Shayne Blue, of Shayne Blue Designs, is an interior stylist whose entire life is about art. She is an accomplished musician, songwriter and performer and she brings that artistic flair to her interiors. She has worked with clients who range from extremely artistic people, who respond to her eclectic taste, to more conservative clients who want to add a little flair to their interiors. I caught up with her while she was driving between appointments. As the mother of two young children, she jokes that the car is her office where she can gather her thoughts.
What makes a home?
When you walk into your home and feel visually stimulated, comfortable and your surroundings make you feel happy to be home.
What are some of the interior design elements that create that feeling?
I feel like your interiors are like art. Even chairs: a chair is somebody’s art. Art is subjective and personal. I want each piece to feel like a piece of art and to evoke that same feeling you get when you look at art that you love. I think of furniture like painting. It’s just another form.
Why do you love blending vintage finds into your interiors?
I primarily use vintage furniture. I find the quality of the designs to be less generic than most modern pieces although there are some modern furniture designers out there that are incredible. Vintage furniture is often unique and can be very personal.
How do you blend vintage into the existing furniture of a client?
Just yesterday a client had a couch that is really comfortable that she wanted to keep. We talked through each piece of furniture – to see how we could work with them. One way is to reupholster. For example, she has two chairs that are not my style but with new fabric we can bridge the gap—and the client will ultimately be happy. She hired me because she wanted to get outside of the box as she is very conservative. Working with a client is often about finding that middle ground between their taste and yours.
How do you approach each new job?
We interview each other. I can be open to most kinds of styles and every client is so different. I like to go in and hear what they want first and then I can help. I like to walk in with questions rather than giving them my opinion. Often they just need reinforcement about their ideas – they’re concerned they might not have good taste. Others love my style and give me free rein. Often people do know what they like, even when they think they have no idea. I think it’s a question of what stimulates or evokes a feeling for them. Sometimes it is about encouraging folks to tap into their artistic side.
Do you have any tricks for helping your clients to re-imagine their spaces?
I have my clients look on Pinterest or in magazines to give me a few ideas of something that they connect with and then we elaborate from there. I like them to show me what they imagine before I show them what I am thinking– that way the final result is something that they can connect with.
What suggestions do you have for folks who would like to blend vintage pieces into their homes?
Don’t be afraid to combine eras and trust your intuition as to whether something works. Don’t be influenced by trends and fads – something discarded 10 or 20 years ago can be a trend that will happen again. Look at Scandanavian modernism. It used to be something your grandmother had and now look at it. Always remember it’s your home and you are the one who has to walk into it and feel good. What is happening out in the world doesn’t matter.
What are your favorite sources for finding pieces?
I love to shop. One of my favorites is Siglomoderno on Melrose just East of La Cienega – the owner, Jorge, has a great mix of new modern designers mixed with vintage. I shop everywhere from super high-end places to the Salvation Army. I do it all: flea markets, thrift shops, everything.
Any last thoughts?
It’s your home and you have to walk in and feel good. If you walk in and feel confused then get a designer and ask them for a collaboration. Get their advice but stick to what will make you happy to come home. Don’t let anyone tell you what is right and what is wrong. There is no method to art and creating a home is a real, true form of art.
Written by Catherine Holliss
Interior Design Blog Writer, Kouboo.com, LLC
Director of Interior Design, Sander Architects LLC.
Photographs © Shayne Blue Designs.
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