Camila & Her Home
When it comes to interior design and home décor, many people opt for a simple and neutral look to help give the house a clean, comfortable and soothing appearance. However, when done the right way, bright colors and bold patterns can also provide this same appearance, except with tons of interesting and fun elements to enhance it. That's how Camila Pavone, founder of Effortless Style Interiors, decided to decorate and furnish her home on Long Island, New York. Inside her gorgeous house that she shares with her husband and two boys, there are bright colors and patterns at every turn—it literally exudes happiness. We are offering you an inside look into this bright and cheery house, and advice and tips from Camila herself! One of her best tips? Don't be afraid to break the rules. After getting a glimpse of Camila's beautiful house, you are sure to agree that sometimes, rules really are meant to be broken. See the full home tour below!
First things first. Tell us how you got into the interior design world! What sparked your interest in this creative field?
I have always had a love for interiors. Back when I was 12, I had the opportunity to custom design my new bedroom furniture and I was hooked. I was able to design the look of the pieces and because I couldn’t decide between lilac and blush formica, I got to use both and get a two-toned look! From there, my love for interiors and making things pretty just grew. I was always the one that helped my mom host parties, made the floral arrangements and designed many rooms throughout my house. I was lucky to have parents that let me make quick changes all throughout our family home. My bedroom went through so many variations! While I had a love and passion for it, I didn’t really think I could do it as a real job, so I went to school for communications and then actually got my first job out of college in a retail buying office. However, my heart kept coming back to interiors. I remember crying most mornings before I headed out to my buying job. I job hopped around a little during this time trying to find my fit in a more creative job field, but nothing was ever as creative as the job listing stated. Eventually, the economy crashed and I got let go, which ended up being a blessing, because it pushed me into blogging and learning more about interior design, as well as doing some distant learning courses and eventually working with clients. Today, I get to use all of my background together and write a lifestyle blog called, Effortless Style, and take on design clients thru my design firm—and there may be a store front in my near future. Fingers crossed!
We love all of your beautiful art! How do you decide when to splurge on a certain piece for your home?
I’m a big believer in personalizing your space with artwork that you love! Picking up original artwork can be an investment, which might not be in everyone’s budget, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up unique finds instead of mass-produced artwork from a big-box retailer. I love scouring Etsy and finding artists that sell prints or even digital downloads that speak to me. For the big ticket items, I like to wait for a special occasion to honor it. I picked up two original pieces when I had each of my children. When I look at them it reminds me of that special newborn time. Eventually, I will gift the artwork to them and they can hang them up in their homes.
Who is your all-time favorite artist?
This is such a difficult question because I have so many favorites. Currently, I’m obsessed with two. First up is Theresa Losa, a New Jersey-based artist that I found at an art fair last year. I was obsessed when I found her and her beautiful beach-inspired artwork. I soon discovered that I wasn’t the only one, because after finding her, I saw that she had her work sold at Serena & Lily as well. I would love one of her original pieces! My second artist obsession is Kirsten Jackson from Melbourne. She has this amazing way to work with color. All of her pieces speak to me. I’m constantly scrolling through her Instagram feed bookmarking all of my favorites that I must have.
Stripes or zebra print?
That’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child! I have a soft spot for both of them, but if I had to choose, I would go with stripes. They are so classic! I love to use them in interiors, and my closet is full of them as well. However, I’m totally picky about the perfect stripe width. I’m currently in love with this striped duvet and its perfectly spaced stripes. I’m in the process of moving and I think it will be the first purchase after we are settled in.
What's the most you've ever spent on an item for your home?
The first thing I did when I moved into our first house was purchase a white sofa! I had a big Rachel Ashwell/Shabby Chic moment in my life and I wanted nothing more than a massive white slipcovered sofa. I was daring and picked it out without even sitting on it! While it was a splurge, I was still trying to get a deal, so I ordered it from a North Carolina factory called, Club Furniture. It had a 30-day trial where it could be returned with no charge to me, so I felt comfortable doing it. It arrived and was perfect. We have had it for 8 years and I still love it.
On the other hand, what's your biggest budget-friendly score?
I have a lot of budget-friendly scores, because I’m no stranger to dragging something from my neighbor's trash pile, but I do have an amazing Craigslist find that I would save in a fire. A couple years back, I went to High Point Market (a furniture market that interior designers attend) and I saw these high-back Chippendale faux bamboo chairs—I was smitten. The only problem? Even at cost, they were $900 each. It was not meant to be. A couple weeks later, I was on Craigslist and saw that a store a couple of towns over was selling the exact same chair for $125! I literally ran over to pick it up. My only regret is not getting more chairs! They had a total of four.
What's one design rule you love to break?
The old-school thought that everything has to match in some way! I love adding in elements that are a little off, but still totally work in the space. Break away from sets of furniture, don’t shy away from painting wood pieces, do a gallery wall with family photos—break the rules if it feels good to you! It helps a space become more of a reflection of the family that lives in it.
The bold color palette of your home is downright dreamy! What are your favorite color combinations, or do you practice more of an "anything goes"-type mentality?
If you work it right, you can totally have an 'anything goes'- type of look with color in your space. My living room is a perfect example of that. I have white, orange, yellow, tan, green, pink, yellow, red and brown all in that one space and everyone loves it. I know many won’t feel that daring to try it out on their own, but it can be done. Some of my current favorite color combinations include yellow and lilac; cobalt blue, orange and green; pink, red and orange; and citron, blue and orange.
What are your tips for pattern-mixing at home?
One of the easiest tips to mixing patterns at home is to pay attention to the scales of your patterns. You want there to be variety. So, you would never want to put a large floral and large damask pattern together because they would compete, but you could have a large scale floral, a mini polka dot, a 2-inch width striped pillow and even throw in a middle-sized damask pattern and have everything work. There are more tips on a post I wrote for Glitter Guide.
How often do you change things up in your house?
When we first moved into this house, I changed things quite a bit. Our house is a custom cape, and from the outside with its white siding and black shutters, it looks like a cottage. So, inside I had the living room dark brown and cozy with white furniture and pops of blue and orange. I had it this way for a year or two, but then I wanted more color. Out went the brown walls and in went pale pink walls and a total change with accent chairs, throw pillows and artwork! The house has been in the current state of the photos for a couple of years now. Accessories get added and removed and new artwork may get added, but overall, I have been really happy with its overall look.
Can you share your formula for the perfectly styled surface?
My non-technical answer is that your space should have things you truly love. I feel that if you purchase things that you love, even if you think they don't go together, when you actually see them together, it looks effortless and perfect.
My technical answer is to start with a blank space, shop your home and gather items that you think would go well together, remember to balance the area that you are styling. You don’t want to have everything grouped to one side. I like making little vignettes. When making groupings, cluster items in odd numbers like three or five. I have a detailed post on How to Style a Console on my blog that has some good tips and photos.
Where do you find inspiration for designing a room or home for a client? Is it different when decorating your own space?
It’s a little bit of both. For a client, I like to meet with them and see their entire house to get a picture of what their style is. I like to ask questions about how they live, what they do for fun, where they vacation. If I can get inspiration from that, it’s amazing. Perhaps they love the beach and there is a vintage travel poster they have from a beach locale. It would be great to use that as inspiration and grab colors it has as a starting point, but that isn’t always the case. Many times, clients don’t have an inspiration piece, so it’s up to me to figure it out, but also make it look like it’s the clients house not mine. So, I ask them for favorite houses from movies or a blogger's home they like. Then from those items, I gather fabrics for them and we go through it together to see what direction they like. For my personal home, I do the same thing. The only difference is that I have longer to tweak items and inject accessories that came from a trip, for example. In either scenario, the way I source fabrics and what I’m drawn to comes from many different inspirations like the colors on a building or pattern on a shirt.
What's your favorite type of weekend home project (i.e. when you want to change things up in a small amount of time)?
Painting, but not in the typical way when one is discussing a weekend home project. Instead of repainting walls, I really enjoy painting abstracts on canvas. My husband actually started the trend and painted the massive piece we have above our sofa in the living room. He really got into it and painted some amazing abstracts. One day, I decided to try it again, and while it was much harder than I thought it would be, I really enjoyed it. Abstracts take a lot of layers and patience and figuring out what colors will work well together. I tackled the piece above the fireplace. We have now sold pieces to clients, family members and even on One Kings Lane!
How has being a mom changed the way you decorate your home?
I’m happy to report that it hasn’t changed all that much. I once had a client with a toddler that hired me. She wanted to re-do all of her spaces, but whenever I mentioned an idea, I was always given a 'no' because she thought her toddler would climb it, color on it, jump on it, etc. I personally could never get behind living that way. I didn’t swap anything out when we had kids. I still have the white sofa, my designer pillows are still intact and accessories are out. Have there been some causalities? Sure, I have had a ginger jar broken and there might be a little hole in one of my vintage caned chairs, but for the most part, my boys know that mommy likes things a certain way and the living room or dining room, for example, is not for rough-housing. I think the main key to making it work is that I like to store toys for them in those rooms. They are not out in the open like a playroom, but in a trunk or a storage basket with a lid. When they are in those rooms, I always open up the secret toy bins and let them go nuts playing. I also sprinkle books in those spaces. I find that it keeps them entertained and keeps my house looking the way I like it to.
"Everyone always asks me how I do it all, because to them it seems so seamless, but it’s a crazy juggling act. The way I’m able to do it is by having a supportive family that gets how important my business is to me."
Favorite room in your house: go!
This took some thinking, because I truly love my house and all of the rooms, but the only space where I wouldn’t change a single thing is my dining room. It was the last room to come together on the main floor, because we kept having issues with the furniture. Two different tables from different vendors were returned due to poor quality. At the end of the day, I found a vintage dining set at a thrift store and broke it apart by painting the chairs jade green and then adding a sideboard in a different color and style. I love the grasscloth wallpaper in there, the massive lighting piece, the window seat with my mix of pillows, the bar cart, the artwork, etc. I love every bit of it.
Name a few of your favorite business books.
Lately, I have been on a pretty big podcast kick! It makes driving so much more enjoyable. At first it was literally just a podcast about "Pretty Little Liars," then I hit "Serial" and "S-Town" and now I’m onto business podcasts. I really enjoy Creative Empire Podcast, All Up in Your Lady Business and Packed Party Podcast.
How do you balance running a successful business with being a mom?
Good question and I totally wish some one could give me an answer, because it’s tough and I’m not sure I have it all figured out. Everyone always asks me how I do it all, because to them it seems so seamless, but it’s a crazy juggling act. The way I’m able to do it is by having a supportive family that gets how important my business is to me. My husband is always helping me so that I can go to a meeting or do a project for a blog post. My parents are now both retired and help me with my boys on a daily basis. They are lifesavers. It’s so much easier to leave my boys when I know they are having fun with their grandparents that love them as much as I do. This year, I also started renting a desk at a shared studio space. This has done wonders for my productivity. At home, I’m constantly juggling laundry, the dishwasher and more while getting work done. At the studio, I get to just focus on the task at hand. Plus, it’s nice to get dressed, grab a coffee and go to a space that is not in my house. I don’t go every day, but it’s a nice way to break up the week. Doing all of this helps me just focus on being a mom when I’m home with the boys. I try and always make Fridays a mom day so we can do fun outings. While I love working, I always have mom guilt and it’s nice to get a special day in with them.
Looking for more colorful home décor inspiration? Check out: The Austin Abode That Will Make You Want To Add More Color To Your Home ASAP // If You Love Pink Tropical Vibes, Meet Your New Dream Home // Allie Mood’s Lighthearted And Colorful South Carolina Home