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I’m so pleased (and over-the-moon excited!) that Caroline Scheeler, the buyer and creative director of Jayson Home & Garden, was gracious enough to sit down for an interview with me last week. Caroline has an amazing and unique sense of style + design. Her home has been featured in both Country Living and CS Interiors-- I’m sure you’ve seen the photos (they went viral!). Under her leadership, Jayson Home & Garden has developed a cult following, and if she has anything to do with it, will be expanding to the great cities of NYC and LA in the next few years. Before you read the interview, be sure to click here to take a quick tour of the store. Once you see it, you'll know what the fuss is all about!

Have you always been interested in design? When did you know that you wanted to enter the field?

Caroline: I have to acknowledge the home that I grew up in. My dad was an architect, and my mom was (and is) extremely creative. My mom brought beauty to everything. Every package she wrapped, every meal she cooked was so beautiful. Her style was very gypsy-eqsue. She liked to collect antiques and was into ethnic, more global things. My dad’s sort of sensibility was very modern. He was an architect at the height of Chicago modernism. The combination of me being exposed to my dad’s work, that really clean and iconic design, and my mom’s gypsy/bohemian style, had a huge influence on my sense of design.

I read that you’ve been working at Jayson Home & Garden for almost seventeen years. How did you get your start at the store?

When I started here, I was pretty much finishing my degree, well, my second undergraduate degree, at The Art Institute [of Chicago]. I was a semester away from graduating, so I was looking for jobs and I found one as an assistant buyer at Jayson Home & Garden. The job involved traveling to New York City a couple times a year and I was like, “I’m in.” I mean, I had no experience buying but I had a ton of retail experience. You can probably name a store and I’ve worked there.. I’ve worked at J.Crew, Nordstrom, just to name a few. I learned a lot of different skills while retailing. Nordstrom was a great experience because I learned so much about customer service, and that is really important to us at Jayson Home & Garden. When I got this job, I decided that I really didn’t want to be an interior architect after all! And I’ve been here ever since. When I first started working, I was opening boxes and working on the floor and doing visual merchandising. Seventeen years ago, the store was nothing like it is now. Then, it was a tiny little store across the street. Slowly, over time, people left, things changed, and Jay (the owner) had a lot of faith in me and my vision. Basically, he let me create the store of my dreams.

Is this what you imagined yourself to be doing?

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to play for sure was store and decorating/design. I mean, I’m very lucky. It’s the perfect job for me. You can’t necessarily go to school for this. You can go to school for buying and merchandising and business and art, but it just sort of happened for me. I’m very obsessive and passionate about my job.. I just really love what I do! I’m very, very lucky.

It seems like much of the design world is centered around New York and Los Angeles. Can I ask why you chose to stay in Chicago?

I’m hoping that we do open in New York and Los Angeles. As a kid, I always thought I would get out of Chicago. But the more I got out, the more I realized how much I love this city. As long as I can still travel to Europe and New York and Los Angeles, It’s a great place to live. Chicago has a really interesting and sound sense of design. One of our strengths is that we’re not super trendy, but we’re aware of what is happening in the world as far as music and trends go. Being Midwestern and being from Chicago, it’s less about being a fashionista and more about being genuine while still knowing what's current.

What is your favorite part about your job?

I love that I get to go around the world collecting unique items for the store that our customers then take into their homes and really cherish. That is gratifying for me. Also, I am an obsessive shopper. After a long day of antiquing while on buying expeditions for the store, we’ll shop for ourselves. It’s so fun.

(the picturesque l’isle sur la Sorgue)

Can you reveal your favorite destination for antiquing?

France. It really is amazing. Paris is its own thing, and then you go down to Provence and it’s really special. The l’isle sur la Sorgue market in Provence is increadible. The town looks like a movie set. There are the most beautiful antiques; there are also olives and breads and people sitting around drinking wine in the afternoon. And there is this little river going through.. It’s just everything that you could imagine and more.

Are you inspired by the work of any modern interior designers?

Honestly...I would have to say that I'm way more inspired by set design in film and even some t.v. (mad men), and in real living environments that have never been touched by an interior designer. To me, the most interesting spaces are those that are curated and collected and culled by the people who inhabit the space. I definitely have a deep affinity with English and French country home aesthetic. The best designers create spaces, I think, that look like they weren't "designed". So, I am deeply inspired by interiors that I have come upon or recall from my life and my travels. Such as cottages in New England, Irish Country Manor homes, Tuscan villas, Paris hotels, New York bars and apartments, Indian villages and palaces, Midwestern farmhouses.. I've been really fortunate to have been exposed to so many really rich and varied interior spaces. And, I'm a sponge. Not much escapes me—it’s a blessing and a curse!

(photo by Sally Mann)

Could you name a few of your favorite artists?

Sally Mann, Richard Avedon, Yoshitomo Nara, Rothko, Warhol, Dutch Masters, Elizabeth Peyton, Luc Tuymans, Julian Schnabel, Pipilotti Rist, Maya Deren, Eugene Atget, Edward Weston.. this is impossible!! There are too many to list. In the last year or so, I've been studying a lot of Portraiture from early oil paintings to modern photography. I'm starting a portrait project, and I hope to be able to put a book together in the near future. It's my pet-passion-obsession project! I started out thinking I wanted to be a screenwriter, and as that became unrealistically daunting it evolved into the portrait project.
Music is a huge part of my life. I couldn't possibly begin to tell you which music inspires me as it drastically shifts from day to day. For example, today I've listened to Fugazi, Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Bach, The Stooges, Patsy Cline, The Black Keys, Broken Social Scene, Jimmy Cliff and some random Indian folk music.. you get the picture. Someone needs to invent a new "non cliche" word for eclectic! With a dash of crazy!

What do you see in the future for Jayson Home & Garden?

My dream project is that we open a store in New York. That would be awesome. I think we’re going to. We have a pretty strong clientele there right now, and I’m so up to the challenge of really meeting the needs of that market. I think it would be really fun. And then LA, too. They are very different markets, but I eventually I'd like to expand in those cities.

(Caroline's home, as featured in CS Interiors)

Do you have any decorating advice that you'd like to share?

Yes. The best kind of job that you can have is doing what you love, no matter what it is. It’s the same thing with your home. When your home looks like someone else's, you're trying too hard. The best way of decorating is genuine and happens over time. You should collecting things that speak to you and make you happy, whether it’s something that you would see in a design magazine or not. Inevitably, your personality will shine through, and that’s what you want. And what feels the best over time. The worst thing you could do would be trying to decorate all at once. I think that is part of the success of our store. It’s about collecting, that thrill of the hunt. You’re really never done.


sailing + lake michigan

It has been SO HOT in Chicago lately.  And tomorrow it’s supposed to be a sweltering eighty-seven degrees (again!). Lake Michigan has been looking pretty good these days. Now that I live near a large body of water (a first for this Kansas City girl), I really wish I knew how to sail. Of course, it might have something to do with how good Jack + Jackie make it look, too.. I’m considering taking lessons this summer—do any of you Chicagoans have recommendations as far as instructors go? 


jenna lyons: office chic

I know the blogging world is a little fried on Jenna Lyons right now, but these photos of her office are too cool not to post (although I can’t imagine that one of you stylish ladies missed out on posting about this story last year when it was published). I love the reasoning behind her unusual desk choice. Jenna Says, “They had it displayed and I sat down and my husband took a picture of me while I was sitting at the desk and I looked at it and I was like 'I look great!' The pink was reflecting on my face and I said, 'I'll take it!' How funny is that? I’m particularly interested in office decoration these days (today was my first day of work!). Do you think they’d mind if I started a crazy inspiration board above my desk à la Ms. Lyons?


carey mulligan at cannes

Carey Mulligan is fast becoming a style icon. She’s been touted as “the next Audrey Hepburn,” and for good reason! Did anyone else see the photos of her last week at Cannes? She is freaking adorable! I’m totally in love with her blonde pixie and sweet meets classic/iconic style. I have a good feeling about her-- could she possibly be in the running for America’s next sweetheart? I hope so.. I’m over these “bad girl” actresses. Bring back the girl next door!


the secret to breaking in new flats!

Everyone! This is huge. The wonderful people of Macau trực tuyến BaccaratLori’s Shoes in Chicago have filled me in on the secret to breaking in flats-- Hue’s perfectly bare massage liner. I bought these great nude patent flats at the shoe boutique last week but could not wear them for more one block without beginning to limp (the back of the flats dug into my Achilles tendon). That is, until I bought a pair of these puppies. It was like magic! The liner protected my foot from blisters and now I feel like I can walk for miles. I just had to share my new find! Try them-- trust. You will be amazed.