Design Soulmate: Bailey McCarthy

Design Soulmate: Bailey McCarthy

Working for Courtney Hill Interiors, I see a lot of inspiring design on a daily basis. Floating around in my head are images of brass inlaid floors, striped velvet trims, navy lacquered dens, intricate marble tilework, and antique decorative hardware —  it's pretty dizzying. I’ve been wanting to start a design blog of my own for quite sometime to get it out of my head and into writing (After all, I authored the L/E Journal design blog for over a year), but never quite had the right inspiration to kick start things. Until last week. At home sick as a dog, I stumbled upon Bailey McCarthy’s Instagram and blog and found myself completely enamored. A total design crush was born.

McCarthy's work is fun, colorful, chic and sophisticated all at once.

McCarthy's work is fun, colorful, chic and sophisticated all at once.

Scrolling through her enormously popular blog Peppermint Bliss, it doesn't take long to discover just how funny and lovable Bailey is. She and her husband Peter, who are based in Houston, call their house in the countryside "The Shmamptons", for example.

The always cheerful Paint Wall at Bailey's home goods store, Biscuit.

The always cheerful Paint Wall at Bailey's home goods store, Biscuit.

I’ve followed Bailey on Instagram for years, and I’ve frequented her vibrant and beautiful store Biscuit since I moved to Houston, but it wasn’t until last week that I really delved into her "creative legacy." House Beautiful has called her style "quirky chic," which I think really nails it.

Left: The giant glittering work of art at the entrance to one of her previous homes is by one of my favorite artists,  Ashley Longshore .

Left: The giant glittering work of art at the entrance to one of her previous homes is by one of my favorite artists, Ashley Longshore.

I felt this kinship with her colorful, humorous style — an aesthetic I’ve appreciated myself for as long as I can remember. As I lay in bed surrounded by crumpled-up tissues, my nose redder than Rudolph's, I could feel her fantastic design work slowly bringing me to life, one sparkly bar at a time.

Right: McCarthy's own jewel box of a bar was just published in House Beautiful this month. Can I live in there? 

Right: McCarthy's own jewel box of a bar was just published in House Beautiful this month. Can I live in there? 

Above left, the moss-green leather-wrapped counter top, the nail head detail and the tortoiseshell wallpaper have me drooling. Below left, the giraffe head above the fireplace is exactly the sort of quirky surprise I love about McCarthy's interiors. Shout-out to you, Bailey — you're cool beans, and my new idol.

Right: A sheep, a walrus, a vintage trunk, and antelope print carpet? Honestly, it doesn't get any better.  

Right: A sheep, a walrus, a vintage trunk, and antelope print carpet? Honestly, it doesn't get any better. 

Left: I love everything about this little boy's room. Right: Oh, and I love everything about this little girl's room.

Left: I love everything about this little boy's room. Right: Oh, and I love everything about this little girl's room.

If you've been on Pinterest, you've seen her incredibly fun monochrome dog powder room below. No matter how many times it pops up, it always makes me happy. On the right is her guest room, currently featured in House Beautiful. The vibrant Zoffany wallpaper frames the bed's niche, which manages to perfectly balance traditional and elegant with cozy and welcoming. That's Bailey again and again her interiors are just so chic and sophisticated while somehow staying completely unpretentious and playful. 

Left: Everyone needs a powder room with dog wallpaper, in my opinion.

Left: Everyone needs a powder room with dog wallpaper, in my opinion.

One of the reasons I adore McCarthy's work is because I see a few similarities in my own design style. Like her, I try to infuse my personality, travels and a good sense of humor in my interiors. 

My style is traditional with a sense of humor. I don’t like items that just sit there. Your surroundings should engage you, make you laugh, make you smile — otherwise, what’s the point?
— Bailey McCarthy
Pieces from the gallery wall above my sofa have been collected over the span of many years. (Note to self: buy candles for sconces.)

Pieces from the gallery wall above my sofa have been collected over the span of many years. (Note to self: buy candles for sconces.)

Above my sofa, antique sconces found at Paris on Ponce in Atlanta flank a collection of eclectic and playful art. The map of Paris was given to me before my semester abroad there. The "deer gentlemen" paintings were purchased from an artist in a Parisian flea market. The Boston Terrier head was gifted to me by my best friend (Terriers are my alma mater's very fierce mascot, if you can believe it). And, I have a confession. Mr. Squirrel was purchased from Urban Outfitters in 8th grade  the art historian in me is crying  but he makes me smile. It's not serious  and that's the point. It's a collection of things that make me laugh, and to me, that's the mark of a well-decorated home.

I'm also fond of collecting coffee table books, particularly ones that have personal meaning or make me laugh.

I'm also fond of collecting coffee table books, particularly ones that have personal meaning or make me laugh.

Below left, holding my giant collection of photo booth memories, is an antique German mug from Uncommon Objects in Austin that reads "I'm not greedy / I just like a lot". The monkey on the right was a birthday card from my brother years ago. Inside the card reads: Happy Birthday! Enjoy this photo of a monkey in a hat. Oh, I'll enjoy it alright. I'll even frame it in a (deliberately) cheap gold frame and place him in my bathroom to greet me every morning. 

♫♪  These are a few of my silliest things  ♫♪

♫♪ These are a few of my silliest things ♫♪

Do I think that when I'm an "adult" (not sure what that really means) I'll still have a framed monkey in my house? Maybe. Okay, probably not. My design taste will evolve and mature, but for now, these things make my apartment a very happy place, one that resonates with the core of who I am  and to me, that's exactly the point of good interior design.

An interior is the natural projection of the soul.
— Coco Chanel

If you're ever in Houston, Bailey's store Biscuit truly is a must-visit.

My wish list is growing:

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Design Soulmate: Courtney Hill

Design Soulmate: Courtney Hill