Making Life Beautiful: An Interview with Shea McGee

Host of the hit Netflix show, Dream Home Makeover, the creative mind behind Studio McGee and McGee & Co. furnishing brand, and the author of some of our favourite schemes in recent years... we are, of course, talking about Shea McGee.

We were so thrilled to collaborate with Shea and Studio McGee on a bespoke wallpaper and fabric collection, available now. Bringing her famous colour palette to our archive designs was both a match made in heaven and a dream come true for everyone here at Morris & Co.

Shea took a moment out of her busy schedule beautifying the homes of America, to sit down with us and chat all things design. We really loved getting to know Shea a little better and hope you do too!


Q: Shea, Studio McGee is the name on every would-be interior designer’s lips right now! A huge part of what makes your style so approachable is the personable way you deliver your incredibly high standard of creativity. Was this always your preferred way of working?


SM: I’ve always considered myself an outsider looking into the world of design, observing and learning with every project. I realized early in my career that the principles of high-end design can be applied in many shapes and sizes and have stayed true to that vision ever since – I believe that communicating in a more approachable way helps others build confidence to make their homes beautiful.


Q: 2023 is a great year for anyone to get into re-designing their spaces. Whether it’s a whole home makeover or a single room transformation, the tools of design are there for all to benefit. Cast your mind back to your first project in 2014 -your own home. What creative advice can you give people just starting out on their adventure?


SM: My best advice is to just get started and move things around in your home. So often we get stuck before even trying and I find that shifting accessories or rearranging furniture gets the creative inspiration flowing.


Q: Shea, the colour palette for many of your projects is SO soothing. Rusty reds with washed hues combine with lovely reedy rustic tones to produce a wholesomely bucolic feeling, even in urban spaces! How did you settle on this colour palette, or do you vary it according to the project?


SM: I love to incorporate colour in the homes we design but tend to gravitate toward shades with more muted undertones to lend a sense of calm. When developing the palette for this collection, I wanted to find a push and pull between warm and cool tones that allowed the patterns to shine – I find that tension between colours, whether soft or bold, adds both interest and balance to every space regardless of location.


Q: And how did you work that palette into our wallpaper and fabric collaboration? Were there any designs that you think work particularly well in their new colour story?


SM: We developed an overarching colour story for the collection, so the patterns can be mixed and matched gracefully. We incorporated depth and light for the push and pull we had in mind, and I think the Honeysuckle and Tulip wallpaper in the new colourway encapsulates the vision for the colour story.


Q: We just love watching you work with clients, nurturing their ideas until they flourish into a fully formed vision. Can you tell us about how it felt to work alongside the William Morris patterns from the Morris & Co. archive? Did you have a favourite pattern?


SM: I have been a long-time admirer of William Morris patterns and it is a dream come true to work alongside your visionary team. I cannot pick a favourite design because I love them all, but I think the Marigold wallpaper in the rust colour is near the top!


Q: One of the great lessons from Dream Home Makeover is that we all have it within us to be creative. It’s an ethic William Morris shared, deploring thoughtless, meaningless design and loving patterns that speak to the wonder of nature. As a creative at the top of their game, what do you think the role of pattern is in today’s interior design, and how should people start introducing it to their homes?


SM: For me, layering patterns together brings a room to life. When I am creating a scheme, whether it is a full home or a few pillows on a sofa, I contrast the scale of the patterns and look for threads of continuity in the colour palette. I recommend starting small with 2-3 patterns to build confidence and then add over time to create interest.


Q: Lastly, what’s next for Studio McGee and McGee & Co.?

SM: This year has a few exciting things in store, but the one I am most excited about is my design book launching later this fall!


You can learn more about the Morris & Co. X McGee & Co. Collection here

posted on 03 Mar 2023 in Interiors

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