A Measure of Success is a Q&A session with a successful blogger. This week on Measure of Success, we are thrilled to have Haley Schultheis from Nonsense & Sensibility. Don’t miss Haley’s interview, where she offers tips and tricks on spicing up your home, your wardrobe, and your views on interior design and decorating. Haley explains how to successfully design on a dime while keeping up with the the current decorating and fashion trends. She also discusses her career as a blogger, writer, digital marketer, designer, and fashionista!
IGM: You seem to have a plethora of interests, ranging from style, decor, literature, art, and running your own blog. What do you think your specialty is and what do you consider your main “career”?
Haley: My entire life, I’ve been afraid of missing something! I think this has translated into pursuing a career in editorial and digital media and marketing. I enjoy keeping up with current events, happenings, and technology. My current career goals rest within managing marketing, editorial, and brands within the digital space. Daily, I work to strengthen brands through creating original content and then increasing the awareness of the existing content through social media, newsletters, websites, and more. However, as an added bonus, many of the businesses I am assisting rest within the fashion, entertainment, and design industries!
IGM: How long have you been working or writing about interior design/decorating? What motivated you to pursue a career in this industry (whichever industry you consider yourself a part of)?
Haley: I am an extremely visual person and I also love the ability to “feel” something through sensory details. I think I’ve always been moved by colors, fabric, and textures and hence, have always been drawn to interior design. Growing up, every two or three years, my mother and I would redecorate my bedroom. One year it was a bright yellow print from Liz Claiborne, the next it was a blue and green floral bedspread from Designer’s Guild, and then, we styled it very Palm Beach with the Lilly Pulitzer home collection.
In college, I interned at Lovelace Interiors on Florida’s Gulf Coast and loved that experience. I nearly pursued a career in interior design after college and visited the Savannah College of Art and Design campuses in Atlanta and Savannah. I think had I been able to commit myself to one career path, it would have been the one for me – as I love working with other people and helping them cultivate their own style or see the vision (maybe even one they didn’t know they had) come to life. But, since interior design is just one aspect of my many interests, through writing, I can still talk about the things I love in the industry and feel a part of it.
My friend Emily just stayed with me last week during her spring break from business school and after seeing my new condo for the first time, she asked me if I’d help decorate her home someday. To be asked to assist on a project and not “need” a formal degree or specialization per say, is one of the biggest compliments I could ever dream of receiving!
IGM: What are some design/decorating trends that you are noticing right now?
Haley: It’s really hard for me to part with beautiful things. I usually think very carefully about something before I purchase it. “Can I live without it?” “Will I hold on to it forever?” Thus, because I am more of a long-term consumer rather than a quick-fix/instant gratification, I would rather invest in a nice sofa (with the potential to always recover and reupholster it) than to buy one to last me for just a short time. Going along with this, there is an amazing movement right now to restore and revive vintage and antique pieces. I think this is amazing, because it is also an environmentally conscious movement as well and very “green” thinking. Why toss away a wooden chair and use more resources to create a new one, when the old one can simply be fixed up a bit?
Additionally, I think this is a great trend for the younger generation that maybe doesn’t have the budget to buy a “forever sofa” at the moment. Truthfully, furniture that was made 30-50 years ago can still be of better quality than something you are going to buy new for the same price. Even if it’s a bit beat up, if the structure is there in an older furniture piece, buy it and hold on to it until you are able to save that extra money to fix it up and give it the reviving it needs. I love the Again & Again Studio in Dallas.
Furthermore, I love the idea of purposeful and accidental imperfection. I think before the recession, there was an over-the-top and over-decorated aspect to many rooms and spaces. I love the aesthetics of current style influencers including: Deborah Needleman (and her new book: The Perfectly Imperfect Home), Rita Konig, and Celerie Kemble (and her new book Black and White and A Bit In Between). All of these interior design mavens create a seemingly effortless style that is a mix of high and low. It’s chic, comfortable, and unique. It never feels overdone or fussy and though styled, it remains very personal. The spaces they create seem collected rather than decorated and I think that’s what’s important in interior design.
Thus, I admire buying a sofa that you can’t live without, but maybe leaving the rest of the space bare until you find and love each and every other piece you add to a room. That to me is modern style- curated, but never overdone.
IGM: Many homeowners are on a budget and can’t afford to completely decorate/redecorate their home. What are some inexpensive ways to liven up a home and give it a new, fresh look?
Haley: 1.) Paint: First of all, it’s truly incredible what a coat of paint can accomplish. When I first moved into my town home, it was painted in an extremely dark palette. The first thing I did, was have my downstairs painted a pretty blue gray and the upstairs light gray. This alone changed the entire feel of the space!
2.) Wallpaper: I think wallpapering powder rooms, hallways, and staircases in a fun wallpaper print is also another option. My friend Holly had the wall behind her headboard decorated in the Nina Campbell Love Birds wallpaper. Thus, if you are absolutely in love with a wall covering that is indeed a bit pricier, don’t be opposed to simply hanging it on one wall as opposed to all four. Or, if you decorate a smaller room like a study or half bath, that keeps the price down as well!
3.) Accessories: Also, fun mirrors and contemporary artwork are always great ways to add life to a space. I absolutely love the art from Sketch 42 and one of my new website obsessions is the Furbish Design Studio in Raleigh, NC. Amazing items and equally AMAZING prices!!! And, don’t forget about rugs! I just bought the most adorable hallway runner from West Elm. They have some great prints at reasonable prices and you don’t have to worry so much about the dog claiming them as his or her own!
4.) Reuse: I just took an old china cabinet I’ve owned for several years and had it painted charcoal gray by a local designer. Instead of china, it houses my books! I can see all of the titles through the glass doors and it’s absolutely perfect for my current needs (a place for my books, not numerous sets of dinnerware). So, don’t be afraid to simply look at what you have and ask yourself: can I use this piece for something else? If I repaint this will it work in another room? Or, if I change out the pillows and throw blankets, will this hold me over for now?
IGM: What do you think is the most important room in the home to focus on when decorating?
Haley: I think for sure, focus on the room in which you spend the most time. For many individuals, this is the family room or living room. You want to feel comfortable and happy in your home and if you spend the most time in a common area, then definitely focus on that first. I wouldn’t worry so much about what other people see when they visit your residence. They aren’t the ones living there! And, maybe it’s your bedroom if the living room is taken over by the children? Whichever it is, find one piece that you can’t live without and build the rest of the room around it.
For me, this was purchasing a crescent sofa from the 1960s. I bought it last spring and I still have yet to find a side chair to match! It’s alright though, because the sofa makes me very happy!
This is Part I of Measure of Success with Haley Schultheis. Please read tomorrow’s post to learn more tips for decorating children’s rooms, advice on hiring an interior designer, good places to find reasonable furniture for your home, and much more!