Podcast, Ep. 221: designer Lilse McKenna

Designer Lilse McKenna How to Decorate Podcast

Photo: Victor Harshbarger. Designer Lilse McKenna

Our guest today is interior designer Lilse McKenna. Before starting her own firm, she worked with designers Markham Roberts and Lindsey Coral Harper and drew inspiration from their styles. She has since had her work featured in House Beautiful, The Wallstreet Journal, Real Simple, and more. Her signature style is rooted in tradition yet layered with colors, textures, and patterns. We talk about how she uses layers, where she searches for killer fabrics, her best budget buys, and more!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Why Lilse wants your interior to make you “think”.
  • How did Lilse get started?
  • What Lilse loves about fabrics. 
  • Tips for the pattern people and non-pattern people.
  • What are Lilse’s rules for sconces, wall art… and mattress heights?
  • Lilse’s thoughts on the “Grandmillennial” style.
  • Are vertical line patterns in wallpaper a new trend?
  • Where does Lilse like to save vs. splurge on items?

Decorating Dilemma

Hi ladies!

I recently discovered your podcast and am OBSESSED. I started at the beginning and am currently on episode 18, cataloging all kinds of great ideas for my new build, which is scheduled to be completed in July. Thank you for providing a fun escape from the stress of homebuilding, plus amazing ideas for home decor!

My dilemma is this: the new house has a full guest bath on the main level, toward the front of the house. The shower/tub WILL be used, so I need to install a curtain of some kind. However, I don’t want it to scream “bathroom!” 5/19/because it will be visible when someone walks down the foyer and into the rest of the house (see attached floor plan). I would like the bath overall to be fun and immersive yet elegant. I’ve attached a screen shot (hopefully you can see it well enough?) of my mood board, with my selections of tile, cabinet, lighting, and mirror. Yes, that’s a Ballard wallpaper. 🙂 What would you recommend to keep the shower and curtain from becoming the main focal point? Color? Fabric? Length? The ceilings are 10 feet, and there is a transom window above the shower.

Lastly, here are a few links to bathrooms with curtains that have vibes that could work for me:

I appreciate any pontificating you’d like to do on the subject.

Thank you!!

Melissa in North Carolina

Hi Melissa,

I like the Pinterest example you showed with the custom shower curtain that was especially long, hung close to the ceiling, and almost to the floor. You may have to custom make it, but I would get an ivory linen with a narrow contrast banding on all 4 sides that pulls from the colors of the wallpaper. This will make sort of a fabric wall and make it look less “bathroomy”. You could even have the shower curtain made with pinch pleats or grommets to make it look more like a curtain.

Good luck! We are very invested in your shower curtain so show us after photos!

Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Abbey Nolte

Abbey is a homegrown Georgia peach who loves a fresh take on Southern design. When she’s not working behind the scenes of the How to Decorate blog and podcast, you can find her cheering on the Appalachian State Mountaineers and spending time with her wheaten terrier, Charlie.