In one short year, Sharon Taylor converted a Springfield, Missouri neighborhood sidewalk shop in bad disrepair into Pickwick House, an incredible design studio-showroom-venue. Meeting with brides, hosting monthly workshops, and showcasing her stunning collection of vintage furnishings, pillows, candles, and lighting, Sharon turned Pickwick House into a wonderfully colorful hotbed of inspiration.
Whether it’s your wedding, your first house, or the design studio you always wanted to open, Taylor’s approach exemplifies how a small space can be transformed into something as big as a “dream come true.” Recently, Rue sat down with the ever-inspiring design maven to get the dish:
What inspired your love of design?
My mom was an artist and took us to lots of auctions/flea markets. I grew up watching her do all things beautiful in life. She and Dad had nine kids, not much money, and yet nothing stopped them from producing a beautiful, richly-colored life for us.
How did you get into the business?
Until I was at least eighteen, I had a non-stop obsession with decorating and redecorating a three-story dollhouse that I shared with my sisters. After college, marriage, and kids, I started selling refurbished antiques with a few girlfriends. I started getting asked by customers to come decorate their homes and throw parties and weddings. It gave me the confidence to venture out on my own and then, five years later, open my own store/studio.
Describe your styling and design aesthetic.
Modern and classic with a touch of whimsy.
When working with a particularly small space, what goes to the top of the list in terms of design approach?
When decorating a small space, lighting is first, then paint, then fabrics and furnishings. Finding a statement piece that accentuates – not overcrowds – the space.
From tabletop accessories to furniture, from color and lighting to wall space, how do you make a small space functional without sacrificing style?
Until my husband came along and told me I needed to throw the museum-like way of living out the window, I had too many precious, pretty things that served little function. He made me a believer of function and comfort. The “style” part has always been a fearless thing for me. Our house is very small. We’re forced to constantly weed out the little stuff that piles up. In order to give off an immediate air of style, we hung old chandeliers in every room of the house. If nothing else, always a chandelier. We also painted every room white to make it feel more open and spacious. As far as tableware, I keep it simple. We keep one vase of succulents on the kitchen table, a stack of linen tablecloths, a couple of brass candelabras for special occasions, a set of Crate & Barrel white place settings, mini juice glasses for little kids, and a set of glass tumblers. Our furnishings consist of a long dinner table, white slipcovered thrift chairs, kilim rugs, leather sofas, family photos, succulents, bookshelves, and antlers. We like to filter out old stuff and bring in new accessories like ikat and Lonie Mae pillows from the shop.
Can you give us 5 tips for a “Taylor-Made” Space?
1.) Buy the big pieces you know you can love for a long time. 2.) “All Natural” woven rugs are the only way. 3.) Dimmer-switches. 4.) Don’t get greedy for more and more stuff. It’ll put you on a perpetual cycle of restlessness. 5.) Expand into art, literature, and music. Let them be your inspiration for design.