Podcast, Ep. 326: Flexibility and Finding Your Hero Fabric with Hayley English

Hayley English, Designer

Discover the world of interior design through the lens of Hayley English, a Pasadena-based designer known for her embrace of warm finishes and hand-block printing methods. With a keen eye for patterns, colors, and textures, Hayley crafts inviting spaces that beautifully blend English and French design influences. In this episode, she shares insights on comfortable yet beautiful living environments that maintain their allure while allowing for flexibility, making her approach both sophisticated and practical. She talks about how to find your hero fabric and why she calls paisley her “happy fabric”. Hayley also talks about the surprising aspects of designing in Pasadena, CA, and how to bring that historical element into a modern-day home.

Hayley English, Interior

What You’ll Hear This Episode:

  • Hayley is a third-generation designer and talks about the influence of having a mom and grandmother with a beautiful design eye.
  • The surprising element of designing in California, especially in Pasadena.
  • If you get stuck, remember that adding antiques and vintage first and then adding those newer pieces is the way to go.
  • Starting with a piece that has a story, such as an antique desk or a vintage side table, is the easiest way to start and then build from there.
  • Not overwhelming a space with too many strong pieces is also very important.
  • Hayley talks about her love of textiles, and what patterns she is digging right now.
  • Are the pattern considerations different when you’re thinking about a Roman blind?
  • Tips for choosing the right window treatments.
  • Your needs and wants will change quite frequently, so it’s important to design for flexibility.

Hayley English Interiors

Decorating Dilemma:

Hey ya’ll!

I recently found your podcast. My baby girl only naps on me right now so instead of numbing my mind with a show I became a certified interior decorator through IAP and will hopefully soon start working part time for an interior designer in our area!

My husband is building a big shop so the garage is going to be a decked out family room. We have a 6 month old. She is our first, so we need kid friendly for the next decade +. It also has to function as a place for guests to sleep because the next kiddo will take our guest bedroom, then poof, nowhere for people to stay. We are always hosting company, especially with all of my fam being out of state. I’ve attached pictures of our main area.

My dilemmas: I want big beautiful light fixtures where those ancient globes are but we live in SC and need airflow. I hate ceiling fans haha what do I do? The cinder blocks…just no. I don’t want to utilize or highlight them because our entire interior is industrial/cafe vibe, I love it it, but want something different. I love maximalism and follow all your guests in awe of their work, BUT that is not the image that keeps coming to my mind for this space. I want it to be functional, homey, not compete with the outdoors, but still be fun for the kids. Do I layer with textures on the walls, upholstery, furniture etc. instead of bold pattern? The stairs, do I restain them, paint them, any other ideas? We’ll end up doing a frosted glass door into the house.

I’ve attached images that I continue going back to for the natural forest feel and colors for this project. I keep picturing black iron and gold for the metals, gorgeous green colors (have to have it somehow green is our family color lol), some deep plum, dusty lavender, greige, pops of black & white pattern? and lots of wood with some rattan. I want to either stain or paint the concrete floor. I’m down to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls and add more crown molding. I don’t know, my brain is everywhere. There is also going to be tons of natural light in this space. Looking forward to learning more and hearing what advice you have for this space. All pictures attached in other emails.



Hi Jordan! First off, we love your creative ideas already, and we applaud your dedication to embarking on home projects – we know they are no small feat. Regarding your question about incorporating accordion doors, it’s a fantastic concept. Replacing the one large wall with accordion doors, even if they feature predominantly glass panels, could flood the area with natural light, transforming the atmosphere. Your inclination towards preserving the open feel of the space while maximizing sunlight is commendable.

Your thoughtfulness in creating a multifunctional space, rather than just a “man cave,” is excellent. Flexible furniture pieces, like a sleeper sofa or nesting tables, offer versatility for various occasions, be it family gatherings or cozy movie nights.

The suggestion of built-ins is spot on. Incorporating built-in storage along the TV wall not only maximizes utility but also adds a touch of sophistication. Additionally, echoing design elements and finishes from the main house into this space creates a cohesive and harmonious transition.

The idea of leaving the walls crisper for a light-filled ambiance is well-founded. As far as the stairs, a slight lightening of their hue could enhance the overall space.

Hayley agrees that investing in quality rugs and textiles is wise. Your instinct for natural materials like wood finishes and pops of burnt orange is fantastic and will indeed contribute warmth and character.

Lastly, the Crayola mess-free markers suggestion is a brilliant tip – maintaining a stylish space while accommodating little ones’ creativity is a win-win.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with, and remember to send us updates!

Also Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect "finishing touch" antique piece. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.