Interview with Kelly Edwards Author of Design Cookbook

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Kelly Edwards. She is the co-host and design coordinator of HGTV’s “Design on a Dime” as well as STYLE network’s “Tacky House”. Next month Kelly’s book, Design Cookbook: Recipes for a Stylish Home will be in bookstores and we have  your first exclusive look! Check out my interview with Kelly after the jump –

Erin Martin Nicole Cohen

Jada: First off, not really a question, but a shout out because you are from Chicago too and that is always exciting!

Kelly: So great to meet you and so excite to hear your from Chicago.  Love the city.  I’d move back in a second if I wasn’t doing the whole TV thing!

Jada: So how did you come up with the cookbook approach for a design book? It’s so different, but makes total sense!

Kelly: It was actually my dad that came up with the idea.  I told him I was wanting to write a design book and he said, “Why don’t you make one that looks like a cookbook?”  I thought, ” that’s ingenious!”  Truth is… people love cookbooks even if they can’t cook.  It’s such a great approach to design.  If you give someone a photo, a recipe and a list of ingredients it makes it so much easier to complete a room!

Jada: Okay, here’s a design scenario: I want to spruce up my living room in 2013 for less than $200, what should I invest in to really make my home special?

Kelly: An amazing rug, lighting and some great pillows.  An inexpensive sofa can be dressed up with great pillows.  Texture is everything.   Velvet pillows will make any sofa look and feel more expensive. Lighting is the most important thing in any design as well.  The better the lighting, the better the room will look. You MUST invest in great lighting.

Jada: Anyone who’s seen you on television knows you’re amazing at repurposing. How do you approach turning something most people see as trash into some great treasure?

Kelly: Yes, this is definitely my favorite thing to do.  If something has great bones, then it will look even better with a fresh coat of paint on it.  A can of spray paint is every repurposer’s best friend.   I always look at the integrity of the piece first.  If it has character, it will look good in any color.

Jada: We are super stoked for entertaining this summer. What are some of your foolproof design tips for our readers to create an amazing space for their guests?

Kelly: Make it comfortable.  Guests love feeling comfortable in a space.

1. Have great lighting.  Lighting creates and sets the mood.  I like to make sure everything is on a dimmer and there are plenty of candles floating around.

2.  There is ample seating and it looks and feels comfortable.  For instance, all of the chairs in my dining room have a faux sheepskin throw over them.

3. For years the big thing is the indoor/outdoor entertaining. I keep my decor flowing from indoors to outdoor to give my guests the chance to mingle in and out.  I like the open space.

4.  Music can make or break your party.  Consider your guests taste when doing your playlist.  My personal favorite [is] having all our guests pick an album from our collection.  We love to play albums at the end of the night.

5.  Make a self-service bar complete with your best glassware and nice fresh flowers.  Let your guests know to help themselves.  It eases the pressure off the host from having to keep refilling glasses all night.

Jada: What are the 5 things you are most excited about for 2013?

Kelly: 1. Traveling.  I have the travel bug this year!  I want to go everywhere and anywhere!

2. The book.  My first book is out in May.  Couldn’t be happier!

3. Getting married.  We are working out the details now.  Wish me luck!

4.  Starting a business with my friend Jen Porter from Chic Living LA.

5.  Learning to cook more vegan and vegetarian dishes.  I’m kind of obsessed with it right now.  Oh, and to make my own Chicago hot Giardiniera.  I want to jar it and sell it I love it so much!  You can’t find it here in LA.

Best wishes to Kelly on her book launch and upcoming wedding! Make sure to check out the look book for Design Cookbook before it hits stores. If you’re feeling lucky, enter to win a free copy at Goodreads.