I introduced the Soulful Living series as a way to introduce people I find to be committed to creating a home and life that is very intentional, and specifically purposeful to the idea that it’s best to buy better, but less. I can’t think of a better example of someone with this mentality than Carol Estes. I came to know Carol, and her beautiful aesthetic through the power of the ‘gram, and my appreciation for her skill and eye have only grown. I could go on an on, but Carol says it best herself!
AGI: We found you through Instagram, and were immediately drawn to your simple, expressive aesthetic. Can you tell us a bit about how your personal style developed?
Carol: Life-long travel has been the biggest influence on my personal style. European style in fashion, art, architecture and interiors specifically has contributed. I’ve blended the aesthetics of several countries and often refer to my style as Euro Eclectic. I’m particularly drawn to the modern, clean lines the Belgians so often use in their interiors as well as their selection of natural materials. The French, and in particular, the Parisians, move me with their quiet, reserved elegance in their designs and lifestyle! Then, there are the Italians, who masterfully create beauty fro the runways as well as interiors, always using the most exquisite textiles. In Europe, these qualities are skills , and the crafts have been passed down for centuries, often within the same families. My visits to workshops in these countries where 4 or 5 generations have worked on the same looms, for example, has created the desire in me to use hand-made, artisan products in my own homes and those of my clients.
AGI: When thinking about items for your home, what type of things catch your eye and why?
Carol: Unique pieces catch my eye. But, they must also have good design qualities such as proportions, scale, form. Quality natural materials. Wool, cashmere, alpaca, leather, linen, and cotton are my go-to’s. Clean lines are a must in my designs. This is key to my timeless aesthetic. Muted colors are most livable.
AGI: When thinking about the environment you want to create in your home, or others', what do you want those spaces to convey?
Carol: A sense of a cultured, well-traveled life. Soulful and authentic. A feeling of calm, comfort, and welcome. Well-edited. Never cluttered.
AGI : If there is one virtue you feel is important to exercise when designing or decorating your home, what would that be? Why?
Carol: The ability to edit. Knowing what to take away and what is needed for an interesting composition. Knowing when it is just enough.
AGI: What do you believe it means to have a soulful home?
Carol: A soulful home feels authentic. It doesn’t feel contrived or like it has been staged. Everything is not perfect. The spaces have life breathed into them, as if people really do live there comfortably. They shouldn’t feel “decorated.” Displaying meaningful items you’ve collected over time will bring life to a space and a soulful feeling. Items that have age and their own history, or a history with you and your family, contain a story. This creates interest and authenticity! When everything matches perfectly, and comes from the current time, it starts to resemble a home decor store or model home without a soul.
Perfectly said! Thank you, Carol, for sharing your style of soulful living with us!
Follow Carol on Instagram at: cestesdesign
I’ve put together a few things inspired by Carol’s clean, cool style. See below!