Greetings all, the last week of my life has been absolutely crazy! I’ve been busy putting together several holiday projects in anticipation of another magazine photo shoot later this week, and let me tell ya, it’s such a challenge to style ornaments and twinkle lights when it’s 90 degrees in July. I’ve got flocking in my hair and glitter in places where it shouldn’t be, and it’s too darn hot outside.
I have such respect for those who work in the magazine business and are accustomed to this kind of life, whether it’s Christmas in July, pumpkins in April or Easter eggs in October. I’ll have more deets on the photo shoot and be sure to share next week!
Speaking of the talents who work for magazines, today I have the pleasure of bringing you a Q & A with one of my favorite stylists and designers, Mr. Eddie Ross. I’ve been a fan of Eddie for a long time and even had the pleasure of meeting him a while back at the Alameda Antique Fair. He is such a source of inspiration to me, and I’m sure to many of you!
I sent some questions to Eddie and he gave me the inside scoop!
CG: Congratulations on your recent column in Southern Living. You’ve also been appearing regularly in Woman’s Day. What inspires your contributions that continue to wow us every month?
Flea markets, old books or magazines, great finds at the Goodwill…I take it all in and filter it through my experience as an editor and stylist, then present it in a new way.
Pedestal table makeover for Southern Living, images Jaithan Kochar and Miki Duisterhof (after)
CG: Share a glimpse of a day in the life of styling and shooting for the magazines recently featuring your work. Who are the people behind Team Eddie?
Wow, a day in the life, let’s see…so much goes into each story beyond just styling and shooting which makes each project fun and unique. Also since a lot of what we do is actually shot in our house not a studio we really live with what we are creating. It gives me a chance to live with the project, then style and prop it in a real way.
For the Southern Living stories, it starts with a trip to a flea market and finding something interesting which has potential for repurposing or a great makeover such as a piece of furniture, pots and pans, silver or even architectural salvage. I’m constantly thinking “Oh that could be used as a… or …I could turn that into a …you know, fill in the blank”.
On days leading up to a shoot I am working to refine my whole vision so that whatever is being featured is spotlighted but also accessible. I use (or could use if we had the room) so many of the projects we create and I want to make sure the setup reflects that.
Eddie’s sisal lattice bulletin board for Woman’s Day, photo David A. Land
As for the team . . . Jaithan Kochar. We work together on everything and I am constantly bouncing ideas off him. He’s with me on all the flea market trips and he handles so many of the details which lets me do what I do best. Marissa Schappach and Babs Perkins work with us as well. They do everything from painting or refinishing a piece to building the set and/or vignette for the shoot.
CG: You’re famous for your elegant tablescapes that combine unexpected color with inventive presentation. Share a few secrets for successfully mingling hand me downs or antique fair finds with modern pieces.
Restraint! Don’t over do it. If you are using antique china, stop and think about the fabric you are going to use with it, your napkins and table cloths. Don’t do floral on floral on lace, you’ll end up with Aunt Ester’s tea party.
Selectively mix and match but keep the lines clean. After that it’s about details. Napkins folds, place cards, flower arrangements, mixing stemware or silverware to tie together classic/vintage look with modern flair.
Remember – every table is different. Think about what the event is and what you are trying to say…casual, formal, breezy summer brunch, cozy fall cocktails. Then go from there.
CG: You’re an avid thrift store and flea market treasure hunter, what is the key to finding that diamond in the rough?
When you look at something look at shape and lines. Don’t be constrained by color or fabric and look beyond the original purpose. Also think about how you live and entertain. What might work for you may not for someone with a more or less formal style.
CG: What are the favorite tools, products, and fabrics you turn to time and again for your makeovers?
The Laundress Non Chlorine Bleach Alternative, seriously! I love old linen napkins and use them all the time. This stuff keeps everything clean without breaking down the fabric.
Zinsser Primer and paint because color is one of the easiest things to change. I use the Zinsser spray cans on every project that requires paint.
Pretty much anything and everything at Lowes Home Improvement Stores. I also love Grey Line Linen and Calico Corners and regularly check out what they have both for inspiration and to fill a specific need.
CG: What’s one design "rule" you love to break?
I hate to say it but I really think so called “rules” are no more than someone’s idea that uninspired people cling too. As an editor/stylist it’s my job to identify or define new styles. Constraining design is counterproductive. From the beginning I was told I couldn’t do all sorts of things because “it wasn’t done that way” or it was “against the rules” but the fact is I love what I create, and I hope other people like it too.
CG: Tell us something about Eddie we don’t already know.
Regardless of the number of photo shoots I do, I am always so nervous the night before a shoot I usually can’t sleep. Oh, and I love any type sour candy…sour patch kids, sour jelly beans, sour gummy worms, etc.
CG: What’s next for Eddie Ross?
We have a lot of things that we are working on these days. Keep an eye out for stories in Woman’s Day and Southern Living (print and online). Also we are hard at work on a new venture that I don’t want to say too much about just yet. Best thing to do is to read my blog for the latest news, ideas and inspirations!
Oh, I’m so intrigued, a new venture! A fabric or wallpaper line, a new book or TV show? Eddie would be perfect for any of those. Be sure to follow Eddie’s blog to catch up on the latest, and if you want to tour an Antique Show with Eddie, read this article at Southern Living. You can also see Eddie’s four nautical inspired rope crafts for Woman’s Day here.
Jaithan, Eddie and Kate at the Alameda Antique Fair, 2009
Thank you Eddie for taking the time to answer my questions. I can’t wait to meet up with you again someday, and we all look forward to many more features showcasing your amazing style!