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For Shannon Skoug, the Owner and Design Principal of Modernfolk Design, midcentury interior design comes naturally.
Having studied interior design, Shannon has worked in a wide range of design field roles. She’s tackled a Herman Miller showroom, a large architecture firm that focused on commercial and institutional design, as well as boutique residential firms. Despite loving aspects of each of these roles, none were really a perfect fit.
So began Modernfolk‚ her full-service interior design and home staging studio that, “gives nod to Northwest Modern and Midcentury Modern design. We specialize in creating curated spaces through the use of modern and vintage elements,” says Shannon.Courtesy of Shannon Skoug
2 of 10Entrepreneurial Spirit
So what leads a designer to start their own business? For Shannon, the first step came in the form of her daughter.
“Two and a half years ago, my amazing daughter June was born. I took about 18 months off to stay home with her, which really allowed me to do some soul-searching,” says Shannon.
Missing the design field and still wanting to find her niche within it needed to balance with Shannon’s desire to be a working mom.Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo Courtesy of Shannon Skoug
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Over drinks late last December, her best friend Lauren mentioned the idea of Shannon starting her own company—one that would meld her love of architecture and real estate with interior design.
“Four days later (literally), I filed the papers with the state of Oregon, called on my business attorney to draft a services agreement, and Modernfolk was officially born,” says Shannon. “I owe a lot to Lauren for being able to see that I was ready to take on this challenge and for lovingly pushing me to follow a lifelong dream of owning a successful company.”Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo Courtesy of Shannon Skoug
4 of 10Q&A with Shannon of Modernfolk Design
Why are you drawn to Midcentury design?
Ever since my early days in design school, I have been drawn to the beauty of mid mod design for its clean lines and organic curves. The architecture is unparalleled and I am fascinated with the angular details, asymmetrical profiles, and simplicity of materials used. I especially love the marrying of indoor and outdoor living spaces that became so prominent during this era of design.Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo Courtesy of Shannon Skoug
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Tell us about your design process. How do you approach projects and where do you turn to for inspiration?
“At the start of every project there is always that panic moment where I think, ‘Oh, shit… What have I done? Can I really do this?’ Typically, I will head out on a run to clear my mind and it’s in those moments that I’ll have some clarity over the design and the project.”
Shannon gravitates towards nature to find elements of design that can turn into details within her work. Simplicity plays a big role in much of her work as it serves to highlight architecture while ushering in a sense of serenity.Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo Courtesy of Shannon Skoug
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Which project stands out as a favorite?
Marisa Swenson’s home was one of my favorite projects I’ve ever worked on. Finding a balance between honoring the architecture of her home but also adding personality and flair was an exciting challenge.
On top of that, understanding that spaces photograph much differently than how they appear in person really pushed me scale back and choose only the pieces that would speak the most for the aesthetic we were going for.Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo by Daniel Blue
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How to you strike a balance of simplicity and personality?
My general rule of thumb, no matter what aesthetic I’m designing for, is 70/30.
Seventy percent of the elements I bring to the design, whether that be color, furnishings, materials, or decor will be true to the style I’m going for. The other 30% will bring in other eras or styles of design that blend well with the desired aesthetic.
I have found that if you lean too heavily into any given era of design, the final product will come out feeling more like a museum and less like an inviting, livable space.Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo by Daniel Blue
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Do you have a motto or favorite quote that guides your business / designs?
“A few simple objects are enough, when these are good, multi-use and capable of variation. We avoid thus the slavish pouring of our needs into countless commodities that complicate our daily lives instead of simplifying them and making them easier.” —Marcel Breuer
“Less is more.”—Mies van der Rohe (I find myself repeating that numerous times a day.)Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo Courtesy of Shannon Skoug
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Where do you source home furnishings and accents?
Vintage stores! In Portland, we are so lucky to have some really great mid mod vintage stores that carry higher-end pieces. There also a couple of companies in particular that specialize in the revival of vintage furniture. I have great working relationships with the owners and they are always willing to lend a hand in sourcing if I am looking for a hard-to-find or rare piece.Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo by Daniel Blue
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In your opinion, what’s one piece of furniture or type of accent that every midcentury home needs to have?
I’m a sucker for an Eames rocker—so much so that I have one tattooed on my arm.
Also, COLOR. There’s a lot of despondency and sadness in the world these days, so let’s try to brighten it with a little color here and there.Styling by Shannon Skoug of Modernfolk Design Photo by Daniel Blue