Stylist Liz Bachman made a name for herself curating beautiful examples of interior design on her blog Grey and Scout, all before the days of Pinterest’s mountains of easily accessible inspiration. A strong believer in stylish-yet-not-trendy design, Liz never fails to beautifully blend her clients’ most meaningful possessions with chic new items to create a home with a truly personal aesthetic. In Liz’s own home, this means a modern look and clean lines juxtaposed alongside warm details that perfectly reflect her taste and personality.
Photography: Grace Combs
Tell us about your blog Grey & Scout and how it came about.
The Grey and Scout blog grew out of my desire to collect and curate the pieces that I loved and the spaces that stood out to me (this was before the fabulously addicting world of Pinterest). Along the way I’ve developed relationships with other stylists and interior designers; it’s become an outlet to connect and exchange ideas with people, and it‘s allowed me to exist in the ever growing world of online interior design.
How did you decide on a career in interior styling + how long has it taken to get it to where it’s at today?
I happened into styling by way of staging homes. While on the hunt for our home a few years ago, I befriended several people in the world of realty and interior design, and my business grew from there.
Styling is similar to problem solving, and I love a good challenge. Styling projects involve purchasing new pieces, but the goal many times is to work largely with what’s already in the home. I begin every styling project with the goal of putting a fresh twist on old objects. I will purchase a new loveseat, new window treatments or a new rug for a client, but the objective is to incorporate meaningful pieces and accessories that my client already owns. A home should reflect those living in it, not the current trend. I try to pull the brand new and the existing together to create a real living space, and that translates into something different for everyone. It’s been a whirlwind four years since I started styling, I’m always learning the latest ‘tricks of the trade” and discovering new resources. I love it!
“My office also doubles as the guest room (that’s a sleeper sofa from Scandinavian Designs), so I thoughtfully styled it to be a conducive place for me to work, but also with a soothing feeling and neutral palette for people to feel comfortable sleeping.”- Liz
Tell us a little bit about your home and what you were looking for in a place?
Location and an open floor plan was at the top of the list. It needed to be functional. We didn’t want excess space, like a formal dining room, because we knew we’d never use it. We wanted something simple and clean-lined, and a place where we could add a few personal touches.
“This lamp is my absolute favorite table lamp that we own.”- Liz
How would you define your interior style?
It’s sometimes difficult to label styles these days. Interior design choices are so unique to each person’s wants, needs and personality. With that said, I’m certainly minimalistic with the amount of pieces in our house, but eclectic when it comes to my accessory choices and styling, and I leaned more towards modern when designing our kitchen.
“I added the shelf above my desk to give the area a cozier feel. These days the shelf seems to be a revolving door of art.”- Liz
Do you think your personal style reflects the same aesthetics?
Absolutely. My personal style is more classic and simple then trendy, but I like to spice it up with a little bling every now and then!
“I seriously love what I do and feel crazy fortunate to have the freedom to work from home and pursue my passion.” -Liz
“Oh, this kitchen. This is our first home, and the kitchen our first home project. I’m so proud of how it tuned out and so happy I stuck to my guns in choosing all white appliances.” – Liz
What’s your favorite room?
That’s tough. It’s a tie between the kitchen and my office. The kitchen is the place we cook together, eat in, and entertain. It’s the pulse of our home. It’s the place we put our little design mark on, so that will always be a favorite. In stark contrast to the bustling kitchen, the peacefulness of my office is the best. It’s nestled between two windows, is a quiet place to think, enjoy a warm cross breeze or watch the snow fall. That little nook has become my place to just be and do my thing.
What are your tips for decorating on a budget?
Any designer will tell you that throw pillows and fresh flowers are an inexpensive way to freshen up a room and add pops of color. Look for pieces that serve more than one purpose, a “two for one” if you will. For example, next to the chairs in our living room, there’s a side table that holds a lamp, pulls an otherwise awkward space together with the rest of the room, and the sub-woofer for the surround sound is hidden inside of it (I found after I got married, that there was a whole different type of design conundrum – hiding “boy things”).
Never be afraid of popping into a thrift store or antique shop. And holy brass treasures at Goodwill! Seriously, it’s crazy what people get rid of! One person’s trash is another persons treasure, truly.
Another super simple and inexpensive way to add character and a less obvious decorating tip is to change out light switch plates. I just replaced a few of ours with brass plates from Restoration Hardware for 6 bucks. And hang those vacation photos! I blew up a photo of the ocean that I took on vacation for $20 and framed it in a 20×28 white frame from IKEA. For $40, that took care of a bare wall in our hallway.
What items do you recommend splurging on and what should you save on?
My advice, splurge on a quality sofa, thrift a fabulous coffee table. Decide what you want the focus of the room to be and make that the place where you put your money. For some people that’s investing in a large piece of artwork or custom window treatments for large areas of windows, for us it was putting money into designing our kitchen, because that’s the main area of focus downstairs, and we invested in a versatile, clean-lined sofa and neutral rug as the focal pieces for the living space upstairs. We filled the rest of those spaces with sale finds, IKEA, budget-friendly art, and thrift store finds (the glass and cast iron coffee table in the living room downstairs was an awesome thrift store find from Lee Alex for $100).
Always think outside of the box. The mantle above our fireplace was more like a worthless little ledge. I hated it. We didn’t have enough space for a traditional mantle, nor was that something I wanted to pour money into, so I decided to go a slightly different route and add some character at the same time. We chose irregularly edged tile to place around the fireplace, and I searched the local lumbar yard for a piece of wood that had lots of great natural wood knots, sanded it, painted it with several coats of whitewash stain and sealed it. Everyone asks about it when they see it. That little mantle project cost me a whopping total of $30.
You’ve done an excellent job decorating with a white palette, tell us about it.
Some would say white walls are for those who are indecisive. Personally, I think it keeps things fresh and up-to-date without having to think about it, and makes it easy to change up the décor. Many people like to experiment with color, as do I, so I painted our guest bath downstairs blue to get it out of my system, but in general I’m a white wall girl. I chose a shade of white for most of our house that casts a very faint shade of blue-grey around corners to help create a feeling of depth. I painted a couple of interior doors a semi-gloss black (the backdoor downstairs and our bedroom door at the end of the hallway upstairs).You don’t always have to paint something neon to add that pop, black works really well with white walls and adds a little character to the space.
Adding vibrant green plants around the house breathed life into the rooms, and created a fresh feel against the white walls. Starting with a white palette also allows you to experiment with trendy color without having to commit. You can add royal blue, emerald green, a pop of pink or floral designs with a pillow, throw, or vase without having to go through the hassle of re-panting and re-thinking the entire space.
Where are your favorite places to shop in Denver?
-Lee Alex Furniture Boutique
-Any antique shop on Colfax or thrift store on Broadway
-Scandinavian Designs (where I purchased both of our couches)
-Horseshoe Art Market
-Home Goods (good for everything from simple white dishware to dog beds!)
-Local floral stores are great for vases, plant pots, unique décor accessory pieces and artwork
-Outlets (we recently discovered a Restoration Hardware outlet, need I say more)
What are your favorite places to shop online?
-Etsy (great resource for one-of-kind designs and budget-friendly throw pillows + art)
-World Market (I just scored silver-rimmed French champagne coupes there!)
-Target (they have great modern bed linens)
-Michael’s (cost-effective place, other than IKEA, for inexpensive frames)
-One Kings Lane
“The first floor a.k.a. the gathering place. I wanted to create a calm vibe for people to relax and hang out.” – Liz
How do you sparkle?
I get up everyday without carrying the baggage of yesterday. I learned long ago looking backwards only makes you stumble when you try to move forward. It’s a piece of advice I’ll never forget. Oh, and slipping into a fab pair of shoes, yeah, that makes everything better!
The bar area has become a new little obsession of mine. It’s fun to style it with straws, flowers, and other little details like the brass dish from the Etsy shop High Street Market (one of my favorites), and I’m always on the lookout for more vintage decanters.
“Our house has these crazy little half walls. I needed to fill them without cluttering up the space. On the flipside of this wall I hung vintage hooks for hats and scarves, and this side, that faces the kitchen, became an inspiration board of sorts. If you send me somethin’ pretty, chances are it’ll end up here!” -Liz