Please scroll down to read a interview with Megan Yager, a interior designer based out of San Antonio, Texas.
Just a reminder-
Our Casart Contest is: answer the following question, “Which of the new Mary Douglas Drysdale Signature Colors makes you see fireworks?“– You can answer in our blog or on our Facebook page. The contest will run through tomorrow, Saturday, July 9th. We’ll announce the winner on Monday, July 11th.
Megan Yager is a very busy lady (and brave). Based in San Antonio, when I contacted her for an interview, she was starting a drive to Santa Barbara with children in tow to escape the Texas summer heat. She graciously agreed to this interview.
Megan was selected by Trad Home as one of the 20 New Traditional Designers to keep an eye on. She was asked to give her top ten designer tips as part of the interview process. They follow, along with my comments and questions with Megan’s answers.
If you don’t get the scale of your major furniture pieces correct, then the room will never feel right. This doesn’t necessarily mean a predictable choice; sometimes an over-scaled piece in a small room can be the secret to making a room more inviting and livable. Is there a set formula for determining furniture scale for a room or is it just a matter of individual taste?
MY-No, I actually think it is a matter of having a good eye and enough experience to visualize outcomes. I don’t have any formal interior design training, per se, but I grew up in beautiful homes created by my interior-designer mother and my artist father, so I am able to visualize things really well. I’m always “mentally remodeling” spaces
I love a taller coffee table between 22’ and 24” high. It makes a room look more interesting and is really more functional than a low table. Cut down a small dining table and lacquer it a beautiful color! I like a taller coffee table, too. It beats having to stoop down to pick up a drink or snacks. Any other neat suggestions for adding interest to a room?
MY-Personal collections add a lot of interest to a house. I encourage clients to collect something that speaks to them…it makes their house feel like a home. A good designer can interpret – not lose – a client’s personal style…just make it better!
Consider the entire composition of ceiling, walls, trim and floor when choosing a color scheme. Sometimes, painting trim a glossier version of the wall color can give a room a welcome, more contemporary feel, and make your ceilings look taller. Even with a contrast trim, I often paint baseboards wall color to avoid a distracting horizontal band between floor and wall. Conversely, black baseboard, as seen in historic houses like Mt. Vernon, can anchor a room with dark floors and feel correct in a traditional home. I always love blue ceilings; instant sky! Is that blue porch ceiling a “Southern” thing?
MY-Yes, that is the origin in this country. People believed that a “haint blue” ceiling repelled everything from evil spirit to bugs! My favorite versions of this, lightest to darkest, are Benjamin Moore’s quiet moments, Wyeth blue, and Stratton Blue.
My biggest paint selection challenge came with finding the “right” yellow for a room with morning sunlight exposure. The color changed with the time of day and differed from wall to wall. Any advice on how to solve that kind of paint problem?
MY-Yellow is actually a very touchy color. Paint selection can involve a lot of trial and error! You need to put huge swatches up and live with them for a few days. It also depends a lot on which part of the country you live in….light quality varies tremendously. My favorite white in Texas would never work in California or Montana.
Don’t get too caught up with adding decorative details to everything in a room. If you leave some things plain and simple, the areas where you do add trim or special details will have more impact, and the room won’t feel over-decorated or busy.
Changing out pillows and throws seasonally can be a simple way to make a room feel fresh and appropriate. My absolute favorites are silk tiger velvet and cashmere for the winter, and fresh Fortuny prints and beautifully colored plain linen in the summer. Promise you won’t laugh. In addition to slipcovers and simplifying for summer, I rearrange all of the furniture in the living room because I don’t want to look at the fireplace during hot weather! Is that too extreme?
MY-No! I love it when people take an interest in their houses…it depresses me to think of living in an unpleasant space! How a room is put together can really have a big impact on how it feels to live there.
Custom lined and interlined curtains are worth the expense. My favorite is inverted pleat panels hung on simple rods mounted as near the ceiling as you can get to emphasize height. They should break ever so slightly on the floor. Since drapes can be quite expensive, do you think a solid color is a safer selection over a pattern to achieve longer use?
MY- I think a solid linen or silk curtain in a favorite color can have the most longevity. That being said if one has a confident eye, a fabulous print can add a ton of personality to a space!
An over-scaled piece of art in a traditional room can keep it from looking too granny-ish (although, for the record, my own grandma is very stylish!) I often paint my own contemporary large canvases with sample wall color pots and scraps of wallpaper and fabrics. I like the idea of really personalizing the art. I’d suggest using Casart wallcovering scraps since they are easily repositionable when applying, can be removed without leaving a residue behind, and can be rolled on the backing sheet and reused later.
Have a custom monogram designed and have it embroidered as large as possible in your favorite colors on plain white sheets and towels. The scale makes it feel more graphic and young, yet still appealingly traditional.
Create a chic bar on a beautiful side table or cart and be ready for a party at a moment’s notice. Arrange a vignette of attractive bottles and whimsical bar accessories on a lacquered tray. I have so much fun collecting vintage embroidered cocktail napkins, which I have in every motif imaginable! What a great conversation topic at a party!
There are some great, stylish, and well-priced things available for the home from mass retailers. Make sure that you don’t end up with a room that looks like last season’s window display, or just like everyone else’s room! These stores can be great sources, but mix it up with antiques and personal collections to give it your own stamp.
Final question, Megan. If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing today?
MY-If I weren’t a designer, I would probably be a painter or a writer.
All of your tips are practical ideas that anyone can use, Megan. Thank you so much for sharing them with us and for answering my questions.
– Lorre Lei