I made my parents crazy. As a kid, I redecorated my bedroom every month. I would literally save my allowance and go buy things.
Some kids spent their allowance going to see 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'; I spent mine on a great-looking lamp I'd found at the flea market and a ceramic bowl from a neighborhood garage sale.
It's my job to know what's available from every retailer, catalog, website, antiques mall, and craftsperson. A good designer or decorator has to have an almost encyclopedic knowledge.
They used to tease me at the 'Oprah' show, 'Are you really going to do another white Shaker kitchen, with white subway tile and stainless steel appliances?' And my answer is, 'I can vary it a bit, but I'm never going to err from classic materials.'
In a small space, you want to keep the bedding as simple as possible so it looks clean, calm and collected.
In design-speak, 'a library' means a room lined with books, floor-to ceiling, but it all depends on the space you have. You may have a free-standing bookshelf of your favorite books if that's all you have room for.
We hold back our true feelings and beliefs, whether it's from a sense of being polite or fear of hurting someone's feelings. But what I have seen on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' is that no one benefits from holding back and keeping things bottled up inside. So I pride myself on speaking my mind and not being afraid to give honest feedback.
You don't have to paint your walls lime green just to try to have your home feel decorated. If you're a classic dresser or preppy dresser or a modern dresser, you wear a lot of black - whatever it is - your home should reflect that as well.
I didn't grow up thinking I'd be a decorator. Design is my greatest passion, and it naturally just pulled me down the path. Same with TV. Being famous or having a show was never the motivation. I got a call and was swept up by the challenge of that first small space redesign.
First and foremost, I'm a decorator and product designer. Everything I do, the television shows, the books, that comes from the design work. It's what I love.
Design, to me, is part psychology, part sociology, and part magic. A good decorator should know what's going on in someone's marriage and how their kids are doing in school.
I hate sets. I've always hated sets. I think that if you have a dining room set, break it up!
You can find a lot of reasonable buys at Wal-Mart. But one key to making it on a budget is by donating your time and labor to the project. Do-it-yourself projects will always help you save.
When I see a wall that's hung with different objects, framed or unframed, what I like about it is its fluidity and rule-breaking nature. Just experiment a bit.
Even as a 10-year-old, I remember trying to explain to my mother and stepfather how upset and frustrated a messy room made me. But they just couldn't grasp it. They wanted me to be playing with baseballs and frogs while I wanted to be scouring garage sales.
I do shop online! But I'm shopping online mostly in the home categories - One Kings Lane and Gilt. At a lot of architectural websites, I buy a lot of hardware for cabinetry like hinges and things like that from England. So, you know, for me, I shop at Net-A-Porter, but I don't really shop that much for clothing online.
Everywhere in my house are these little things that have meanings and make me think of great memories.
In a modern loft, you can't just fill a space with furniture. Each piece has to be perfect.
I'm not going to say paint is an easy spruce-up. It takes time, it needs touch-ups, and you have to be very methodical. But it is worth it, and it isn't particularly expensive.
I tend not to wear ties very often. I'm usually in old stuff: Hermes or Marc Jacobs boots and jeans and a T-shirt and a leather jacket or a jean jacket.