The Decor Details That Complete Our Senior Home Editor’s Office
Monique Valeris, Good Housekeepingsenior editor of the house, loves a one-of-a-kind find. On her travels to places like Greece and India, she enjoys picking up colorful and patterned items for her home that express the spirit of the places she visits.
This philosophy extends to her writing: In her monthly column What’s In My Cart, Valeris scours stores to help readers find everything from bookends to shibori-dyed leather vases that are both affordable and beautiful. Writer Audrey Wachs sat down with her to find out more about two beloved items – one new, one old – at her New York City residence and how they reflect her approach to home decor.
AW: Can you tell me about your personal approach to decorating your home?
MV: I am inspired by interior designers like Rita Konig and Nate Berkus. Both think your home should feel like it has been furnished over time. I don’t like when you walk into a space and you feel like it’s straight out of a catalog. I love to mix it up – if you find a good seating area in West Elm, I want to complement it with some cushions I found on a trip abroad.
I love the patterns, colors and prints, but I like to keep large pieces like a sofa more neutral and then enhance them with accessories. It should really reflect your lifestyle.
How does this sleek and very sturdy white column fit into your overall approach to interiors?
I think every house should have this special statement piece. Years ago I went to the Brimfield Antique Show for the first time. It’s a huge outdoor place where tons of vendors have all types of home decor items. You can honestly take days to shop. It’s a little overwhelming, but I love the thrill of the chase. I spotted this column and thought it would be perfect for my home, although I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I believe it is made of alabaster or something similar. He has a really important weight.
The room has male figures at the bottom, and as you go up it has a leaf design. It’s so intricately carved. That’s what I love about pieces like this; the attention to detail is just awesome. You know, I try to pay that attention to detail when I’m shopping for something really home from home.
I have two young children so it has to be out of the way so they don’t try to climb on it. It’s currently in my home office and I’m using it to display a plant I have in a woven basket. Being much more indoors, I focused on having more greenery in my space. It used to be hidden in my living room – I’ve moved it from room to room over the years, but it’s something people always notice when they come to my house.
Can you tell me about the environment you are trying to create in your home office?
I am drawn to color, it is number one. My walls are melon in color. Having this color around me helps boost my creativity and helps me stay focused and keep going throughout the day.
I also like to have small accessories that reflect my style. For example, I have this golden pineapple – pineapples symbolize hospitality, so it reminds me of the pace I’m covering. I love having art around me, and just really special items that you won’t find anywhere else.
Let’s talk about that beach feeling you have. Who gave it to you?
[Photographer] The Gray Malin team gave it to me earlier this year. He is known for his magnificent aerial shots of beaches and beautiful outdoor spaces. The print is of a beach in Capri, and it is part of The good life, a month-long series where Malin traveled the Italian coast to capture these magnificent pictures.
I love to travel and often find my inspiration in all types of countries. Her imprint makes me so happy. It is both calming and stimulating to see the water. I love that umbrellas have that retro feel. As for patterns, I’ve always been drawn to stripes and seeing them in this classic blue and white palette is just fine for me. I have this piece on my bookcase in my office and it adds the perfect touch of color. When I’m busy and stressed, watching it really brightens my day.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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