You've likely seen her work without knowing it, whether on TV or while searching for cat videos on YouTube. Mallory Guraya is an SF-based broadcast producer who has worked on campaigns including Adobe and Cheetos Sweetos.
Having worked in advertising for 10 years, she knew producing was for her. She loves her "creative and fun" role where each project is a new experience, and her career nurtures both her organizational drive and her bohemian, artistic side—which is reflected in her home as well as in her work.
"I enjoy managing projects and budgets and getting things done," Guraya says. "But I've also got a creative side to me and this role allows me to do both. There's also something very tangible about being a producer. Once a job is done and you see it on TV or online, it's gratifying to feel like you were a part of that. You know every little detail about what went into making [it], and it's a proud feeling to have."
As Guraya travels frequently for work and can be on a project for months at a time, finding balance and having a grounded home that inspires her is key. She tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle by bringing her routines with her, but it's at home that she gathers all of her inspiration.
"A project can last a few months and can be time and travel intensive....When I'm deep in a project, no day ever seems to be the same; that can be exciting. But when I'm home, I like to slow down and incorporate a daily routine of homemade smoothies, exercise (spin classes or running by the Bay), reading, and checking my Instagram for daily inspiration."
Her Marina studio, which she describes as "eclectic, bohemian chic," is undeniably worthy of Instagrams.
"I'm super selective about what I buy to decorate my place so I tend to acquire things that will hopefully last me a long time."
Guraya, perched on her West Elm sofa. "I'm always impressed with West Elm's evolving style and selection. They've got such interesting pieces, at a great price point, that I always find myself shopping there."
The photos hanging on Guarana's wall are from her trip to India and Nepal. The "Circle of Life" print was handmade by monks in Nepal. "I think the hardest part of decorating my place was starting my mini-gallery wall! I've been so blessed to travel the world, and in turn, I have so many photos it was hard to narrow them down to the perfect pieces to frame. They all remind me of incredible experiences, that I want to share with others, but there is only so much wall space in a studio! I didn't actually start hanging anything until I had lived in my place for about a year!"
"Not everything has to match perfectly! Experiment with various shades and patterns of the same color," Guraya says.
"A lot of the one of a kind pieces I've found traveling have come from little shops that have been recommended to me by locals. Ask around if you're looking for something in particular or even for home decor inspiration."
Guraya's bookcase was handmade in California. All of her seashells were collected on various trips to Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, Hawaii, Portugal, and Italy.
Guraya's love for textiles shows in her furnishings. The white floral pillows were hand-embroidered and purchased during her trip to San Gimignano, Italy.
"I have a beautiful painting of two nude tango dancers that I purchased with my last $50 while traveling in Argentina. I saw the painting at the outdoor market and fell in love with it, but I was on a tight budget backpacking at the time. After agonizing over what a beautiful keepsake it would be, I purchased it from the artist. He was so excited I was taking it back to California with me. It's made with water colors, splashes of cafe con leche, and there's antique lace (for the woman's garter belt)."
"I tend to find a lot of local artists through the various craft fairs we have in SF. I always stumble upon someone great, so I'll follow them on IG or social media to keep up with their products and where they're selling them."
Guraya admits that she barely eats at her kitchen table, but rather uses it as a workspace.
"My decor inspires me because I've created a space for myself that is comfortable, calming, and inviting. And because of that, I love spending time at home working on my side projects. A lot of my decor is inspired by my everyday life because I work in a very creative field. I'm always learning about new art, photographers, designers, textiles, etc. I also travel a lot for work and pleasure, and I've collected amazing pieces along the way.
You'll see elements of her family and roots as well as her travels in her home. Her design aesthetic embodies rich colors, patterns, and textures of Northern India where her father is from; while she connects with the "deep spirituality" in New Mexico, where her mother lives, "that expresses itself through the art, people, and landscape." Guraya's decor does in fact hold spiritually inspired pieces with photos from India and a Buddhist painting and intricate trinkets from Nepal. She explains that despite collecting pieces from around the world, she is very mindful about how she adds decor elements without creating clutter.
"I'm really selective (and frugal) with what I decide to buy and bring home. I'll usually know exactly where I want to put something when I see it too. There are exceptions of course! If it's something one-of-a-kind that might not have a place yet, I'll splurge because I know it'll be a timeless piece I can use in my future. I do have 2 tupperware bins in the closet with extra rugs, blankets, and pillow cases I collected in India that are awaiting their use!"
Guraya's thoughtful consideration allows for creating a welcoming space that is also functional and practical; essential for city living. For her studio, she follows a rule that everything should have a story, reason or use for it - everything must have meaning and purpose.
"That philosophy applies very well to decorating a small space. Try to choose items that not only make you happy but that can be part of a functional design too. And get creative with how you store and use things. For instance, my antique dresser is also being used as a stand for my flatscreen tv."
It makes sense that in her free time, she also started doing interior styling under the name Collected Style.
"I was getting a lot of compliments on my decorating style and it dawned on me that I could really do something with it," Guraya explains. "Getting to know the individual I'm styling for is very important to me. Not only do I enjoy learning about that person, but I want to make sure I'm pulling in elements that will make them happy and fit their personality. I have my own style, but it might not work for everyone."
Photography by Gillian Walsworth.