OPinion Leaders: The Home Edit’s Clea + Joanna on Keeping things Pretty in a Pandemic

The duo behind organization of the much-Instagrammed—and envied—homes on how they got started.

Courtesy of The Home Edit (@thehomeedit).

“When we launched our company, we had a very clear objective…transform the way people think about organization,” explain Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, the duo behind The Home Edit. If you’re not familiar, The Home Edit was founded in 2015 after the two had found success individually. “We weren’t satisfied being just another couple of organizers who could sort things into bins and use a label maker.” Fast forward to the present and the two have two New York Times bestselling books, a Netflix series, a YouTube channel backed by client and friend, Reese Witherspoon, and a collection to help everyone achieve their organization dreams at The Container Store. “We wanted to showcase the magical sweet spot that exists where form meets function, when spaces are efficient, user-friendly, and beautiful all at once.” And as 2020 proved to be the year of the home, we wanted to find out the team’s tips for success and a styled aesthetic ahead of the New Year.

A shot of a bookcase done for Gwyneth Paltrow. Courtesy of The Home Edit (@thehomeedit).

“My grandmother [told] me that glass cabinets were to display, “your prettiest and most precious items,” shares Shearer. “It always made me consider what items were stored and what was displayed.” Shearer credits both her grandmother and mother for her astute eye and approach. “It not only makes sections of your home more enjoyable to look at, but it also inspires people to maintain it—and that’s kind of the whole point.” Viewers of the pair’s popular Netflix show, Get Organized with The Home Edit, have seen their impressive celebrity clients including Eva Longoria Bastón, Khloé Kardashian, and Neil Patrick Harris, fawn over their results while preserving the look.

Paltrow’s pantry, arranged and labeled for ease and convenience. Courtesy of The Home Edit (@thehomeedit).

“Uniformity and balance are both key,” says the pair, adding, “make it smart, then make it pretty! The system you create should fit your lifestyle and the space itself.” Teplin admits that she’s always been focused on space optimization. “My first design memory was rearranging the various little collections on the bookshelf in my childhood room,” adds Teplin. It’s a skill that both apply to each part of the process. “The smallest touch can make a space shine, from a favorite handbag displayed on an acrylic riser to books on a shelf, sorted in rainbow order.”

David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris’s children’s playroom featuring a multicolor, oversize Medicom figurine. Courtesy of The Home Edit (@thehomeedit)

For David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris’s New York brownstone, the duo transformed the couples’s children’s playroom through a neutral palette punctuated by colorful objects and a festive rug. “It’s also important to create a focal point, or what we refer to as a ‘moment’.” Creating those spaces, like dressing, requires an elegant composition. “Determine the aesthetic of your home or space and let that style lead the way,” says the pair. “Having mismatched pieces makes a space look disheveled and disconnected. If you decide to mix products, just make sure the items look intentional together.”

A detail inside Reese Witherspoon’s wardrobe which includes outfits from Big Little Lies and Legally Blonde. Courtesy of The Home Edit (@thehomeedit).

As for how the two got through this year, it’s been filled with the New York Times and Washington Post, podcasts, TikTok, and Zoom. “I never thought I’d say [it],” says Shearer of the app. “I wouldn’t say I’m addicted but I definitely enjoy it...like, a lot. Scrolling sparks my creativity and I’ll gladly admit that.” For Teplin, it’s the ability to bounce ideas off her co-founder and team, even virtually. “Having to brainstorm ideas by phone or Zoom was definitely a struggle at first,” she says. “Thankfully, we’ve always kind of had an unconventional approach to decision making. Whenever analyze things until we are blue in the face. We just take it day by day,trust our intuition, and just do.” As for what’s next, expect to see a new season on Netflix this upcoming fall and lots more innovation. Teplin’s best piece of advice? “Even if an idea doesn’t work out as planned, it can still lead us to new opportunities. That in itself is important to remember!”

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