By ellenmcgauley
March 11, 2015

Meet Liz Strong, a Venice, California-based photo stylist who flies all over the country (or in some cases, just cruises up and down the Pacific Coast Highway) prepping and polishing beach houses for Coastal Living shoots. This is Part 1 of a 3-part blog series on what it takes to bring dynamite coastal homes to the pages of the magazine.


So how did you become a stylist?  I studied interior design in college, and a few years later, landed a job with Coastal Living as decorating editor and later homes editor. I spent much of my time traveling around, preparing homes for photography. I loved it so much, I decided to start my own business and devote my time solely to styling interiors.


What's your definition of good coastal design? No matter what the style, every house should have a heart! Good style is about creating a feeling, a certain magic in the air. Well-designed homes should be filled with personal objects, collections, art, and pulled together over a lifetime. Imperfections embraced. In coastal homes in particular, interiors feel at ease when they reflect their environment; after all, the location and outdoors are a big part of what makes these homes unique. I encourage people to play off what's right outside the window—I've found that beach locales provide a little more wiggle room to be a bit more daring with strong colors and patterns!


What's the best piece of advice you could give readers looking to freshen up their own coastal style? Invest in a few classic pieces of furniture that can stand the test of time (I always like a good slipcover because you can wash them) and then look to flea markets, garage and estate sales, and reinvented pieces to fill in. One-of-a-kind finds and vintage pieces can add character and layers of interest. If you get stuck, take a photo of the room and then study it on your computer objectively to identify where and what the space lacks.

Stay tuned for more styling tips and insider insight from Liz in parts two and three of this Secrets of a Stylist series.