Ask the Designer: Bailey McCarthy

Bailey McCarthy is a decorator, store owner and the voice behind hugely popular lifestyle and interiors blog, Peppermint Bliss. She started the blog as a way to keep up with the friends and family that she left in Texas after she moved to Chicago in 2009. After getting involved with the Farrow & Ball ‘City Palettes’ project, The Chromologist stopped by to ask Bailey a few questions about her personal style and inspiration…

5N2A7671TC: How would you describe your personal style? 
BM: Traditional with a twist.

Has having children changed the way you design your homes?

My homes have always had a lot of color and whimsy, but I think having children has made me value comfort more. I don’t believe in baby-proofing my things, nothing is more valuable or precious than my children so if there is something that I wouldn’t want them to touch or possibly break it doesn’t come into my home.

What’s your favourite space to design?
I am most inspired by color and textiles, so bedrooms are the most fun for me! Our Biscuit Bedding has so many great colors and patterns, I am always delighted coming up with new ways to work with them.

Texas is one big state! Is it true that each region is really so different?
The big cities definitely have their own identities- Houston is thought of as more casual and friendly, Dallas is flashy and glamorous, Austin is crunchy and creative, and San Antonio has the history and a great Mexican cultural influence. But even beyond that, the smaller towns throughout the state have so much to offer as well. We have dessert, prairie, hill-country, and beaches and each climate has its own character and culture!

Where in Texas do you feel most inspired?
I love the creative energy in Austin, and the spare beauty in places like Marfa- but I think my hometown of Houston is experiencing its own creative resurgence and it’s a really fun time to be here. I love that Houston has such a strong entrepreneurial tradition that is more inspiring than competitive.

Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season are around the corner. How will you and your family celebrate this year?
We will spend Thanksgiving this year out at our new/old house in the country we have lovingly dubbed “The Shmamptons”. We purchased the 1910 farmhouse in August and have been working the past few months renovating it to get it ready for the Holidays. I will cook way too much food for my little family, and we will have leftovers for days. Which is really the best part!

Emily Johnston_McCarthy Houston 2

Your store, Biscuit (a term you coined meaning “bed”) is amazing-congrats! Why is the idea of the “bed” and all its accoutrements so important to you? 
I went to boarding school for high school and when you share a room, your bed is really your only personal space and mine became my little home away from home. My mom has always cared about good bedding, and taught me early on about a thread count and how to properly fluff your bed situation. As I have started my own family there is definitely less sleep, but the times I spend snuggling my children in our bed I am aware are the best in life.

The exterior of Biscuit has an incredible ‘paint job.’ Clearly you love colour as much as Farrow & Ball does! How did this concept come to be?

The idea behind our bedding line has always been to take a traditional luxury, and give it an edge- which is what we did with our new space and the #biscuitpaintwall. Our building is in the Houston arts district and has amazing old bones that its existing paint job didn’t do justice to. We started by painting the whole building a classic but bold black with white trim. It immediately made the building super chic- but then we needed to bring the fun. We commissioned a local graffiti artist to create the mural that would look like we poured all of the colors in our bedding line down the side of the building.

The colourful wall of Biscuit

The colourful wall of Biscuit

I am obsessed with out it turned out, the juxtaposition of the posh black & white and manicured greenery with the joyfully riotous color puts me in the best mood when I pull up every morning for work. It’s the tension between messy and perfection, old and new, polish and patina that makes things truly beautiful.

We’ve noticed you’ve thrown some incredible parties. Who would be on your dream dinner party guest list?

I take this question super seriously, like maybe I am declaring my plans for this Saturday night? Here’s to hoping: Bill Murray (party starter), Beyonce (because obviously and I’m hoping Beyonce is contagious and I can catch it), Wes Anderson (because he is my favorite everything), Derek Jeter (I don’t watch sports or anything, but I was really moved by the collective outpouring for him this year and want to get in on that positivity) Amy Sedaris (instigator), and Anna Kendrick (she seems like a team player).

Favourite vacation you’ve ever taken? Favourite vacation you’re dreaming of taking?

My best friend and I took a road trip over six weeks the fall after we graduated from college from Houston to Montreal and back. To get to see so much of the country, spend hours talking about life with my best friend, and be so truly free- it was an experience that was as fun at the time as it is to remember.

My dream vacation would be to cruise the Rhine River with my family from top to bottom in the Fall. In my head we are on our own charming barge, dressed in smart layers of camel colored cashmere and plaid, eating spaetzel and drinking everything.

Here’s Bailey’s City palette, inspired by the beautiful state of Texas

And her inspiration (from Peppermint Bliss blog)…

The Chromologist


The Chromologist is a colour whisperer. He understands and knows them better than they know themselves, translating their pleas to be used beautifully for humankind. It's unknown from whence he came. Some say the fraction of space between a prism and a spectrum, others say he toiled in the fabled colour mines of Svalbard for years untold, deep underground, speaking only to the reds and blues, cerises and aquas, bronze and golds...

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist