Megan Pflug is an interior designer and co-founder of theWoodhouse Lodge, a boutique ten-room hotel in Upstate New York. She also authors a blog, Megan Pflug Designs, where she documents the evolution of her stylish interiors. We spoke to Megan about her affinity for DIY and how she designs with vintage pieces.
What is unique about your perspective on interior design?
I started out in the Fine Arts, and pretty quickly realized that I was as interested in the spaces where art would live as much as the actual pieces of art. In this way, I always had my toe in two worlds. The blog is a fun way to document things that you wouldn’t otherwise know I’ve made.
I grew up in Missouri, with grandmothers and mothers who were always sewing and painting. It might even be a holdover from the Depression, this pioneer thriftiness that’s pretty pervasive. It was funny to move to the East Coast and realize that everyone isn’t crafty. I always joke that I have pioneer skills.
How did the Woodhouse Lodge come about?
I thought it was a great business model to create a hospitality space where the interiors could evolve. I realized that documenting the space in renovation could be part of the content, and give me a chance to monetize design content beyond the initial design. There's also a second space we’re renovating for the Spring, with a patio and four acres of lawn. We hope to host weddings and parties, maybe long-table dinners, and live the upstate dream.
What is your defining aesthetic and design philosophy?
I love to mix modern pieces with antiques, and build a space that feels collected rather than decorated. What I love about DIY is the opportunity to make something custom. You’re making something that doesn’t exist already in the world. And DIY can also mean painting a wall! That’s my go-to DIY, since paint is so versatile and affordable. My thought process is — how do you make something feel personal, or do something clever or memorable to a space?
What corner of your home do you feel most creative in?
Every corner of my home. It’s always been this way — when I was a kid I’d rearrange furniture and bedrooms recreationally. My home has always been a testing ground for things, and I’m pretty easy-going with what I’ll try there. But with the Lodge, the rooms are going to be public, so I have to be a little more buttoned up with my creative approach.
How do you determine what vintage pieces will work in a space?
I like to use vintage to solve a problem, like a place to put a TV, or have storage. It gives the pieces extra integrity if you’re using them, and it eliminates ugly store-bought storage units. As for balancing vintage and modern aesthetics, I think that things look best when in close proximity to each other. Say I have a vintage cabinet, on top of it I’d put a modern lamp to give some visual tension.
What are your go-to interior design tips?
Paint! That always freshens things up, even if you’re not doing a dramatic color — though I always say do a dark color, especially if you’re not working with a space that has a lot of architectural interest.
Second: prioritize the pieces that you need, and buy the best quality items that you can afford. It’s best to have fewer pieces of furniture that are nicer, as opposed to things that’ll go to a landfill. It’s best for the environment and the aesthetic. I had my fair share of IKEA rugs in my twenties, but I saved and spent $400 on a kilim — which at the time in New York on a budget felt insane. Now I have none of the IKEA rugs from my twenties, but still have that vintage rug. It’s about collecting over a lifetime. Designing your home is an evolutionary process. It’s nice to have pieces that have history. People ask me as a designer to create that feeling of history, but you can start to do that yourself.
How do you choose the size, color and placement of pillows and rugs?
I change pillows out a lot, even seasonally. But for rugs, that’s something you’ll live with much longer, so it’s important to nail. There are a lot of rules about sizes of rugs, and it’s important to know the rules, but it’s also good to break the rules. A trend I see in contemporary design is placing smaller rugs in a living room, much smaller than traditionally dictated. It’s great because it’s economical, especially if you’re just starting out and decorating your first home, and it’s also a neat way to layer in a solid or natural fiber underneath.
What do you like about your Revival Rugs?
I have blue and gray overdyed rugs all over the Lodge. They’re amazing because I want a cohesive theme among the rooms, but don’t want them all the same, so vintage overdye was a great option. They’re all different patterns but in the same color palette. Plus, vintage rugs are very forgiving in terms of traffic and wear, they’re bulletproof.