We were over the moon when Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley agreed to interview with us since it’s no secret that she was our gateway into the blogging world. When we first learned about her site, we were true addicts. That’s not to say we no longer visit regularly (in fact, we’re all devoted email subscribers); we’ve just toned it down a bit so our days can be productive again! We love Coco+Kelley because Cassandra, who is first and foremost an interior designer, never fails to bring us meaningful content (yes, and plenty of pretty pictures, too). Always ahead of the trend, she has a knack for taking a timeless approach that makes the “new” relative and palatable. Read our interview then head on over to Coco+Kelley and you’ll see what we mean.
1. What’s the meaning behind Coco + Kelley, the name of your interior design/event planning business and (of course!) your blog?
Coco+Kelley really evolved from a few different places - the most important being two very influential and inspirational women. The fabulous Coco Chanel, and my good friend and mentor, Kelley Moore. The name really stuck because, for me personally, it represents the worlds of fashion, interiors, and entertaining, which is what coco+kelley is all about. I also wanted to sneak in my signature favorite color - kelly green - so the name was sheer perfection!
2. You’ve been a go-to resource for interiors, lifestyle, fashion and more for quite a while. When did you decide to go “virtual” and what inspired you to do so?
In 2007, a good friend of mine kept sending me links to these things called "blogs." I didn't know what they were or understand how they were used. I saw blogging as a way to catalogue my favorite things in a much more searchable way than my bursting file folders full of tear sheets, so I jumped into it. Coming from a marketing background and being a designer I instinctively wanted to build myself a space that was nice to visit and easy to read, so I suppose that set me up for a little more success than I expected. I also knew that I wanted to move in the direction of having my own interior design business, and I felt like blogging would motivate me to immerse myself more in that world. Little did I know! Best move I ever made.
3. What is your current obsession?
I don't even know where to start answering that question! I have so many little obsessions. I think one 'trend' that I'm most picking up on and loving right now is this return to ladylike fashion. A much more refined taste in the home and the wardrobe. Beautiful detailing, classic shapes, and things that make a woman feel good about being a woman... sexy but not flashy. It's fabulous.
4. Favorite book?
There are a few books that were fairly influential to me back in the day. I remember being so drawn to the imagery and era of The Great Gatsby the first time I read it in high school. I also always loved reading Little Women growing up - Jo was such a wonderful character. Strong and stubborn, proud and determined, but the way the book allowed us in to see the softer sides of her character made her so relatable. She was definitely a role model for me - albeit a fictitious one!
5. Who is your design (in the broadest sense) hero?
I suppose it's the designers who are so ahead of their time that it can literally takes decades before their genius is truly appreciated that I love most. Obviously Coco Chanel would be included in there, but others like Dorothy Draper or even David Hicks also come to mind.
6. What’s your guilty pleasure?
My obsession with pillows should probably be listed as one of them. I think they're the easiest way to switch up the mood of a room, and because of that I always seem to justify purchasing just one more... I'll also say dark chocolate and anything sparkly could fall into that category as well.
7. We love your color trend posts and Rooms from the Runway. What kind of palettes are you predicting for fall in both fashion and interior design?
I think there's this return to retro that's happening right now in colors, but in the best possible way. I've been loving caramel and bronze based tones for a while, and I think in interiors we've already seen that starting to take shape in the mainstream acceptance of brass materials back into the home. In fashion, it's the camel coat. In both worlds, purple hues have also stayed hot. We saw the rise of amethyst and lilac a while ago, but now we're heading more into deep plums and really rich saturated fuchsias too. Combining these colors with mustards, teals and olives is what's bringing about this really retro influence. Personally for my interiors right now I've been really drawn to citron and in the wardrobe, a classic saturated red.
Finally, we asked Cassandra to choose some of her favorite SOM pieces to dress the room below. These are her picks!