Most designers and consumers prefer pieces with a history and a story. They add panache to spaces and reveal so much about who lives here. Anyone can go into a furniture store and purchase an entire room where all the pieces have been preselected. But it takes time to put together a room that’s unique, stylish and interesting. My dear friend Joyce Leyland described it best: “It’s the thrill of the hunt, don’t you know?”
Leyland is one of the most talented stylists I have ever known. A stylist is someone with a love of interiors and all things beautiful, original and unusual. And it is out of that love that a stylist knows how to put these objects together to create a compelling look that most of us could only dream of fashioning. While some designers are also stylists, most focus on the big picture. A stylist fine tunes every detail.
It’s that attention to detail that makes something as simple as a yellow daffodil in a clear glass vase on a crisp, white table cloth turn our thoughts to spring.
Leyland tied the daffodils with a thin, black satin ribbon and placed them next to a black-jacketed book with gold type. Her home is always like this – subtle, inspiring and charming.
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Stylist are all around us. Their work is stimulating and instantly recognizable. I love to shop at farmers markets, antique shows and vintage shops. My favorite booths are always the ones where the merchandise or produce is clean, visually appealing and styled to capture your attention and imagination.
You can become a stylist. It doesn’t take formal training or even natural talent, although I do think there are those among us who have a propensity or an eye for style. What you have to have is desire.
Start by shopping somewhere new. Visit that cute little shop you’ve passed from time to time. Don’t always buy new; consider shopping at antique stores, flea markets and consignment shops. They are easy to find in any town, just surf the Internet.
My favorite place to shop is the Potato Factory in Charlotte . It’s a warehouse filled with talented stylists and terrific finds that you can get at affordable prices. It’s open for three days every other month, but you can do a year’s worth of shopping into just one visit. Their next sale is March 19-21. (facebook.com/thepotatosack)
Look for consignment and thrift stores, Goodwill, Habitat’s Restore and the Salvation Army, among others. You’ll find a mix of things from statues to mink coats and chandeliers. (facebook.com/ClassicAtticConsignment)
Shop with an open mind, not an agenda. Sometimes it’s a simple silver tray or a painting that you discover that completes or instigates a look or a style for a room.
Why not make a day of exploring new shopping venues? However diverse, you may discover things you didn’t know you would like. After all, it’s the thrill of the hunt, don’t you know?
Vicki Payne is the Charlotte-based host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV and in syndication. Reach her at foryourhome.com.