Interior designer Lizzie McGraw’s style is relaxed, a little bit beachy, and a little bit modern. Her signature look is thoughtful and gives a feeling of perfection without looking like anyone broke a sweat to create it.
Someone, of course, probably did. Good design doesn’t come easy, which McGraw knows better than anyone. Her home was on Los Angeles’s popular Abbot Kinney Boulevard before it was one of the hottest design strips in California.
It’s now her design shop, Tumbleweed & Dandelion, and after two decades in the business, McGraw has published her first book. Creative Style: Livable, Loveable Spaces is filled with her favorite textiles, furniture, and accessories.
The book also provides tours of 12 of her most inspiring interior projects, including her own 1920s cottage in Southern California. When she moved in, the building was neglected and rundown, but McGraw used flea market finds, upcycled vintage pieces, and a whole lot of creativity to build an airy space that’s filled with character.
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I connected with McGraw to learn more about how she makes her home and shop warm and welcoming, and for some tips on how we can borrow her relaxed approach in our own homes over the holidays.
What advice would you give readers to get your look in their own home?
“I always tell clients to edit out anything in their home that’s not useful. I believe in beautiful things, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.”
What are some easy, quick tips for those of us who might feel overwhelmed by getting the house ready for holiday guests?
“When getting the house ready for guests, my mantra is ‘keep it simple.’ Serve food that’s delicious, but easy to prepare. During the holidays, most guests prefer light fare anyway!”
Along similar lines, what are one or two of the most impactful things you can do that will create a festive mood in your home?
“I rely on fresh greens for their great holiday scent and easy ambiance. They always create a festive mood. Whether in a vase or hung by twine on a door, it always sets the tone. I also like to have a gentle but lovely candle burning. The Fraiser Fir candle we sell at Tumbleweed & Dandelion always sells out so fast at holiday time.”
How do you decorate for the holidays at your home?
“Our home is simple, organic, and functional. Fall is a big season in our world, so our at-home vibe is filled with aromatherapy and fresh greens. It’s the most calming and beautiful way to enjoy our home without stress.”
How do you decorate the shop?
“We like to offer handmade goods and vintage ornaments during fall and at the same time, we don’t rush it. That said, we have baskets of ornaments surrounded by dough bowls with pumpkins. Our seasonal candle scents that we make sit out for easy picking, and our music always sets a tone!”
Is there a color palette you typically stick to or does it change year to year?
“We are always open to change, so yes. We have a consistent neutral vibe, but this fall we have fun napkins in fall pastels for Thanksgiving, and we are feeling a bit of pink instead of red!”
What are your favorite Christmas items that you sell in the shop?
“Hands-down, our candles. We make them ourselves, so every year we add a few different scents. This year orange clove is taking the stage!”
What non-traditional Christmas decor items do you go back to year after year?
“We are more holiday/family rather than Christmas, so we like to fill baskets with pinecones that we gather on our trips! Sometimes we spray them, or just leave them in their beautiful natural state.”
Do you go for real or artificial greenery? Are you a one-tree family, or do you like to have multiple trees in the house?
“We are a ‘replant trees’ people. We always buy a few potted trees and replant them after the season.”
Do you entertain a lot during the holidays? How do you set a holiday table to make a party festive?
“My husband is a chef, so cooking is fun here. He creates the meal and I set the table and create the ambiance. I love beautiful table settings, so we play with napkins tied with twine and rosemary.
“If I have the time, we will wrap a baguette for each guest, or send them off with some of Jonathan’s homemade toffee. We always make time to hang with our team and our friends.”