At Home With Beth Protass
We recently spent an afternoon with one of our favorite local stylists, Beth Protass, exploring her creative process and learning more about her path to styling.
She was kind enough to open the doors to her charming bungalow style home and allow us a peek at her treasured collections and sanctuary space.
Keep reading for a glimpse into her space and a petite interview where we discuss how she got her start, where she finds inspiration, and her pro tip for selecting art for your home.
How did you get your start in styling?
I studied art in college and thought I wanted to work in an art gallery and even worked at an auction house for a bit. I had moved to Los Angeles after college, where I ended up taking a job in fashion. It was very corporate and unfulfilling. I was trying to figure out my next move and I’ll never forget reading one of my art magazines and realizing that there were actually “set decorators” for movies! I knew at that moment that it was my dream job. I bugged everyone I knew who might be able to help and was introduced to a prominent decorator, Jean Simone, who would become my mentor for the next 10 years. My job essentially was to scour the city for props for sets on these big TV commercials. We were a great team and I gained invaluable experience. It was an amazing time and I learned so much, not only about set decoration, but also about myself and my own tastes. After a decade in Los Angeles and working in film and TV, I got married and my husband and I moved back to the Bay Area.
The work in Northern California was different, and I easily pivoted out of film into print photography. While it was a big change, I realized I was well suited for it, and I quickly identified the best people in the business that I wanted to work with. Through lots of networking, determination and hard work, I was able to work alongside a few and learn this new medium from them and really found my own style. After a few years of assisting others, I finally felt comfortable enough to branch off on my own, and have been working independently ever since.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as California Casual. I am very much an ocean person and there has always been a sense of “beach” in my own home…even being miles away from the ocean. The pale tones, natural textures and unexpected pairings gives that same sense of calm when you’re sitting seaside.
What makes your style uniquely yours?
I believe my style is uniquely my own in that I am continually building upon my personal collection of furniture and art / décor throughout the years, through different jobs, through travel, and all of the various people with whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with over the years. So even if my style and tastes may be similar to other designers, I make it mine by layering in the special pieces I find over time that make me happy to look at.
What are your favorite colors to use in your decor?
Green is always my favorite although I did somehow end up with a blue couch! But I always have some sort of fresh greenery flourishing in my house.
How do you select art for your space?
I was an art major so art has always been a big part of my work. I have collected art through so many different places…from Elsie Green to garage sales! I think a lot of people mistake art as being some expensive or important piece of work, but it’s much more about finding pieces that speak to you and can be found at any budget, even if it’s a simple photograph you love and frame.
What is the one thing you use over and over again?
Probably chairs and pillows. I have quite a collection. Changing those smaller items up regularly can be a quick but impactful way to change a space.
How do you integrate collections into your decor?
I keep collections contained. I have always lived in smaller spaces and feel it helps to keep my things together in certain designated areas. I will also tuck some collections away and bring them out when I miss them and swap them with something that has been out for a while – it’s another practical way to keep the space feeling refreshed.
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
I think the family room in the back of the house is my favorite. It looks out to the oak trees, and as many times as you have heard it, it really feels like a tree house. It is also connected to the kitchen where I do love to unwind with a good recipe and can still be close to my family.
Where do you get your best ideas?
I get my best ideas when I just slow down and observe the world around me. Whether that is in a city, in nature or scrolling the internet. I cannot lie…I do find quite a bit of inspiration from the internet…although I am still a sucker for magazines! Nothing better than ripping a page out of something you love, old school.
What is your secret source to find the perfect things for your home?
Elsie green of course! There are so many treasures and they’re always changing. Not to mention the staff feels like family. Whenever I am in any new city I always try to find the underground artists neighborhoods and/or flea markets. I can sniff out a good shop from miles away.
GET THE LOOK
1. Freya Linen Throw 2. Linen Block Printed Pillow Cover 3. Vintage Art 4. Moroccan Baskets 5. Moroccan Straight Sided Tumblers 6. Leather Library Book 7. Stoneware Bowls 8. Milk Pendant 9. Stoneware Vessel