How To Make Your Style a Reality :: An Interview with Erin Stover

Does anybody else find it hard to translate the amazing decorating ideas you have in your head to your home? Sometimes it feels like I have great taste on Pinterest when in fact my own home is just kind of…blah. But then there are some women who seem to not only have a vision for their home, but a supernatural ability to make those ideas come to life. I have a couple friends like that and this month they’ve agreed to tell their secrets. First up is Erin Stover, a childhood friend of mine who now makes her home in Des Moines with her dapper husband Wayde and their two children, Ruby and Sterling. She’s a self-described “mod-housewife” who loves thrifting and blogging and has some insightful tips on making your style a reality ::

You have such distinct taste. How do you think you developed and honed your style over the years?

I think the keyword here is years. Growing up, I always thought my mom did a nice job of decorating our home and utilizing each space well. I still value her opinion when making a big change or purchase for our home. Quite a few of my friends have pretty distinct tastes in design, which has certainly shaped my own. I have been “introduced” to a variety of blogs, businesses, and publications through them. It has only been within the last year or so that I really started getting into Pinterest, which has probably done the most for honing my style. When you become intentional about editing your boards, it has a way of reflecting in what you wear/ surround yourself with. 

Even if I have ideas of what I’d like, I often feel frustrated when I can’t pull it off in my own home. What are some ways you bring your vision for your home to life?

You are not alone in your frustrations! There have been many times where I have looked around our home and felt like things didn’t quite come together as I had hoped. Also, I think it’s important to note that I am married to someone with a strong design sensibility, so a lot of what you see has been agreed upon by both of us. Heck, the first argument we ever had was at an IKEA over nightstands. Having my husband as a sounding board has its benefits though. He might help rearrange a shelf or suggest something that may spark a different idea altogether.

In your opinion, what’s the key to designing a living space that reflects your style?

Lots of personal touches, of course! Framing meaningful pictures or quotes, displaying a collection, or even incorporating a project you made. When we moved into our home last year, we found ourselves in need of some new furniture to fill the place. There weren’t a lot of dining room tables that fit both our budget and aesthetic, so my husband ended up building a table that I found instructions for on the internet. And I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! I kind of like to think of it as a modern heirloom. 

You’re not a professional stylist, but I think your house makes you look like one! What is some of the best advice you’ve found for making your home look put together?

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a nice space. My husband and I do a TON of thrifting. Some of my favorite pieces in our home were purchased secondhand. The shell chair next to our fireplace was a $10 Salvation Army find. The large black and white painting of the mod-looking family in our living room was a $5 thrift store purchase. These kind of scores are rare, but are so much sweeter when stumbled upon. I have also had great luck at flea markets, estate sales, and Craigslist.

What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes that people make when they’re trying to decorate?

A lot of people just don’t know where to start, which includes myself at times. I still have walls (multiple) that are bare or have frames with nothing in them. The temptation is there to just buy something to fill the space, but I might end up spending more money on a piece that I might not be totally in love with. This is where Pinterest has been a great resource when it comes to styling certain areas of our home. Creativity inspires creativity and good design requires planning and patience.

What resources do you use for decorating? Pinterest? Magazines? Inspiration boards?

As I’ve already mentioned, Pinterest is a big one for me. I’m a magazine keeper, too. I still have all my issues of the now defunct ReadyMade and Domino publications. I also have a collection of mid-century interior decorating books that I’ve referenced for inspiration. There are just so many great design elements that came out of that era and continue to stay relevant.

Who’s your greatest design inspiration?

There are so many, but I think I am most inspired by the husband and wife design team that is Bob and Cortney Novogratz. Their style is mainly modern, but they always manage to tie in some kind of vintage element. What I love most about the Novogratz’s is they are raising 7 children in New York City on top of all the decorating fabulousness. Now that’s what I call living the dream…

Thanks so much, Erin! I’m just dying over your dining room table, and I’m pretty sure any house is better with Bill Murray watching them ironically from the mantel. :) I love the idea that it doesn’t take a lot of money, but patience and thoughtfulness, to make your style come to life. I know right away that I’d like to find some of our favorite photos, verses, and quotes and get them on the wall.

If you’d like to hear more from Erin, she keeps a lovely blog and some killer Pinterest boards. 

What about you? Do you ever feel like it’s hard to make your house look like you imagine it? Do you ever feel frustrated even figuring out what your style is? Did anything that Erin said resonate with you?

Posted by Aanna on Monday, April 14th, 2014

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