Susie Coelho's down-to-earth personality and practical smarts about bringing beauty to life have won her millions of fans. Now, in "Susie Coelho's Everyday Styling," she offers a liberating plan for infusing personal style into readers' home and gardens, often without spending a dime.Susie's credo is that the most appealing spaces are usually not the most expensive or decorator-correct. Homes develop authentic personal styles the same way people do -- through creativity, change, and the process of living. But how do you develop your own sense of style? Susie will show you how to find it, define it, and put it to use. The secret is the Style File: She'll help you create a collection of looks you love (pictures, swatches of material, scribbled ideas), organized as a practical reference for every space in your home and garden. As you discover common threads and new possibilities, your own vision will start to take shape.But do you have the time or the resources to bring this vision to life? As a wife and mother juggling the demands of family, career, social life, and community, Susie understands the obstacles -- and how to work around them. The aim is to start with what you already have, then rearrange, refresh, and add unexpected or missing elements to create a new look all your own. It's not formal decorating or landscaping according to someone else's rules; it's a personal process that Susie calls "un-decorating" -- or everyday styling.Filled with gorgeous color photographs, styling how-to's and tips, and lots of inspiration, "Everyday Styling" helps readers on any budget wake up their homes and gardens while putting their unique thumbprint on everything they do. You'll beable to create a whole new look and mood -- using pillows or fabric to jazz up old furniture, displaying and highlighting favorite possessions, or redoing a living room in three different ways -- all in one day.Moving outside, Susie offers tips on styling entrances according to the season, creating fantastic outdoor rooms for entertaining or play, and turning your yard into a garden of earthly delights. At every step, she helps you develop and draw on your most important resources -- your own imagination, creativity, and passion for living.Whether you're entertaining friends, hankering for a new perspective on that same old bedroom, or just hoping to perk up your patio with colorful plants, "Susie Coelho's Everyday Styling" shows how easy it is to keep you home and garden looking and feeling fresh and alive every day. Her message is simple but universal: Keep creating. That's the joy of life.
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Susie Coelho is the host of HGTV's top-rated series Surprise Gardener, lifestyle contributor to NBC's Today show, and a sought-after speaker. She makes regular national TV appearances, most recently as a guest on Oprah, and writes a column for Palm Springs Life magazine. Before focusing her creative energy on gardening and home styling, Susie modeled with the Ford Agency in New York, worked as an actress and television host, ran Bono's restaurants with her ex-husband Sonny Bono, and opened A Star Is Worn in Hollywood, which sold celebrity collectibles internationally. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter 1: Don't Wait -- Style It Now!
let's get going...
Lift Your Spirits with Everyday Styling
I recently drove up the coast to Santa Barbara on my way to visit my son, Hutton, on his weeklong camping trip with his school -- ostensibly to check on him, but really because I miss him. The first year, his class went camping at Yosemite, and woke up to find me chasing bears out of the campsite with a few tin cans. This trip, however, stood double duty. We'd just finished moving into a new house and after all the hubbub of contractors and workmen from sunrise to sunset every single day, I needed a break.
My husband, Bobby, agreed to have some quality overnight dad time with our baby girl, Hailey, so I could take off to see Hut. I packed a few things, called my girlfriend Stina to make a date for dinner near her home in Santa Barbara, then jumped into my Navigator and hit the Pacific Coast Highway for a glorious drive along the coast.
After a relaxing dinner with Stina at the beach, we went to her Spanish-style spread in Hope Ranch, one of the most beautiful sections of Santa Barbara, where I was going to spend the night before proceeding on to Hutton's campsite at Lake Cachuma. As we walked in the door at 11:00 P.M., we were both bone-tired, but Stina wanted to show me her new white sofas. So instead of heading for bed we went to the living room where she went on to tell me that she was happy with the sofas, but didn't really like her glass coffee table; it seemed too modern, too stark. I agreed.
Of course, I couldn't go to sleep with this new challenge, so I asked her how her back was feeling.
"Because we're going to be moving a few things around."
Stina smiled in anticipation and we started with the first step of everyday styling: clear your space.
The first thing I was concerned with was the blocked entry to the seating area. You had to walk around two large chairs and a round table to get to the main sofa, and you couldn't see the beautiful stone fireplace. To open up the area for better flow and a more inviting effect, we simply moved each chair sideways and closer to the coffee table for a more cozy, intimate feel. I loved the round table and thought we could spotlight it better in the far left corner of the room as an end table between the sofa and another armchair. We tried it and it worked! On the far side of the coffee table, two armchairs sat square to a small table in between -- too rigid and formal, so I angled them out a bit. Ah. A much softer line.
We cleared the tables of magazines and other miscellaneous picture frames and artifacts.
Time so far? About fifteen minutes.
Now it was time for the second step of everyday styling: gather your styling items.
I asked Stina if she had any linens, extra pillows, pottery pieces, or candlesticks. She said everything she had was in front of us. "Tablecloths?" I asked. Just white or kitchen ones, she told me. Blankets, throws, fabric pieces? I was getting nothing but blank stares from her until I asked if there was something with a burgundy tint that would pick up the color in that pillow. Those must have been the magic words. She trotted off to a buffet in the dining room and pulled out a magnificent piece she'd inherited from her mom, a very old wool throw in burgundy paisley. I was knocked out, and she was thrilled at the idea of getting some use out of this very special piece. We then collected a few other items from around the house.
Elapsed time: another fifteen minutes.
I couldn't wait to begin step three: put your sense of style to work.
Stina's jaw dropped when she saw that I was putting the throw on the coffee table. As I angled and folded it this way and that until it was just right, the stark glass table was transformed into a warm focal point and provided just the right backdrop to show off the beautiful vintage fabric. Energized by our styling success, we started adding candlesticks, books, and other items from around the room, trying things out and taking them away if they didn't work. I came across three burl wood boxes under the table. "I didn't feel they went anywhere," Stina said, but boy, did they! I quickly pulled them up and placed them on the table.
Finally, we moved some picture frames and a few accessories around in other parts of the room. Stina stood back and marveled. "Wow, it's a different room! I never would have thought to use those pieces that way. How do you do it?"
I reminded her that everything here was purely hers, things she'd collected, items she loved. I had only helped her by putting into play the three easy steps I'd learned from my own experiences, plus a little muscle. I reminded her there were many more styling items outdoors, such as flowering branches and wildflowers. If only it wasn't dark....She bubbled with excitement. "I can't wait to go out tomorrow and pick up a few more pillows to match the throw, then hit the garden for some greenery for the living room." Now she was thinking like an everyday stylist!
We shared a big hug and both retreated happily to our rooms. Stina got a good night's sleep knowing she had a fresh new space to wake up to and a fun project to continue tomorrow. I slept soundly knowing that I'd helped her create her own sense of beauty and that our single spontaneous session had inspired her to keep creating. That's what everyday styling is all about. We didn't wait. We styled it now.
Finding Your Sense of Style
Most of us have been in Stina's position, where some element or another is off in our home or garden, a room feels bland or cold -- or we just crave a change. We may wish we could be one of those people who always seem to be surrounded by style. Space speaks about its inhabitants, and we admire those who live in stylish places for their freedom and flair. Were they born with it? Did they study decorating or design in school? Are they blessed with artistic ability or a gene the rest of us lack?
I get letters and e-mails from people every day asking, "How do I pull it all together? How do I develop my own sense of style?"
I've written Everyday Styling to answer these letters, address the worries I hear, and shout the news from the rooftops: Style is not a secret code! You can do it, too, every day, and often without spending a dime. Everyday styling is not about remodeling or rebuilding your home. It's not about spending hours in decorator showrooms picking out just the right upholstery or drapes. It's not something just for people with large budgets or large homes.
Everyday styling can improve a whole house, a yard, or a room, refresh a tabletop or window box, or perk up a studio apartment. But the essence of styling runs deeper than a quick makeover. As you gain your sense of style at home, it will start to permeate other areas of your life. Your individual expression will become a common theme that runs through your home, garden, parties, yourself. It will speak of who you are, bringing your personality and spirit to light. All you have to do is un-decorate!
Come and Un-Decorate with Me
Decorating typically entails molding your space to create a particular look, which you hope will be appealing until it drifts out of fashion and the time comes to repeat the process. If that's the case, then we can call everyday styling un-decorating. Decorating might be likened to a still photograph of a landscape, which never changes except slowly to fade; un-decorating is like the landscape itself -- changing with the seasons, evolving, and, most of all, very alive.
For most people, un-decorating requires a shift of mental gears. We're taught to follow rules and be logical in many things we do, including arranging a room. But when we un-decorate, we go beyond the mechani
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