Having a well-dressed home courses through the veins of Southerners. Like our mamas and our grandmamas, we almost have a predisposition to take pride in our homes. We appreciate antiques as much as we do IKEA, we know the power of quality window treatments, and in our eyes, wallpaper isn’t coming back into style because frankly, it never went out. While we know these things, we’re not always blessed with the gift of that interior designer eye that is truly able to bring the WOW! factor to a room. Some of us need help. Thankfully, Jessica McRae and Kristen Yonson are answering our cries with their company, SwatchPop!. An online interior design service, SwatchPop! allows users to select from a series of “pops” for which they need advice. Need suggestions on lamps for your master bedroom? Select lighting. Looking for someone to style your built-ins? Choose shelf-styling. You’ll be paired with a designer based on your aesthetic and style. SwatchPop! is the answer to interior design prayers everywhere. Just how do Jessica and Kristen pull it off? We’re so glad you asked. Meet Jessica McRae and Kristen Yonson of SwatchPop!, today’s FACES of Atlanta.
Let’s start at the beginning. How do you two know each other, and how did you get started?
Kristen: Jessica and I were high school classmates who reconnected over a passion for interior design, but more importantly a need for services like SwatchPop!. Jessica came up with the idea, but when she approached me and presented it to me, I knew, wholeheartedly, that I was in. I knew we would make something of it because we saw the need as customers, and neither of us are set up to fail.
Jessica: We’re both people who enjoy decorating our own homes, but there were times we found ourselves stuck. We didn’t want to hire a designer since it can be expensive and time-consuming, and also because we didn’t want to give up control. Plus we didn’t want to makeover our entire room; we just needed a little help here and there. I started snapping photos on my phone and texting them to an interior designer friend of mine in Charleston. I’d ask her how I should accessorize my coffee table, or what I should put on the buffet in my dining room. Very quickly, she’d send me back her advice and links to products I should buy. I knew there had to be others like me who just wanted a little help here and there … people who would love the opportunity to work with a designer in a quick and easy format like this. Most of us aren’t starting from scratch and furnishing an entire room all at once. We’re updating, refreshing and making changes over time and as our budgets allow.
After using SwatchPop!’s services firsthand, I know just how awesome the entire experience can be. For those who haven’t yet tried it, can you give our readers a rundown of how it works?
Jessica: Sure! The SwatchPop! experience is simple. First, create a Style Profile telling us more about your style, lifestyle and budget. Next, start a project by choosing the room you want to work in and picking your “pops” (the areas where you need help) from an a la carte design menu. The first pop is $49.95 and each additional pop is just $29.95. Options include elements like furniture selection, wall decor, styling/accessories, rugs, window treatments and more. Complete your design brief by telling us more about your design goals and challenges, giving us any measurements we’ll need, and specify a budget. You can even give us the link to your Pinterest and Houzz boards!
That’s it! We’ll match you with one of our amazing designers who shares your style and in just 3-5 business days, you’ll get your personalized design plan, which includes visual representations of the improvements, detailed instructions for implementing the advice and a clickable shopping list of products handpicked for your style and budget. You’ll buy directly from the online retailers, so there’s no pressure to buy. You can chat online with your designer throughout the process and for seven days after you receive the design to ask questions or request revisions. It’s so easy and so fun!
Everyone loves getting a sneak peek inside of a designer’s home. How would you each describe your interior design styles? How have your styles changed over the years?
Jessica: I like clean lines, neutral colors infused with fun patterns and textures, and metallic accents. I think, like anyone, my style is constantly evolving. In general, I’ve become more minimal over the years with fewer accessories and “things” around. I’ve started paying less attention to the trends and staying true to the things that I love.
Kristen: I have a modern farmhouse style with a beachy/boho flair. I think your style matches what you are going through in life. I want my home to be a place that supports me in whatever I am doing. That means that with a busy lifestyle, I want a clean and soothing atmosphere to relax in.
Creating a beautiful home is a huge part of our culture, particularly in the South. Why do you think Southerners take such pride in our homes?
Kristen: I think Southerners are hospitable. They pride themselves on being warm, friendly and welcoming. They want their homes to reflect that and be a place for family and friends to gather, comfortably.
How do you recommend those of us with small budgets make big impacts in our homes? Essentially, where should we splurge and where should we save?
Jessica: First off, I would say if you absolutely love it, splurge on it. Too many times, I’ve passed over something I really love because I thought it was too expensive. In the long run, I spent more on the trial and error of buying less expensive alternatives I’d replace over and over again trying to get it right. For practical advice, I’d say splurge on the major pieces you’ll have more than five years. Sofas and a great coffee table would be my first investment. I would also splurge on a few statement accessories like killer lamps, an oversized vase or some other unique piece that can serve as a focal point in the room. I love shopping HomeGoods and online deals for pillows, mirrors and most of my accessories.
Kristen: Splurge on statement pieces, and fill in the rest with cost-effective and neutral pieces. Love it and can’t live without it? Splurge!
We love a good home store. What are your hidden gems around Atlanta? What about potentially new-to-us online shops?
Jessica: I love Outrageous Interiors. They have a handful of locations throughout metro-Atlanta. I’m also a big online shopper. I love Tonic Living for pillows, and Dear Keaton, High Street Market and McGee & Co. for pieces you don’t see everywhere. Martha & Ash for custom window treatments.
Kristen: Urban Farmhouse in Crabapple, EcoHome, Scott Antique Market (obviously), Queen of Hearts Antiques, Tracery Interiors Pop-Up Shop at Ponce City Market and, of course, the new Serena & Lily at Westside Provisions District! Yummy!
If you could organize a lunch of powerhouse peers or people you admire in the design community (or outside of it!), who would you invite?
Jessica: Sara Blakely is my entrepreneurial idol. I’d also invite Helen Ballard, Caitlin Wilson and Shea McGee.
Kristen: Chip and Joanna Gaines (obviously), Studio McGee, Caitlin Wilson and of course the execs from Amazon and Target who have given the world access to the coolest design items.
The dawn of the new year typically means a lot of discussion about new trends. What are some trends in home decor headed our way in 2018?
Jessica: The all-white kitchen will be replaced with deeper, bolder cabinetry for 2018. Think gray, black and navy paired with light countertops and statement lighting fixtures. Wallpaper is another big trend gaining even more momentum in 2018.
Kristen: Black and white everything — buffalo check, stripes, etc.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Jessica: Trust your instincts.
Kristen: Live simply.
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
Jessica: Coffee, wine and Spanx leggings.
Kristen: A good book that keeps me centered and focused. And aesthetically pleasing places, which warm my soul.
Thank you, Jessica and Kristen, for giving us a glimpse into the world of SwatchPop!. To learn more about SwatchPop! or to give it a try for yourself, visit swatchpop.com.
As always, thank you to Catrina Maxwell of CatMax Photography for these amazing photos of the women behind SwatchPop!.