It was a business match made in heaven from the moment designer Megan McFarland and photographer Andrea Kinnear met. It was actually through Instagram, and Andrea reached out to Megan to inquire about shooting a space she just finished designing. Since then, they have worked together to create many beautiful (and beautifully photographed) spaces, like the one pictured in this tour, and their relationship continues to grow with the launch of a new web series about style and design. See their vision come to life in the home tour below and find out more about their amazing business relationship.
First off, tell us a bit about you and how you two met!
Andrea: We met on Instagram! I had just moved to Charleston and started following some local entrepreneurs, one of them being Megan. Her style and design projects were gorgeous, and her Instagram Stories were always hilarious. One day she was at a client’s space finishing up when she mentioned to her client that the space needed to be photographed. I sent her a DM saying I would love to photograph it. I met her two days later and the rest is history!
What is your favorite thing about working in Charleston?
Andrea: The small town-friendly Southern vibe. I come from a big city, so I really appreciate the sense of community within the creative industries in Charleston. Charleston itself is a beautiful and historically rich city and there is no end to the inspiration you can find all around you.
Megan: I’m constantly inspired by the city and the energy here in the community. Women supporting women and small businesses, like Andrea and so many other creatives that are thriving in this city. The colors of downtown Charleston with the pinks and the blues definitely inspire my color palette.
Tell us about this project. What was the vision you had when designing and styling the home?
Megan: When my client purchased this home, it was a new home and the start of a new chapter for her and her two little girls. The project was a blank slate, a fresh start so to speak. My client really wanted a modern coastal look with feminine touches—it was a girl’s home, after all. I kept the design clean, fresh, airy and light—with those feminine touches throughout. Keeping in line with a modern coastal aesthetic, I wanted to accentuate that with some of my favorite local artists whose collections are low country-inspired, like Chelsea Goer (the oyster in the dining room) and the other being Teil Duncan (beach scenes in the entryway).
Andrea: When styling a home for an editorial shoot, you have to style it differently than you would for living purposes. I like to build out the space so that there are points of interest staggered throughout and often position pieces in places they would not normally be. I wanted the space to feel styled, but lived in. I like to make sure to remove clutter so that the showstoppers are on display, and lastly, florals and greenery are always a must!
The living area feels really inviting and homey. What are some of your best tips for creating a welcoming space?
Megan: The arrangement of furniture in an open living concept space needs to be simple with clean lines, not too cluttered but with enough seating. Keeping it neutral and bringing in color via art pieces, draws in the eye. Art welcomes people and invites conversation and discussion. Surprisingly, I’ve found lighting also has the same effect. Lighting in a home sets the mood, it is the jewel of the home if you will. Thoughtfully placed items are also important. I use lots of books and trays when styling, but I always make sure to include family photos, books that are memorable and keepsakes. These items help to keep the space welcoming, but of course, they have to be within the color palette (laughing), so if I have to swap out a frame I will!!
Tell us about the kitchen! Those lights are amazing. Where is your favorite place to shop for unique fixtures?
Megan: Ro Sham Beaux, Shades of Light, Lulu and Georgia and Etsy are all great places to source fixtures.
Andrea: Megan has this amazing ability to find the most interesting fixtures. They complement her spaces and create a stunning point of interest in her rooms.
Kids’ rooms can often feel cluttered, but this one is really beautiful. What is the hardest part about designing a space for little ones?
Megan: My clients don’t want to spend a lot of money on kids rooms because they understand that tastes change as kids get older. For these designs, I like to source product from places that are more reasonably priced and can be changed out down the road. I advise my clients to purchase staple pieces like dressers and side tables in neutral colors. A statement headboard is a great option for a child’s bed. They come in a variety of colors, are reasonably priced and can be switched out as the child’s style changes. For décor, I love budget options like Target, and lastly, I make sure to source stylish storage options—big baskets are always a good idea.
We love the wallpaper in the bedroom. Any insights on where to find fun and chic wall décor?
Megan: The wallpaper in the little girl’s room is from Lulu and Georgia. It has a phenomenal collection of wallpaper and many are peel-and-stick. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is easy to install and will not ruin your walls—I love that! Another favorite is Jennifer Latimer. I’m a huge fan of hers, and she’s a local Charleston artist. Her designs are unique and it’s like having big pieces of art on your walls.
Which part of this process was the most challenging for you?
Megan: Design: The most challenging part for me is sticking to a client’s budget. It’s so important, but it really is a challenge. I try to make design accessible, that is something that is important to me. It is a challenge, but one I am up to and one that my clients greatly appreciate. I want to create beautiful spaces no matter what your budget. That’s why I’ve made sure to offer everything from E-Design to Full-Service Design.
Photo + Video Documentation: Andrea and I are such perfectionists that getting all the details just right for the shoot is challenging from a time perspective. People don’t have any concept of how much is involved in getting these beautiful images. We put a lot of time into planning, styling and shooting. I want people to see these spaces and feel inspired by them. Documenting my work is one of the most important aspects of my business and I’m so thankful to work with someone like Andrea, who understands my vision and helps me to execute it every single time.
Andrea: The hardest part of the process is the stress I put on myself to make sure the final product is exactly what Megan is envisioning. Every time I go into one of her spaces, I want to make sure I capture every single detail of her work. This means extensive shot lists, shots from every angle, shots styled different ways, lifestyle shots, etc. I am extremely organized heading into a shoot so that I can make sure that nothing is missed. The lead up is just as important as the day of. When I deliver a gallery and Megan says it’s brought her to tears, then that is the ultimate payoff. Like Megan said, we’re perfectionists, so when we see the final product and it’s as stunning as it is in real life, then it’s all worth the work!
Where are your top 3 favorite places to shop for stylish home décor?
Megan: Celadon is my favorite local place, Target is my go-to budget-friendly option and Serena & Lily home décor items are very in line with my aesthetic. I love its baskets and rugs and the barstools, like the ones in this kitchen.
Andrea: Wherever Megan tells me to shop! No, but really, she designed my home office and sourced items from all three of those places. It turned out beautiful, of course, and it is a great mix of high and low.
Do you have any other exciting projects on deck that you’re looking forward to?
Andrea: Yes! At the end of 2017, I began to incorporate more video into my client work. I’m loving it and it’s been amazing working on Megan’s web series. I’m also working on some personal projects, a series of artist spotlights that I’m excited about. Lastly, I’m launching a print collection, which I couldn’t be more thrilled about!
Megan: My web series is probably my most exciting project on deck for this year. Andrea and I have created three episodes already, and I’m really excited about the content we’re creating in the new ones. People are always asking me ‘how to’ questions, so I knew that this was something that would be important to both my clients and my followers. There will also be some episodes that highlight artists and makers that I frequently work with and am inspired by—I can’t wait!
West Elm Sofa
Chairs made by Found Hands for West Elm
Zuo Modern coffee table
Little Design Company pillows
Shade of Light light fixture
West Elm window treatments
Minted art above mantel
Teil Duncan print
Lulu and Georgia rug
Celadon dresser and nightstands
Lamps Plus lamps
Ballard Designs mirrors
Little Design Company graphite pillow and antelope print pillow
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