Noa sits down with lifestyle blogger, fashionista, and stylish decorator in her own right Louise Roe to talk personal style and smart shopping.
Photos courtesy of Louise Roe
Louise Roe (of her perfectly named blog Front Roe) is a dear friend—and someone who’s home could inspire envy in most. She fused her English sensibilities with California cool in her LA home completely without the help of a designer—so I wanted to sit down with her and discuss not just her sense of style, but whether all of those who dress well naturally have a knack for designing well too.
Does your fashion sense influence the way you think about your home?
It does in the sense that I actually want the opposite from it. When you’re dressing up or doing red carpets and constantly wearing new styles, you want the opposite atmosphere when you get home—a more neutral, calmer atmosphere. I want a home that’s timeless rather than trend-driven because home is a sanctuary.
You need a break from the noise, I’m sure. It’s like, Alexander Wang—he designs these beautiful things but he just wears like a T-shirt.
Actually all the fashion editors I knew when I worked at Vogue were the same. They wore the same thing pretty much every day. It was surprising, but I get it.
Do you think that people who are fashionable always have stylish homes?
I think they almost always do. I think if you have an eye for aesthetics it’s going to run through your home as well as through your wardrobe.
True, and stylish doesn’t necessarily have to mean decorated…
And you did your space all by yourself?
Yes. I think I love designing even more than fashion. The process of putting together textures and envisioning a room and then slowly putting it together (well, not that slowly I’m a bit impatient).
When you think about your wardrobe, how often are you editing, adding, and subtracting?
On a daily basis. That has a lot to do with the fact that as a blogger I get sent a lot and I’m extremely grateful. But if I kept everything, I could never fit in my house. I find it quite cathartic. I think change is really refreshing mentally.
Do you take that same sort of editing eye to your home?
Yes, but I don’t think I’m as incessant about it as some designers. Furniture, once it’s in place, I tend to leave it there. But I’m constantly changing the books on the coffee table or the scent in the room. The smallest things are easiest to change.
When you think about buying the right pieces, do you have a divide in your mind of pieces you buy to keep versus pieces you buy to switch around?
Yes, I think about things to shoot that would look great and things that I can switch around. But I feel like the older I get, I want pieces that would work well wherever we are. What if we move back to London and lived in an 18th century, country house? I have an expensive leather tufted ottoman in the living room and I want it to live in many different houses and different settings.
You spoke a little bit about the future, but what about the past? When you think back to your first apartment when you got to LA nine years ago, how was your space changed?
I have a bit more space, hah. When I arrived, I didn’t really have any money but I had taste (I think). So I went to the flea market because the flea markets are so great here, especially for Mid-Century furniture. The apartment was a beautiful, 1970s, 1-bedroom with great original floors and cornicing, so it didn’t need a lot. But I don’t like Mid-Century furniture as much anymore.
Why is that?
I think just because LA overkilled it. I’ve seen it too much. And it’s great, but I like even older pieces like 19th Century or Campaign style furniture, which is actually really big at the moment because of the gold detailing.
Do you find now that your life is busier, you’ve gotten lazier about hunting for pieces?
I’m still just as obsessive about it. Recently I saw a marble shelf on a blogger friend’s feed, and there are plenty of marble shelves in the world, but I had to have this one. I tracked it down to a retailer in the UK. So I’m still obsessive, but it’s much more online now, which is a shame because I love the physicality of shopping and learning items’ stories.
On the fashion end, what drives you bonkers? What’s your Mid-Century modern equivalent?
Different trends fit different people, but if you’re taking an entire look off the runway, that to me isn’t style. Stylish women are the ones that are eccentric, but kind of timeless. They will update their look with a shoe or bag or sunglasses to make it trend driven.
You could have the equivalent in the home space too, right?
Yes and not to bag LA, but I have a seen a lot of celebrities homes where it’s clearly all been done by a designer and there isn’t one ounce of personal history. It feels a bit beautiful but soulless. A home should tell a story about you. Someone should be able to walk into your home and then come out being like “I know who lives there. I know what they like.”
What sparked your interest in interior design?
It’s been there since I was a kid. I knew I either wanted to be a professional horse-rider (still do) or an interior designer. I’ve always felt like the ability of your surroundings to inspire you and change your mood is huge. I feel that even more strongly with older buildings. And I know it sounds a bit poetic but when you go somewhere in Paris and it’s 500 years old, you can’t deny the effect that it has on you. People either have that or they don’t.
Speaking to that, are there any home must-haves when you’re designing a home?
History, I just don’t think I could live in a modern house. My dad’s always saying it’s so much easier to deal with. But no, it’s gotta be old. It’s gotta have some history and story to it.
Do you have the same feelings about clothes? Where you prefer a vintage piece to a new piece?
I’m quite the opposite. I love looking at vintage clothes and I respect them, but I can’t really wear them. They’re a bit smelly and I don’t like old fabrics—they’re a bit scratchy.
You entertain often—what’s one thing you always do before you have guest over? One thing to your home and one thing to your outfit.
Stock up on alcohol because I am English and no one’s driving (ha!). I think scent and lighting are the two things people immediately notice, so you need the perfect seasonal candle and intimate lighting.
To my outfit, at the last minute I put on fabulous heels and then they only last about an hour or two!