With less than three weeks to my book release, I’m continuing my Q&A series with some of the awesome homeowners who let me and photographer Joyelle West capture their spaces for the book. Next up: Alisa.
A few years ago, this gal and her family moved from a chic condo in my Boston neighborhood to a suburb just west of the city. A fashion stylist and mom of two, Alisa blogs and ‘grams on the side as @modamamarazzi and @styleproductions, as well as at @msfitforsociety (with Jessica Diaz, the amazing woman who helped me recognize when I was having a stroke). Alisa and I met at a local playground and quickly realized we had many mutual friends, not to mention a shared love of home decor. I knew I'd be shooting her new home outside the city as soon as I saw how she'd hand-painted her hardwood floors:
One thing that struck me about Alisa's style is this: While it can lean purposefully over-the-top glamorous, it’s also shockingly family-friendly.
While her picks are often glitzy, they still work with her family's routine. There are baking parties, soccer balls in the hallway, and messy painting projects, just like in any other home with kids. No sacrifices for good looks!
Being a mom doesn't keep this gal from tinkering with her decor in the least. As proof, here’s how she has restyled her formal living room in the months after we shot it for Your Home, Your Style.
I won't give away much more from inside her home, because I want y'all to BUY THE BOOK, but here's a little Q&A with Alisa about her home and style. And, oh yeah: BUY MY BOOK!
Do you have a decorating philosophy? What is it?
I believe design should not only be beautiful, but functional. Sometimes pieces can fit into my design purely for their beauty, but when they serve a purpose, that makes me feel like I've knocked it out of the park!
Tell me about your current home. What do you like most about it?
We bought our home almost three years ago. It's a circa-1951 center-entrance that hadn't been touched since it was built. What I like most about it is that its original layout was exactly right for creating the flow that I wanted. My dream was to have a vast kitchen island, a separate space for dining, and an open but functional family space, and this floorplan was perfectly suited for it.
Joyelle and I had so much fun shooting your space for Your Home, Your Style. What surprised you most about having your home photographed?
I had a blast watching your team work on this project! Honestly, I worked so hard on designing this home, which I did all by myself, and I never got the chance to step back and admire it. Having the shoot at my house taught me to appreciate all the little details; it taught me to appreciate how much sunlight my house gets at every single angle, all day long. One thing that surprised me was the lengths photographers will go to to get that perfect shot... Even crawl into the smallest corner of the smallest bathroom while holding a giant reflector.
What were the biggest challenges in furnishing and decorating your spaces?
I had two big challenges. One was the budget. After spending so much on the renovation of our home, it was hard to fathom spending even more on furniture that would showcase the home like I wanted. I had to search for months and months for pieces that fit my style at affordable prices. And the second challenge was that I have two little boys constantly running around this home, not to mention two dogs. Almost all the furnishings I chose had to be safe. No sharp corners, no glass, nothing that tips too easily, fabrics that are easily cleaned—all while keeping my design aesthetic intact.
Anything you’d do differently if you were to start over today?
I ask myself that question all the time. And the answer is, for the most part, no. I would have chosen a different hood for the kitchen and maybe thought through the functionality of the light switches in the main rooms a bit more, but aesthetically speaking, if I were to start over today, I'd probably do the exact same thing.
When you’re shopping, what colors, materials, and types of items can you never resist?
I am obsessed with anything marble and light-colored crystal stones, like quartz. I have them strewn all over my home. I love anything black, white and gray. And I'm a huge sucker for vases because I'm obsessed with flowers and gardening.
What’s one purchase you’ve never regretted?
My kitchen island. It was one of the most expensive pieces in our home, and I waited 9 weeks for it, but it is the best thing I've ever spent money on!
What was your most recent home-decor project or purchase?
I finally completed my formal living room. For the longest time after we moved in, it was the "yard sale" room: a jumble of all the spare furniture from our last house, with the exception of two pink chairs that I bought the week we moved into this home. It's taken three years, but I've finally finished my pink and green, Palm Beach-inspired room.
Anything you want to add or change next?
As my two boys are growing older, I'm sure I'll be redoing their bedrooms to be more mature and less kid-like. But I'm always changing my rooms' decor, because I like change. Each season, for instance, I'll change what's around my mantel, or I'll put out different vases or jars on my kitchen island and dining room table. I'm always thinking, "What's next? What's fresh?" It's fun to be able to make little changes and use my creative energy. It makes a big difference.
What’s your go-to source for design inspiration?
As cheesy as this sounds, anything at all! It could be a trip to NYC, going to the beach, or a random image in a magazine. I always look to design books, Instagram, Pinterest and fashion magazines for inspiration as well.