Merry Christmas to the most stylish person you know: Inglenook Decor

Something I have always admired about Austinites, and stylish people in general, is how thoughtfully they put together their homes. From the local blogging duo over at Design Crisis to quirky Austin shops like Aviary and Room Service, originality is the order of the day here in central Texas. Think about it: Where else could you fuse both cowboy chic and old Hollywood glamour in one glorious space? (And here Reader, we are referring to Roar Salon — Rory McNeil’s dreamy little 5th St. shop).

I still have a LOT to learn about turning out my own space, but until it is decidedly fabulous, I like speaking with people who’ve got the design strategery thing down. Enter Austinite Maureen Toribio, owner/founder of Inglenook Décor. Right now ID is an online shop, but she dreams of turning it into a bricks-and-mortar outfit and I think we should support that dream. I mean…..right??

Right. Adorbs. It’s a little Anthropologie, a little Grandma’s attic, and a little brilliant flea market find. (Funnily enough I wrote a blog post last week over on Heartless Doll about Anthropologie, and why it makes me feel insecure. But Maureen makes me feel empowered, because she’s a one-woman operation who goes out and finds all this stuff herself!)

Maureen chatted recently with Austin Eavesdropper about Inglenook Décor, which, if you haven’t already, is a great stop for last-minute Christmas shopping (and while you’re there read her very fun design blog). Oh, and you know that photo collage at the top? THAT’S HER HOUSE! Girlfriend knows what’s up.

1. First things first, Maureen: How long has your business been in operation, and what has the reception been so far?

Well, I had a different site prior to the one you see now earlier this year but I shut it down as it wasn’t the feel I wanted. I re-launched (and revamped!) the site and made it live July 15. The reception has been tremendous, especially with local press and also with the blog community. I am so grateful for my blog friends who have given me and the shop amazing support and virtually did free press for me in the online world.

2. I understand that you are currently a physical therapist. I am amazed you do that, and run this whole business on the side! Why did you decide to take the leap (into décor entrepreneurship)?

Ha! Ha! My co-workers used to kid me that I am Miss 100% Productive. Last September, I was no longer working physically at the practice and just performing a few administrative tasks remotely. It was such a drastic change for me. It seems like I can manage my time better if I’m doing so many things at one time! Does that make sense?

As far as leaping into the décor world, it’s a little cliché to say this, but I believe everybody should follow their bliss (no ifs, no buts)…so I did!

3. The items on your site are pretty darn cute. Where do you find them? (It looks like you peruse Parisian markets and hipper-than-hip SoHo flea markets!)

Awww, it makes my heart flutter to hear comments like these! Needless to say, I “peruse” a lot! I love going to different places (especially quaint little towns) and the first place I look for is their antique alley and flea markets. I do hope to travel more a la Keith Johnson of Anthropologie (but at a much tighter budget!). A friend and I are planning a trip to Morocco in the spring. I’m super psyched! I also go to different wholesale markets. There’s one in Chicago, Vegas, New York, Atlanta, etc.

4. Do you buy for a variety of tastes, and if so, which ones?

Not necessarily a variety of tastes; I think it’s for the different facets of a modern chic. She is creative and bohemian at times, classy and sophisticated without being too out of reach (and yes her fashion and décor doesn’t break the bank) plus she can be sweet and romantic, too!.

5. How would you describe your own home décor style?

Urban cottage is how I would describe it. It’s minimalist without being too cold, cottage chic without being frou frou. Our current place is a work in progress so it’s not together yet but here’s a few things I have so far (refer to picture at the top).

Clockwise from top left: My always messy home office, ledge display, our bathroom wallpaper, my yellow birdcage follows me everywhere, starting a collage of old postcards we’ve traveled to, our bed—headboard just came in, nightstand (loved Domino! Sigh!).

6. I liked the blog post you did recently on things you are thankful for, where you mentioned your design heroes. Who are those heroes?

Miles Redd is my new designer crush. His prediction for 2010 is Baroque Minimalism. I love that! Rococo mixed with clean lines, that’s sort of the vision of the shop. And Eddie Ross! He seems so friendly and relatable. He was the style editor for Martha Stewart Living and has stints at HGTV, he loves flea market shopping adn has dedicated his blog to his escapades.

7. Speaking of your posting, your blog is SUPER CUTE, it is like eye candy / porn for me! Who are some of your favorite sites on the interwebs for finding inspiration?

Gosh, much thanks! I’m quite embarrassed as I’m not able to blog often or do daily reads. I’m telling you, décor & fashion bloggers abound and everyone has something different to offer. It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I do love Sarah Klassen. Her style, both for fashion and interior are so refreshing, plus she’s sort of become a friend, too! At Home with Kim Vallee is cool. The Paris Apartment, Eddie Ross and Antiques Diva, also. Not necessarily for the eye candy but their amazing travels and finding neat stuff. That’s something I can totally relate to! Oh and these are not blogs, but Flickr, of course and

8. I read on your site that you eventually want to turn your online business into a bricks-and-mortar establishment. What are you envisioning? Décor shop-cum-bakery? Salon-style French coffee shop? I want this place to exist.

Yup, that’s the plan. I also want a catalog. But as far as a storefront, yea, I’m envisioning that it has a courtyard and outdoor café (cobblestone walkways, topiaries everywhere, fountains sigh!) Enjoy a café au lait, some beignets, nutella crepes, french macaroons, yum! Oh and I want it to be a hub for DIY’ers and décor enthusiasts. Yes, I want it to exist, too…maybe someday soon!

Thank you Maureen for stopping by Austin Eavesdropper!