Q&A With Zoë Gowen

What has been your favorite feature?
I don’t know if I can really pick just one, because there are always two that instantly come to my mind. The prettiest story I’ve ever done is definitely “Chintz: Back In Bloom”. It covered all the best chintz patterns and how all of these florals are having another major design moment. My other favorite one is “Living In A Landmark” which profiled both the historic home alongside the special, and the oh-so-quirky (in a great way) souls that are drawn to older houses.

What designers are on your radar right now?
So many! I’ve got a whole fleet of favorites to ogle in SL’s Designer Network. I’m also mildly obsessed with Barrie Benson. She’s got this great academic take on vintage that never fails to surprise, but is also somehow always livable and ageless. Katie Ridder also makes my eyes water with her color combinations.   

What are your favorite sources for design?
Anything and everything – Instagram is probably the tops for me right now. I go on these scrolling benders where I just look, look, and look at what everyone is doing. I’m also a bookworm and spend a lot of time reading decorating books and magazines. No one should underestimate the inspiration that you can get from simply walking or driving around old neighborhoods.

What are some of your favorite emerging design trends?
The return of color and rooms with defined points of view top my list. Right now, I’m seeing more homes than ever where I can instantly get a feel for the person that lives there. People are really wising up to the catalog look, thankfully. Right now there is this great conversion of sharp modern lines and elements mixing with really classic decorating details and pieces, which is exciting.

What is your personal approach to design?
If you love it, get it. As long as there’s balance in a room, anything can work. What I love does tend to be colorful and antique or vintage. At the same time, I really hate fussy or formal anything, so my house always feels a little casual.

How has your personal design style evolved?
If you can’t tell by now, I definitely like color, but I’d say my palettes and patterns tend to have a softer blend now and they function better. I’m not just buying any cool piece that I see; it has to have a purpose. Also, I’m actually buying the important staple pieces that used to bore me. Take it from me – those are key.

What are the challenges of running a magazine in the digital era?
It’s a constant whiplash of meticulous planning and producing for print stories with the go-go-go, make-it-happen-now digital pace.

Is there a favorite season you are always looking forward to in terms of design?
Definitely the fall and winter – those are the times that I most like to be inside my house, so I’m most concerned with nesting and decorating in those months. That said, working on a magazine schedule, I’m never totally living in the correct season, so I’m dreaming of spring-y palettes and fabrics in November.

What is your most valued possession as far as furniture?
My putty-pink sofa that is due to arrive next week. It’s down and I’m never going to want to leave it. It only took me 6 years to settle on it  – can you tell that I’m a procrastinator?

When you decide to buy furniture, what are your tips or lessons you’ve learned?
From my sofa saga, I’d say that your first gut instinct is usually the right one. Also, those pieces that you sit or sleep on every day should be thoughtful investments for you. If you select these things right, it really affects your day-to-day existence. For everything else – particularly the accessories – have some fun. Also, and I can’t say it enough: Measure, measure, measure, and measure everything.

What Zoë loves on Viyet

This is the classic antique that every room needs — with great storage.

js-8926-6-front

Antique Early 19th-Century Linen Press

 

I’ll always make room for animal print as long as the print isn’t too small.

Scalamandre Animal Print Velvet Pillows

Scalamandre Animal Print Velvet Pillows

I can’t ever have enough lanterns. This one is electrified, but I also like them lit with candles.

Vintage Glass Bottom French Lantern

Vintage Glass Bottom French Lantern

Shop all of Zoe’s picks on Viyet

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