Shea McGee of ‘Dream Home Makeover’ says storage is key in well-designed homes

'I love styling woven baskets around my house, they’re beautiful but also make for easy, functional storage'

As the world binge-watched seasons one and two of Dream Home Makeover through the pandemic, it made Studio McGee – made up of Shea McGee and her family – a household name.

Despite having two hit Netflix shows, a collection in Target, a line of interiors and a new book to their name in 2021, McGee and her husband Syd are most ecstatic about the arrival of their third baby girl later this year. The duo are already parents to Wren and Ivy.

McGee talks to The National about how she makes her home work hard for her as she seemingly does it all – parenting, helming a TV show, designing for her clients, heading up a huge studio and working on a brand empire that will soon include a children’s interior line – with a smile on her face.

Shea McGee in the Great Room. Photo courtesy: Studio McGee
Shea McGee in the so-called Great Room in her home. Courtesy Studio McGee

With a new baby on the way, McGee has been considering her own home and how it may need to adapt. “We originally had a guest room planned upstairs, but luckily, I hadn’t quite gotten around to designing it. We’ll now be turning that space into a nursery for baby girl McGee. In the rest of the home, we are definitely going to be removing the decor from our ottoman, adding a baby gate and taking away the plates from the open shelves on our island."

I’m a big fan of performance fabrics that clean up easily

Shea McGee, design influencer

Baby-proofing a home is a big question for most parents. Is it better to move furniture around and hide everything to accommodate the baby, or teach them to respect their environment right off the bat? “I think it’s a balance,” she says. “Our home decor at a toddler’s reach is very minimal until kids are about 3 and just don’t really know any better. But then as they grow, we definitely teach them where the horseplay can take place – they can jump on their beds and build forts and make messes, but no eating on the velvet couch, for example. I’m also a big fan of performance fabrics that clean up easily.”

For many families, more than one child and a busy work schedule often means the home front is left to wilt and look rather unloved. Finding ways to make a space at once homely, well designed and functional is tough. But McGee has a top tip to counter this: “Everything has a place is my motto when it comes to teaching my kids to help clean up with me.

Wren's bedroom in the McGee home, complete with a discreet storage basket. Photo courtesy: Studio McGee
Wren's bedroom in the McGee home, complete with a discreet storage basket. Courtesy Studio McGee

"With kids, you have to make storage easy. I love styling woven baskets around my house, they’re beautiful but also make for easy, functional storage – I hide toys, blankets and shoes in baskets around the home.

"I also keep storage bins in the children’s closets to keep their toys organised and out of sight. If everything has a place in the home, then it’s easy for the kids – or me – to pick up after play time.”

Storage baskets in the UAE

If you fancy taking a leaf out of McGee's book, here are a range of options of storage baskets available in the UAE, to suit various budgets:

Home Centre, Dh35

A handcrafted round storage basket that is stylish and eco-friendly, this is ideal to stash blankets or sort smaller items within a wardrobe. Its neutral tones fit into most interiors, while you can add different sizes or a trio for maximum display value.

H&M, Dh99

The brand's jute basket is also the perfect selection for storing toys or smaller items around the home. It's easy to walk around while adding to it, then stash away for another day. It looks great and can be easily grabbed by its top handles for on-the-go play dates.

Zara Home, Dh159

A great novelty basket for the children's room, this is made with woven seagrass and features a fun colourful design with a toggle closure. It will look great on a shelf to store little trinkets.

Bound No82, Dh282

Local to Abu Dhabi, Bound No82 sources baskets and design elements from all over the globe including some stunning woven gourd bowls. The baskets are handwoven using natural plant fibres such as Llala and Indaza, which are grown in Bulawayo. Each is unique in size and shape, adding individuality to the display design, and is perfect for storing all those entranceway items such as keys, wallets, glasses, masks and all those smaller items that often clutter the home.

West Elm, Dh625

If you're looking to store larger items, then this lidded modern weave basket in handwoven rattan peel and whitewashed is the one. The stylish neutral basket can magic away all those extra cushions and large toys that litter the home and get it tidy quickly.

Published: June 10, 2021 08:33 AM

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