I was innocently scrolling through my Instagram feed a little while back when I came across a photo of a be-yootiful African indigo fabric cushion cover. Intrigued, I looked through some of the other photos on the grid and was really excited to see loads of other lovely things (lots of cushion covers in African mudcloth, Moroccan berber rugs etc). And luckily for me, all of these lovely things were on sale through Jess Sturgis and her US online interiors store, Spilled Paint Design. We got to chatting, and unsurprisingly, I got to shopping (seriously, this needs to stop!) and this collaboration was born. So today, dear friends, let me introduce the gorgeous Jess who is keen indeed to tell you all about Spilled Paint Design and show off some of her favourite globally inspired pieces.
How would you describe your home accessories store, Spilled Paint Design?
We curate unique, vintage, hand made, and antique home furnishings and interior décor best suited for the eclectic home.
What is the inspiration behind the store?
We are driven by a passion to provide quality, and unique interior items! We want customers to visit our site and be surprised, and inspired, by the pieces they find!
How do you decide what products to sell?
There’s several factors that go into deciding. The first factor is, is it unique? If so, then we look at condition, quality of design and materials, and style. Lastly, we personally have to love it! If a product can pass all that, then it ends up with us, and then offered to our customers (or in our home)!
What are your favourite items in the store at the moment and why?
That’s a tough one! I truly adore every piece that comes in! At this exact moment though, I’m really into the Nigel style floor lamp. I like that it is utilitarian, but has such a literal artistic feel to it. It’s a piece that can’t be ignored. Perhaps the ultimate conversation piece?
Also, I’m currently obsessed with our vintage Moroccan rugs! I find them so amazing! I love the intricate designs on the front, and being able to see the way they are hand woven on the back. Each one is so unique, and such a work of art, it’s hard not to love them!
From where around the world do you source your stock?
The majority of our pieces come from America, where we’re based. But we adore other cultures, and artisans who practice what are often ancient techniques. Currently we are sourcing materials, and products, from Mali in Africa, as well as the Atlas Mountains region of Morocco. We also occasionally get pieces in that are imported from Germany. We are actively working on expanding our network to get in other authentic pieces from more countries as well!
What’s your favourite destination for interiors shopping and why?
So far, I’ve only traveled to Italy. Which was nothing short of amazing! I was blown away by their antiques! Antiques there were often items that were 200, 300, and 400 years old, and there were a lot of them! Here in America antiques are often 100-150 years old and its rare to find them 200+ years old. It was incredible!
I am fortunate to have friends here in the States who currently have family in other countries, which makes it easier for us to establish connections with artisans and sellers around the world. I am currently in the process of planning our next trip, which will be to Thailand. I am hoping to be able to send a large shipping container of goodies back! More on that later…!
What are your top 3 tips for anyone buying home accessories overseas?
Research Research Research! When you know what you’re looking at, what to look for, and how to tell if something is authentic, you’ll feel able shop with confidence! Especially if you’re planning on making a big purchase such as art, rugs, or jewelry.
Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path! Usually the best pieces are found where the locals shop, and not in the tourist areas.
At the end of the day, it’s about what you like. I’m a huge believer in buying what you love! If you find something you connect with, or feel drawn to, go ahead and buy it!
What are the best, and worst, items you’ve ever bought whilst on holiday and why?
I actually still love everything I have ever bought while on vacation! From huge, antique door knockers, to art and jewelry. Some of the worst things I have ever bought, I did so right here on my home turf! Ha!
I think the biggest one that comes to mind, are a set of Chinese nesting baskets that I bought. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, and didn’t look at them up close, or touch them first before buying them. After purchasing I realized they’re plastic. I still have them though, sitting on my desk. Without my glasses on, they’re still cute. Haha!
How would you describe your own sense of interior style?
In one word, eclectic. Maybe even a little over the top! I personally don’t believe in matching things. I like colour, textures, and the unexpected. I like combining items from different time periods, and styles and watching them come together. I also change things around – a lot. Haha! It used to drive my husband crazy, now he’s just used to it. It may not always be understood, but at this point, I have come to believe that I need to live in a space that is inspiring.
From which countries/cultures do you draw your inspiration?
Honestly, from everywhere. I can appreciate the beauty in traditional Chinese art, the design and painted colors that have come from Sweden, the details and craftsmanship in the Italian furniture, the vibrant colors from Morocco, the meaningful tribal designs from Africa, and even the bold pop art inspired street art found today where I’m from on the East Coast of America. I think beauty and inspiration can be found anywhere!
What items do you have in your own home that remind you of your overseas travels?
I have several items! My favorite are two paintings that I bought from a local artisan in Florence, Italy. Both the husband and wife were painters, and we walked into their studio during lunch hour to browse. Both of the painters were out, but their son (who I believe was 12 or 13) was at the studio. We picked out two paintings, and he helped us pay. As we were getting ready to leave he called his mother, who then came by. She was so proud of her son for making a sale! Apparently this was his first time ever doing so. She gushed in Italian, and as we stood there (only English speaking) very confused, her son translated what she was saying. It was a lovely moment, and one I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
How important is Fair Trade and ethical shopping to you and your company?
It’s incredibly important! We firmly believe in paying artisans and laborers a fair price for their incredible work! To accomplish this, when purchasing new items, we strictly only purchase directly from the artisans. This allows them to name their price, and we get peace of mind knowing that what we are paying is going directly to them. For us as a business this often means a higher bottom line and a lot of extra time spent, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!
What are your most popular pieces at the moment?
What items from around the world are you currently on the look-out for?
Currently I’ve been on a Swedish kick! I just snagged a vintage Lamino chair by Yngve Ekstrom, and am anxiously awaiting its arrival! It won’t be for sale though. I’m keeping this one! Lol. But at the moment, I am looking for more authentic Swedish designs to be able to offer on our site!
And finally, what iconic pieces do you think show off global interiors style at home?
Rugs are perfect for this! I love how you can take almost any rug, Turkish or Moroccan, to name a few, and they can easily blend with so many different styles from contemporary, to mid century modern, and even French. The fact that they are often wool, and hand woven using such old traditions, make them not only stunning but pieces that will last for lifetimes!
So there you have it – all you need to know about Spilled Paint Design and its fabulous creator, Jess Sturgis. Do go and check out the store, and as an added bonus, Jess is offering free international shipping* to anyone buying two or more pillows (that’s cushions to us non-US readers) using the discount code ‘shipmypillows‘. Yippee! I mean who doesn’t love a discount!?
*UK readers – bear in mind that you’ll probably still have to pay VAT when the items enter the UK – details here. But who can put a price on the unique and adorable? For me, my Indigo mudcloth cushions were SO worth it – great quality and still cheaper than I could get in the UK.
What do you think folks? Anything Jess should be looking to add to her wishlist? Let me know in the comments below! And if you want to see more of what Jess has on offer you can follow her on instagram and pinterest.
Happy travels, and shopping,