As the ever-stylish founder of the design studio and online shop Ivy and Vine, Heather Hogan Roberts is constantly surrounded by beautiful things.
Not all of them start out that way, though: Roberts’s business is built on her ability to scour vintage shops and estate sales for diamonds in the rough, like funky lighting begging for a coat of statement-making paint or a pair of tarnished brass bookends languishing beneath years’ worth of dust. She also takes inspiration from one-of-a-kind items and produces new must-have furniture and decor for clients. Here, we asked the recent Joss & Main curator, whose collection debuted December 18, what items always catch her eye.
Vintage barware and glassware
“I do a lot of entertaining,” says Roberts, “so I’m always on the lookout for interesting sets of glassware, cocktail shakers, and other bar accessories. I also sell a lot of them online. When you put together a mixed-and-matched set, it’s cool because it’s one-of-a-kind.”
Throw pillows of all sizes, especially boudoir pillows
Accent pillows are one or Roberts’s favorite ways to add life to a room. “They can really transform the most simple, neutral sofa,” she explains, and they’re an easy way to change up the look of a room without a big financial commitment. “Its fun to go with something lighter in spring and summer, and warmer tones in fall and winter.” The designer loves 20” or 22” pillow on a sofa, but also likes to bring in smaller, boudoir-sized pillows with a contrasting fabric. “I love to use them as accents. I do a lot of boudoir pillows in louder patterns, like animal print because at that size it’s not an overload. You’re able to bring in a cheetah print without going crazy.”
Roberts has a soft spot for metal or faux-bamboo chandeliers with a ’60s, Palm Beach-y vibe. ” You can leave them as is, or give them a coat of paint,” she says. “That’s a really fun way to transform a space. Do it in a high-gloss yellow or turquoise, and that can be your pop of color in a room with neutral walls and furniture.” She prefers oversized lighting in particular: “I usually don’t like little chandeliers. Why go small?”
Graphic dhurrie rugs
“I love the look of modern, graphic rugs–the Jonathan Adler and Madeleine Weinrib geometrics and flatweaves,” she says, noting that they’re a relatively budget-friendly way to bring drama to a space. “I have three kids. so I can’t afford to go crazy with rugs. I mean, I wish I could buy vintage oushaks for every room of my house! But you can have so much fun with inexpensive flatweaves in bold colors. You can top a big seagrass rug with a 4′ x 6′ flatweave on top as your pop of color.”
Custom window treatments
One thing Roberts prefers not to buy in standard sizes? Window dressings. “A custom window treatment adds so much personal flair to a room,” she says, noting that they’re frequently her one splurge item in otherwise budget-constrained designs. “Even if you have to paint the room yourself, it’s so worth it to just do a pretty pair of panels with a little trim,” she explains, nothing that off-the-shelf designs never quite attain the same fit and function as a curtain made specifically for the space. “A great window treatment has so much impact, it’s worth it.”
Wooden chairs and benches with easy-to-upholster cushions
A lesson Roberts has learned in her years of shopping estate sales and flea markets for items to make over is that fully-upholstered pieces are best left to the pros. “After you buy the fabric and have it redone, it’s not always the deal it seems like, and doing it yourself is really hard,” she explains. Consequently, she’s drawn toward smaller wooden chairs and benches with cushions and seats that can be removed and recovered in a fresh fabric. “If the cushions pop out, you can even do it yourself with a staple gun!” she notes. “I just redid a piano bench using some extra fabric left over from a client project,” she says. “It was easy, and I was thrilled with how it turned out.”