6 Lessons From Estee Stanley For A Casual-Chic Home
With an A-list client roster that includes Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo, Estee Stanley is one of Hollywood's most beloved interior designers. She's also one of our most popular Decorist Celebrity designers. It's not surprising given her chic aesthetic and casual approach to interiors. Her homes have a way of feeling both elegant and relaxed, luxurious and lived-in, whether it's in a small bungalow or a family mansion. It's all a testament to her innate ability to translate her clients' visions and create spaces that perfectly reflect their design sensibilities and lifestyles.
Her work inspires us endlessly, and we were especially excited when her debut book, In Comfort and Style (Rizzoli), finally hit stands recently! Packed with inspiring images of some of the gorgeous homes she's designed along with her best-kept decorating advice, the book is one of our top picks for everyone's fall/winter reading list.
Here, we've flipped through the pages and pulled out some of our favorite gems of design wisdom from Estee to provide you with some inspiration and guidance for your own home. Read on for a sneak peek of the book.
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Lesson #1: Look For Lighting With Personality
For many homeowners, lighting often serves a purely practical function that is less than decorative. Estee feels quite the opposite. "Lighting fixtures are among my all-time favorite accessories to shop for because they add so much personality to a space," she writes in her book. "If you have a large room with a high ceiling, more is more. Choose different shapes, sizes, and colors with similar hardware to keep the grouping looking dynamic yet cohesive."
Lesson #2: Let Artwork Speak For Itself
"Art doesn't need to match the other items in a room," she points out in the book. "It can stand on its own as an element simply meant to reflect the personality and artistic sensibilities of the homeowner." But that's not to say any artwork can go anywhere. "Most clients' instinct is to hang art and display special objects immediately, in some cases even before furniture is selected," she explains in her book. "You need to see all the elements of the space before you decide on the perfect place for an accent."
Lesson #3: Find Moments For Fashionable Flourishes
Estee's background as a personal stylist to celebrities continues to inspire her work as an interior designer. Often, she draws inspiration from the fashion and personal style of other people. That's precisely how this fanciful floral sofa found itself in this otherwise serene bedroom. It came about after she helped styled one of her best friends for her wedding. "Jessica Biel's wedding gown featured a very intricate floral print," she writes in the book. "We took a risk with it, but it looked so special and glam that it ultimately inspired me to do a floral couch in a Hamptons home."
Lesson #4: Elevate Your Bathroom From The Everyday
"I strive to create bathrooms that make you feel like you're staying in a gorgeous hotel," she notes in the book. One way she achieves this luxe appeal? Inject some personality. "Since a bathroom is meant to be a functional space for bathing and primping, homeowners tend to avoid accessories that add personality. But it can be the perfect nook for a few accents that tie into the rest of your home, like sconce lighting or a framed memento—these small changes can have a big impact."
Lesson #5: Always Make Room For Nature
"Plants enliven a space, and potted arrangements beautifully punctuate any palette," she writes. "Infusing a bit of nature into a room works for all tastes and aesthetics, but only if you can commit to keeping your plants alive." For those without a green thumb, she recommends adding other natural elements "to bring a hint of the outdoors into your space." Take a cue from her design for Jillian and Patrick Dempsey's L.A. home here, where she created a stunning display out of stacks of wood used for the fireplace.
Lesson #6: Keep Your Outdoors Fun & Functional
"Because you don't have to worry about the boundaries of walls and ceilings in a yard, you can get creative with fewer limitations," she explains in one chapter. She explains that an outdoor space truly depends on how you use it. For instance, if you're an avid entertainer, you'll want to keep comfort in mind for alfresco dinner parties. Likewise, if you have a pool, you'll want to make sure to have a clear idea of how you'll use the surrounding area. "If you do prefer a seating area directly poolside, make it a space for comfy chaise longues and outdoor sofas rather than dining furniture," she writes.
All images from © In Comfort and Style by Estee Stanley, Rizzoli New York, 2019