Media, Darling: Tara Ballantyne

Tara Ballantyne joined Style at Home last February as its resident style and food editor. Tara began her
styling career in Norway and worked for publications like Norwegian ELLE and
French ELLE along with various other European publications. She has had
numerous television appearances on the Marilyn Denis Show, Breakfast Television
and CityLine.



photo credit: Transcontinental Media 

Did
you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
horizon? 
There are so many things you can do in a
lifetime, and I’m guilty of wanting to do anything to satisfy my creativity. My
schooling is in interior design and I worked in architecture for three years
before I switched to magazines. It was the best decision I have ever made and I
love what I get to do and how creative I can be each day at Style at Home.
Where
would you like to be five years from now?
In a studio with a totally inspired
photographer, great light, lots of beautiful food, great models and a hundred
baby bunnies shooting some wild Tim Walker-inspired images.
Any
advice for people getting started in your industry?
Don’t be afraid to sweep floors, pour endless
amounts of coffee, or even pick up someone else’s dry cleaning (seriously I had
to do this once). I’ve had to learn countless coffee orders by heart and had
design proposals ripped up right in front of my face. It can be a long road of
being humble, but you watch and learn and in the end, it’s completely worth it.
What
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Having spent so much time in Norway, I really
developed an affection for swedish RUM magazine, ELLE Norway and Sweden, and I
love emmas designblogg –
design and style from a scandinavian perspective
. I also adore Canadian blog Bijou and Boheme, and spend entirely too much time selecting fashion
ensembles from the The
Sartorialist
, that my husband and I
should definitely purchase. Fortunately, he is a kind and patient person who
politely nods and says “uh huh” while I involuntarily involve him
in selecting my favourite looks to wear on a vespa, and for braving the
cobblestone streets. 
Best
interview you’ve ever had?
My interview for ELLE Norwegian… it ended up
landing me my first cover, and I was so insanely excited to be part of the
magazine in another country – it was pretty amazing. There is always something
very special about your first.
Worst?
I’ve been super lucky so far, in that I’ve only ever had great interviews. Fingers crossed this continues!
Best
advice you’ve ever been given?
Avoid horizontal stripes and don’t eat a full
meal before you go swimming.
What
rule(s) do you live your life by?
If you truly love something, it’s worth
fighting for. And edit to clarity – fashion, interiors, your words…
What’s
the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Open and honest communication I guess. I’ve
worked with great PR people and I’ve always appreciated when they tell me what
I need to hear, not necessarily what I want to hear. Also I am always super
impressed when they remember names!
Best
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Being convinced that the $250 sweater I
bought for a television appearance was not a bad decision and in fact a
worthwhile investment piece for my wardrobe. Cashmere really is timeless, lol.
I
hate?
Subway delays.
I
love?
Butter tarts, and the way Instagram always
makes you instantly look amazing.
Reading?
International design books (magazines); I
love seeing what’s going on in other countries and get a lot of inspiration
from that. Right now I am also re-reading Rebecca for the second time, and am
guilty of choosing my knitting project over my half-finished copy of Infidel
Best
place on earth?
Any place where I’m surrounded by family and
friends, a great glass of wine, and good food and conversation.
Dinner
guest?
Brother and sister, Sibella Court
and Chris Court. I am so astounded with the creativity that they both exhibit
in the work they do with styling, development and photography. 
Hero?
Coco Chanel. 
Favourite
app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Instagram, and that
new Christmas app that helps you with shopping and wrapping.
Pool
or ocean?
Definitely Ocean.
Voicemail
or email?
Definitely email.

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Photo Friday: Frump-less Floral

Floral need not mean frumpy, à la grandma’s plastic-covered
couch. In fact, it has been one of the spring’s hottest runaway trends. Enjoy in today’s Photo Friday.

Fashion-able: Andrea Ford transforms baby to big girl

Mila’s big girl room – part one 

This is Andrea Ford’s first visit to the fourth floor. She’s here to share an exciting project: the transformation of a nursery to a stylish ‘big girl’ room for Debra’s daughter Mila. 

 Andrea Ford is the founder and owner of RE:Style Studio in Toronto. The first of its kind in the city, RE:Style Studio is an interior design studio, workshop and event space for décor seminars, one-on-one upholstery classes and DIY parties.


Ford is an interiors stylist and designer whose work has appeared in magazines such as Style at Home, House & Home, Canadian Family and Toronto Life and as the former Home Editor of Chatelaine and as a regular guest designer on CBC’s Steven & Chris. Visit the RE:Style Studio website here and follow her on Twitter here.

 

I was so excited when Debra asked me to take on creating a big girl room for her daughter, Mila. I’m on a roll with kids’ rooms these days and have been going straight from toddler to teen since November. 
The biggest ask has been for sophistication; none of that animated stuff, which shouldn’t be a surprise, since my clients are all pretty stacked in the style category themselves. We had a blank slate, turning a spare room into the next space for her to grow into. This is what we were working with:
  The room ‘before’. Boring.

My approach to design starts with a checklist. There are so many beautiful things out there in décor and design that the possibilities are endless and can be distracting. So – especially when it comes to kids’ spaces – function has to come first.
The big priority for Mila’s room was attractive storage solutions and a built-in look. Her toys may explode some days, but they need to have a place to hide away too. I found these Ikea units that allowed me to build in a toy box and little mini desk (later, it can become a bench or more storage) for a custom look.

I wanted to create an unpretty aesthetic – this kid is funky and frills just won’t do. Mixed prints and patterns in graphics, and a touch of floral, creates interest without the usual saccharine cutesy-ness. 
Bikes wallpaper by Rollout.

To make the prints work, we’ll minimize stark contrast to keep things calm – warm pinkish-beige to cuddle the walls (‘Pink Pebble‘ by Benjamin Moore), while bold wallpaper (so well-suited to the art throughout the house) accents one wall.
For the walls, we chose Etsy art that’s just a little unexpected, like a pop art monkey monarch and a non-cuckoo clock, will help Mila learn to tell time. Both add that element of playfulness, perfect for a little big girl.



Next time, see our progress as the pieces start to come together!