Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Secrets of a Stylist

First , let me say thank you to everyone for all of your incredibly kind comments and words…they mean more to me than you’ll ever know.
Ok, so I’m on a little roll and decided to take advantage of it and blog again. People ask me often if there are any secrets that stylist or designers use to give your house or space that certain look and feel....Kind of, "tips of the trade" . Well,   I’ve given this some thought from time to time  and I’ve come up with some ideas. Actually, these"tips" are  things that I do for both styling and interior design. I’ve used them professionally and personally , and they work.

To start, review your space. Stand back and get a different view of your room.  That same room that you look at day in  and day out. It is however that room that you sometimes stop noticing . This sounds so silly , but when I have a new styling job or a new client, I usually take scouting images that I can look at.  You’d be amazed at how different this one tool can be .
before picture and the after below

room with a different view after styling 

 When you have these images gives some thought to my next biggie, yup, it's one that we've all heard over and over BUT makes so much of a difference…de-clutter.  This sometimes is all you need, get rid of those chotchkies (had to look that one up) , remove the old plants that  have cobwebs and dust accumulating on them.  Its ok to say good bye to a plant when it it’s had it’s day (this from a woman who won’t kill a spider, I pick it up in a Dixie cup and let it outside…for another story).  While doing this try if you can to find a place for “your stuff”…newspapers, magazines, pictures that have accumulated, books, laptops, headphones, slippers,…… At this point you may want to head to my next tip and find some great  baskets or places for all things that drive you crazy( if they don’t drive you crazy, just leave them there and skip this section).
get rid of those plants that have had better days

Adding texture to any space makes the most amazing addition to a room.  Large baskets, area rugs, vessels or containers can add just what any room needs, whether its contemporary or traditional, it always works. You'll be adding a different dimension and that never gets busy. Pottery barn has a heathered chenille jute rug that I use over and over and over.  It’s reasonably priced and works with kids, pets, etc…I love it; my only negative is that the largest size is 9 x 12 (bummer).  Pottery Barn also has great baskets, try the  beacomber for wood or one of their basket type coffee table trays.
texture from rug, texture from chair, texture from window treatments
texture and contrasts

I’d like to write a book about contrasts, they make my heart sing (ok, not really but they do work).  I love black and white, shiny and dull, wood and metal, old and new…A home with all antiques looks great when you add a mid century modern chair to it.  Just like a very country traditional home can really come to life with some modern light fixtures or lamps. Try it, add some simple black frames from west elm and put some old black and white images .  Try repeating the same frame on a wall or creating an arrangement of any sort.
mid century modern chairs in a modern dining area

contrast against the white wall
contrasts at March in San Fran

And that brings me to my next secret (well, not really a secret but a tip), Light fixtures……lamps, wall sconces, chandeliers, etc, etc, etc…They can add so much to your space.  Check out West Elm, Circa lighting, Restoration Hardware, School house electric… I have my electrician on speed dial…this will be well worth any money you spend.
christopher peacock and amazing light fixtures

modern pendant in a traditional setting
Jennifer Ferreira

Art work….I was always rather afraid of art ….I never really knew what I liked and I tended to shy away from purchasing.  It wasn’t until years ago that I made the decision to take the plunge and buy only what I liked.  It didn’t need to be expensive or trendy, it only had to be something that spoke to me.  I'm   an avid birder and I love having framed  images of them in my house.  I found black and white prints from an old aviary book and framed them.  I’ve  also collected maps from various trips and framed those as well.  Anything goes.  My stairway has become a kind-of art gallery for me.  I’ve framed anything and everything, including my kids letters from long ago.  I love the trip up and down the stairs and look forward to seeing so many of these things that were stored away for years.
bird prints and artwork photo eric roth

Well, there are so many more tips that I'd like to share and I'll keep some for another day.  But, if all else fails or doesn't excite you...try a bowl of green apples.. They are a sure thing..
All my best, kelly


Art and Sand said...

I live in a tiny cottage, so declutter is the norm here. Even someone leaving a Nook or iPad out makes a room look cluttered.

Sherry said...

Loved your tips! They are all great. Not to be picky but the photo you credited to Jenna Lyons is actually the work of Jennifer Ferreira. I loved every inch of her space so much that I purchased a back issue of Canadian House and Home so I could see every detail! said...

sherry, Thank you so much for the clarification. I'm going to change that asap, and thank you for the info on Jennifer Ferreira, i love her work. all my best, kelly

Rebecca said...

Why is it one can suddenly come upon something so beautiful and know that it makes the heart sing and only wish that the song would never end?
Discovered your blog and site tonight. Lovey, very lovely.

Kelly McGuill said...

Welcome Rebecca,. I totally agree with your comment. Thanks for dropping by. All my best, kelly

Windmill Farm said...

Hi Kelly: Loved all your design/stylist tips. I could relate to all of them. My January goal is to de-clutter. Just taking down the Christmas decorations helped me see how things looked so much better with less around. Love your blog!!! Inspiring.
Paula Carli-Windmill Farm-No. Cal.

Anonymous said...

Love your tips on designing/styling! Also, please show more photos of your home, especially if you've done any changes. I am so inspired and love the design choices you've made!

jessica said...

Would you know from where oh where that china cabinet I spy in the "modern pendant" photo hails? I'm looking for just such a thing!
Thanks in advance.

Kelly McGuill said...

hi jessica, funny story, i tried to send you an email and looked up your sister susan farrington is also represented by Lilla Rogers.
tje china cabinet was a gift from my Aunt, it's antique she had it forever. I'll keep my eye out for one in y travels. All my best, kelly


so true...less is more...clutter just confuses the's nice to look around and have a place where the eye can rest in a room. you of course have that down pat for sure :)