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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Heather Clawson ~ Habitually Chic

I am sure you are familiar with Heather Clawson ~ yes?!! She is a author of the wonderful blog Habitually Chic. I often read her blog and remember New York City fondly. I went to graduate school there. What a wonderful place to be as a blogger ~ so much material! Heather covers it all from show houses to Elle Decor / Armani events. As you may know, I have been doing artist interviews. As far as blog-dom in concerned, Heather is an artist in her own right. She has covered that fabulous Hickory Chair in some depth (I be at Hickory Chair University myself when this posts).


You may have caught her wonderful recent trip to Paris.....
Those posts made me reminisce about a trip I took there in 2001 ~ to long ago!

Perhaps you saw her living room in House Beautiful!
I asked Heather to give me some pictures of her work to portrait her other passion ~ interior design. She gave me the photos from the Bachelor Pad that she did. Take a look.....

Her work speaks for itself!

But what was I interested to learn about Heather? If you have read my interviews with artists, you know that I always want to know about their relationship with the arts as a youth. Why? Because I believe that the arts played important roles in the development of today's successful adults. Perhaps I'll expand my interviews to include those not directly connected to an artistic career to continue to prove my point. Should I??!! I believe the arts need to remain in our public schools. I support Save the Music and other organizations to do so. Part of my interview with Heather focuses on that aspect but I also ask her about current work, aspirations...... Here's the interview.

PG: Please tell me how you decided to do interior design/decorating for a living? What attracted you to that profession?

HC: I was always mentally redecorating every space I entered so I had been thinking about making the switch for a while. I grew up with a mother who was constantly redecorating and she and my father would do a lot of the work themselves such as striping and hanging wallpaper so I think it was just in my blood.

PG: What would you say is your design style? Your niche?

HC: My style is classic but with a twist. I love mixing 70’s vintage Italian furniture with French antiques and abstract art and a little Crate and Barrel thrown in for good measure! I like my interiors to look collected not decorated.

PG: Other than design, do you do any types of art (e.g. paint, music, photography)? If so, what are they?

HC: Growing up, I was always drawing but now I am more into photography. I’d love to take some classes to learn more about light and shutter speeds.

PG: How and why did you decide to do a blog?

HC: I was reading Style Court and Peak of Chic who are both based in Atlanta and they were talking about the Charlotte Moss Townhouse which was opening a block away from my office. It got me thinking that since I actually worked for an interior designer and was going to events and meeting other designers that I should start my own blog.

PG: Can you tell me where your inspiration comes from for your designs? For your blogs?

HC: The inspiration for my design work really comes from the space. I will walk through the home and think about what my client needs to live their comfortably. For instance, should be a console in the entry to catch mail and keys and a chair beside it for bags? What should a visitor see when they enter a room? Is there a good view that I need to emphasize or a bad view that I need to hide?

I read a lot and am always out and about in New York so often blog ideas come from something I’ve read or a store I’ve shopped for a client. I also meet a lot of other designers and creative people and I love profiling them on my blog.

Living in NYC, you literally have the world out your front door. How has that changed the way you design? They way you blog?

I’m lucky that by living in New York, I have access to the best of the best. Even if my clients can’t afford expensive antiques, I still stop visit the top antique dealers for inspiration. I then know the right details to look for in less expensive options. I also have access to all the top museums and galleries as well as show houses. I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to see a top designers work up close. Their level of detail is amazing and I love sharing that with my readers.

PG: You maintain a high level of professionalism. While your blog is fun, it is consistently a spot for important information in our industry. Tell me about that ~ is that an important factor or ingredient for you?

HC: I once had a reader email me and thank me for not being boring. I think that was the best response ever. It’s decorating and there is no reason why we shouldn’t have fun and not take it all too seriously. I also like to keep it positive because just because a style might be different than my own, I can still be inspired by it. I wish more people would keep an open mind sometimes.

PG: I am interested in what you think about art and music education for our youth. Did you have these available to you as a child?

HC: As I mentioned before, I was always drawing or painting or doing something creative. I had art and music classes in school and my parent’s and grandmother were always buying me art supplies. I was taken to many museums and landmarks such as Fallingwater. I think children should have a well rounded education and be exposed to as much culture as possible.

PG: How do you remember art (all art forms) growing up and how did it influence you?

HC: I probably knew who Picasso and Matisse were before I learned all the presidents. Art was very important in my family and I grew up surrounded by it in all forms and it definitely influenced me to study art history in college.

PG: Can you describe how it affected your development as a person? As an artist?

HC: There are many people I know who went to design school who have no real style or eye for design. I actually prefer that I studied art history which also included decorative arts and architectural art history. I also loved fashion growing up and at one point thought I wanted to become a fashion designer. I think this love of fashion and art translates into my interior design work because I might be inspired by the colors of a dress or a painting.

PG: Any memorable brushes with art that has stuck with you? If yes, what and why?

HC: I remember touring Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright when I was about 8 years old and thinking it was the most amazing place I had ever seen. I went back a few years ago and still thought it was amazing!

PG: Were there specific people that guided or mentored you toward art? Away from art?

HC: My father was very artistic and he often took me to museums and bought me art books. My maternal grandmother often bought me art supplies and my mother taught me to sew and cook. My parent’s were big on do-it-yourself projects so I learned a lot about interior design from watching them.

PG: What do you see for yourself in the future, what are your aspirations, design and blog?

HC: Right now, I’m working by myself with occasional help but eventually I’d love to have a firm with employees. I am also talking to a literary agent about a book and I’d love to turn the blog into a real website. I’ve already started speaking on panel discussions about design and blogging so I see that continuing as well. I’d also really like to do a show house.

PG: We all run into problems doing design work. Can you tell me about a headache you had and how you resolved it?

HC: There is always something going wrong in design but I am lucky that I have worked for top designers so I have the experience to think about what might happen before a project begins to try to prevent any problems and also deal to deal with them if they do occur. I also have amazing friends who are also designers and we are always turning to each other for advice.

PG: What is your favorite design(s) that you did? Your favorite blog(s) that you did?

HC: I really love the bachelor pad project! I had wanted to redecorate that apartment since the first time I saw it and I was so happy to get the job. It’s such a change and much more grown up without being stuffy. It really reflects him and looks like he could have collected everything in it. He would come home after a long day at work and immediately call me to tell me how much he liked something I did that day. His friends and family still thank me for making it over since they get to enjoy it now too!

One of the most popular and fun posts was the one where I asked my readers if they ironed their sheets! Designers are very particular and the overwhelming majority of them do iron their sheets, as I do as well! I also enjoyed writing about my tour the Hickory Chair factories sharing with my readers just what goes into upholstered furniture and case goods. I think they had a better appreciation for the workers and all the labor that goes into making furniture and why it’s worth the extra cost.

PG: What’s your proudest moment to date?

HC: That’s a hard one! I was proud that I moved to New York only knowing two people. I was proud of the 1st dibs profile. I was also proud that I didn’t just land on my feet after being laid off but I thrived and was an inspiration to others in the same boat.

PG: Any advice to aspiring designers or bloggers?

HC: Read everything you can get your hands on! Subscribe to every magazine. Read design books. Attend show houses so you can experience top design firsthand. Take classes if you need help in any area. Visit museums, galleries and antique shops. And most importantly, travel! Designers and bloggers need inspiration and those who experience the most, usually have the most original designs and posts!

There you have it folks, Heather Clawson up close and personal. I wonder where she is or what she's covering today?! Maybe she'll share.....


  1. Paula thank you for drawing out Heather's story. I have been interested in her blog for its thoroughly researched articles on all things design. I was, however, a bit at a loss of who she was behind the facade of design.

    I didn't know she was laid off and has so triumphantly risen to her feet. Wow!

    That's the design, the arc of one's life, that often intrigues me most.

    Great interview!

  2. Heather's blog is so inspiring (and now that I've found yours, I must say I rather like it, too!)

    As a working artist, I find it uplifting and revealing to learn how art impacts the lives of others, particularly those in other creative fields.

    Thank you for posting this.

  3. Excelentes propuestas lineas sobrias y suficientes felicitaciones

  4. I'm having fun catching up with your blog tonight. What a wonderful interview! Really enjoyed learning more about her. Thanks, Paula! :)

  5. Terrific interiew! I can't stop thinking about your theory on the connection between early exposure to the arts and later success in life. I'm so glad I came across your blog - it's interesting, informative AND entertaining!


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