Podcast, Ep. 118: designer Madeline Stuart

Interior designer from Los Angeles Madeline Stuart


Celebrated Los Angeles Designer Madeline Stuart joins the show today. Madeline talks about her new book, No Place Like Home and a more inside look at some of the articles and photographs featured in the book. She also talks with us about the research that goes into a new project, her passion for both design and architecture, reinventing the wheel with each home, her love of vintage lighting, and the design elements she goes back to time and time again.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • The design process behind her Madeline’s new book, No Place Like Home, and why it’s a great read along with the beautiful photos.
  • Madeline’s passion for incorporating difference influences to create a cohesive story in each home.
  • Madeline’s collaborative process (sometimes!) when working with a client, in order to get them to feel that they have the space to really express their design desires.
  • Why Madeline loves some good vintage lighting, and some impressive lighting stats on a few of the larger homes she has worked with.
  • How Madeline also draws much of her design inspiration from the architecture and general form of the house to create a space that fits together.
  • Even in the fanciest homes, furniture should be something that guests can sit, relax, and feel comfortable in.
  • Examples of moments where Madeline scaled back the accessories and objects for a photoshoot, rather than try to stuff it with decor.
  • What Madeline refers to as the “mosh pit approach” to decorating.
  • What to do when your house style doesn’t match your decorating style. 
  • The wide range of Madeline’s projects including Hispano Moresque in La Jolla, Streamline Moderne in Los Angeles, and Spanish Revival in Santa Monica.

Decorating Dilemma


I love your podcast! I listen almost daily, trying to catch up to the current episodes. 🙂

Question: What to do if your house style doesn’t match your decorating style? I’ve heard many times that we should pay attention to the architecture of the home when choosing furnishings. But to be honest, I hate my home. I live in Phoenix, where almost all of the houses are tan, stucco, builder/tract homes with a garage on the front facade and zero personality. That’s what I live in. If I could choose a different home, it would be something charming from the 1920’s (but those are few and far-between here). The traditional furnishings that I love would look great in a 1920’s house, but they don’t look right in my “modern” tract home. And I personally don’t like a modern Southwest style in decorating. What to do?

Helena Phoenix
Arizona suburbs


Madeline recommends hiring a professional, who you can work with on layout, proportion, scale and much more. Also, find examples of spaces that have a neutral background, and you can begin to get ideas on using items such as textured rugs and vintage finds to add value to a bland space. Just because you may not like the outside doesn’t mean you can’t create an inside that totally fits your style!

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    August 14, 2020

    Found your podcast recently and am hopping around listening to past episodes. I think Madeline Stuart is my favorite so far!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      August 18, 2020

      Isn’t she incredible? So glad you enjoyed this episode!
      Happy Decorating!

  2. Reply

    Christina Chesson

    January 30, 2020

    I love your podcast and your guests are lovely. I do think that your listeners are not in the same deomographic as your design guests and their clients. Most people shopping at BD (like me) are not designing a house around our original art collection and I think most of the people who are designing their homes around their original art collections are not listening to designing podcasts. I absolutely love your “triumphs and tribulations” because they make me feel like we are all in the same boat and we can meet the challenge…and succeed! I actually think most of the BD customers and podcast listeners would love to hear from design bloggers as well as your interior design guests…a kind of high/low for inspiration as well as grounding. 🙂

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      February 19, 2020


      Thank you so much for listening and for taking the time to write a comment with your feedback. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’m certainly not working with priceless art pieces in my own home! We definitely try to get a variety of designers who work with all different budgets, so I’ll keep this in mind when looking for new guests.

      With that said, I’ve learned the most and gotten some of the best tips from designers who work on multi-million dollar projects — Bunny Williams, Tom Scheerer, Timothy Corrigan, and Madeline Stuart all have amazing insight into how to think about your home regardless of what price point you’re shopping in. Take her client with the incredible art collection. Most of us won’t be decorating with that same level of artwork, but we can still apply the principal to our houses. For me, the takeaway was that we don’t necessarily have to ‘match’ our artwork to our room. It’s ok to move things around and think more fluidly about your wall decor versus planning the art down to the perfect coordinating color palette that goes with your drapery fabric.

      We have some fun things planned — both more practical tip shows and up and coming guests who I think you’ll enjoy. Stay tuned!