If you are into interiors and you are living on this planet, where we are all deep into lockdown, you won’t have missed Dream Home Makeover on Netflix. There is a surge of home improvement and aspirational renovation shows to choose from but this one makes our heart sing. At the centre of it you’ll find Shea McGee, interior designer, who has an eye for style that you’ll want to replicate as soon as you see it. It’s cosy, homely, fresh and modern with lots of natural tones and varying textures. Whether it’s a bathroom reno or a full house creation, she gets it right every time. Shea and her husband run Studio McGee, who we implore you to follow on Instagram, because you’ll get lots of inspiration there too. They not only have a design business, they also have their own product line (it’s pricey and inaccessible to us here on this side of the Atlantic) but it’ll give you lots of ideas. From devouring the series, here are our take home tips to get the Studio McGee look in your own home, and worry not, it’s all very achievable on even the tightest budget (even though on the show, they consider 30 grand for a living room refresh a ‘tight’ budget).
1. Avoid bright bold colours
The Studio McGee look is definitely muted. There might be moody tones such as grey and navy or a forest green, but you won’t find pops of neon pink. Their go-to colour is white. White walls for maximum freshness and brightness, onto which anything you add, decor wise, is gonna work. Think very neutral with your colour palette, soft earthy tones and some stronger accents but nothing that would massively jump out at you in a room.
2. Layer it up
Shea is the queen of layering when it comes to textures. The more variety in texture you can bring into a space, the more soul it will have. So that might be decent curtains over blinds – giving you two kinds of textures to frame your window – or a mix of cushion fabrics, from suede, to leather to cotton to wool.
3. Don’t try to make anything look too perfect.
The Studio McGee look is perfectly imperfect. This is really apparent when it comes to Shea’s choice of tiling. She likes bevelled edges and rougher textures to give some character to your space, be it bathroom or kitchen or even your fireplace. This is especially important if you’re in a very modern new home that lacks the quirky characters and wonky lines of an old house. This is how you bring it in. So for example, have a walnut cabinet but don’t be afraid to bring other lighter wood tones in elsewhere. Don’t try to match, just mix it up and as long as it’s not jarring to your eye, it works.
4. Don’t go too far in one style direction.
Mix up your mid century with your more contemporary pieces otherwise you will get stuck in an era and the whole space will feel flat. Always try to mix some old and new. In a very modern space it might be a simple case of adding a vintage flat weave rug to add some dimension, or in a more traditional environment you might bring in some more modern textures and shapes such as leather pouffes for extra seating around a coffee table.
5. Other key takeaways
They love a waterfall kitchen island countertop. That’s one where there’s no overhang; the counter top comes out and right down to the ground. They’ll always style with messy bunches of greenery be it an actual leafy plant or some fresh foliate. Go large with lighting – big ceramic table lamps with textured lamp shades. There’s not a whole lot of small exposed bulbs going on here. Do not commit to a themed room, it will date almost instantly. Take inspiration from something, maybe a colour, and bring it through softly. Opt for colours or patterns that you’ll find in nature: various wooden tones and textures, greens in planting, terracotta, concrete, granite, marble. Zone areas in an open plan living space with rugs. Make sure the rug isn’t too small, it should go a little under every bit of seating in the space. Use round dining tables where space is limited.Wishbone chairs always work. Think bright, airy, fresh and not too cluttered and you’ll be on your way to the Studio McGee look.
All photos from @StudioMcGee Instagram