A Colorful Interview: The Highs And Lows Of Editorial Style With Allison Lind

For as long as I can remember I have been an editorial junkie.  In high school I religiously studied each and every issue of Seventeen magazine as if they were the scriptures themselves.  When I went off to college my Mother’s back issues of House and Garden and House Beautiful went off with me.

Long before Decor8, Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy and let’s face it the internet came along- I was hunting local thrift stores and flea markets in attempt to turn each and every ensemble and bachelorette pad into a thrifty version of my glossy-paged dreams.  Soon after I bought my first house, Domino magazine hit the newsstands as if were personally sent down to me from heaven- the age of High/Low style and hip DIY-ing had finally arrived.

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Ahh, a vintage edition from Ebay brings me back (and yes that is Phobe Cates on the cover!)

It would not be a lie to say that in fact this blog was very much begun- in part as a way for me to live out my editorial dreams.  What else is one-who thinks that scouring the internet and making Photoshop collages is a fun way to spend an afternoon- to do?

So when a few weeks back a friend sent me a link to an article called Paint Trends: Predicting The Hottest Colors For Next Year on Shelter Pop, that her friend (and real life style editor) Allison Lind had written- I of course clicked right over.

Once I spotted the amazing array of projects on Allison’s own site that she had styled and produced for Ty Pennington At Home, it took less than a NY minute to shoot off an email and get a coffee date on the calender. After all, I couldn’t have such a talented  style editor this close within my grasp and not attempt to shake a little colorful information out of her.

One yummy latte later- I had all my answers!

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Allison in a styling convertible-perhaps off to “Market” along with some of her awesome spot-on ‘Get The Look For Less’ features (cute photo of Allison courtesy of  Hank Drew)

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When you first begin working on a feature, where do you find your inspirations for the products and colors?  Do you just wake up and say I’m in the mood to create an coral inspired reading nook today?

There’s always one item that inspires me. Sometimes it’s a swatch of fabric. Sometimes it’s a woman’s outfit on the street. I take that one item and begin building from there. More than 80 percent of the time, my original vision morphs into something completely different, but that’s the fun of it – you never know what the end result will be until it’s all put together.

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You have such an amazing eye when it comes to ‘getting the look for less’.  I’m shocked at how similar the high and low rooms are. Since now more than ever consumers are looking to get more ‘bang for their buck’-what are some of your favorite tips on becoming a master shopper?

First: Patience. So often we find something we LAHVE and buy it without a second thought and without concern for our budgets. (I do this often…) But with such a vast amount of furnishing sources out there, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find something similar for a lot less, so you just need to take the time to search.

When you lack patience or time? One sort of weird trick that I use is to Google an item. A friend recently fell in love with a ceramic elephant side table. But it was more than $1,000 – way out of her range. I knew there were others out there, so I typed “elephant side table” into Google and quickly scoured through Google Images, finding about 10 options within 20 minutes, including one priced at $188. Here’s a post I did with a handful of them.
allison-elephant2 Another trick: eBay and Craig’s List are great sources for unique, affordable furnishings. You don’t want your home to look like a furniture catalog, and some of the most stylin’, unique items can be found on the super-cheap at flea markets, thrift stores and sites like Craig’s List.

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From your own personal experience working with so many products, where do you think people should splurge and where can they actually save?

When it’s an item you absolutely can NOT stop obsessing about – and I mean for weeks at a time – then treat yourself. If you know you’ll tire of something within a few months or a year, then it’s probably best to hold off. But most people will tell you to only splurge on the “essentials” or the “base” pieces like a nice sofa or dining table. My thought? If you’ve been obsessing about Philip Stark’s gold gnome side table for the past year, set money aside and buy it.

Furniture can be art – and, like art, if it rotates between time in your living room and time in your attic, if it’s an item you’ll always love (no matter where it is) then you should have it. Whenever it’s an item that can be “any old item” – you need a new ceramic lamp, or sisal rug, etc – you can ALWAYS save. Only splurge when you’re dying for that exact model or manufacturer.

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I’m a lover of all things editorial. I’m one of those people that just wants to crawl inside a magazine layout.  What’s a typical day like when you’re creating these fabulous scenarios?

I’ll start my day really early in the flower district of Manhattan. These stores open at 4 a.m. with fresh flowers for the day (I go “late” around 8 a.m.). The whole street is bustling with florists, caterers, restaurateurs and others pulling together centerpieces for the day. It’s an amazing energy. I pick up as many floral bundles as I can carry and head to the studio. The whole space – a huge open floor plan with tons of natural light – is filled with boxes of furnishings for me to unpack. The last studio I used was on the 14th floor overlooking the Hudson River; you could even see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. I constantly find myself stopping to gaze out the windows as the view; it’s hard to focus!

Our shoots have about ten people working them: photographer, photo assistants, set builders, two editors and a stylist – I love being surrounded by so much creative energy. After boxes are unpacked and organized, I begin putting together our first scene, the same way I would decorate a room. Once a scene is put together the real work begins: I look through the camera lens and begin tweaking EVERYTHING to be perfect from the lens’s perspective.

It’s amazing how the tiniest adjustments can change the entire feel of the shot: A side table will go a half inch left, a vase will “cheat” forward a smidge, a throw pillow will be fluffed, etc. I’m obsessive with details – I’d adjust all day if I could. I even do this at home now, which I think means I’m slightly crazy.

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I love your ‘ Color Story’, which features a room in three different palettes.  I see that you’ve worked with three different paint company’s palette suggestions; did you take your styling cue from the colors in creating the perfect moods?

I love working on color-themed stories! Color is such a hard thing for some people – how do you merge purple, green and caramel without it looking like a box of crayons threw up? This is why paint companies are so great – they create paint palettes that give people a starting point. So, yes, when my friend/co-worker Moe and I created those scenes we definitely took a cues from their colors, but it’s our own take on their palettes, how we’d prefer them to be brought to life. It’s all subjective; one palette can go so many ways. What I’d love to do is three rooms with one color palette and show how one palette can be deconstructed in three totally different ways.

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I know you have just launched your own blog called Swatchbook. I’m already addicted to your ‘Daily Inspiration’ feature. What is Swatchbook all about?

Swatchbook was really just a side project that Moe and I started for fun. We kept stumbling across so many amazing products that never saw the light of editorial day, so we wanted to share them with people through out Daily Obsessions. I also kept getting so many emails from friends and family with decorating questions, and many of them were questions that I’d heard countless times before. So I thought, why not have a venue where people can share their questions and we can, hopefully, help solve some common design problems.

I also just love color, so for my own “play time” I created the Swatchbook of the Week where we design a basic room scene around a color palette (sometimes it’s a paint company’s palette, and sometimes it’s just what catches our eye that week). These run every Friday. It’s mainly just our outlet to highlight the products and styles we love…but we seem to be growing a solid readership that appreciates our eye. So I guess we’re not total crocks.

Thanks so much Allison!!!! xo

You can follow even more of Allison’s stylish advice on Shelter Pop and Swatchbook.

5 Responses to “A Colorful Interview: The Highs And Lows Of Editorial Style With Allison Lind”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. kim says:

    What a great article!! You are two peas in a pod.

  2. Ugg boots are especially manufactured keeping in mind more of a casual look,so it definitely matters if you are to carry a casual look or for a party.When it comes to clothes,we do have certain preferences.It feels like on the top of this world when we get to have something which is so smart yet elegant.So,try out once and wear with that outfit.You will feel on the top of this world.

  3. sherry clark says:

    Allison makes decorating look so simple and affordable. Love looking at the pictures and knowing tips on where to find bargains.

  4. sherry clark says:

    Allison makes decorating look so simple and affordable. Love looking at the pictures and knowing tips on where to find bargains.

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  1. [...] and writer for Live in Full Color, recently fired off some interview questions for me — here’s the end result. Thanks Julie for a great post — and for making me look better than I actually am! [...]



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