Wednesday, February 13, 2013

House Romantics: Steele Thomas Marcoux

I feel very lucky to have worked on staff with some of the best editors in the magazine industry. And I feel even luckier that many of those editors have become both friends and colleagues.

One very talented editor and writer who I am also delighted to call my friend is Steele Thomas Marcoux (photo below).

I worked with Steele at Cottage Living when the magazine was still in print (tear). We were part of an all-female, all-twenty-something tribe of editors in the Homes Department at the title who have splintered off in a million different directions in the design world over the last few years. You know who you are, ladies!

Steele went on to become Design Editor at Coastal Living and is now a Contributing Editor to Southern Living, among other shelter magazines.

In addition to having the chicest byline in the business, Steele is an observant, smart writer, has an incredible design eye, and possesses a wonderful ability to make people feel welcome and at ease, which isn't always the case with editors. More importantly, she laughs at my jokes even when they aren't funny, which endeared her to me from the start.

It was only a matter of time before Steele appeared on Magpie as a House Romantic subject. We lived a literal stone's throw from each other when I lived in Birmingham. Alabama. As in, if I'd picked up a rock in my yard and threw it, it might have hit her roof. Seriously. I remember when she bought her house, I remember when she started the renovation, and I remember how proud and happy I was to see it run in Southern Living in 2011.

If you read that story, you probably noticed that Steele has a thing for wallpaper. More than any other stylish element in her house (and there are many), it's what she enjoys looking at most everyday. "I once heard a rule that you should not have more than three different wallpapers in your home," Steele says. "Well I have four—and a fifth planned."

A photographic tour of Steele's favorite papered surfaces follows below. Enjoy.

The wallpaper in her dining room. "My first wallpapered room is my most expected: the dining room. This is a Stark wallcovering, and I was initially drawn to the balance of the traditional floral pattern rendered in a more modern colorway. Since I live in a cottage, I tried to dress down the formal paper by using it only above the chair rail, juxtaposed with v-groove paneling below. (I also saved a little money this way.) The wallcovering also lends a more intimate mood to my dining room, which is the largest room in my house. Truth be told, I first tried painting the room white, but it felt vacuous—and not at all like a place in which I’d like to linger over long dinners."

The wallpaper inside her secretary in her living room. "The paper helps lighten and brighten up the dark wood piece, but the subtle pattern keeps it from overwhelming the room."

The wallpaper in her guest bathroom. "To play up the black-and-white scheme, I opted for a whimsical paper called 'Coop' by Peter Fasano. This pattern actually made the small space, which was painted deep blue, seem larger—and it never fails to put a smile on my face while I’m giving my baby boys a bath in there."

The bird wallpaper on her son's nursery ceiling. "This wallpaper might be my favorite. Ceilings are great surfaces to cover with pattern or texture without breaking the bank. After seeing this Julia Rothman paper (Daydream in Sunshine) on Emily Henderson’s blog, I just had to have it. Picturing him nodding off or waking up and staring up at these cheerful birds makes me so happy."

The wallpaper project to come. "As for my next wallpaper project, I’m constantly stalking that someday house—I’ve mentally moved into several already. But until then, I’ve got my eye on another a flax-colored grasscloth. Don’t you think it would make my Ikea shoe storage bins look way less Ikea? Now all I need is an afternoon to myself. Did I mention already I have two children?"


Brooke @ Blueprint Bliss said...

Loved her house ever since I saw it published! She's very talented!

Silver Magpies said...

I love the notion of using wallpaper to back the inside of a cabinet or bookcase. Brilliant!

Just to let you know I shed more than just one tear over the demise of Cottage Living :( It is still hands down my favorite house/home publication.

- Nan

Haskell Harris said...

Brook and Nan: Steele is super talented and I don't think she'll ever run out of ideas about how to use wallpaper! :)

Heli Deineshen said...
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