Monique Valeris, Good Housekeeping’s senior home editor, loves a one-of-a-kind find. On her travels to places like Greece and India, she likes to pick up colorful, 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 spoke with her to learn more about two beloved items — one new, one old — in 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’m inspired by interior designers like Rita Konig and Nate Berkus. Both of them believe that your home should feel like it's been arranged over time. I don’t like when you walk into a space and feels like it’s straight out of a catalog. I love mixing it up — if you find a great piece of seating at West Elm, I want to complement that with some throw pillows that I found on a trip abroad.
I love patterns, colors, and prints, but I like to keep big pieces like a sofa more neutral and then elevate it with accessories. It should really just be a reflection of your lifestyle.
How does this elegant—and very sturdy-looking—white column fit into your overall approach to interiors?
I think every home should have that one special statement piece. Years ago, I went to the Brimfield Antique Show for the first time. It’s a huge outdoor venue where tons of sellers have all types of home decor items. You can honestly take days to shop. It’s kind of overwhelming, but I love the thrill of the hunt. I spotted this column and I thought it would be perfect for my home, though I didn’t exactly know what I would do with it. I believe it’s made of alabaster or something similar. It has a really great weight to it.
The piece has male figures at the bottom, and as you go up, it has a leaf motif. It's so intricately carved. That’s what I love about pieces like this; the attention to detail is just brilliant. You know, I try to carry that attention to detail when I'm shopping for anything really in my home.
I have two young kids, so it has to be out of the way so they don’t attempt to climb up on it. It’s currently in my home office, and I use it to display a plant that I have in a woven basket. Being indoors much more, I’ve focused on having more greenery in my space. Before, it was tucked away in my living room — I’ve moved it from room to room over the years, but it’s something that people always notice when they come to my home.
Can you tell me about the environment you try to create in your home office?
I’m drawn to color, that’s number one. My walls are a melon color. Having that color around me helps to boost my creativity and helps me stay focused and get me going throughout the day.
I also like to have little accessories around that reflect my style. For instance, I have this gold pineapple — pineapples symbolize hospitality, so it reminds me of the beat that I cover. I like to have art around me, and just really special items that you can't really find anywhere else.
Let's talk about this beachy print you have. Who gave it to you?
[Photographer] Gray Malin’s team gifted it to me earlier this year. He’s known for these beautiful aerial shots of beaches and beautiful outdoor spaces. The print is of a beach in Capri, and it’s part of La Dolce Vita, a month-long series where Malin travelled along Italy’s coastline to capture these beautiful shots.
I love to travel and often find inspiration from all types of countries. His print just makes me so happy. It's both calming and uplifting to see the water. I love that the umbrellas have this retro feel to them. When it comes to patterns, I’ve always been drawn to stripes and seeing them in this classic blue and white palette is right up my alley. I have this piece on my bookshelf in my office and it adds the perfect pop of color. When I’m busy and stressed, looking at it really brightens my day.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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