Magon, whose parents were born in India, was named Houston’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asian Chamber of Commerce.

She sat down with the Houston Chronicle to talk about what the award means to her, and how her identity and experiences have influenced her work.

Q: What got you into interior design?

A: I was in fashion at first. I ended up opening a store in the Galleria, and I was more interested in the design of my store. A few years later I closed the shop, and I decided I wanted to build houses. While building the house, I fell in love with design even more. It was then that I discovered that there is something called interior design. I went to the Art Institute of Houston for interior design, and it was from there that I just fell in love with interior design and haven’t stopped since.

Q: What made you fall in love with it?

A: I like to create interesting spaces because they are art, but they are functional art because people live in them. If you think of art like a canvas, and people live inside that piece of art, that’s really what interior design is. We create this atmosphere for clients, and every atmosphere is different because the person is so different. Since we do luxury, residential, hospitality and commercial design, we do it all. We are always intrigued, it is never boring. We don’t look to the past for anything, we like forward-thinking, modern design approaches to traditional aesthetics.

Q: You’ve mentioned in the past that sometimes you’re the only Texan in the room. how does it feel

A: Texas is starting to make its mark. The thing that bothers me the most is that Houston is such a progressive city, it is the fourth largest city in America, but for some reason we are not recognized for anything – not for fashion, not for design not, not for video, not for anything creative. I think it’s important for us creatives to put ourselves on the map by involving ourselves in different activities that can help Houstonians.

Q: How has living in Houston impacted your approach to interior design?

A: Houston is a melting pot. My parents are originally from India, and I was born and raised in Canada, but being in this melting pot in Houston, I was exposed to so many different cultures, which taught me that nothing is right, nothing is wrong, it’s all preferences. This is what I put back into my business, and this is the philosophy I tell everyone who works here.

Q: Do you have any other lessons that helped shape your career?

A: There are so many lessons I learned from my parents and being of Indian descent. First of all you have to work very hard because without hard work it doesn’t matter how smart you are because someone will be smarter. The other thing my father taught me at a very young age, rightly or wrongly, that no one will ever remember number 2, they will only remember number 1. If you are a tennis player, everyone will always remember who the winner is. of Wimbledon, they will never remember who they played against.

But I don’t think there can be a no. 1 in this industry because it’s very creative, and when you’re in a creative field, there’s no right or wrong, everything is subjective, it’s not like playing tennis where you have to follow the rules. There are no rules, you do what you feel is right. And that’s one of the things I love about our industry.

Q: How did it feel to be selected as the Asian Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year?

A: It’s interesting because when you’re so busy working, you don’t notice how you affect other people or if they even notice you. It was such a nice surprise to hear from the Asian Chamber of Commerce and have them say, “You are the entrepreneur of the year for these reasons, you work very hard and we see what you do for the community and how you is an impact on the younger generation.” I’m very honored and humbled by this. There are so many women, especially women who are minorities, who are really raising the bar in many different areas. I think it’s so important to recognize that. It’s something I want my daughter to see because she learns by watching me and that’s how she learns and sees her mother working very hard.I want her to never think that she has to rely on a man for anything.

Q: Does it feel like a moment where you can say, “Now I made it?”

A: I don’t have that moment, even to this day. One thing my parents taught me is that you have to stay humble all the time. There is so much more to learn, and so much more to experience, that I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like, “I got there.” There is so much growth in this industry, from design to learning to product development. I don’t think I’ve been there yet, there’s still a lot to learn.

[email protected]

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Interior designer Natalia Miyar’s tips for bringing hotel luxury home |

For my first hotel project, I brought new life to the extraordinary building that is The Twenty Two, a five-storey, historic, former family home in Grosvenor Square, London, which opened in May 2022.

With opulent, maximalist interiors inspired by 18th century France, I paid tribute to the grandeur of this magnificent Mayfair building. One of the most exciting new openings this year, the design for this interior was on a grand scale, but there is elements that can be incorporated into a house.

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Make your house a happy place, interior designer urges in new book – Pasadena Star News

In his new book, “The Designer Within: A Professional Guide to a Well-Styled Home,” interior designer John McClain suggests we ask ourselves, “What would make me happiest when I walk into my home?”

Reviewing an advance copy (Gibbs-Smith, $45), I have to agree. That might be THE question.

What would make me the happiest? To come home to people and pets dear to me, of course, in a place that is clean and orderly – and beautiful. I want to see objects and vignettes that I love, pieces that my husband and I have collected over time that tell stories.

“I want readers—whether homeowners looking to tackle their first renovation or seasoned designers looking for new ideas—to come away confident and inspired,” he writes.

Readers will want to give their entire home a makeover after looking through this inspiring 114-page book, illustrated with photos of McClain’s own home, a “Modern Loft Bungalow,” and his other design projects, ranging from traditional to contemporary .

“I didn’t want it to be just another pretty coffee table book,” McClain told me over the phone from his home in Los Angeles. “What I really want this book to do is start a conversation, a conversation within your own household that sparks change.”

I was eager to hear more.

Q. Every designer, including you, says to collect inspirational images from magazines or on a Pinterest board to form the foundation of your design. How do you go from that jumble to a design plan?

A. You are looking for inspiration. When you find something you respond positively to, whether it’s a photo of a room, a rug, or a piece of art or furniture, dig deeper. Analyze why you like it. Is it because it reminds you of a favorite place, or makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. The items in your home should awaken something in you. They have to be more than just beautiful.

Q. You tell readers to “be brave.” That’s loaded advice. Please advise.

A. I’m all about people copying what they see in Crate & Barrel or Restoration Hardware. Homeowners need to express themselves. My favorite way to be bold is through wallpaper, but it can also be through a statement piece of furniture, perhaps an oversized lamp that acts like a sculpture or through unexpected color.

Q. Your book contains many painted cabinets, but the idea of ​​painting wooden cabinets terrifies me. Isn’t that sacrilegious?

A. Now I’m going to raise you a who cares. Wood is just wood. People say they can’t change this golden oak, and I say, “Are you kidding me?” Wooden cabinets are no more special than painted cabinets. Although, when painting cabinets, choose colors that will stand the test of time.

Q. Share your secrets for creating a great “shelfie” or tablescape.

A. When styling a bookshelf or coffee table, must-haves include stacks of books with some sort of “book topper,” such as a brass object or any small accent piece on top of the stack to read the table. Then add one to two objects with height and a round object, such as a bowl. Mix sizes, shapes, colors and finishes.

Q. You advocate home design that is “comfortably chic.” How do you bridge those opposing ideas?

A.Chic and comfortable is my go-to design aesthetic. You can choose a chic sofa with beautiful, sophisticated lines and cover it with fabric that is so durable that the kids can wipe their dirty hands on it. Complete it so it’s more comfortable than you’d expect, while maintaining the same sleek silhouette.

Q. What are some ways to make a small space look bigger?

A.Use chairs and sofas with legs that allow air space. Clear acrylic chairs take up less visual space, and curtains that start at the ceiling will make rooms feel longer. Don’t be afraid to use large pieces in small rooms. A few larger pieces are better than several smaller ones. A monochromatic color scheme also helps.

Q. You talk about a high-low philosophy when discussing how to afford a great look. Where are the best places to save money and where should you invest?

A. Spend money on the items that get heavy use: sofas, coffee tables, dining room chairs, beds, appliances and container goods, such as dressers. Save on items you use less, such as lamps, mirrors, accessories, side tables, sometimes area rugs and art. Even when I’m working on a multimillion-dollar house, I’ll put an expensive well-made dining room table next to a $50 mirror.

Marni Jameson has written six home and lifestyle books, including “Downsizing the Blended Home – When Two Households Become One.” Reach her at www.marnigameson.com.

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Susie Hoffmann of Envi Interior Design Studio Selected as a Top 50 Interior Designer by Industry Leader “Business of Home”

Bozeman, Montana-based founder of Envi Interior Design, Susie Hoffmann, was selected by “Business of Home” to represent Montana in the annual “50 State Project” (PC: Nicole Wickens, Green Door Photography).

Designing vacation homes requires “a different mentality” than creating primary residences, Hoffmann tells BOH. “You have a license to have a little more fun and maybe be a little less practical.”

The respected media of record for the American home industry, “Business of Home” is considered a must-read by designers across the country, and selects editor-in-chief Kaitlin Petersen’s annual “50 State Project” – a candid conversation with one admired designer of every American state – a prestigious honor. This year’s choice to represent Montana, founder and creative director of Envi Interior Design Studio, Susie Hoffmann, has become a go-to mountain vacation home designer for the state’s exclusive Yellowstone Club. Her recent Business of Home interview follows her somewhat uneventful New York City-to-Bozeman, Montana, career trajectory—Hurricane Katrina played a role—as well as delves into her focus on wellness in design and new Envi projects far out of state .

Hoffmann’s interest in the more meaningful, well-being aspect of design was sparked by a personal struggle. “I had a really serious health problem that just stopped me in my tracks. It was the kind of thing that makes you reevaluate your life,” she tells BOH. “At first I was like, ‘Wait, why am I doing design? How can I help other people?’ Then it became, ‘Wait, design can help other people.’” After graduating from Parsons, Hoffmann worked for famed New York designer Clodagh, where she learned about feng shui and chromotherapy, and began looking at design with the approach of “How does your home affect your health? How does everything around you affect your well-being?”

After a brief plan to establish a business in New Orleans, upended by Hurricane Katrina, Hoffmann made her way to Montana, where much of her family had moved. Although she loved the big-sky country, she wasn’t sure the Mountain West feel was a good fit. “I just came from working in New York for one of the top designers in the world. Meanwhile, it was all about rustic log construction here in Montana, which wasn’t my jam,” she tells Petersen. “But it was actually a great place to start a business — and I was weirdly ahead of the curve, right? Montana is booming now, and has been for a while, but it wasn’t quite there in 2006 [when Hoffmann founded Envi]and what I really tried to do was to introduce a completely new concept and style of design.”

Hoffmann was lucky with early customers who were looking for more than the then-ubiquitous “fancy log cabin.” They were building a Japanese-inspired spa and pool house in the resort town of Whitefish, Montana, intended as a wellness center and art gallery all in one. The vision matched Hoffmann’s philosophy and experience perfectly and, then just 30 years old, she was entrusted with what would become a beautiful – and often publicized – project. “We are still in contact,” she says. “I feel like they took a chance on me, and it was a great thing to be able to start my business with a project that was and still is very highly rated.”

The pandemic has brought an unprecedented real estate rush to the Bozeman/Big Sky area of ​​Montana where Hoffmann lives and works, and Envi has designed several projects in Yellowstone Club, a CNN pick for best private ski resort and retreat for bold names. Designing vacation homes requires “a different mentality” than creating primary residences, Hoffmann tells BOH. “You have a license to have a bit more fun and maybe be a bit less practical,” she says, comparing the approach to hospitality design – another area where she has expertise, including her Scandinavian-inspired design for Nordic Brew Works in Bozeman and a view-focused clubhouse at Big Sky’s tony Moonlight Basin. “It’s short-term,” she says of the more playful outlook on holiday homes. “I think people are often looking for something that has a little more benefit or more fun.”

In a residence called “Blue Bird Powder Day” that Envi created in the Yellowstone Club for a Bay Area client, for example, requests for “fun” and “hip” design features led to a three-story glass staircase, glass “peekaboo” windows in the floor and a trapdoor leading from the lounge directly to beds in the bunk room below. Blues and pinks and whites, colors seen in Montana skies after a snowstorm, inform elements throughout the home in furniture, cabinetry and artwork.

While rejecting the notion of limitation to traditional Western aesthetics, Hoffmann has learned to embrace the West in ways that allow for contemporary style to make a statement while continuing to honor the region. “I think it’s so important to have the context of Montana—we’re here, so let’s embrace the palette and the materials,” she tells BOH. “But you can do it without going too far in the Western direction and in a way that is still forward-thinking and contemporary. We can draw inspiration from Scandinavia, and it can still be Montana—it can still be a mountain house, but it doesn’t have to be ‘the American Mountain West.’ Why not look at what has been happening in Switzerland for centuries?”

Recently, Envi’s work has expanded far beyond Montana. Hoffmann, whose global experience dates back to summers in Germany with her cabinetmaker grandfather and architect uncle, is working with an international construction team on an ultra-luxury oceanfront project in Mexico, and recently brought the entire Envi team to Salone taken. [del Mobile] in Italy to see what’s new. “I am very excited about the scope of the work we are doing. It’s not just Montana, and it’s not just contemporary style in Montana – it’s contemporary Envi Design style in Mexico,” she tells Petersen. “It’s so exciting to be able to live here and appreciate the lifestyle and the beauty of Montana, but also explore different styles and types of architecture.”

About Envi Interior Design Studio:

For Susie Hoffmann, interior design is about the total experience of space, balancing all the senses in a holistic approach that respects architectural cues and a sense of place, while expertly intuiting the client’s individuality. Her Envi interior design studio, which she founded in Bozeman, Montana in 2006, has become a go-to resource for homeowners looking for homes that promote an active lifestyle and connection with nature at nearby Big Sky and the exclusive Yellowstone Club. as well as in coastal California and Mexico. Envi’s sophisticated mountain elegance pairs an undeniable element of fun with a commitment to wellness, promoting peaceful and joyful retreats for residential clients. An Interior Design Best of the Year finalist and Luxe 2020 Gold List honoree, recognized annually on Mountain Living magazine’s Top Mountain Designers list, Envi also designs occasional hospitality projects, including Yellowstone Club’s Moonlight Basin Clubhouse and Bozeman’s Nordic Brew Works. Follow Envi @envidesign on Instagram and for more information, visit envidesign.com.

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I’m an interior designer – a simple mistake when styling the front of your home can make it look cheap and cluttered

An INTERIOR design expert has exposed the one simple misstep you might be making when decorating that can unintentionally make your home look tacky.

Jaclyn Harper is a professional stylist for HGTV and posted a TikTok video detailing how to keep your home looking stylish and clutter-free.


Jaclyn Harper is a professional interior designer who posted a TikTok video detailing the simple decorating mistake that can make your home look cheap and clutteredCredit: TikTok/jaclynhdesigns

“This is the biggest design mistake you can make when styling the front of your home,” the designer said in her post.

The one thing to avoid

Jaclyn said, “using accessories that are too small, and using too many of them” is a cardinal sin when it comes to a pleasing home aesthetic.

As an example, she highlighted the exterior of a house, which had several mini flower pots and arrangements, as well as a welcome mat located on either side and in front of the entrance.

Instead, she suggests using fewer and larger items to achieve a more luxurious vibe even before you walk in the front door.

She has received more than 360,000 views and thousands of likes on her to-the-point TikTok video, along with several comments.

Another home expert agreed, but had a caveat. “I totally agree with you! My client often makes a good point though, the larger items cost a lot more money. Which is true…”

Another simply said, “This is so helpful.”

While another joked: “and bigger items are heavy n no fear of them being stolen!”

The Sun also revealed tips from another professional interior designer on three other things that can make your home look cheap.

More tips to ensure your home doesn’t look cluttered or cheap

  • Having loose cords visible is an eyesore and detracts from the polished atmosphere of your room.
  • Sticking your children’s artwork on the fridge might make you feel like a good parent, but it doesn’t do anything for the feel of your home – instead, it just makes it look more cluttered, according to her.
  • Avoid clutter in general by making sure there is room for everything and using a minimalist aesthetic.

And here’s more about how the wrong size rug can detract from the look of your home.

However your home looks – in the end – it’s important to know that when friends or family do come to visit – they come to see you – not inspect your decorating skills.

To classify things in the front of your home, Harper says to avoid using too many things and items that are too small


To classify things in the front of your home, Harper says to avoid using too many things and items that are too smallCredit: TikTok/jaclynhdesigns
Instead, she says to opt for fewer, larger items to make a bigger impact


Instead, she says to opt for fewer, larger items to make a bigger impactCredit: TikTok/jaclynhdesigns

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