Above, Liz with daughter Dot featuring our Organic Cotton 2 Pinch Pleat drapes in Ivory
Liz Stanley is the founder of Say Yes, a lifestyle site that offers clever DIY's, delicious recipes, helpful travel tips and other beautiful reads.
We spoke with Liz for our View From Here series to talk about her home, her life, her joys and of course, her design inspirations. Also notice the Barn & Willow drapery used so sweetly in her stylish girls' bedroom.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, who you live with, what do you like to do for fun and do you have any hidden talents?
My name is Liz Stanley and I live in the Oakland Hills with my husband and three children Henry (age 10), Edie (age 4), and Dot (age 2). I'm kind of a jack of all trades. I love photography and styling, I love cooking, home projects + decorating, crafts and art. I also love backpacking, ballet (yes adult ballet is a thing!), ukelele, and old antique shops.
What do you want others to know about your home? Or what would you hope guests understand about you when they visit your home?
We moved to this home from a San Francisco walkup when I was 8 months pregnant with Dot. We really needed more space and were really itching to make the space our own. So, after renting it for a year, we bought it from the owners. The bay area market is insane right now, and this really was the only way we were going to buy a home. It's not perfect, and not our dream home but does anyone really live in their dream home? It's comfortable, spacious, and it's been really fun to do some updating like painting the kitchen floors + cabinets white, and creating a home studio in the basement. Essentially, it's life. It's a work in progress and a challenge. Luckily, home projects are some of my favorite challenges to do around here! It's really fun to focus on a space and create something beautiful in what was otherwise ordinary. Recently we discovered gorgeous hardwood floors under some carpeted rooms (like the girls room here!). So excited to rip up the carpet, and bring those beautiful floors back to life.
If you could describe your interior style in three words, what would they be?
I would say it's a mix of old and new neutrals, with some personal DIY touches and pops of color. I'm drawn to classic vintage (especially French) and boho vibes, but also some mid century as well. I avoid too much new stuff, it feels sterile. This spot here in the girls room in a good example. Vintage French dresser, vintage mid century rocking chair, beautiful Barn and Willow curtains, Moroccan green rug, modern floor lamp, black and white photo of my two girls, some little personal trinkets from travel like the yellow lion and basket from Mexico, and the little white porcelain houses from Germany. I do a lot of travel writing for Say Yes, and end up having to travel sometimes without the family. My mom guilt always kicks in when I'm there and I come home with a suitcase full of gifts.
What are some non-negotiables you have for your home? Things you can't live with or without.
I would say having enough space is really important. My husband and I both work a lot from home, and with Dot still at home as well with our nanny, we really need room to work and play. Our home is nestled in the hills, so it can sometimes be a little dark but it feels really cozy and comfortable. Sometimes I dream of a nice bright home, but there's something really peaceful and calming about being surrounded by trees (even a couple Redwood trees!) in our backyard, and cozy evenings together by the fireplace. It's that, this is exactly how I imagined family life to be.
Did you encounter any obstacles, structural or otherwise, when decorating your space?
Two major obstacles are getting enough natural light into rooms (being surrounded by greenery), and the traditional layout of the space with rooms all being separate, no 'great room'. These are both things that are kind of unpopular right now (if you spend much time on pinterest you'll see that in a second!), but I'm enjoying the challenge of making it work for us and thinking outside of the pinterest box.
Can you share a favorite room or object in your home? Also favorite part of your bedroom, specifically?
I really love this vintage mid century rocking chair here in the girls room we found when Edie, our 4 year, was born. I had been hunting them down for a while on Etsy, and one popped up on craigslist just 30 minutes away. I was a mad woman driving up there to get it from a sweet old woman. For a steal too!
Any advice you'd give to others when styling a home?
I would say look don't rely to heavily on the internet for your inspiration. Get out and explore the antique stores and flea markets. Pinterest homes tend to be very trendy, over styled, and unrealistic. Also, if you want to redecorate, don't feel like you need or should start from scratch. Get rid of a couple pieces that bug you, move things around (which always feels amazing), and and mix and match with what you have with some new things. Don't forget to add personal touches like DIY artwork or family trinkets. It's most cost efficient, and will make your home feel more you.
What is the very best view in your home?
Our living room has beautiful, big windows that look over the backyard on one side, and the front yard on the other. It's lush and green out there, and makes me feel like I like in the country, when really we're just a drive 15 minutes from San Francisco. In the winter evenings we're often hanging out in there. We'll get the fireplace blazing, watching the bay area winter rain storms, and playing cards.