This June, I took a few moments with Giana Shorthouse - interior designer and our latest MH Muse - to visit her new home, chat and snap some pics of her in a couple of my new pieces. I worked with Giana for the first time as a prop stylist in 2015 and I've loved watching her body of work expand and evolve. Her bungalow has a charm and a warm atmosphere where you see her personal touch come through with a very casual nature. You know the kind of casual I'm talking about: the thrown together look that seems to land perfectly and effortlessly. She works in a minimal yet soft palette of neutrals. And art is peppered throughout with pieces by local women artists like Jordan Wright Patterson and Alisa Barry. It's easy to see why she is a natural source of inspiration for me. So, let's jump into my conversation with her!
MH: Congrats on your lovely new home! How does it feel to be a home owner?!
GS: Thank you! It was such a natural decision to make. The upsides to homeownership for me personally are that it's my own personal investment into my future. That's super important to me, especially as a self-employed business owner. It's not easy buying a home when you work for yourself and I didn't grow up in the most stable environments, so having a place to call 'Mine' was a very important step for me to take. I love the quiet of my home, the simple, but old charm. The downsides for me are that home life versus my previous condo/loft life leaves me a bit more isolated and not as surrounded by people and the energy of my old community. I do miss it. Also, having a yard and constant small updates to make has been overwhelming at times, but overall I'm pretty pleased.
MH: You’re a residential interior designer and you began as a prop stylist - can you tell us a bit about your path?
GS: Yes. My career began right out of school as an interior design intern for a residential design studio and over my time working there I held several roles. After working for the company for a year, I transitioned to supporting the company in its marketing efforts and learned about prop styling while working with photographers to capture the projects that the company produced. After discovering prop styling, I decided to pursue it as a freelancer and eventually grew my clientele to the point where I had to make the decision to step away from my full-time job and pursue stying full time. Over the years as a prop stylist, I have worked with a number of design magazines, residential and commercial product brands, and on big advertising campaigns. I now have combined both careers and continue to offer both styling and design services to my clients and am working on a rebrand where I will tailor everything under my brand specifically to interior design and the home product industry. I'm looking forward to taking my career to the next step!
MH: Where do you look for inspiration? Favorite places, landscapes, cities, fashion designers, artists, time periods etc?
GS: Most of my inspiration comes from both travel and design in other countries. I love looking at what designers in coastal places like Australia and New Zealand are doing as well as California, the American desert and even Scandinavia and Japan. I try to not lean too boho, but I am often inspired by textures and colors that remind me of indigenous cultures and am also appreciative of minimal, simplistic living.
MH: You are currently underway with rebranding your design business - what spurred that on for you?
GS: For years I've been balancing two careers that have a common thread but feel very different in the outcome. As I've grown and involved in my career I found wanting my vision to be stronger in both my interiors and styling work. I decided to rebrand as an opportunity to bring both careers together and to tailor my work to more of the design and product industry with the intention of having more of a concrete stamp in the design world and less in the commercial and advertising world. I think it just makes sense for me and my vision for what I've always wanted my career to look like. I want to design spaces just as much as I want to help product companies and other designers create beautiful images for their brands. I hope to eventually expand further into my own retail space, but I think that'll be further down the line. The new brand will have more earthy tones and hopefully read a little more mature.
MH: Do you think your taste and style in clothing is the same as your taste in interiors? How do you see the connection between one’s home/interior/furnishings style and their clothing/accessories/shoes style?
GS: I absolutely do think there's a correlation. My taste and style in clothing is also very simple, clean, with minimal texture. I don't like a lot of layers and like to feel ease and comfort in what I wear. I don't like to take myself too seriously in my clothes and I think that translates in my personal space as well. I do tend to see that with other people as well. I think the colors you're attracted to and the style that best represents you is usually visible in most people's wardrobe. I don't think that means that your space should be a literal translation of your clothing, but perhaps can be used as a tool to understand what types of colors & textures you like and help identify what types of spaces you feel and look the best in.
MH: I thought it was so cool to hear that you’re in to miniatures as a hobby. How’d you get into that?
GS: HAHA oh gosh! It's somewhat embarrassing and started out as a joke between my friends and me. I just love following miniature accounts on Instagram and get so enamored by the detail and incredible talent it takes to make miniatures look really cool. For example, a fellow SCAD Interior Design graduate turned product designer Eny Lee Parker highlights some cool artists on her website who create really cool miniature environments with clay and I'm absolutely obsessed! https://www.
In this story Giana wears the CBK slip in chocolate silk, and the Cam dress in cream lace. Follow her on Instagram at @gianashorthouse_studio check out her website and keep an eye out for her new brand in late summer/early fall of 2021!