“I’m about the cozy life,” says home goods designer Heather Taylor, whose family lives in a one-story home in Laurel Canyon. Her daughters, Scarlett and Marigold, make forts with a million pillows. Her husband Alex plays classical music “to the point where it’s oppressive,” Heather laughs, and she herself loves Scottish podcasts and needlepointing. Take a peek inside this bustling family home, with photos by Nicki Sebastian…
Sofa: RH, upholstered with Heather Taylor Home gingham nutmeg fabric, similar sofa designed by Heather for West Elm. Cushions: Heather Taylor Home. Flowers: Urban Stems. Art above mantle: Kyle Fields. Sconces: Y Lighting. Floor lamp: West Elm. Chair by fireplace: Heather Taylor Home for West Elm. Other chair: RH. Coffee table: Nickey Kehoe, similar.
On a homey home: Our house’s one-story layout means that we’re always close. I love listening to the girls hum when they’re going to bed. Of course, there are times where I’m like omg I need space! I’ve been known to hide in my closet. I actually had a moment on Father’s Day: we have this playhouse with a toy kitchen in the backyard, and I thought, god, is there a universe in which I could squeeze into this playhouse with a book?
On friendly guidance: My friend Sarah Shetter is an interior designer, and she helped me with the design. I had an old Restoration Hardware sofa that I wanted to do something with, and she said, let’s cover it in your gingham nutmeg fabric. I wasn’t sure at first, but we loved how it turned out. People constantly ask about it. We just made one with West Elm!
On the cozy factor: Before we moved in, the house was a lawyer’s bachelor pad. It felt stark, so we wanted to make it softer. We added a mantle for Christmas stockings and designed built-in bookcases during quarantine. I like having photography books accessible and showing my daughters. Richard Avedon’s In the American West is our most treasured.
On nightly tablescapes: Before we eat dinner, the girls set the table. Marigold likes to pick napkin colors that match everyone’s name — gold for Marigold, red for Scarlett, I get purply pink like heather flowers. And my husband gets whatever! Then she adds placemats. It’s all mix and match; it’s so cute.
On family recipes: We’ll do very simple salmon, meatballs with broccoli, or Greek chicken. The girls like those dishes. Marigold will eat a pound of mussels, but now and again she’ll freak out about a quesadilla or pasta. Kids are so funny.
On easy entertaining: We sometimes invite a few families over for dinner outside. I try to anticipate what people will want, especially for drinks. At an arm’s reach, my brother-in-law can grab a Pellegrino, because he crushes a bunch every night. My friend Annie loves Coors Light, and I never bought them before but now I’m buying them all the time. My husband is always laughing because I keep stocking way up on her favorite drink. It’s all about making people feel welcome and thought of.
Heather’s dress: Dôen. Bench cushions: Heather Taylor Home. Black kid’s chair: Ikea. Nesting baskets: Bunny Williams. Floor tiles: Granada. Ivy plates and pottery: Lynn von Kersting for The Ivy. Tea towels: Heather Taylor Home. Flowers: Urban Stems.
On morning routines: This breakfast nook was here when we moved in, and we just reupholstered the cushions. It’s the place where, when the girls roll out of bed and my little one is still holding her blanket, they’ll come and plop down. The light is really good in the morning — I actually wake up first at 5:30 a.m. and I’ll sit and drink coffee and read and needlepoint and watch the Kardashians and FaceTime my early-riser sister. It’s my special time. No one asks me for anything.
On a crafting hobby: When I lived in New York years ago, I learned how to knit from an amazing woman who owned a yarn store. I joke that everyone moves to NYC in their twenties to learn how to knit! But that’s what I did. During the pandemic, my friend Amy also started a company with beginner needlepoint kits. She sent me some, and now I’m completely obsessed with needlepointing. It’s what Brené Brown talks about — creativity with a lower-case ‘c.’ I love that my kids see me making things just for fun. Scarlett needlepoints the kids’ versions, and it makes me so happy in this age of phone garbage!
On a business idea: After casually knitting for 10 years, I took a weaving class on a giant loom on Saturday mornings. It was incredibly grounding. During this time, I saw a hole in the market for cute linens — most were either stodgy or trendy — and I wanted something fresh. So, in 2013, I started Heather Taylor Home as a side hustle. Being able to weave textiles myself meant that I understood the language. Everything we do is handwoven on giant looms. Luckily, it quickly gained traction.
On entrepreneur life: It can be lonely but it helps to have people around you who are in similar positions and navigating similar issues and messing up and learning from their mistakes and you’re also messing up and learning. You’re not born knowing how to do everything, so seeking advice and hiring great people is really important.
On pillow salad: My husband Alex is like…kay…a lot of pillows on this bed… I’m like, yeah, it’s cozy! And the girls are passionate about making forts. The bench is the foundation, and they each make a little house against it and use pillows as doors.
On a lounge-y space: Our bedroom has a weird layout, and this space is right next to the bed area with no doors. When the girls are watching Shimmer and Shine, I’m very involved in that spacially, haha, but that’s okay. The couch – which Sarah had reupholstered with Lisa Fine fabric — makes me happy every single day. Everyone dives for the spot with the chaise, but IT’S MINE.
On wall colors: Our house feels airy to me with subtle differences; we used three white paints! Benjamin Moore’s Simply White is in the living area and kitchen. Then we painted our bedroom/den with Benjamin Moore’s Grandma’s China. The girls’ rooms are Farrow and Ball’s Dimity, which is heaven on earth. These girls love pink, and I wanted their rooms to feel fun for them, but also pleasing for me — and Dimity is the perfect neutral that vibes pink in the most subtle way.
On a bedtime routine: We listen to a magical children’s storytelling podcast — Journey with Story. A Scottish writer tells fairy tales in the most soothing way: ‘All right, children, what was the souvenir, the little nugget, the lesson?’ My husband also plays classical music for the kids. He LOVES it. I thought I liked it, but he has it on constantly. Alex will sometimes be in the car and be like, oh my god, I love this song. I’m like, how do you know this song from another song? Hahaha.
On childhood interests: The girls are obsessed with acting and singing. They take a theater class, and they just did a version of Into the Woods. They act it out in the back of our car, like my sister and I used to do with Les Mis.
On finding this home: We moved here five years ago, when Marigold was two months old. I remember the day: it was very hot, and I was a very emotional postpartum person. We were moving stuff and I kept stopping to feed her and it was intense. But what’s cool is that her whole life has been in this house. It very much feels like our family home.
Thank you so much, Heather! We love you.
(Photos by Nicki Sebastian for Cup of Jo.)