Behind the Scenes

Veronica Swanson Beard in Elle Decor

September 1, 2016

A look at VSB's October cover shoot for Elle Decor magazine.
Photo by Douglas Friedman / Elle Decor

My Home in 3 Words:

The treasure hunt.

My Design Inspirations:

Everything needs to feel collected, curated and eclectic. I love things to have patina and a story, to have a life before I found it.

I’m always inspired by color and texture. I love an animal print – every room in my house has leopard print. I also love using rugs as a starting point for the design process. You can figure out all of your colors and fabrics by starting with a great rug. Our house doesn't have overhead lighting because it's so old and we didn't want to change the ceilings, so I became a compulsive lamp shopper. I love crazy lamps and a black shade always looks great.

For me, the one thing I really love is the hunt. l love to mix periods and mix high and low. While working on my house, my garage was like its own consignment store, full of chairs, lamps and side tables! I love the mix of old Colonial and English antiques with cool, mid-century finds. Tchotchkies are my favorite things to find- accessories are like jewelry in your home. They tell the story and really give personality to a room, I delight in finding these things everywhere, from antique shops to consignment shops to West Elm and Anthropologie.

There are also so many interior decorators that have influenced my style over the years: Thomas Britt, Sister Parish, Albert Hadley, Mario Buatta, Jeffery Bilhuber and Gill Schafer, Mark d Sikes, Bunny Williams and Tom Scherer, Kelly Wearstler, Dorothy Draper, Billy Baldwin, Ken Fulk, Miles Redd, Stephen Sills, Stephen Gambrel, Celerie Kemble, Sara Gilbane, Rita Konig and Asia Baker to name a few and honestly there are so many more!
Photo by Douglas Friedman / Elle Decor

Best Décor Find:

The dining room chandelier was the hardest thing to find – it was the cherry on top of the entire room and the one item that we could not find no matter how hard we tried. I think we had five meetings about finding that light and tried just as many chandeliers on approval.

We needed something as dramatic as the table, but at the same time large and light. My aunt, Chiqui Woolworth, found it at Ellen Ward Scarborough Antiques in Stamford. She sent me the picture over text and said, "This is it." Phew, the search was over! Ellen has these two incredible barns full of amazing antiques. I’m going to come back in my next life as Ellen!

Working with Chiqui and Brittany:

Obviously, I love working with family and friends and this project was no different. Chiqui Woolworth of Woolworth & Woolworth is my aunt, but more like my East Coast mother. She understands completely how I grew up and what feels familiar and nostalgic to me. She has this amazing, old school eye and a wonderful sense of color play- she learned from the grand master himself Mario Buatta who was her decorator in New York. Brittany Bromley of Brittany Bromley Interiors was one of my best friends in college and has started a really successful design firm in Bedford, NY. Brittany understands my need for family spaces and children’s rooms since she is also a young mother. She has incredible taste but also understands modern applications and fabrics that look chic but are family friendly.

I loved working on our house with Chiqui and Brittany. I knew they could get our house done at break neck speed. The challenge was to be in before summer so we could all enjoy it as family. Our kids are little, so every minute counts! I wanted to start making more memories and picking less paint chips and pronto! These two women couldn't have been more inspired, dedicated or creative about plowing through a floppy old house and making it home. They both have a great appreciation for the high-low mix and the hunt. Together, the three of us worked on everything and had a ball!
Photo by Douglas Friedman / Elle Decor

My Favorite Room:

The kitchen is really the heart of our home as cliché as that sounds. It's the room that gets the most action and makes me feel like this house is home most. I think my favorite room is my bedroom because it’s surrounded by trees, so I feel like I’m in a tree house. And it’s this uber luxurious and cozy room. The dining room is also incredible. It’s this fun juxtaposition of old and new – it has old bones but a young energy.
Photo by Douglas Friedman / Elle Decor

My Go-To Shops:

Number One Decorating Tip:

Pinterest is the best way to get your thoughts together when decorating. I created a board for each room of the house and it served as a checklist while also helping me narrow down the look I wanted for each room. It’s the most delicious rabbit hole to go down. Check out some of my home inspirations on our Pinterest page!