The Design Dialogues {Bailey McCarthy}

Today I’m pulling back the curtains on Design Darling’s first ever interview series, The Design Dialogues. I am thrilled to open the series with style maven and dear friend Bailey Quin McCarthy of Peppermint Bliss and Quin B Studio. In the past year, she has tied the knot, launched her own interior design firm, and most recently announced that she and her husband Pete are expecting their first child. Her blog is equal parts entertaining and inspiring and I’m certain you will enjoy her interview as much as I did. Without further ado, here’s Bailey!

Bailey on her honeymoon in September.
Who you are:
A nearly 25-year-old Texan transplant currently living with my husband in Chicago — and expecting our first little bitty baby this summer!

What you do:
I recently started Quin B Studio, my interior decorating business. I do work for both residential and commercial clients in the Chicago area as well as e-decorating for long-distance clients.

Where you do it:
I work from the home office that I recently set up in our garage apartment. It’s very professional.

A vignette designed by one of Bailey’s style icons, Miles Redd.

Five words to describe yourself…
Impatient, silly, spontaneous, snuggly, creative.

How do you describe your aesthetic?
Traditional with a sense of humor. I don’t like items that just sit there. Your surroundings should engage you, make you laugh, make you smile — otherwise, what’s the point?

Who are your style icons?
I would wear anything Rachel Bilson wore, though not look as good in it. Or Blair Waldorf. I like timeless ladies like Audrey and Gwyneth — aren’t I original? For interior design, it’s Miles Redd all the way. I also quite enjoy your old boss, Jonathan Adler, for his happy chic mentality and 70s influences and Ashley Whittaker for her preppy and youthful vibe.

Bailey’s favorite magazine, which she insists on reading from back to front!
Favorite destination: 
Germany. I only went once for like four days but it really captured my imagination and I dream often of going back. I loved all of the gingerbread and gothic architecture and think both really influenced a shift in my design aesthetic. Pre-Germany I was very into bright colors, neon even, Mexican art-inspired. My current house is a bit moodier, more black and white and green, which very much reminds me of the German countryside.

Favorite quote: 
“Follow your bliss” is not necessarily the most profound of quotations but as a mantra it works pretty well for me!

Favorite site: 
Oh snap, this one is hard. Net-a-porter is always a fun way to start a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday morning perusing all the fabulous new merch. 

Favorite store: 
Kuhl-Linscomb in Houston is heaven on earth. They need, need, need online shopping or better yet to expand — preferably to Chicago first! They have five buildings stocked full of the best in furniture, art, bedding, table settings, accessories, gifts. The buyers there are seriously genius; I always find stuff I don’t see anywhere else and that I have to have. 

Favorite thing to read: 
Elle Decor — back to front, always. 

Favorite thing to watch: 
My husband and I are very snuggly TV people. Our favorites are Modern Family, Top Chef, Gossip Girl, and Real Housewives. We like to keep our interests well-rounded.

Favorite thing to wear: 
These days? Yoga pants. My pregnant body is a mess and I have no idea how to dress it. Yoga pants are comfortable, stretchy, and give the illusion of athleticism. When I eventually learn how to dress again and thaw out a bit in the frozen hinterlands, I typically favor dresses — girly 50s silhouettes, nipped at the waist.

A commercial space Bailey designed for her clients, Truffleberry Market.

How did you decide to become an interior designer?
I didn’t study design in college. I grew up with an extremely design-conscious mother who was constantly redoing our homes and it just sort of seeped into my consciousness too. When I moved to Chicago with my now-husband, I found work as an assistant to an interior designer, which I loved. After I broke my foot in a freak dancing accident (editor’s note: only you, Bailey) and was forced into temporary retirement, I dove into my design/lifestyle blog, which started to catch on. By the time my foot healed, my blog had taken off and people were interested in hiring me to do design work for them. After much encouragement from my husband and friends and fellow bloggers, I founded Quin B Studio and started focusing on the blog and my own design work full time! It all just sort of evolved naturally and I don’t think I could have projected a master plan for myself that’s as good as the reality.

What are the most and least glamorous aspects of your job? 
While creating beautiful spaces is certainly fulfilling — and hopefully the end result is glamorous — there is nothing glam about workrooms, installations, and the Merchandise Mart where I spend most of my time. It is always a highly uncomfortable temperature. No matter how I dress, I am always sweating and lugging bags full of fabrics and generally not looking like anyone you would ever take style advice from. That said, I think the blog is what brings the most sparkle into my life. I am lucky enough to have very validating readers who encourage me daily and cheer my heart and make me feel mini-famous. Which I very much enjoy.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 
My mother-in-law managed to be a really wonderful, involved, traditional Momma and have an incredible career as a lawyer and judge. I always found this somewhat intimidating as I was never hugely ambitious about “having it all.” She taught me to just let things evolve. She told me that she never thought she would work after she had her children, but that opportunities presented themselves when she was ready for them and she just worked hard to be able to take advantage of them. That, and there is no such thing as “having it all.” Something is always going to have to give, and you just have to choose to give yourself to the things that are most important and fulfilling to you.

What advice would you offer aspiring entrepreneurs?  
Don’t get too caught up in a master plan. Opportunities arise and the most you can do is be prepared to take full advantage of them. And be brave. I don’t think anyone really properly acknowledges how scary it is to break off on your own. Where I come from, there are very set proscribed paths to follow: high school, college, internship, job, marriage, family, etc. And deviation from that path can often be met by well-meaning (or just plain mean) skepticism. It is hard to find the courage to do something different and put your money where your mouth is — but it is so incredibly rewarding when you do.

Bailey just might be Britney’s number one fan.
Three tasks on your to do list. 
1. Finish my house and finally have it published.
2. Learn how to take care of a baby.
3. Get my website up and running.
Three items on your wishlist.
1. A magical assistant who is organized and entertaining.
2. The perfect client.
3. A stylist to teach me how to dress my preggo bod.
Three tasks on your bucket list.
1. Acquire patience.
2. Write a New York Times bestseller.
3. Meet and befriend Britney Spears.
– – – 
Thank you, Bailey! What do you all think of the very first edition of The Design Dialogues?

26 thoughts on “The Design Dialogues {Bailey McCarthy}

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  1. I love this idea for a series. So much fun learning about bloggers you think you “know.” 🙂 And, your new design is perfection! One of my favorite blog headers I’ve seen.

  2. omigosh, j’adore this new series!! you DID make me laugh by the way (freak dancing incident…and i nearly spit out my coffee when bailey responded “oh snap”…hahaa). can’t wait to see more!


  3. This was perfect in every aspect! I adore Bailey, and her blog…the interview questions were great, the answers entertaining, the photos…the layout, all of it! Great job, can’t wait for the next installment!