At home in LA: Estee Stanley on balancing life as a working mum



If you love inspiring interiors then you have to see the home of one of Hollywood’s most respected stylists and interior designers, Estee Stanley, who we visited in LA...

To dress a Hollywood celebrity takes a certain character but to go into business with one takes, well, quite another. Yet super-stylist, interior designer, entrepreneur and mother to Teddy, eight, and Flora, five, Estee Stanley has that no nonsense, don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff attitude that I imagine is lapped up amid the hoopla of California.

She also clearly has a great sense of humour (again a trait much needed in fashion). But whether she is dressing stars for the red carpet (Demi Moore, Brad Pitt, Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara are all clients) or dressing their homes, she makes it look simply effortless. And her eclectic, welcoming spaces are a fixture in interiors bibles like Architectural Digest.

Her new interior design service, Hancock Design, co-founded with ex-actress/singer turned interior designer Brigette Romanek, is just one of her many enterprises. She has also teamed up with online interior design service Decorist.com to allow those on a budget to be inspired by her great ideas – whether it’s a vintage tiled floor or a customised chest of drawers.

She previously launched an interiors venture with Justin Timberlake (as well as planning his wedding), and this spring she co-founded the restaurant/kids clubhouse Au Fudge in West Hollywood with his wife Jessica Biel (and a slew of other Hollywood heavyweights). It’s one of those destinations you wish was in every city with its combination of elegant restaurant, stylish marble bar, carefully put-together healthy-but-tempting children’s menu (whose child isn’t happy when they’re full?), a marketplace teaming with delicious cakes and an inviting creative space with dedicated staff to ensure parents can enjoy a coffee (or a sneaky cocktail) in peace. “This idea came about over seven years ago when my son was born,” Estee explains. “It’s important to have organic, non-chemical foods to feed our kids. And a place they can be creative not just run around and scream.”

Suffice to say we couldn’t wait to explore her impeccable home and find out how she juggles all of the above while maintaining a happy family.

Photography: Julie Adams | Hair and makeup: Elsa Morgan | Words: Claire Brayford | Go to www.esteestanley.com


How would you describe yourself in three words?

Focused, funny and fiery.


What has motherhood taught you so far?

That I could love someone more than I ever thought was imaginable.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Nothing matters. Don’t let people bum you out. Just go about life since it all works out the way it should.


So far, what has been the most challenging part of motherhood and how have you overcome them?

It’s really hard working as a mom. I feel like I miss out on a lot and it’s a bummer. I’ve overcome it by getting home almost every day by five pm and hanging with my kids until they go to sleep and at weekends, it’s them and us.


Growing up, did you always love fashion?

Yes always. My grandma and mom were always done up and I loved every second of it.


What about your wardrobe – what are your key essentials?

My Fendi bag, Citizens of Humanity jeans, Manolo Blahnik shoes and my The Row coats.


What’s the best style advice you’ve ever been given?

If you wear something in one decade, it doesn’t mean you should bring it back the next.


What’s your approach to maternity dressing?

I wore a lot of The Row stretch dresses and a lot of dresses in general – I feel like that’s the most comfortable and flattering way to go. Since I’ve had children I don’t divide my wardrobe into looks for when I’m with and without them – I dress for the mood I’m in that day.


Your love of Fendi began in Rome when you were in your early 20s – tell us about that moment...

It was my first time in Rome and we were in the Fendi store and they received a new shipment. The salesman was opening a huge box and out came this leather and mirrored bag and I almost collapsed. I grabbed it and had never spent that much money on a bag. I still have it and it’s one of my favourites. It was love at first sight.


Do you focus on or follow trends?

Not really.


How would you describe your interior style?

I think it’s a combination of vintage finds mixed with heirloom pieces that are sexy and cosy.


How do you keep your house in order with children?

I have explained to my kids that we all want to have a beautiful home and to use only their playroom to go nuts and destroy.


How often do you entertain at home?

Probably too much.


Do you cook? What do you like to serve when you entertain?

No but I order really well. I mix it up all the time depending on the event and time of year.


Did your career change after you became a mother?

I have always been really ambitious and determined but once I had children I realised that I had to take care of two more people so I had to work harder.


What have been some of your biggest career highlights?

Being married and having children.


How do you juggle work and motherhood?

I’ve learned that you can’t get everything done and I’m ok with that. I’m a great time-manager so I organise my life with what’s the most to least important, write it out and cross it off my list.


What kind of role model do you want to be for your children?

An honest, caring, passionate flawed human being that knows not to sweat the small stuff.


What did your own mother teach you about life and motherhood?

To cherish my body and don’t just give it away to every guy you meet. Be ‘prude and proud’.


What’s life like as one of Hollywood’s most renowned stylists – is it as glamorous as it looks?

Seeing the finished product it looks easy, which is one of the tricks with what I do, but trust me, it’s a ton of work.


Can you name three Instagram accounts we should follow now?

Hancock Design, The Tot and Au Fudge.


ESTEE STANLEY’S QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS:

Coffee or tea: Coffee.
Typical breakfast: Coffee or green tea
.
On your bedside table: Tiny notebooks where I write stories about my kids so they can have them when they’re older, a clock, tons of water and flowers.
Exercise of choice: Yoga
.
Book you’re currently reading: Sweetbitter
: A Novel by Stephanie Danler
Heels or flats: Heels
.
Pram of choice: There’s too many new ones to know!
Baby bag: I used my Louis Vuitton bag
.
Sunglasses: Always Oliver Peoples
.
Websites you regularly visit: The Fancy, The Tot, Zara, Gucci, too many design sites to list.
Must have essentials for a beautiful tabletop: I love vintage glassware, flowers, serving platters, candles, soft napkins, etc


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