Friends! For this third installment of "Bad-Ass Ladies with Great Style and Decorating Bravado," allow me to introduce you to Emily, aka a the creative mind behind MStarr Design in the Boston area. Emily is another one of the lovely ladies who allowed me and Joyelle West to shoot her space for my upcoming book Your Home, Your Style.
As a longtime event stylist who has masterminded some pretty impressive celebrations, Emily is a seasoned pro with invitations, table settings and more than knows her way around a flower market. Over time, though, her curatorial eye led her to experiment more and more with home decor.
One look at Emily's space shows her innate talent, and these days, she's growing a following among other homeowners who connect with her elevated yet approachable take on style at home. She shares her home with her husband and an almost-two year old, plus a dog, so you can be sure her style accommodates a hectic family routine.
Read on to hear what style at home means to her. And if you haven't pre-ordered your copy of YHYS, do it here!
Do you have a decorating philosophy? What is it?
Make your own rules. Yes, I know there are some tried-and-true design tips, but if you like the way seemingly unrelated items look and can find a way to display them together, do it! Do you love that vintage rug that is an odd, small size? Layer it over a simple, larger rug! There are always ways to make the things you love work.
Tell me about your current home. What do you like most about it?
We've been in our home for almost 4 years, and it's been around for almost 200! It's a farmhouse from the 1830's and full of charm. The house has been well taken care of over the years, but there are still plenty of quirks (think low doorknobs, low ceilings, and nearly vertical, narrow stairs). Even though it was an addition to the home at some point, I love our kitchen. It's bright and airy and its open shelving provides endless styling opportunities.
Joyelle and I had so much fun shooting your space for Your Home, Your Style. What surprised you most about having your home photographed?
Joyelle has actually photographed the house four different times for different blogs and publications, so she's well-versed in its quirks! But I'm always impressed with how she's able to capture its best angles despite the low ceilings, odd-shaped rooms, and awkward positions of the doors.
What were the biggest challenges in furnishing and decorating your spaces?
Let's be honest... I'm never done with anything! The stylist in me is constantly making changes, and the mama in me is constantly working on efficiency and practicality. Other than the kitchen, all of the rooms in our home are relatively small. Many are small and an odd shape, so that's been challenging. The bedroom has been the toughest room to furnish and decorate, hence why we've done the least to it!
Anything you’d do differently if you were to start over today?
I'd redo the floors before we moved in. Much of the hardwood is the original flooring, which I do like, but I'd prefer a lighter, less orange-toned color. And ideally, I'd want a wide-plank, lighter wood! Someday...
When you’re shopping, what colors, materials, and types of items can you never resist?
I'm drawn to basically any shade of blue, and these days, a dusty moss or sage green, too. Black accents are my jam. I also love blankets and pillows with various textures, and any type of functional or decorative vase/vessel/pitcher.
What’s one purchase you’ve never regretted?
An actual kitchen island.
What was your most recent home-decor project or purchase?
I'm just about done converting my home office/studio, which had really turned into a glorified storage closet, into a combo playroom/office! Between clearing out the old stuff, reorganizing, deciding what to keep/donate/sell/throw out, and then finding new pieces that fit the space both physically and aesthetically, it's been the biggest and longest project we've tackled to date. I've loved the process, though!
Anything you want to add or change next?
Our bedroom. A new sofa. A new fan or light fixture in the living room. I could go on!
What’s your go-to source for design inspiration?
It's still probably instagram. The vastness of inspiration and talented folks on Instagram get my brain going. I'm currently into following hashtags as well as people... #MyDomaine and #simplystyleyourspace are good ones to follow!