Eddie Ross brings his modern mix to Atlanta

Learn how to spot and use vintage finds to create stylish settings
Eddie Ross
Eddie Ross

Photograph by Bryan E. McCay

Eddie Ross, East Coast Editor of Better Homes & Gardens, has just released his first book, Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds (Gibbs Smith)—written with coauthor Jaithan Kochar. A former design, decorating, and food editor for House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living, and Food Network, Ross is a multitalented expert on personal style. On October 8 he’ll be signing books at Steve McKenzie’s, the Westside home store owned by his close friends Steve and Jill McKenzie. In preparation for his visit to Atlanta on Thursday, we asked him a few questions:

Q: What do you think makes your book unique?

A: Modern Mix is the book I’ve always wanted to find but never could. Ever since I started digging for treasure, I’ve been looking for a beautiful style guide to help me find what I love, then give it chic style at home. Styling rooms and parties for magazines, I’ve learned that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a high-end look if you know what to look for and where to find it. Educate your eyes and the world will come into focus.

Q: Your academic training was at the Culinary Institute of America. How did you get into design?

A: I was in culinary school in upstate New York learning one definition of the word taste—and learning the other by catering parties on weekends in tony Connecticut suburbs. Taste, I discovered, is everywhere in a home. It starts with the hardware on the front door. It hangs from windows in a dining room, enlivens walls with pattern, and adds texture underfoot. It finds its way onto the table, from the flowers down to the napkins. Anyone can have taste, I thought, but good taste? That was expensive. Then I discovered flea markets, and the world opened up.

Modern Mix Cover
Photograph by Bryan E. McCay

Q: How did you get addicted to secondhand finds?

A: By the time I finished culinary school, I had amassed enough vintage serveware from flea markets to throw a buffet dinner for a hundred. Suddenly, good taste didn’t seem so out of reach. If I knew what to look for—the objects, materials, and marks that surrounded me at all of those parties—I could go to a thrift shop or stop at a yard sale for the very same things at prices I could afford. There are places to fit everyone’s budget, but you’re going to have to work harder, dig deeper, to score a deal.

Q: Designers often say that Millenials don’t appreciate antiques. Do you think that’s true?

A: Not at all! I think Millenials love the idea of using family heirlooms or fine antiques in their homes, but they don’t always know how to give them fresh life.

Q: What is the trick to making antique objects fit into modern lifestyles?

A: Combine colors, patterns, periods, and styles to infuse your finds with a playful spirit that feels like you.

Come meet Ross and Kochar at Steve McKenzie’s, 999 Brady Avenue, October 8, 5-8 p.m.