Interior Design: Creating Your Dream Space | How To Home Podcast #008

Interior Design: Creating Your Dream Space | HTH 008

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Transcript

Aaron:
Welcome
back to another episode of the How To Home Podcast. Today we are joined by
Leigh and Aly from Pure Salt Interiors, and we were talking about the steps to
build a timeless design, the importance of functionality in your space, and how
to pick the right shade of white. My name’s Aaron Massey and welcome back to
another episode of the How To Home Podcast. I’m here alongside my cohost Tracy
Pendergast. Literally alongside of you today.
Tracy:
I
get to be on this side of the table today. Upgrade.
Aaron:
That
is because we have two lovely guests with us. We have Aly and Leigh from Pure
Salt Interiors. Thank you guys so much for being here.
Aly:
Thank
you for having us.
Leigh:
Thank
you for having us.
Aaron:
This
is like Tracy’s like the big game.
Tracy:
Best
day of my life.
Aaron:
We
can’t say the other thing because it’s copy written, but it’s the big game.
Tracy:
It
is my big game. I brought a scrapbook of my home, and I can’t wait to go
through every room so you can design it. No, I wish, but I’m really excited.
Aaron:
Why
don’t you guys give us a little bit of a background on how you got into it and
what your company is.
Aly:
So
we’ve known each other for about 20 years and have always had just a creative
edge to ourselves, and have wanted to do a bunch of different things together. Life
took us a couple of different ways, and we ended up coming back together and
creating Pure Salt.
Leigh:
Yeah,
we’ve been, Pure Salt has been around for about three years. To Aly’s point, we
literally started it when we were in two separate areas. So she was living in
Saudi Arabia, which is a whole other story and I was living in southern
California. We thought it was time to pursue our passion. So we started a long
distance and Skype phone calls dreaming up this business of ours. Then here we
are.
Aaron:
You
guys have a killer Instagram account. If you guys want to check it out, it’s
@puresaltinteriors so you guys can follow along with all their projects and
everything that they’re designing. Before we go any further, we want to say a
quick thank you to our founding partner of the How To Home Podcast, which is
FilterBuy. Before we dive in too much with Pure Salt Interiors, we want to
remind you guys that you can always call in and leave us a voicemail at (978)
709-1040. We encourage you to leave us suggestions for the show, questions for
guests like Aly and Leigh, and make sure you like us on Instagram @howtohome_guide.
Aaron:
All
right, so we’ve got a ton of questions for you guys. I really want to get your
take on design sense, because my thing is everything I seem to see these days,
looks a little bit white in my opinion. I want to know where does that come
from, what’s the design trend and how do you guys utilize light and bright, but
also give really cool accents.
Leigh:
First
off, we do love white. The reason we love why is just because it’s such a great
neutral canvas, a great place to start. That being said, we don’t like things
sterile. We don’t want it to look like a hospital, but we just think it’s a
clean palette to start with. So what we do is if we’re starting there, not
saying every one of our houses is white, but you will see a lot of our work
that does have white in it just because of-
Aly:
It’s
calming. It’s clean. It’s not overwhelming to your senses.
Leigh:
I
would say though, in order to add a little bit of what you’re yearning for and
what I’m hearing you say is a little bit more than just some of that stark into
kind of cold. We like to incorporate a lot of textures, a lot of materials that
are organic and clean, but still give a little bit more than just something
that’s-
Aly:
Sterile,
for lack of a better word. I don’t know.
Aaron:
Well,
I approach it from, and I know we all have kids. My thing is when I see
something that’s white, how do you keep it clean?
Tracy:
Actually
I feel like white is the easiest thing to keep clean, because you can bleach
it.
Aly:
Totally.
I love bleach. I love bleach, but I think you have to decide what pieces are
white too. Like if it’s a white couch, is probably going to be tough if you
have little kids. If it’s white walls and a really light colored couch, you’ll
be totally fine. So I think you got to pick and choose what parts are white. If
you have kids and family and friends over all the time, definitely have to be
smart about what you pick.
Leigh:
Our
big thing too to your point is its design and function, and it’s marrying those
two things. I mean you can’t design without knowing exactly how that person,
that family is going to live in a home. The cool thing nowadays though is
there’s so many different things that are made to be durable, that are made for
our family in mind, or our kids in mind. So we definitely take all that into
consideration when we’re actually dreaming up a space. We’re not limited
anymore. I mean you can, let’s say somebody really, really wants a really light
sofa, but they’ve got like three kids under the age of four. The cool thing is
there’s actually materials out there that you can get that will help protect
against the wear and tear that’s going to happen with those three children.
Aaron:
So
talk to us a little bit about your design process. So say I have a 1937 home,
it’s little dated and raunchy, I want to update it. What would be the process
of working with you guys?
Aly:
We’ve
worked really hard on just defining what our process is because it’s such like
a fluid process to an outsider, that we really put in phases to how we work. So
first phase is the concept. Like what is this going to look like big picture?
What is the vibe of the house? What already exists that we can play into? Then
dream that up. We also have to know again, the functionality for what does the
house have to do for the family that’s living there? That plays into our ideas,
and sparks design direction and that kind of thing. So I think big picture is
the concept, it’s really defining the look, the materials, the functionality,
and then going into after we define that, going into materials selection, which
is more like now we have a concept, we know what we’re going for, how does that
translate into materials for flooring, for pink colors, for finishes on
hardware, and fixtures, and furniture and all of it. How do we bring it all to
life? Then after we pick those exact pieces, then we execute and make it all
happen.
Tracy:
Within
that process, where do you see homeowners struggle the most to make those big
decisions?
Leigh:
In
the concept phase. I mean I think the biggest barrier to getting to a great
design and getting to a great design, I would say quickly, the projects that
just you can’t really get anywhere is sometimes clients just lack. It’s hard
for them to let go, and it’s hard for them to trust the process. They just want
to go, there are home goods and they want to pick out this couch and bring it
home, or this piece. Some people really have a tough time just being patient
and waiting for that concept. I think the concept phase to us is really the
most important part. You have to land and have forward thinking to that design.
If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish, how are you ever going to
get there? If you take the time, take the couple of weeks where we actually sit
down and we dream up based off of all your needs, what the space, what the
cohesive concept should be. So it’s not just your kitchen, but it’s your
kitchen with all the other rooms you want us to think about, dreaming of what
that could be and then getting your approval, then we all are in alignment.
Leigh:
Then
you can actually pick out the actual things that bring that to life. One thing
that’s really important to us too in that concept phase, because we find it so
easy to be transparent with our clients, and for them to really understand what
they’re signing up for, what it’s going to look like, is we build everything up
in a render. We use a program called SketchUp, and we built-
Aaron:
I
love SketchUp.
Leigh:
We
love it too because I think we’re visual people, we like to understand but for
our clients to be able to actually see it and see what we’re proposing, it
helps them that much more, get that trust and give that trust to us. So our
first phase, the concept phase, it really includes all of those things. Then
once we land on it, then we can go and it’s a lot smoother of a process from
there.
Tracy:
I
absolutely have trouble visualizing things structurally with cabinetry and
everything. The guys will come in and tell me what they’re thinking of and I’m
just like, “Can I pull up a picture on, can I show you something what I
like.” So to me that is such an amazing part of the process just because I
think it’s overwhelming to just trust what you hear, and not be able to see it.
Aaron:
Is
your primary business, is it new construction or is it remodeled?
Aly:
It’s
a little bit of both. There’s a ton of remodels happening right now. Just
because where we are, where we’re concentrated in, like heavily concentrated
in, in Orange County, there’s pockets of new construction, but then there’s a
ton of old homes that just need to be reworked and brought back to life. So it
just depends but we have an even, not necessarily even, but we have a mix of
both.
Aaron:
Let’s
say it’s a remodel, do you get involved at the pre construction phase, like as
a homeowner approaching you before they actually start tearing up walls and
things?
Aly:
Ideally.
Leigh:
In
and ideal world, yes. Now that being said, our projects are all different, and
so we’ve jumped in at all different phases but when we get the most excited and
where we can be the most creative and really have the most impact is when we
can get involved before the construction phase. When we can collaborate with an
architect, and the contractor and work through together knowing what a family
is trying to achieve, and then working together as a collective group to dream
up and come up with that space together on how to achieve it is the best case
scenario now. It’s not always the case.
Tracy:
The
number one question we got for you guys, and we’ll go over more later, but I
think people are very intimidated by budget when it comes to a designer. I know
that I feel the same way. I think anyone would want help designing their house,
but maybe some people are a little apprehensive to pick up the phone, because
they don’t even know if it’s something they can afford. Are you guys accessible
and if not you, are there options out there with designers for different price
points and smaller jobs?
Leigh:
Yeah,
I mean the reality is to start Pure Salt, you got to start somewhere, right? So
in the beginning we took on anything. Anything that we could do and help create
the brand that we have now, we would take on. In a perfect world and where we
want to go, yeah, we’d love to be able to help everyone. Obviously from a
bandwidth perspective, we spend a lot of our time planning and making sure
we’re not taking on too much, and we’re growing at the right pace. Part of that
is having to create different-
Aly:
Solutions
for people who can’t necessarily afford us, right?
Leigh:
Yeah.
Aly:
Not
afford us, but who can’t necessarily afford a big budget for full design like
we’re creating.
Aaron:
You
can get a lot of nice stuff that isn’t from these very high end antique
boutique places. You can get stuff on Target, you can [inaudible 00:11:36].
There’s a lot of ways to change your selections to match your budget, I guess
is what I’m saying.
Aly:
Yeah,
totally and that’s part of our process too is like we always have to ask our
clients, what price point do you need to be in? What is your budget for this
project holistically? That guides us like well then we need to be sourcing from
here, here and here or we get to source from here, here and here. We really do
have projects that range from low budget, but still awesome to like insane
budgets in the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen, but they all still
accomplish what they need to accomplish for the client, which is the most
important thing.
Tracy:
Our
current price point after this renovation is price point IKEA, hash tag Target.
Aly:
Yeah,
and you can do so many things with IKEA.
Tracy:
It’s
hard,
Leigh:
I
would say to that point too for us, there’s things that you should invest in.
Like if you’re renovating a home, there’s things where you should, we’ll help
you prioritize what you should put your money in and the places where you don’t
need to. The reality is IKEA, I mean I’ve got IKEA pieces in my home, because
you can take an IKEA piece and make it something unique and different, and it
can be functional and fit your space so it doesn’t break the budget. Then you
can invest in the longer term pieces that you’re going to have forever, and do
the right balance. So we help our clients understand and prioritize, and invest
in the things that we really think are important for them to invest in. When it
comes to renovation too, it’s so crucial to do that because of increasing the
value of the home, and thinking through the choices you are making. Like, if
you were to ever sell that house, they need to think through that longer term
versus just what’s going to make you happy in the immediate.
Tracy:
I
think I always try to remind people that in real life there isn’t a big reveal
day. You don’t have to pull back the curtain and reveal your new home. It’s
such a long process. My husband and I know Aaron too, we attack things in
phases and with buying anything, we try to get upgrade product, but we just
don’t rush. I think that’s hard to wait, but sometimes just pacing yourself. I
think.
Aly:
It’s
so worth it.
Leigh:
It’s
the instant gratification, and that’s when we were talking about our challenges
too. People, especially when they’re moving into a new home. They just want it.
They want to move in and they want it so bad. I get, I want my house to be
perfect. Is it? No way. Like I wish it was, but it’s that instant
gratification. We’re always so, that’s part of how we live these days. So
having people and encouraging people to take a breath and know that if you take
the time, you’re going to get the end result you want. If you rush it, it’s
going to be a tough, tough journey.
Aaron:
Yeah,
but the TV tells me that I can do it in three days.
Aly:
Exactly,
I know.
Tracy:
I
think it’s also a product of so for me, I look at my parents house and the
house I grew up in, and my memories of it are how it is now. Like finished,
trees grown in, beautiful yard, all these things. My parents always remind me
this was built over years. They’ve put tons of time into it and these things
just grow and evolve.
Leigh:
I
think that’s an important point too. Your home is going to become your home
over time, and it’s going to turn into that home that you want over time when
you start putting your family life, your life into it. Even if you, let’s say
we do have projects where we install everything at once and it’s a brand new
home, but it’s still not their home yet. I mean it looks really pretty, but
it’s when they move in and they live in it and it starts to function for them,
that’s when it truly becomes your home.
Aaron:
Do
you take on smaller room type things or is it larger like I got to design the
whole space?
Leigh:
Yeah,
we definitely over the past few years have had single room jobs for sure, and
they’re fun. I think that’s when we talk about managing our bandwidth and
what’s feasible and what we’re trying to do to really help, because we want
people to be able to get our vibe, and what we stand for in their homes even if
we can’t be the ones to design it. So that’s why we’ve worked really hard to
start curating, creating this shop that we also have attached to Pure Salt,
where people can have more access to the unique things that we love, that we
encourage them to put in their house if we are designing their home. So through
that and then through our Instagram, where we try to put our work out there and
inspiration photos.
Leigh:
Then
even Pinterest, where we’re trying to do helpful tips and color palettes, and
stuff like that to consider. Through those tools, we’re trying to give and be
able to help with single room homes versus, because now of the amount of
projects we have, we have to better prioritize. So the answer is yes, we
definitely have. The way we’re growing, not sure how many we can do that way
moving forward, unfortunately. Just because in order to get right, it takes
time and the process is important, and you need to have enough hours to do that
process.
Tracy:
The
goal is for most of us is to create a timeless space, because as we’re building
and putting all this time into things, we don’t want to have to redo it as trends
change. So what is your groundwork for creating a timeless space that will grow
with you?
Aly:
I
think what we like pride ourselves on is just creating a really beautiful,
neutral, timeless palette to start with. So all your big pieces, like your
couches, possibly your rugs, your stone on your countertops, your cabinetry,
all should be relatively neutral. They can still have pops of color, it could
be like black, or deep blues, or creams or linens, but something that is just
like a really neutral, clean base to start with. So then you can layer it with
texture and things that are trendy that you’re in love with, that maybe like in
six months or a year you’re over. So main role is just nice, neutral, clean
palette to start with.
Tracy:
I’d
love to go bit by bit on what you just mentioned and talk about what you’re
living right now. So do you want to start at the floor up?
Aly:
Yeah.
Tracy:
I
know you’re excited.
Aaron:
Man,
this is going to get to be a long podcast.
Aly:
This
might take a while.
Tracy:
No,
I don’t mean it like that but let’s just chat a little bit about what we’re
talking about here. So let’s start on the floors. What are some types of woods
that you consider, or flooring that you consider like timeless options?
Aly:
The
wood floors, there’s different products that we use for different clients, but
just something really neutral. Not too bleachy, not too gray and not too dark.
So we’re in this really pretty natural tone right now that we like. It’s like a
sweet spot.
Tracy:
Do
you have an actual favorite wood that you use?
Aly:
I
think it’s just like a brushed oak that has-
Aaron:
Yeah,
like a white oak?
Aly:
Yeah.
It has a little bit of texture and character to it. It’s not too stark. It
looks like something that’s been there maybe for all of time is what I
personally love.
Leigh:
We
love it. I mean personally I love a thicker plank, but you know it’s
interesting too like love white oak and I think if you’re going to, if we need
to pick one white oak is I would say-
Aly:
Definitely
our favorite right now.
Leigh:
Yeah,
but the cool thing is I mean we’re huge wood fans, and there’s just so many …
If a house yearns for something a little bit more, you can still get something
like super neutral but in a different type of wood.
Aly:
In
a different species, yeah which we’ve found some really cool ones.
Leigh:
Yeah.
We work with Warren Christopher, a ton and we’ve actually been working with
them on a custom wood flooring line. Like I said, we’re super into wood, and
it’s just been so fun because it’s the way that wood is processed and to give
it its different finishes. Obviously the thickness is a big thing to us just to
keep it clean, but then really understanding the species a little bit more, and
what each species has to offer has been great because it’s like wood starts
with flooring. Then as you go up in the house or build up in the house, excuse
me, we like to intermix other species of woods as well. So we’ve learned a lot
about different woods and what they-
Aaron:
Now
we’re talking. Now we can get into wood-
Tracy:
Yeah,
did someone say wood?
Aaron:
Did
someone say woodwork? Okay, lets get into it.
Tracy:
Then
so for the cabinetry, is there something that you feel people should be focused
on as they build that timeless space?
Leigh:
I
mean function. I think when you are approaching, let’s say it’s you’re
rebuilding a home, or remodeling a home, you need to think about how you’re
going to use the kitchen. Really be thoughtful about how you are, and then
would this makes sense longer term if you were to resell it, but function I
think is key. Then obviously as you’re looking at the function, how do you make
sure that it’s symmetrical and balanced, and the materials are working
together?
Aaron:
How
do you feel about, the trend I see a lot now is open shelving in a kitchen. To
me I’m like, not going to work. Maybe that’s just the way that I live, but I
feel like you just have to have a very specific, all your things have to be
matched. They always have to be in place. You always have to keep it pristine
in order to have something like that.
Leigh:
So
it’s not the most functional, right?
Aaron:
Yeah.
I don’t think it’s that functional.
Aly:
It
has to be for the right person. Like you have to have the right, in my opinion,
the right personality. Someone who’s like tidy, clean, puts their things away
neatly.
Aaron:
OCD.
Aly:
A
little OCD, like you have to-
Leigh:
Someone
like Aly.
Aly:
Yeah,
exactly but if you’re like we have clients that are like, I’m a mess inside my
cabinets. I can’t have open shelving, I don’t have matching dishes. I don’t
have pretty things to put on my shelves. We’re like, okay, then it’s not going
to work for you. It has to be realistic and so from a design standpoint, it’s
awesome. If the client can’t maintain that look, then maybe we use it in small
amounts, and then those places just stay how they are.
Leigh:
They’re
not for function, they’re for look. So you find like one if it makes sense for
the design, you find that place, you style it and it stays styled just like
that.
Aaron:
You
don’t have your cups, and your plates and your-
Tracy:
That’s
our display plate.
Leigh:
You
can’t use that.
Aly:
Exactly.
Tracy:
That’s
totally my mom’s formal, our formal living room and dining room. I never in my
life have we sat in it at my parents house. It just like if you go like this to
the couch, just like dust comes up. It’s just so bizarre to me. It’s so much
space but I actually, I love open shelving. I think that what would work for
you is maybe like in a laundry room you could do just like the glass jars, and
something that’s actually where you use it.
Aaron:
Yeah.
Laundry room for sure. Kitchen is where I’m like I don’t think so. So we’re
talking about timeless design a little bit. What about countertops? In my house
I have this super dated tile huge grout line countertops. I hate it. I’m
debating on what I want to go with, but I want it to last obviously a long time
but I don’t want it to be too trendy. Do you have any ideas as far as what’s
the timeless countertop?
Aly:
Again,
I feel like I’m being really repetitive, but it comes down to functionality. So
first question we always ask is what is going to work for your family? Do you
need quartz? Are you okay with marble? Do you want to look at other kind of
different stones, like a basalt or granite that’s leathered and looks really
cool. There’s a bunch of different options out there. As far as the look goes,
we always just stay with something really clean, some texture, but organic
texture, organic colors. So like white is obviously a favorite. It doesn’t
always work in people’s houses, because of wine, or juice, or kids or whatever,
but if you love white and you want it to be timeless and you can’t necessarily
do a marble, you can do a white quartz site, or a white quartz, which is the
manmade countertops, which there’s a ton out there that look really realistic
now. We use them all the time. So that’s definitely a favorite. So again, just
neutral colors, organic textures. Then really knowing the functionality of the
stone is important.
Tracy:
Right
now obviously Marie Kondo is taking over the entire world, making us all feel
very bad about our drawers and everything else.
Aaron:
Is
that a person or is that … I don’t know what that is.
Tracy:
It’s
a condominium. No, it’s a person. She’s an organization expert but believes
very much in minimalism, and only keeping the things that bring you joy in your
home, or serve a function. So where do you stand with, if you have clients that
want a ton of stuff or have a lot, is there a cleaning out process? Is there a
way you like to organize the space? Is that a part of what you do?
Aly:
Yeah,
I mean it has to be a starting point for a lot of our clients. I mean there’s a
problem in the beginning that there’s just too much stuff, and then there’s not
enough space to put all this stuff away. So we haven’t delved deep into helping
people organize, but we just let them know we got to purge some things here,
it’s just too much. Then we’ll help you find function in your home. So there’s
a place for everything. Then when we get the place for everything, we organize
everything. So a lot about like what Marie Kondo does, I’m obsessed with. I
just did it last weekend, tore my whole closet out, organized every single
thing but it just brings peace your home.
Tracy:
Did
you think everything that you got rid of, did you think it for being a part of
your life?
Aly:
I
did, and my husband and kids were making fun of me so bad, but I dinked it, I
hugged it, I set it down and I said goodbye.
Tracy:
I
think you wet seal came us off from the 90s. Thank you butterfly cliffs. Yeah.
Aly:
I
totally did.
Leigh:
I
think the whole thing though, obviously our name has pure in it, and part of
the reason it has, I mean the reason it has pure in it is because of that. Our
number one, one of our most important principles is simplicity and keeping
things clean and pure. We find so often because a lot of our clients have young
families too, so you’ll walk into a house and there’s toys everywhere. So
there’s so many little thing, it’s like put those toys in a basket with a lid
on it, then you’re not seeing the toys. There’s things too, like there’s just
little things that are so important. You don’t want to walk in and see tons of
stuff. You want to walk in and see enough stuff that makes the space, but you
can hide all the little things.
Leigh:
I
would say purity, and that simplicity, and organization has been a part of
everything we do from the beginning, and we 100% agree with her because it is
so crucial to making this space feel like you want it to feel. One other thing
that always comes up is like I walk into these model homes, and it’s like well
yeah, the model homes are model homes, there’s no stuff in it. The interesting
thing is if you were to move into that model home and put all your clothes in
the drawers, and the closet, and the toys in the shelves, then it could look
like the model home. So you just have to think about the balance between your stuff,
and putting it away versus leaving it all out for everyone to see.
Tracy:
Do
you see a lot of push and pull as far as people letting things go?
Aly:
Sometimes,
yeah. I think it depends.
Leigh:
It’s
a careful walk though. If someone tells you this is an absolute must, I want to
keep it, then I would say maybe I’m speaking for myself, try to find the beauty
in it and find the right place for it. If someone feels really precious about
something, then you know what? It should be in their home. Now does it need to
be the focal point of their home? No, but I feel like there’s ways to, if it’s
a piece of art, sometimes it’s like we’re looking at that art because art is so
personal too. So I think it’s looking at the art, maybe there’s a new way to
frame it and mat it, make it softer and then find its best place in the house.
Aly:
We
do have a project right now where the couple is really sentimental, and they
have a lot of really cool things from traveling the world, and really cool
friends and an eclectic beautiful life. They’ve got some pieces of furniture
that I’m just like, I just don’t love that, but it means something to them and
I have to take it into consideration while we’re designing the space. Like this
means something to them, I can’t just drop in a brand new table and call it a
day. That’s not going to make them happy.
Aaron:
Maybe
you should just paint the floor like a world map like carve San Diego. Just
like San Diego and just put the furniture from where they got it from and then
[crosstalk 00:28:17].
Aly:
Yeah,
but it’s been a fun challenge because it’s like updating all of these beautiful
things, like reusing them in a beautiful way that really makes them happy, but
is also aesthetically pleasing from our point of view. So it’s challenging,
it’s fun to do it that way, to figure out how can we make this beautiful even
though it’s not our perfect cup of tea.
Aaron:
Once
you get involved in a project, do you have contractors that you go to, or do
you just lay out the design and then say the homeowner has to find the people
to execute the design?
Aly:
Yeah.
No, we do. It just depends on again, on the client, where they’re at, who
they’ve hired. I am a contractor’s daughter, and my husband is a contractor as
well. So that’s a very clear line of connection. So when we can, we connect the
dots and we’re working on also building that out to be a bigger picture thing
for Pure Salt so that it’s more of a design build sort of situation. So it’s
seamless for people, but that doesn’t always happen. People have contractors
that they want to work with. So I mean in our world, it’s best when we’re still
involved in construction just because we can make sure these designs are being
executed the way that we have envisioned them, because a lot can get lost in
translation.
Aaron:
And
things change a little bit when construction-
Aly:
Totally
change.
Aaron:
It’s
like I didn’t know that was there, so your design has to tweak a little bit.
Aly:
Especially
with renovations. I mean, you don’t know what you’re going to get half the time
when you tear open a house. So there’s always little things that you’ve got to
tweak or rethink, or even fully redesigned. Not always, but.
Leigh:
Yeah,
and the details. I mean it’s so much easier, we find it so much easier when
we’re working with the contractor, and we can actually communicate directly
with their subs and talk to the cabinet maker, and talk to the tile guy, and
talk about how we think because sometimes it’s just you come up with a cool
design. It’s like brainstorming how to actually execute it. I mean the hope is
to design things that haven’t been done before, and we’re trying to find new
unique ways to come up with cool spaces. Sometimes that’s a little bit about
rolling up your sleeves, and getting your hands dirty. So that relationship no
matter what, we really value. We think it’s really important to have a good
relationship with the contractor.
Leigh:
We’ve
been really lucky with our clients that have already brought on contractors,
because we’ve worked with some really great ones. Some of the best in Orange
County, which has been exciting. Obviously including her dad and her husband
too, which we love and that just makes things so much easier.
Aaron:
Where
can people go to, where do you recommend people look for home furniture and
stuff?
Leigh:
There’s
so many places out there, which is the fun part and we all have access to so
much now because of the Internet obviously. Majority of furniture makers are
putting everything online too, so that’s fun. That’s where you can get an
inspiration. I would say the thing that’s really crucial though is you got to
see it in person too. There’s one thing that you’ll see online, but you also
want to see it, touch it, make sure it really does look that way in person.
Aaron:
It’s
like buying a dress from China.
Leigh:
Exactly.
Aaron:
It’s
like what? That doesn’t look like the picture.
Leigh:
It’s
not what it looks like.
Aaron:
My
wife’s done that a few times.
Aly:
Me
too.
Leigh:
Me
three. Something that we’ve loved to do over the 20 years that we’ve known each
other is we’ve always loved going to flea markets and antique shows. We just,
we’ve always loved it. We’ve taken that love obviously into this business.
That’s where we find the most unique found different pieces that we think make
the home specific to that client. So we would say if you’re looking for some
cool, interesting stuff, try to find your, like there’s flea markets all across
the globe. There’s antique stores, antique shows all across everywhere and it’s
so fun to get inspired by something.
Aly:
If
you can’t go to a flea market, there’s Etsy which you can just stay on there
all night long.
Leigh:
The
cool thing about flea markets too is you can get them for an affordable price.
Usually it’s some of the stuff needs a little bit of work, or you can even
rethink it. So I would say that’s-
Aly:
That’s
the fun, interesting part. Then I think too, we also love Target. I mean we
love Target. Like you can just go there obviously on a Saturday, on a Wednesday
night, pick up a few things. It’s great for organization things, random styling
stuff that we use. I mean, who doesn’t love Target?
Aaron:
What
about bigger furniture pieces? Do you hit up living spaces, or where do you go
for couches and stuff like that?
Leigh:
For
couches and upholstery, like we said, we like to come up with our own stuff too
and I know you’re into this too, which I love that connection we just made, but
we like to dream up furniture. So we have a shop that we work with closer to
our office that we can design up all of our custom upholstery, which the
reality is we can even get it to our clients for a bit cheaper than what they’d
pay it. like an RH or wherever, and we can pick the fabrics. I know we were
talking a little bit about durability and family, so where we can actually
pick, if that family needs a really durable fabric, choose something that makes
sense for them. Actually do a custom size that could be a completely random
size, but fits the actual space. So a lot of times we like to look at those
bigger longterm pieces. We like to do custom.
Leigh:
That
being said, we love, I mean there’s so many great places to get furniture.
We’re lucky because we have access to the Trade Furniture Makers. So we love to
go to shows and we love to look at, shows her such a great way for us to go and
get our eyes on everything that’s out there right now. So in literally 48
hours, we can walk up and down halls, and check out every showroom in a
consolidated space and really get inspired, and really think and look. There’s
so many so it’s like we’re sourcing from all these different places depending
on the client’s need. I’d say that’s the big stuff, but to Aly’s point, there’s
always a need to go to a target for your organizational stuff, or a smaller
staff, or lower budget stuff. I’m even IKEA, if we spent a lot of money in one
room, but then this room, you just need something to be more functional. Not a
bad place to find something.
Aly:
It
just all depends on who you are.
Aaron:
Depends
on budget, right?
Tracy:
I’ve
been struggling to find lighting. Lighting is hard for me. The chandelier, the
big light. Where do you guys like to look for that kind of stuff? Anything
that’s accessible to everyone listening?
Aly:
Yeah,
it’s funny, it’s again like a collection of different brands that we have fell
in love with that aren’t necessarily available to the public.
Leigh:
Also
with the ones are, I mean we love like a rejuvenation. We love a school house
electric, the circle lighting has tons of options.
Aaron:
So
if you had to give maybe four or five design tips for a DIY person like myself,
who is going to tackle everything on their own, what types of things should I
keep in mind or my wife keep in mind for example, when designing a space?
Aly:
Function.
Function, function, function first and foremost. Then what’s your big picture
vision? I think that’s where a lot of DIY people get tripped up is they dive
into a project, and then they dive into another one, but they don’t really know
what the big picture is going to look like. Then it’s a little random.
Aaron:
I’m
guilty of that little bit.
Aly:
So
are we, it happens to everyone. I think having a big picture vision, like doing
some research on Pinterest or Instagram, knowing like defining what you really
want from the very beginning. Taking a couple of weeks just pulling pictures
and styles and then defining okay, this is what we both agree on. This is what
we love, this is what we’re going to do and then this is what this project is
going to be. So I think really having that vision first is so important and
then just doing it.
Leigh:
Then
I would say too, I know we talked a little about this, but figure out the
things that you should put the money into. If you have a holistic budget, then
prioritize your budget. Look at it holistically, look at everything you’re
trying to accomplish and then decide what it is we should spend the money on,
and what are the things that could wait. What are the things that in order for
us to get this thing that we should spend the money on, i.e. the right flooring
or the right cabinet, designing your kitchen, the right appliances. The things
that you should spend the money on and then just have your next thing that can
come when you have the money to get it, and just try to be patient because
that’s going to give you longterm, really the home that you want.
Tracy:
I
would just be crazy if I didn’t ask you, do you guys have a favorite color
white paint that you use? Do you have a go to, because there’s a lot, there are
a lot of different whites, and it’s hard to find the right white.
Leigh:
I
don’t think you can have one because I think white looks different in every
different home, depending on how the light hits and the natural light versus,
so I personally don’t think you can have one. We have a handful that we like.
Aly:
If
I did have one, it would be simply white.
Leigh:
If
I did have one, it’d be Chantilly lace, but those that we have like our set
five that we’ll start with and then it’s so crucial put the paint up on your
walls too. So many people want to just go and we’re like, no, you need to put a
couple-
Aly:
A
big swatch.
Leigh:
Yeah
and a couple of different colors-
Aaron:
On
multiple walls.
Leigh:

On multiple walls, and look at it at different times a day and then make the
decision. So it’s going to take you a little bit more time, but that’s where
the patience comes in. You got to just look at them and then decide, because
it’s going to look different. Even if you tape up a big swatch, not going to
work. You’ve got to paint it on the wall and look.
Tracy:
Is
that one of your biggest questions on Instagram, the paint source people are
asking you?
Aly:
Yeah,
every photo. We’re like, Gosh, I wish we had a list that was just easily
accessible and we can just throw out these paints.
Leigh:
It
sometimes, I mean, personally I’m hesitant to answer because that paint color
could look so different in that person’s house, and I don’t want to steer them
in the wrong direction. So that’s where you go on Pinterest and you look at
some of our favorite white colors but yeah.
Tracy:
That’s
a good tip. I didn’t even know you guys had a Pinterest.
Leigh:
Yeah.
Aaron:
One
thing I want to touch on is we’re in this age of social media and stuff now,
and you guys have started this business three years ago. Is that what you said?
How has social media and Instagram and stuff, how has it affected your business
and how has it allowed you to grow your business?
Leigh:
I
would say that social media has been huge. I mean it’s been our number one
marketing tool, because everybody is so visual these days and so Instagram, I
mean designing a space is 100% visual. In order to help put out there what
we’re about, I mean obviously the portfolio is the most important thing, well
Instagram initially became our portfolio. We just started working and then we
started putting our work out there. That’s been how people see us, see what
we’re all about, get our general sense, get our general vibe. So it’s been a
game changer for us.
Aly:
It’s
also been the number one thing that allowed us to start from where we were at,
which was in two different countries, clear across the world with no portfolio
or clients. So we started with talking to each other and starting an Instagram,
and just curating and highlighting other designers work and showing this is
what we love, this is what we stand for. It’s not ours, but it’s beautiful.
Then we got our first big client that was a friend of ours, and we just started
highlighting every single bit of her job, and showing people this is what we’re
doing, and this is how we’re doing it. Starting just telling our story and that
it’s just been such a cool thing to be able to build upon, and share and grow.
Number one biggest tool.
Aaron:
Well
I love how cohesive your whole thing looks. It all has a very matching vibe. My
stuff is all over the place, because I’m like, whatever I’m working on, that’s
what you’re going to get but it just has a really nice pleasing visual.
Tracy:
I
feel like, you know what you’re going to get from you too, and I mean that in a
positive way. You have a very distinct style and that’s why, I mean I love it.
Leigh:
Well
thank you guys.
Tracy:
You’re
welcome. So happy to meet you.
Leigh:
That
was important to us. You know we talked a lot about the brand that we want to
create. If I just wanted to be an interior designer, if Aly just wanted to be
an interior designer, we would have gone out and been like, okay, relink in the
interior designer but we that’s not what we wanted. We want and what we’re
working towards and what we’re continuing to create is a brand, a brand that
represents our style and all the things that we’ve talked about today, which is
why we have been very thoughtful about our Instagram account and what we put
out there, and what we actually do in our work because that’s what we want to
represent. That’s what we want to create.
Tracy:
Do
you guys ever disagree?
Leigh:
Of
course.
Aly:
All
the time.
Tracy:
Do
you ever fight? Have you ever had a fight over a house?
Leigh:
Not
over a house.
Aly:
I
don’t think over a house, but over-
Tracy:
Like
over design?
Leigh:
We’re
like married.
Aly:
Well
that’s true, we have fought over design.
Leigh:
We
have?
Aly:
Yeah,
we have fought over, well, we fight over a lot of stuff.
Tracy:
I
mean you’re best friends. You’ve known each other a long time. You work
together.
Aaron:
I
want to know more about this living across the world thing, and deciding to
launch a business. Like what?
Aly:
Yeah,
in Saudi Arabia. I know long story. I had a previous business, I was a wedding
designer. I had a floral business and I hit a wall. I couldn’t do one more
wedding. I couldn’t meet one more bride. I was done and so I sold that
business. Simultaneously, my husband was going after a different job that was
going to take us somewhere internationally. We didn’t know where, I thought it
was going to South America which sounded really fun. Buenos Aires, like I’m all
in. We got our assignment and it was Saudi Arabia, and we were shocked and
terrified. I mean all of the emotions that would come with that, and we were
just a little bit too far in. We were like we have to go, we’re going, we’re
going to do this. I needed a clean break of not being creative anymore. I just
needed to clear the mind, hear my own thoughts again, slow down.
Aly:
I
had just had my second child, and she was like six weeks old when I went over
there. Then I had a three year old as well. So I just needed to just be calm,
quiet, clear across the world. So it was awesome for me because I journaled a
ton. I read a ton. It was also really challenging. I mean it’s not an easy
country to just live in. It was really different, but I wouldn’t trade it for
the world. While I was over there, I got my creative energy back. Like it just
came back alive, I wanted to do these things, like I was already doing interior
design before I left sort of just naturally. People just were coming to me and
not because it was advertising, it was just like, “Hey, I need your help.
I heard you’re really good at this.” I’m like, “I don’t know what I’m
doing yet, but yes, I’ll help you.” So it was already in my mind.
Aly:
I
already knew it was there, but I developed it and then I knew Leigh was super
heavy into her job as well, like really successful. You can tell your side of
the story.
Leigh:
My
side is not as interesting as that though but I mean while this was happening,
one, I wanted to get my best friend back to the states. We had talked since we
met in college about different visions, and dreams of what our company could
be.
Aly:
I
even tried to bring her on as a wedding florist.
Leigh:
I
was like no. The thing that we’d always been so passionate and always talked
about was homes, and really residential homes, and just designing and redesigning
all the spaces that we lived in. I worked in corporate America for the first
like 15 years of my career just climbing the ladder, and I’m very grateful for
all that experience. I was in marketing and did a lot of things, and it was
just the right time for us. So I took a leap of faith and said, “Yeah,
let’s do this.” So I was doing both for a bit, which was hard because I
had just had my first, but it was so worth it. So that’s how we came to be, and
we got her back over here.
Aaron:
She’s
back.
Leigh:
She’s
back and she’s been back for awhile but you know.
Aaron:
That’s
awesome.
Aly:
My
husband and kids are still in Saudi Arabia saying, “Where did she
go?” I talk to him every once in a while.
Aaron:
That’s
a really unique story. It’s really cool. I get up my design game is really what
it comes down to.
Tracy:
We
actually have some questions for them too.
Aaron:
We
do?
Tracy:
Yeah,
we do.
Aaron:
Great.
Tracy:
We
got a lot of social media questions for you guys. I picked three that I thought
would be interesting. So one of the huge trends right now are these different
metals for hardware, and a lot of gold and bronze out there. Somebody wanted to
know about mixing metals. What are your thoughts on that? I get vary in my head
like, does this stainless steel sink look okay with a bronze pole? Where do you
stand on mixing metals on this new trend?
Leigh:
It
is okay to mix metals. I think the most important thing though is you need to
be very thoughtful about your metal choices, and how you’re mixing them and
cannot … I mean I like to only mix two. I think you can do a third if it’s
very thoughtful and considered, but I think the right balance is two metals.
Then you have to be very thoughtful about how you’re mixing those metals. For
example, if you’re doing a bathroom and let’s say you want to do a brass on the
hardware and the poles. So you do brass there, but then your fixtures, you want
to do something different. So let’s say you’re doing a polish nickel on your
fixture, a polish brass or brass on your hardware and then you got to think
about your mirror trim and your lighting trim, and making sure the balances
right so you don’t have all brass, and one little polish nickel. You have to
make sure that there’s a balance, and that that balance is not only balanced
from how much stuff you have, but where it actually fit in that bathroom space.
Aaron:
I
want to throw a hypothetical question to you guys, and see how you would handle
it. So you guys have worked with my wife and you’ve settled on a design and a
budget and all that stuff. Then I go out and I buy a 72 inch flat screen TV and
a new surround sound system and stuff, and I say, “Here it is, make it
work.” How would you deal with that? Would you make my wife and I sorted
out or would you say, “Well I guess we have to incorporate it in the
space.”?
Aly:
Yeah,
I think part of our job is to be like a little bit of marriage therapists. So
we have to be good communicators. So we do try to problem solve between husband
and wives. Like when it comes down to budget, if someone’s going out and doing
random stuff that’s sabotaging our budget, we don’t have a ton of control. So
it’s just, I don’t know, it comes down to I think-
Leigh:
Problem
solving.
Aly:
Problem
solving.
Leigh:
Like
helping them, like help give them the tools to work through it on their own. I
mean at the end of the day, we’re not going to solve the problem for them, but
we’ll come up with creative solutions that can make it work. Like I said, we
don’t have, we truly and we shouldn’t have control over that situation. You
guys have to work out your stuff.
Aaron:
I
have a much smaller TV and my wife has not let me update it for a long time, so
it’s totally fine. That is total hypothetical.
Tracy:
The
only other question we got was what your thoughts were on having a different
color on island, then cabinetry, and how you feel about that and if you feel
like it’s timeless or a trend.
Leigh:
I
mean I think, I love it. I think as far as timeless or a trend, it completely
depends on the color and what you do but I love it. I think it’s a great design
thing that you can do to give your space a little bit of uniqueness. As far as
the trend part, it’s to what we’ve been talking about something neutral.
Something that’s not, and if you do decide because don’t get us wrong, we’ll do
a cool like we’re talking about dark color on the island, but make sure the
materials on top and stuff are timeless.
Aly:
Yeah.
I think it just all comes down to the combination. So if it’s a really
beautiful wood island with a marble countertop, and then we do white surrounds
and maybe a black countertop. It’s just all in the elements that you pick and
pull together is how, I don’t think it’s trendy. I think it’s pretty if you
apply it right.
Tracy:
Well
ladies, thank you so much for being here with us today. You know you made my
day, and I’m just so excited to have met you and to pick your brain a little
bit about your awesome company, and your really cool story. Where can people
find your shop? Where can they find you on Instagram? Give us a little bit of
those details.
Leigh:
Yeah,
you can find our shop on puresaltinteriors.com. So it gives all information
about us and our service side of things, but then also if you go into the shop
section, you can see all of our custom pillars artwork, all that fun stuff.
Tracy:
Then
your Instagram?
Leigh:
Is
@puresaltinteriors.
Tracy:
From
the site, will everyone be able to branch out to see where you are on Facebook,
Pinterest? Are there those links there?
Leigh:
Yes.
Tracy:
Perfect.
So puresaltinteriors.com.
Leigh:
Yeah.
Aaron:
We
also want to thank our founding sponsor of the show, FilterBuy, for being
involved and making this show possible, and encourage you guys to follow us on
social media at howtohome_guide on Instagram, and make sure you sign up for our
email list so you never miss an episode or anything we have upcoming. I
actually learned a ton. I will say that. I’m out numbered, but I feel like I’m
much more knowledgeable about design having walked away from this. So thank you
very much.
Aly:
Thank
you for having us.
Leigh:
Thank
you.
Aaron:
We’ll
see you guys next time. The How To Home Podcast is brought to you by
filterbuy.com, your one stop direct to consumer replacement air filter brand,
and is produced in collaboration by Amassed Media Group, LLC and Intelligent
Arts and Artists. The show was executive produced by George Ruiz and Aaron
Massey.

Show Notes

Leigh Lincoln & Aly Morford from Pure Salt Interiors join Aaron & Tracy this week to give us their top interior design tips! We discuss how best to approach a space, which colors provide a timeless palette, and how to effectively combine style, simplicity and function for a beautiful home.

LET’S CHAT!

You can always call and leave your questions and comments on our voicemail!

978-709-1040

LEIGH AND ALY’S TIPS:

  • White is a great neutral canvas, but avoid a sterile space by incorporating texture!
  • Marry design + function.
  • You’re not limited in color with kids if you find the right materials.
  • Be patient and trust the design process.
  • Dream up a cohesive vision for your home.
  • There ARE designers out there for every budget- don’t be intimidated to reach out to designers in your area.
  • Prioritize what you invest in.
  • Check out flea markets for affordable pieces. The ladies are also fans of Target and Etsy.

TIPS FOR CREATING A TIMELESS SPACE:

  • Pick a timeless/neutral palette.
  • For flooring Aly suggests a nice medium wood, like a white oak. “A wood that looks like it’s been there for all time”.
  • Cabinetry is all about function!
  • Countertops are about functionality as well- choose a material that works for your family. Organic color and texture.
  • Purity, simplicity and organization is so crucial.

The 7:55 mark: Leigh mentioned SketchUp and Aaron fell in love.

White paints: the ladies like (but they didn’t REALLY want to narrow it down) – Simply White and Chantilly Lace

THE LADIES MENTIONED:

Warren Christopher- http://wchristopher.com

Rejuvenation- www.rejuvenation.com

Circa- ww.circalighting.com

Schoolhouse Electric- www.schoolhouse.com

PHONE CALLS:

Q: Mixing Metals? Yay or Nay?

A: It’s ok, but be very thoughtful about your metal choices. Leigh tries to stick to 2 metals.

Q: Thoughts on a different color island?

A: It’s a great way to give your space a pop, but be mindful of choosing a timeless finish.

SALT PLEASE:

Website | puresaltinteriors.com

Pure Salt Shoppe | shoppe.puresaltinteriors.com

The Gram/Twitter | @puresaltinteriors

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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSOR FILTERBUY.COM

Further Reading