Monday, January 10, 2011

Secrets from a Macy’s Stylist ...

A few years ago, I was asked to come in to help style what was soon to be the new Macy’s Furniture Gallery at the North Shore Mall in Peabody. Under the direction of Jason West, the District Visual Manager, a team of us spent a few days adding finishing touches to the showroom floor. We hung artwork, set up lighting, arranged bookcases, accented with pillows, and “accessorized” where needed. The room above was one of my favorites — a combination of traditional and modern with a great mix of hot and cool colors. Isn’t that artwork great?! I think this room could still work today.

Back in January of 2008 when I took these pictures, the predominant colors in the showroom were red and chocolate brown. The look was heavily traditional, and many of the accent pillows featured the look of Indian textiles with bits of mirrored sparkle and lots of embroidery. My favorite piece in this room is the black metal “tree.” The other visual merchandisers had some serious stylist-envy when they saw me snag it from the stockroom first!

I was asked to come back again this year, right before the holidays, to help implement some new design schemes from the corporate office. This time around (is it really three years later?) the colors have switched over to bright yellows mixed with neutrals like gray, black, white, cream and brown. Walls were being painted gray and large scale wallpaper patterns were scheduled to be installed. New artwork included modern images like the chandeliers above, and far less landscapes and still lifes were used than last time. Faux fur throws and pillows were added to the mix to create a look of cozy-modern. And lots of metallic finishes were seen throughout the showroom.

Greens are still popular, but in smaller quantities than a few years ago. For this room I was asked to freshen it up with some new accessories. The three glass fishing floats in the large dish on the coffee table were my contribution, along with new accent pillows, a birdcage and some rearranging of the objects in the television armoire. A lot of the accessories that I found in the stockroom looked vaguely familiar to me which made re-decorating a little challenging, but these days even big department stores will reuse and repurpose objects like the rest of us. Can you see something in this space that I used back in ’08?

Books are timeless design elements. I grouped this set with spine colors that matched the rest of the room along with the horse’s saddle. I could do a whole post on horses in design ...

For this bookcase I tried to fill it up with a unique assortment of “found objects
from the design inventory. I faced some books backward in order to see the array of pages instead of the spine. My goal was to have the objects stand out as visual texture in front of the dark wood.

A styling tip that I picked up from Jason: if you have a piece of abstract art, don’t be afraid to hang it vertically or horizontally. We turned this one on its side so that it would look better in relation to the sofa below. Why not?

Jason also had me cover a few books with paper, which is a technique that I often share with my clients. If you have a lot of photo albums on your bookshelves that all have different covers, for example, try wrapping each of them in the same solid wallpaper or kraft paper. Add a number to each and they will look less cluttered and more collected.

Some new light fixtures, like this branch lamp, were a nod to one of my favorite trends – bringing the outside in. There was another table lamp that really caught my eye that I forgot to take a photo of, but luckily I just saw it recently in Rue Magazine as a favorite design pic of Kelly Wearstler (I love her sense of style). It is the industrial looking hanging light bulb table lamp shown below. Cool, huh?

Rue Issue 2 pages 28-29 featuring
design pics from Kelly Wearstler

What every vignette had in common was a large, colorful arrangement. Of course this would not work everyday when sitting a group of people around the table to eat, but for visual display it attracts attention.

I saw this guy when I was leaving on my last day. Part of me thinks he is really cute, the other feels bad for him. How do you feel about animal skin rugs (real or stylized?) Either way, animal prints are a classic trend that are forever in style.


  1. I'm loving all the designs, they look great!

  2. I absolutely LOVE that painting in the first image of the post! Haha, can you tell I am a wedding photog and all about the romance (and the off-center embrace--that's how I like to shoot :)


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