You may recognize Eddie Ross’s work from the pages of the country’s top shelter magazine. Perhaps you remember him as a contestant during the second season of Bravo’s Top Design. Or maybe you follow him on social media, or read his eponymous blog.
Ross, the East Coast editor of Better Homes & Gardens and a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, has worked as a design, decorating and food editor and as stylist for a host of magazines including House Beautiful, Southern Living and InStyle. High-style entertaining and decorating on a budget have become his trademarks, as is his passion for secondhand and flea-market finds.
Ross will share entertaining tips and will sign his new book, Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 during Fire, Flour and Fork.
We recently caught up with Ross to talk about the book and his love for the thrill of the hunt and creating your own personal style.
R•Home: How did this book come about?
Eddie Ross: Modern Mix is the book I’ve always wanted to find but never could. Ever since I started digging for treasure, I’ve been looking for a gorgeous style guide to help me find what I love, then give it chic style at home — and there’s nothing shabby about it! Styling rooms and parties for magazines, I’ve learned that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a high-end look at home if you know what to look for and where to find it. And judging from the feedback I'm getting on Instagram, there are a lot of treasure hunters out there who feel the same way.
R•Home: Can you tell me about how you and your partner, Jaithan Kocher, collaborated on the book?
Ross: Like the blog we co-created years ago, Jaithan and I came up with the idea for Modern Mix together, taking readers on an exciting journey into personal style. I produced and styled all of the photographs using items I’ve been collecting for years. After every shoot, he interviewed me and together, we created the book’s voice. It’s like a trusted friend on the front lines of treasure hunting!
R•Home: Are all the objects featured in the book your own?
Ross: Yes, everything in the book is from my own personal collections of vintage items, mixed with affordable new finds that fit everyone’s budget
R•Home: The book is called Modern Mix. To you, what does that mean?
Ross: For me, it’s captivating combinations of new and old, simple and elaborate, rough and refined. I like pattern on pattern and layers of color. Today, people aren’t living with everything just old or everything just new. It’s about educating your eye.
R•Home: How did you transition from catering career to one in editorial styling and design?
Ross: Years back, I was pulling props for in-house productions at Food Network when the styling world opened my eyes to new possibilities. Little things make a big impact. From the platter you use to serve a simple weekday dinner to the accessories you buy to add personality to bookshelves, there’s always a way to make your home feel more like you — and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive to do!
R•Home: In the book, you say you have always "chased the thrill of discovery." Based on your observations, what’s the next hot thing(s)?
Ross: Every day on Instagram, I see people becoming more and more confident with the mix, combining colors, styles, patterns and time periods to infuse their homes with personality.
R•Home: When you are out shopping tag sales, thrift stores and flea markets, how do you know when you’ve found something good?
Ross: I’m always on the hunt for furniture, art and objects that tell a story. Stylish things can be found anywhere at any price. If you buy only the things that bring you joy, a room will always feel right.
R•Home: Do you shop online at all or do you do all of your treasure hunting in the field?
Ross: Absolutley! I love hunting the Web for handmade, vintage and new treasures that I can mix into what I already have. From online retailers to corner thrift stores, there are so many places to find chic things for your home that fit everyone’s budget. Of course, you’re going to have work harder — dig deeper — to score a deal. Modern Mix will help wake up your senses to everything you love, so you know what to look for and where to look.
R•Home: In the book, you say that sometimes it makes more sense to buy new. Can you share a lesson you learned the hard way?
Ross: I once bought an old sofa with a great shape from a Salvation Army, but after getting the estimate for repair, fabric and upholstery, I nearly keeled over at the cost! Eventually, I chose an affordable new one instead, then splurged on vintage fabric for the windows.
R•Home: Can you share some of your favorite places to hunt for treasures?
Ross: In Modern Mix, I highlight flea markets, thrift shops, tag sales and estate sales with plenty of insider tips on how to find the best things you can. But the truth is, you can score treasures just about anywhere — if you educate your eyes and stay focused.
R•Home: What can people expect from you during your appearance at "Fire, Flour and Fork" next week?
Ross: I’m excited to share stories and tips on how to create exciting table settings and parties that give fresh life to family heirlooms and vintage finds. It’s going to be a super inspiring presentation with plenty of eye candy, and I hope you’ll join me!