Well, it's still January and I don't know about you, but I'm still bathing the glow of a new year, clean slate and my own motivation to make changes and follow through on some resolutions, before I lose steam! In the spirit of setting goals for the year, I thought it might be helpful to walk you through my free worksheet on creating a Style Manifesto for yourself and your home. If you don't already have a copy, you can grab it by going to the show notes page for this episode, or just going to the homepage, which is littleyellowcouch.com, and clicking on "Your Style Manifesto" at the top. The purpose of the Style Manifesto is to figure out how your home can help you with your life goals. We're going to look at how your home is currently serving you, or not, and then figure out what changes you can make in your home to encourage you, uplift you, inspire you and all of those good things. Let's get started.
Monica Leed of Simply Spaced, a pro organizer and author of the new book, also called Simply Spaced, said to me that organization is not a once and done kind of thing. And I think I've been kind of assuming it was. In other words, I've been telling myself that if I set up the Right system, with the Right tools and the Right bins, file folders and compartmentalized drawer inserts, I'll never have to organize or declutter anything ever again. And if I do, that means the system I've set up must be wrong. But Monica reminded me that there's this thing called Life that happens. Unexpected paperwork, gifts we may or may not want, tools for project we didn't plan on having to do... and so we didn't know we needed to create a space for them. So of course we're going to have to revisit our organizational systems. And that's ok. Permission given to go back to the drawing board and re-do stuff. In the rest of the episode we cover things such as how a good decluttering is growth for the soul, how getting organized is empowering, how to agree with your spouse or partner on what "neat and tidy" actually means, and why style is critical to staying organized.
Well, everyone, this is the last episode of the season! And we're going out with Rebecca Gardner, owner of the interiors and event planning company Houses & Parties. She's known for her over-the-top events and her signature style of mixing high-end, top-of-the-line decor with a funny, unexpected playfulness that allows everyone to relax, even in the most formal of settings. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Harpers Bazzar, Town & Country, Southern Living and Architectural Digest. I found her when I was flipping through the latest issue of Veranda Magazine and I could tell right from her photo that she must be the most gracious, fun-loving host. Given the holiday season we're all about to enter, I thought having her on the show to talk about parties would be helpful and inspiring. Now like said, earlier, this is my last episode of 2019. I'll be back with all new interviews starting January 6th! Ok, back to today, on our call, Rebecca and I got right to chatting and I decided to leave in the first part before the official interview started because she was telling me about a pop-up shop collaboration she's currently doing for the holidays and I wanted to make sure I got that info into the episode. There's a link to it in the show notes page. Here's Rebecca.
I am delighted to introduce you to the woman behind the rug and linen brands Dash & Albert and Pinecone Hill. Annie Selke is a true powerhouse of an entrepreneur and she's also a lovely human being. I remember when I first started seeing her quintessential Dash & Albert rugs in the speciality home shops I was poking around years ago in Maine. And I thought to myself, wow, those are not only really fun and they make me smile, I bet they will also stand the test of time. And I was right! Annie's aesthetic is classic and timeless, it's elegant but also has this playfulness to it that you'll never get tired of. Fast forward to this interview, which led to spending time with Annie and her staff, who by the way love her, at her offices, warehouse and beautiful 8 bedroom historic inn in the Berkshire mountains. You'll see all kinds of videos of my trip there on Instagram so I hope you check that out. Oh, and one note, Dash & Albert, the company, was named after her two beloved dogs. They've passed on but Annie always has several dogs, some of whom are related to the original Dash & Albert, around her studio and you can hear them barking a bit in the background. Here's Annie.
I was introduced to this week's guest by my friend Susan Brinson of House of Brinson. I had Susan and her husband Will on the show several seasons ago and their episode is definitely one to check out if you haven't already. Anyway, I was talking to Susan about finding a venue for my next style retreat in NY and she said I absolutely had to get in touch with Eliza Clark of Foxfire Mountain House, and I am so grateful for the introduction! Eliza and her husband, Tim Trojian, have created a truly magical, 11 room inn and restaurant in the Catskill mountains. If you were to see her photos (which you can do on the show notes page), you'd understand why Eliza and I immediately hit it off and why I think you're going to be swept away, too. She is a master at mixing old and new, elegance and comfort. She and Tim have just released their book, "Foxfire Living" full of design inspiration, recipes and stories of how they restored the old inn. Today I talk with Eliza about the major risks they took in buying the place as well as some of her most interesting strategies she used to decorate it. She has so many great, creative ideas that I think you're going to want to borrow! Let's start.
I spend a lot of time in my retreats and on this podcast talking about how to be creative. And I'm a big proponent of an expanded definition of creativity to include creative thinking and problem solving so that we stop thinking of creativity as solely belong to artists and crafty people who emulate Martha Stewart. My guest on the show today, architect Donald Rattner, takes us way beyond the who and what definitions of creativity and focuses on the where. As in, where are we most creative and how can we set up our spaces to encourage the flow of creative thinking. In particular, he argues that our homes are actually the spaces that are most conducive to creativity. Way more than the kinds of utilitarian spaces where we've traditionally done our professional work. Donald Rattner has done a ton of research, combing through academic journals, studies and experiments that support this idea of how our built environments affect our moods, our health and ultimately, our ability to be creative. And he's gotten rid of all of the dry, academic lingo and given us a guide, with actionable steps we can take, to create a home that's primed for many more lightbulb moments. Here we go.
Windy Chien is an artist with several past lives which means she's one of those people you can relate to because her path in life hasn't been a straight line. She's done many things, tried many things, had ups and downs, all before landing where she is today. And speaking of straight lines, her medium as an artist has everything to do with lines... and more specifically, with the knots she creates out of those lines. Windy Chen has just come out with a book, The Year Of Knots, detailing her 365 day long project where she challenged herself to learn and perfect one new knot a day and record her progress on Instagram. I was blown away by the end result when I saw a video of her final art installation.
I'm opening up the second half of this season with a dynamic woman. Toma Clark Haines, otherwise known as The Antiques Diva, has literally built an empire. Over a decade ago, living in Paris, she started helping other ex-pats furnish their homes from the flea markets and brocantes around the city. The thrill of the hunt was her hobby and her passion and soon it became her business. A global business because there are treasures to be unearthed in every corner of the world. She has a wonderful story and even better, she's a great storyteller. She's so generous in the way she shares it I know you're going to feel like you've got a new friend. I know I do.
This week I’m answering questions from the audience! All summer I offered free design & decor advice to anyone who wrote in. I loved all of the back & forth conversations we had about your homes. For this episode, I talk about a couple of big picture issues that came up over and over again. And then I dive into some specific questions that you can apply to your own situations. I hope this is helpful… let me know!
My guest this week is Ben Soleimani. You may have come across his work through years of collaboration he's done with Restoration Hardware. We talk about why they wanted him to elevate their rug collection to the highest quality it's known for today. But Ben has recently moved on and has opened his own studio creating rugs and furniture to be sold direct to the public. Ben's designs continue to be full of layered texture, color and a mix of references to the natural and built environments. He's got a great analogy for us about how his brain is like a slide show to explain his creative process. But I start by asking him about his background and his family business, the famed Mansour rug company. Let's jump in.
Ok, this one is juicy. Emily Henson is back on the show after writing her 4 book. I often say, your home is your autobiography. Or at least, it's your chance to create one. A visual autobiography that reflects who you are, where you've been and your aspirations for who you want to become. And this is where Emily and I start our conversation. Emily is a stylist and author of 4 books, her most recent called "Be Bold: Interiors for the Brave of Heart." And in it, she talks a lot about this idea of using your home as a canvas the way an artist might paint something that reflects both what she sees and how she comprehends the world around her. We cover a lot of ground in this episode so let's just dig in.
My guest is Tracy Kinnally and she has the really interesting job of advising people on how to start and build private art collections. Her clients are looking for both great monetary investments as well as the acquisition of some stellar pieces of culture to adorn their homes. I thought it would be interesting to hear about her background, her work and her thoughts on why art is such an important piece of creating a meaningful home, no matter your budget. And with that in mind, I want to take a minute to tell you about two articles I've written related to buying art that you can find on the show notes page of this episode. One is my personal take on why art is such a critical component of any home, where to find it and how to get started. It's called "How Not To Be Afraid Of Art Galleries." And the second is a photo guide called "17 Ways To Hang Art," because once you get it home, you gotta know how it fits into the rest of your living space. I share 17 examples of interesting ways to hang artwork that you may not have thought of before. Just go to littleyellowcouch.com, click on "podcast," and then click this episode with Tracy Kinnally.
Creativity is elusive. Where inspiration comes from is sometimes a mystery. This week, artist Caroline Cecil take us through her creative proces and shares the story of the many jobs and many hats she's worn before landing in her sweet spot as a designer, working for herself. Since the opening of her eponymous textile and wallpaper company, she uses every aspect of her past lives. I love a good life story and Caroline's is so interesting! I don't want to give away any more. Let's get started.
Kim Gordon is a designer, an artist, a businesswoman, and best of all, she's incredibly intuitive when it comes to creating dream homes. Not the kinds of dream homes that are filled with expensive luxury items. But the kinds that really fulfill us in an emotional, creative and even spiritual way. Kim doesn't shy away from honoring the mystical. And what I mean by that is she connects our deepest desires with our intentions for our homes, and then, sort of magically, other areas of our lives get better.
When Karen Grant was co-hosting the podcast with me, we both fell in love with Erica Tanov and her book, Design By Nature: Creating Layered, Lived In Spaces, Inspired By the Natural World. I knew this episode was one that I'd want to re-release and now is the perfect time because I'm excited to say that Erica has generously given me copies of her book to give everyone who comes to the Glamping Design Camp in Tulsa this October. Since that retreat is all about using nature as inspiration in our homes, I'm using her book as a jumping off point for the entire premise of the retreat. What I love about Erica is that she goes beyond just copying natural motifs in her designs. While she does have some literal things like fern leaves in her wallpaper, she also looks to natural objects for abstract inspiration. Tree bark, seed pods, rippling water and even weeds are re-imagined as color palates, textures and patterns. And that's what we're going to be working on during the Glamping Design Camp. You can get the full picture of what to expect during the retreat weekend at littleyellowcouch.com. It's truly going to be a spectacular weekend, with great conversation, individual attention to each of your homes, hands-on workshops, delicious food, and,of course, the opportunity to sleep in total luxury under the starts! I hope you can join us! In the mean time, you're going to be energized to start bringing nature into your home after spending a little time with Erica today! So let's get started.
This interview with Melinda McCoy of House 214 Design was originally aired in Oct of 2016. What we so appreciated about Melinda was her understanding that just saying "your home should tell your story," isn't clear enough. What does telling your story mean and how does that show up in your home and design choices. Since then, Melinda has created a course and membership site that you should definitely check out. But her core principles remain the same, making this interview just as helpful today as it was 3 years ago.
This week I'm sharing our interview with Maxwell Ryan, founder of Apartment Therapy and author of several books on home and design. We recorded this interview in 2015 when he was on a tour for his most recent book, Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home. Even though this was several years ago, it's still one of our best interviews ever and I think you're going to get a lot out of it. In this re-release from our archives, Karen Grant is co-hosting with me and she just asked Maxwell to tell us about his overall approach to design and making a home.
On this episode of On The Little Yellow Couch I talk about the power of connections. Not the networking kind. But the power of feeling truly connected. To each other. And to the deepest reserves of strength and optimism we all have somewhere inside us. To encourage you and I to have real conversations where you get to actually speak with me instead of just listening to me talk, I hope you’ll take me up on my offer of some free consultation this summer! I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting some of you in person at one of our Style Retreats. And even though not everyone can make it to these special weekends, we can at least talk via email. I encourage you to subscribe to the Little Yellow Couch newsletter and send me an email about a decor or design dilemma you’re facing. I’ll get back to you ASAP (hopefully within 24 hours!) and we can work it through together to a solution. I look forward to hearing from you!
I am having two lovely friends back on the show with me today. I call them "the Ashleys" for short because they are Ashely Daly and Ashley Palmer, co-owners of Retro Den Tulsa. Today we talk about finding your true style by leaning in to who you are. Let's get started.
My guest this week is a designer who is local to where I live, which is in the Boston area. We've now met at two design conferences and I feel so lucky to have met her in person! She's a designer who really listens to her clients' frustrations and gives them a big bath of Calgon. (If you don't get that reference, I want to know. I want to know exactly how much older I am than you. Just out of curiosity). Anyway, Paige not only loves what she does, she truly loves her clients and her genuine desire to help them comes through loud and clear. You'll see what I mean in a minute.
This week, pro stylist Becki Griffin talks with me about...well...style! How she does it, what she uses, what she shops for and lessons she's learned on a photo shoot that can be used by all of us in our regular, every day homes. She's been working in the interiors business for many years, styling covers and pages for magazines such as Country Living, as well as taking on her own clients for interior design. Becki is super funny and easy to be with, which is a big plus for anyone who gets to hang out with her. Which, by the way, could be you! Becki is teaching the styling workshop during our Little Yellow Couch Style & Antiques Retreat that's happening in September at The Vintage Round Top in Round Top, TX! As of this airing, early bird prices have just opened up so grab your spot so I can meet you in person! But first, let's get on with my interview with Becki.
This week I'm talking with Paige Hull of The Vintage Round Top, a beautiful retreat space in the heart of antiquer's heaven in Round Top, TX. Pagie and her husband Smoot have put a lot of love and soul into it, starting with a gut renovation of the first house, "No. 1450," and then adding another they call "Boho," and most recently two small cottages named after their children, The Pierce and The Eisley. This magical place is where you can join me on the next Little Yellow Couch style retreat so be sure to check that out on the website, but today, I really wanted to give Paige the floor to share why and how she designs her homes with antiques. If you're a true vintage lover, this episode will naturally resonate with you. But if you skew more modern, I'm particularly excited for you to hear what Paige has to say. Because I think she and Smoot have really nailed it when it comes to incorporating a few chipped and scarred pieces in the most clean-lined, minimalist of spaces. Proving antiques really are for everyone.
This week it's just you and me! I'm going to share my process when overhauling a room design and then walk you through some ways in which I get myself unstuck if I hit a roadblock. It's all about creativity -- where it comes from and how to cultivate it. We're talking about problem solving in a way that feels great!
My guest this week practices holistic design. And by the end of the episode you'll know exactly what that means to Laurence Carr. She has taken her classical ballet training, her life lived on many continents and her passion for sustainability and translated all of that into a thriving interior design studio. Laurence introduces us to three elements that show up in almost everything she creates: space clearing, interior realignment and sensory design. Let's dig in.
Brooke Milne is the travel blogger behind "Look It's Brooke!" I met her at a conference in California and in getting to know her, and learn about her business, I realized she would be full of advice for us about traveling and how to incorporate your travels into your style at home.