How Your Home Tells Your Story with Heather French

This is a re-released episode from our archives.  This episode originally aired Oct 27, 2017.

Heather French is one half of the design team behind French & French Interiors, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We talk a lot about how that city has influenced her culturally and visually and how to incorporate your surroundings into your home.  We also hear about how she first became interested in interiors, starting as a student of anthropology, and what it's like to feel her best self as an interior designer.  She gives us lots of insight about her process working with clients, how design creates atmosphere, how to make a room feel cohesive, how to choose what goes in your home and what stays out.

THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY BEAUTYBIO

French & French Portfolio (all photos from French & French, unless otherwise noted).

Photo credit: Amadeus Leitner Photography

Photo credit: Amadeus Leitner Photography

 

COW SKULL IN ZANDRA'S HOME, FOUND BY HEATHER FRENCH

 

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Hello, and welcome to the style matters podcast brought to you by little yellow couch. I'm Zandra, your host, and I am so glad you're here. Now you may have heard that we're currently on break from producing new episodes of the podcast. But that doesn't mean that there isn't interior design happiness to be had right here. for the month of August, we are releasing some of the best episodes from the archives, which in case you didn't know, goes back five years. Yes, that's right. Five years of amazing interviews. So there's a good chance that you've missed these particular gems and I want to make sure that you continue to get tons of inspiration right through the summer. We will be back with all new episodes starting September 7. And a quick note for the first three years of the podcast, I had a co host the lovely and talented Karen grant, so you'll hear her voice Along with mine and our guests and one other thing, have you taken our quiz, we have designed it based on the three things that we found to be holding most people back in their efforts to create what they would consider to be their dream homes. So don't you want to know which of these three mistakes you're making in your home? Once you take the quiz, I will send you some help and exercises targeted at your specific quiz results right to your inbox. They're meant to be a quickstart guide to just help you designing a home that's truly aligned with who you are. To take the quiz go to little yellow couch calm and you'll see the quiz button up at the top.

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All right, let's get into today's episode. Okay, this is our last re released episode before we jump into our new season starting next Monday, but in the meantime, this one comes to you back from October of 2017. I am so happy to be reintroducing Heather French Today, she is one half of the design team behind French and French interiors with her husband. It's located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And you guys know how crazy I am about Santa Fe. So whenever I get a chance to talk with Heather, I am thrilled. She actually helped me find my great big cow skull that I have in my den. If you haven't seen that, I'll put a photo of it on the show notes page. But we talk a lot about how Santa Fe has influenced her culturally and visually, and how to incorporate your surroundings wherever you are into your home. We also hear about how she first became interested in interiors starting as a student of anthropology, which is a really, really cool way to kind of start to understand how one's surroundings affect who you become. So I am thrilled to introduce you to her She gives us a lot of insight about her process, working with clients how design creates atmosphere, how to make a room feel cohesive. So here she is Heather French.

Karen Grant 5:12
We'd love to delve into how you got into the world of interior design. So you first studied anthropology at university. What led you from this world of culture and antiquities to the design world? And how have your studies influenced how you design?

Heather French 5:29
So I'll kind of start at the beginning there. So Matt, and I went to Auburn University and he was a so major, I was an anthropology major, like you just said, and I was really into culture and history and natural medicine at the time and I had the opportunity through my anthropology program to go to Nepal. Study there at tribute one university for a bit And while I was there, I was studying AI or Vedic medicine, and hiking a lot and traveling to these really remote villages and being invited into these, you know, really amazing mud homes and villages for tea and, you know, just really kind of getting to experience the culture and seeing how they live. And when I look back, I it's funny to me that I went down, I'm glad I went down the path that I did of natural medicine, but when I look back, I was really interested in like, the pots they were using and how they were using using them and living in their space and the history of, you know, how they made their, their homes and, and communicated and you know, just how all of that kind of comes together. And so, for I'm actually not in this field very long. It's only been about five years now and I came to so I got my doctorate and acupuncture, and did that for a long time. And during that process, Matt and I were building a house together, and really kind of getting to know our style and what we like and what we don't do. And understanding construction. Matt's been in the construction field for forever feels like he's not anymore. It's full time designing with me side by side, which is great. And we started down that process. And I was pregnant at the time and then had a young child and really had this moment where like that, like that peak where I had to change something. My father had passed away. I had known that I wanted to change my career. I couldn't I just didn't, I loved it, but I didn't want to do something. So see Curious anymore. You know, it was it was, you know, losing my dad was a obviously a traumatic thing. And there was just something in my soul that was saying like, I've got to switch. And I was obsessed with design. Like, genuinely obsessed like Matt always says that that our interior design magazine budget was like, way more than what more than and so I had this yearning that was happening for me as I was young that I just something had to change. So I, I sent my resume out to every interior design firm I could I could possibly think of, it took about a year to get a response and it was literally three weeks to the day after my dad passed that I did get a response and I got hired and went from there, you know, and just kind of like dove in with everything. I have. had to learn this and went on that, on that journey from there.

Zandra Zuraw 9:06
I love the Inklings started with the pots that people were using in Nepal. I think that it's I think a lot of us don't always know where this passion comes from. And it's fun to be able to really go back in your memory and try to trace back when you when he really first started to feel connected to an aspect of one's home that that really got you excited.

Heather French 9:33
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there's something to me even still today that happens in the kitchen and and you know, like when I Giorgio keeps homes not so far from here and there's something about her kitchen up there and advocate that's just so magical and interesting and you know, the heart of the home and then you know where family comes from and lives and and you get to create the story Really amazing experience and and i think that's part of the reason that I love Santa Fe so much is you have like, you know, everything's clay, Adobe and mud and very tangible and hands on you know. Yeah. And I love I love that aspect of life I love that aspect of creating and that authenticity.

Zandra Zuraw 10:22
Yeah and the tactile pneus of it all is is you know if you like to touch things like I do, sounds like things I said things not people. Were sitting in my in my den right now and I've got a ton of black and white pictures up and one of them is a photo of Georgia O'Keeffe's home and I'm put trying to find I couldn't remember where I hung it on the wall. It's like pointing all over the place trying to show Karen

Unknown Speaker 10:53
spot a buck. I was like,

Karen Grant 10:55
Sandra's lost her mind and then I finally spotted the pic

Zandra Zuraw 11:03
But this is, of course, the perfect segue to talk about what I am most excited to talk about with you, which is Santa Fe. I've probably mentioned this before in this podcast, my husband and I love Santa Fe, and we go there solely to buy art for long weekends and to look at galleries, and then of course, to have fabulous food. And one of these days, we're going to get there for a longer period of time where we can do some more exploring, but can you talk a little bit about the Santa Fe design scene and why you're passionate about it?

Heather French11:34
Yeah, absolutely. So first, let me say please come and hang out with us.

Karen Grant11:41
I'm gonna get some acupuncture from you. Are you kidding me? I'm gonna say Hey, get those needles out.

Heather French 11:48
I don't take them. Yeah, my man always laughed at me. I just like once I was done. I was Done. I don't know that that history of my career, but the reason the reason I bring it up is and we'll get to it later, but it really has informed the way I listen to people and how I can interpret their design style and help them through that. Oh,

Karen Grant 12:19
I can't wait for that part. Like the little teaser. Exciting.

Heather French 12:25
Okay. So, yes, so, you know, it's funny. I, when I first started in the design process, I was working for somebody, like I said, and I didn't quite relate to Santa Fe style. I don't think I really dove in as much as I could have. I was really kind of focused on the how and where and when and managing clients and you know, doing my best, and it really wasn't, I mean, I loved you know, Navajos. You know, getting exposed to these old Adobe homes, but I didn't value it as much as I do now. And for me, what happened was, I started my own business. And I had the opportunity to work on this 400 year old Adobe, that I just became so inspired by, like kind of obsessed both Matt and I, and we It was a home that was owned by Frank Applegate, who is the father of folk art and start the full cart museum here in Santa Fe, which is amazing and he's kind of legendary. And it says, you know, three thick Adobe wall place, you know, amazing, amazing home and you know, the likes of dh Lawrence and anvil Adams and Georgia key for all partying there back in the day. So I really stuck to sink, okay, how do I interpret the kitschy and get rid of the kitschy part of Santa Fe? Like, right? Oh, the I don't know metal kokopelli is hanging on the wall. It's just

Zandra Zuraw 14:13
gonna sit the bellies. Yeah, that's what the kokopelli is,

Heather French 14:17
right now like that like silly things like that, how do I, how do I like kind of move away from that and really delve in and reinterpret what we do what my style is. And that led me on a really deep journey of really kind of understanding myself and what I love in homes and what I love about Santa Fe and the types of colors that I'm drawn to. And there's a lot of interior design a lot of art here. I mean, it is like, it's a really amazing epicenter for inspiration. Yeah, and I wanted to do something different. I'd also, you know, just left a firm and I really felt like I needed to stand out and stand on my own Tuesday and Do something that, you know people necessarily hadn't seen before here and interpret it for a younger aesthetic that I was more drawn to. And that house really allowed me to go on that journey and you'll see it on on our website. But you know, there's this blue wall and a lot of black and white akoma painting like pottery inspired paintings that Matt did and really beautiful colorful transitional era Navajo rugs from ship raw and you know, really beautiful pieces that we have the opportunity to use in this place.

Zandra Zuraw 15:41
sounds beautiful. It is beautiful link to it on our website. I remember when I was visiting might have been none the last time I was visiting. So again, it's been a while there is sort of this traditional Santa Fe style that's out there with a certain color palette that's been a very rich deep colors, which I love. And all the tile work and everything and and it's the richness of the Adobe Color. But I remember walking into a restaurant called Geronimo on Canyon Road, and it's all white. And they have this sculpture, the cow skulls, which I love up on the walls and everything, but they're white as well. different shades of white. And I remember thinking, wow, this is still feels like Santa Fe to me, but it's a completely different interpretation. And, and I love that and I think when we when we saw your website, we felt similarly that this is a very different way of expressing that particular Santa Fe style.

Heather French 16:41
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Drama dramas, a stunning place. And yeah, there's some there's some really great designers out there that are really embracing it and reinterpreting what they do. And, and for us, I've always been drawn to bright colors, you know, like pinks and greens and yellows and blues and, you know, kind of rainbow II. I mean, literally since I was a kid I actually we just sold our, the home that I grew up in in Florida. And I was back cleaning out my room there, which had that same bass that I did when my mom always really embraced and let me express myself creatively in my room. And it was the exact same color.

Karen Grant 17:31
The same pinks and greens and yellows and blues with black with accents of black and white.

Heather French 17:37
That doesn't ever really go away.

Karen Grant 17:43
Just more sophisticated now. It's not like you know, Cinderella anymore. Yeah,

Heather French 17:48
exactly. Check out the sparkle.

Karen Grant 17:55
So we'd love to also talk about travel and you and your husband, Matt. To travel and you use the influences of your travels to Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America and your designs as well. And so we were wondering how have these travels and experiences influenced your own home? Or your work with clients?

Heather French 18:17
So that's a great question. So I think that when you travel, it allows you to really kind of deepen and broaden your your eye, you know, it exposes you to more history of design and architect different architecture that you're not normally seeing different color ways. And it allows you to think about things in a different way. And it also, in the bigger scheme, I think, helps you be able to tell your story of you know, when you hang those pictures on your wall, or you bring back little rocks or shells from a beach or you know, wherever, wherever that may, wherever that may be, I think that the most That allows you to bring into your home is so important. And I do think that saying you hold memories and when you see them it kind of it evokes those experiences again. And I love I love keeping those out and tangible in in our house, you know, whether that be photographs or actual objects, you know, I like that. Like we have a bowl of family photographs on our kitchen on our kitchen table. And you know, my daughter is constantly going through them and asking questions, and I love that it kind of keeps those memories right on the forefront of the day to day, sentimental stuff. But I think travels and bringing that back into your home and that perspective. Just kind of one really broadens your eye and deepens your style perspective and to keep those memories alive which I think is super important.

Zandra Zuraw 20:01
And again, getting back to the tactile thing, the fact that the photographs are in a bowl where you're picking them up is it's just sort of adds another layer to how you're experiencing the memory. I mean, I I love photo albums, for the same reason of flipping through them better than say, looking at photos on my computer. Yeah, but that bowl that putting them in a bowl is even is even just that much more. I don't know, even a stronger connection to them.

Karen Grant 20:28
Yeah, they're just so accessible. And so not only are you going to look at them, your daughter's looking at them, someone who comes to visit you at your home is going to look at them. I just think getting to experience your memories through telling stories to other people. Just think that's so cool.

Heather French 20:46
Right? Yeah, and I'm also lazy, I probably won't photo album,

Zandra Zuraw 20:51
at least to print it out. Now I you know, I can't say that. I haven't printed a photo in years. So I wouldn't I want to get back a little bit to what you were tantalizing us with earlier you mentioned about being an acupuncturist and how that has informed your work as an interior designer, because we wanted to talk with you about how you approach a client, how you work with them. And so let's start off with this, this idea of how you listen to them, as you said,

Heather French  21:21
Yeah, absolutely. So I always, you know, first time I meet a client we start with in natural medicine, it would be called an intake process. So we kind of have this intake process where we get to know each other better. And natural medicine really taught me how to listen to people and hear on a deeper level, maybe what they can't articulate. But what they're really wanting to feel and experience in their life. And my job as an interior designer is Not necessarily to place things in their home it's to really allow their home to give them the experiences that they want in, in their life. You know, so not to take it so serious that I feel like that came off really curious but but I you know, really a feeling a really deep sense of responsibility to my clients to really understand where they're coming from. And so I want to hear their story I want to know I want to know about them. I want to know about their family I want to know you know, what their kids like and what they don't want their husband or their their wife likes or you know, however that process goes. It always starts from that intake process. And I I learned through natural medicine to you guys probably are similar in this way where you learn to ask the right questions to pull out the deeper meaning of what you're trying to get to and the goal that you're trying to achieve.

Zandra Zuraw 23:06
Can you give us an example? I hate to put you on the spot, but can you think of a way in which somebody was talking about themselves that you were then able to translate into design?

Heather French 23:19
Right? Yeah. Okay. So actually, yesterday I was presenting to a client. And I usually do our design presentations here at the office, but and in this instance, I had to go to their home. And quite honestly, like it, the meeting wasn't flowing as well as I had hoped it to. And, you know, she was liking everything, but she wasn't having that, that response, like I really want clients to have and for us, we, you know, we do that that intake process and then Matt and I go back and we talk about, we talk about the project and then come up with Design and we do our drawings and then we present our drawings and you know, fabrics and furniture and the whole plan, you know, at once. And so so we were I was in that process and I felt like okay, you know, I need to I need to kind of step up my game here. Really, really, really, you know, show her how this is how this is going to be and see the partition amazing photographer. And we were talking about the design of her of her 12 year old daughter's room. And she had this photograph where that I found on her website, this beautiful is like black background, and her holding a letter, just like very casually written in cursive on an envelope. That was a letter to her daughter. And when I saw it, I thought that's got to go. It's got to be blown up big and it's got to go over her daughter's bed and got to that point and I said, this letter to your daughter is going to be such a special thing that you know 3040 she'll remember that this was in her room. And and it will really speak to you know who you guys are as a family. Yeah, that when she like she had this moment where she got it, you know, and we started to transition through and she started, you know, got all choked up and I got everything, everything just kind of made sense. You know, like, Okay, I get it. Now I see why we're going with these colors and why we want to, you know, have this seating arrangement where it's not solely focused on the TV in the living room, it's focused on, you know, facing each other so that we can speak and play games and be a family in here and then when you want to, you know, watch TV, swivel around and watch TV, you know, it can be it can be a process of really kind of pulling out how client wants to live in their space and not necessarily what they initially thought the logistical reason of, you know, say a floor plan or a, you know, whatever was to use the whatever, whatever the purpose was, they thought was to use the space.  Does that make sense? 

Zandra Zuraw 26:18
It totally does. It reminds me of the problem people, people sometimes have us included with with seating arrangements, that if you're not used to them being about conversation, and you're more used to them, kind of looking at them without people in them. Without people being in the room. It's a very different way you might lay them out and sometimes it takes some convincing to to get people to say no, you really do want to be a certain distance away, but also close enough where you can have a really comfortable conversation. And it's hard to explain unless this somebody sees it and or in your case, somebody has this sort of Visual aha moment where they're getting what you're going after.

Heather French 27:05
Right, exactly. It's not it's not necessarily about the actual things. It's about the story that you're trying to tell and the the feelings and emotions that you want people to have in that space. Yeah, yeah.

Karen Grant 27:20
I just think it's so cool. It's, it's really, I want you to come work with me even though this is what I like. It's just same way sometimes.

Heather French 27:34
It's about having a sounding board.

Karen Grant 27:35
Yeah, it's exactly and Sandra and I use that for each other all the time. And I think there's just this. Someone else can draw something out of you, or help you see things in a way that you haven't seen them before. And I think so many of us have. First of all, I think we have these sort of preconceived notions of what a home needs to look Like, and then whittling that down, we just sort of we get into ruts in the way that we live, even if they're not working for us. And so I think we make assumptions with those practices as well. And so I think getting someone to sit down with and really pick apart why we're doing things and what's really important and clearly that letter was so important to her and to her family. And to start with that being the centerpiece that really resonated with her that's really cool.

Heather French 28:34
Yeah, yeah, I know. It was it was a great moment. Oh, yeah. Right.

Zandra Zuraw 28:44
Right. Well and and the fact that she hadn't already herself thought of doing it here. She is a photographer and it's sitting on her website and, and to you, it was so it was immediate, obvious. Yes, this is it. This is the piece you know, and she needed you to eat To even plant that seed I mean to come up with the idea it's, it's, that's, that's why you get paid the big bucks right?

Heather French 29:25
It is for me that passion behind behind it all Yeah, like really helping helping that process helping helping that process develop this is why I love what I do.

Zandra Zuraw 29:38
I just want to add another question here because you talked earlier about that you went through a very, very personal deep process when you and your husband were creating your first home and and then we you know joked about Oh, I'm getting too serious here and but you know honestly that's that's what this podcast is about it's about kind of walking that line between not taking ourselves too seriously because we are after all, just talking about interior design and decor but at the same time, you know, recognizing the weight of it that that it is a bit of self discovery. And I wondered if you could just talk a little bit more about your own journey on that.

Heather French 30:24
Yeah, absolutely. It totally is a journey of self discovery. I think that that understanding your style, in a way helps you get to know yourself better. And on a deeper level and what I mean by that is, while I, you know, can look through Pinterest, which I love, and really get say caught up in, you know, clean modern spaces, I which I so appreciate on a deep level this design of I know for me, I would A massive wreck if I had to maintain and live in a space like that, so So when I'm looking at my style and how I'm developing it and wanting to portray that in my home, I need to really be able to to separate out the things that I love. And really kind of focus on the things that I love but will also really function well and speak to who I am and the feelings and emotions and the way I want to raise my family and have them experience their home and life. So I think that that what on a deeper level makes style so important is because it really can define how you experience the world you know, at least mo in general but in in particular inside your home. Because you might not want a coffee table that you have to glass coffee table that you want to that you Have to wipe down 30 times a day because the fingerprints, right, right, right, or maybe just gonna let it go. Right? That a kind of answer those questions for yourself and know what's going to drive you crazy and what's not?

Karen Grant 32:13
Yes, that's such a good example. I need my coffee table. I can't tell you how many times Yeah, I'm like, and then my son somehow gets fingerprints underneath it. I don't know.  So we'd like to, we'd like to get into some sort of like little specifics or whatever. But on your blog, you talk about that there are a lot of rules out there telling people how to style a shelf, or a vignette and it gets sort of ridiculously formulaic. You know, you need to have something of this height and something of that height and something this way. In three. Yeah, yeah. And, and right and so so we all sort of get into this Panic of, well, I don't own that and so I need to go grab things of this height and, and, and whatnot. And so we were we'd like your your advice that you say that you use a mountain range as your inspiration. We're wondering if you could expand on that a little bit.

Heather French 33:29
Yeah, absolutely. So I think naturally, the eyes really drawn to nature. And what I mean by a mountain range is that, you know, you have this like up and down undulation and it's impactful. And when you look at, say, a mountain range, it's impactful, but it's easy for the eye to to understand. And so I try to try to bring that concept in indoors, like say in that picture we're talking about, like a bookshelf. So you, you know, you don't have to you can kind of follow the ups and downs as much as you want. But if you kind of have that undulation it allows it process it a little bit better, and, you know, safer coffee table. I do think that there needs to be some levels and visual interest in that way. And I'll use books a lot to kind of, you know, list up you know, smaller items so that I don't have to necessarily go out and buy something new although there is something to add. I mean that that's exciting. But yeah, I'll play with that. So visually, it has that kind of mountain range effect to it and I, to me to my eye it it makes it more palatable. I guess.

Zandra Zuraw 34:56
What I love about that advice is that it's it's not as specific as you know, you see, like quick little things, you might see an interior design magazine, you know, three steps to a better shelf or whatever. It's just so specific. And yours is sort of like a picture of mountain range. Think about how your eye travels up and up and down. And there are no rules to a mountain range. It just has developed over time, the different highs and lows. And so make sure you've got highs and lows, because that's how I naturally wants to travel across a room. I just, I don't know, it just feels so much more natural or it's coming from the inside as opposed to being prescribed from the outside, I guess.

Heather French  35:39
Yeah. Yeah. And I think like it's a decent rule of thumb. Yeah. That allows you to to figure it out for yourself.

Karen Grant 35:49
Right. Right. Right. And also, I mean, Sandra, and I use books constantly for propping things up,

Zandra Zuraw 35:55
because they're cool looking on their on their own, but it also allows You know, if I have this phase that would look really cool and a vignette, but it's not tall enough, I can make it tall enough. So that's good.

Karen Grant 36:08
I went through a phase where I tried not to do that. quickly realized that that didn't work. And that was some ridiculous thing that I'd read somewhere. And I was like, I love books. I'm, I'm sticking with it.

Zandra Zuraw 36:23
Don't take my books away.

Karen Grant 36:24
I don't want to buy risers. I just wanted to use books.

Zandra Zuraw 36:31
Oh, another thing that we read that you'd written on your blog was that, that you didn't really necessarily agree with the idea that if you love something, it'll work and we were so fascinated by this. Because we we often do say to people, oh my gosh, if you love it, it's gonna work. It's gonna be Don't worry about whether it matches something or that it goes, just buy it and somehow it'll all magically work. But I love that you challenged us on that because you were saying And you're not always so So help us a little bit with with that, that advice about buying what you love. But then what do you do with it when it doesn't work? How do you know it doesn't work?

Heather French 37:13
Right? So I, you know, I'm coming from a perspective where I'm walking into a lot of people's homes that that are, you know, overwhelmed and maybe they've bought a chair that they thought they really liked. And that was an impulse buy, but it wasn't really the right scale or it wasn't, you know, the right fit for the home or couldn't tell it doesn't tell their story in the best way that it possibly could or you know, whatever that may be. And so when I say that, I guess I should qualify it by I think that when you're buying things, if you're buying things just kind of willy nilly just because you like them, and then you're bringing it into a home that's not doesn't have a good foundation like a good design foundation that makes you feel great about the space it can get super cool. chaotic and crazy. And so I think that you have to be able to go through that, that that style process like we've talked about and really kind of know yourself and know your style and know what works in your home from a scale perspective and from a design perspective to to allow that process to happen. So I do think that it's really important to build your home over time and search and find and and I really encourage my clients to do that. And sometimes I have to do that with them to achieve what we're trying to do, which I love that process. But it takes time and I think it takes time to understand how to beautifully develop the home and so if you're not careful, it can look kind of like a you know, like a junk store. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Uh, you know, I think it's just about being able to, to style it. Well, you know, and you when you guys are interviewing people you're, you know, like you're interviewing people that really really know what they're doing. And a lot of the times you know, as an interior designer, we're going into a situation that needs to be brought out to its to its best light.

Zandra Zuraw 39:24
That was very said very, very nicely.

Heather French 39:29
I try my hardest to I actually genuinely enjoy and love keeping a lot of the pieces that that people have in their home because it really does tell their story but there is a process of getting rid of that happens a lot of the time where if it's not special or it was just serving a you know, purpose of like, I ran to the spark store grabbed this table, but I you know, it's not it. It's not The best table for that, that space, then we move on from it right now. And that takes a little while to get to that point, I think. Right?

Karen Grant 40:08
Right. I was that. Yeah, absolutely. So we also want to talk about another post that you had around Christmas time. And you said that when you were decorating for Christmas in Santa Fe, that you've always learned a lot about designed by decorating for Christmas. So we love the sentiment, and we were wondering what you mean by this. Could you expand on that a little bit?

Heather French 40:32
Yeah, so I love that cozy, full greenery sparkly, no feeling warm feeling that that Christmas has? And I, you know, a few years back, it got me thinking, Well, how do we how do I achieve that year round without like losing Christmas? Right. Or garlands, you know? And what I realized was it was the it was The format that I really like it was it was how it kind of you know brought our seating arrangement together a little bit more in the living room and allowed for that curl up kind of feeling and well I don't necessarily want that in my home all year round I did want to emulate that feeling and so for me I just started bringing in cozy or fab bricks and you know like fell that and you know, like I brought in this this green velvet satay which hasn't been photographed yet but we'll we'll be putting that all that out there soon. We're kind of doing a refresh in our in our own home. No, I want to see that for sure.

Karent Grant 41:47
Which is a casualty of this business.

Heather French 41:52
So, you know, when we brought in a lot more plants that we that we, you know, have in our home now. In bigger trees we placed you know big, huge Ficus in our bedroom and slowly fig and in our white dining room where our daughter's swing is and it just kind of thought about it from a fuller perspective and not as clean as it was before. And I love it. I love it. It's so, so much warmer and cozier and intuitive, visually interesting, I think and a bit more alive. which I like. Yeah. And so when I'm going into when I'm going into my client's home, I'm always thinking about how to how to layer in that way now.

Zandra Zuraw 42:47
I think people get a little blue after the holidays. I mean, there's all the frenzy around getting ready for it and everything and then you really, you really do focus on your home around the holidays, maybe more than Might at other times of the year and you give it this extra special attention and you adorn it and I think maybe sometimes people get sad because they're putting it all away and it's like okay back to regular life nothing special anymore and, and I love this idea of you.

Karen Grant

Okay, well let's take the sentiment of Christmas and which is cozy for you and how do I expand upon that at other times of the year and I guess the same could be said about just keeping things a little bit special throughout the year changing things up so that they feel special and fresh. 

Zandra Zuraw 43:36
I love to decorate for the holidays too.

Karen Grant 43:39
yeah, I literally the day after Halloween.


So whenever we wrap up our conversation, which of course we don't


To end well, we're coming to visit apparently. So, yeah, we're sorry.


So we'd like to talk at the end about why style matters. And we sort of always ask this question, you know, what gets to the, to the depths of what that means for you and, and one of the things that really stood out for me during our conversation was this thing about objects in our homes and you talked about how things hold memories. And I absolutely love that because I really, I really, truly believe that in it. And it brought me back to the beginning of our conversation when you were talking about holding those vessels when you were in Nepal, and you know, and then to the to the photographs in this bowl, in your kitchen and, and I was just wondering, you know, if you could Just sort of wrap up our conversation talking about that and talking about what are the things that are important in a home? What what are those objects, whether it's objects that are important to you, or the types of things that you recommend a client put in their homes?

Heather French 45:20
Yeah. So okay, so I think I think, you know, my overall perspective coming from, you know, an anthropology and medical background that I've really taken away and I'd love to thinking about this question. So, so thank you for challenging me in this way. I feel like interior design is not fully about things. It's about people emotions, intention, and how you really want to feel in your home and how you want your family to gather in the space and, and give them the opportunity to experience the world and it's really intimate way so you know, when I when I you know, put those photographs on on our dining room. table it was because I wanted eila to see those family memories on a daily basis. And so I really, really strongly feel like there's this intention that needs to be in a home to, to help tell the story and on the day to day and so when I'm working with people, that's my goal, my goal is to to pull things out that might be overlooked or put away in a box to help them have those experience is and really embrace their life and who they are in a beautiful way. And when I when you're in these beautiful spaces that have a soul and tell a story and have one at home has a personality. There's nothing else like it. I feel I mean, I'm a health person. You know, it's really special, you know, when I'm in these 400 Your old home, they demand this, this respect, you know, and it's important to to honor that honor the people who live in the House to honor your family, and to bring that bring that out, you know, and put that on the forefront.

Zandra Zuraw 47:17
I love this word intention. I'm not sure anybody's ever used that before, when we've asked this question and and it's really resonating with me because it's, it's kind of empowering. I'm not to get too deep here. But it's, it's, you're basically saying that when you realize that you can direct an intention for a space. It's a way for you to really make sure that the experience you're having in the space is the one that's going to feed you and be good for you and healthy and happy. And I think in this world, we a lot of times feel like things just happen to us and you're kind of at the mercy of other people's schedules and time and your to do list and the email list that you know is dumped in your lap every day. And, and, and so having a home where that's full of intention and has intentionality about how you want to experience your life at home. It just feels very empowering to me.

Karen Grant 48:22
Yeah, I totally, totally agree. I think it really is empowering. I think that, you know, it allows you to, to respond to the day to day craziness. We all experienced in a certain way, whereas, you know, if I if my home was a space where, you know, it was chaotic, and things were all over the place, and I didn't have a place to put them and I didn't have that emotional response that that I get when I'm in my house. I don't think I could do that. My job and parent as well as I could. So I think that it allows you to slow down experience life and and when you aren't in that chaotic in a chaotic space, it can help center you.

Heather French 49:25
Yeah, I was I was just thinking the same thing that our homes can be there to put our lives in perspective. Mm hmm. And I need that. I mean, I think I'm someone who when I go out into the world, I really need a reality check when I get home. Like even right now. I really need that space to put my priorities in context and to feel that I've home I mean, I that's just it's one of those words. If Just something about home that just, I'm home, everything's right what the world

Karen Grant 50:06
right, it's lovely and I'm a total homebody.

Unknown Speaker 50:11
I stay home and and I've been really it's really special to me and and I, I feel like my my drive and my my purpose is to help other people create that space, you know an Indian perspective that I think gets overlooked these days. Yeah. On on how to really embrace you know the history of their life, the tent and what they want their life to be and how they want their family to grow. It's the forefront of why I do it. Mm hmm. Beautiful. Yeah.

Karen Grant 50:58
Thank you. Thank you so much. Heather, we've really, really enjoyed this.

Heather French 51:03
I've loved every second of this. I'm so honored to be speaking with you guys. It's been great.

Karen Grant 51:09
Oh, thank you.

Zandra Zuraw 51:12
Well, all right. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. It's wonderful to have you here. And if you've liked what you've heard, please rate us on Apple podcasts or iTunes. It really does make a huge difference. It helps other home obsessed people find us and it helps keep us on the air. Also, don't forget to take the quiz. What's the number one mistake you are making in your home over at little yellow couch.com. I will be back next week and in the meantime, take care

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