Madelyn, our editor of Stylebook, asked if I would write the introduction for Tamara Saltonstall’s Street Style post after one of the longest days I’ve clocked for TSALT. We had just finished a lengthy photoshoot where we combined an off-site fashion spread for FW16, broke for a quick lunch, and then rallied for another three hours of “speed shooting” — aka documenting as many outfits as possible in the least amount of time. I would say that it was an unusual day, but in all honesty, unusual days are the norm at TSALT.
Tamara and I have known each other for quite some time…I was introduced to her when she became part of the Lyles-Crouch family after moving to Alexandria. We were only acquaintances, but I can recall identifying her as someone who possesses a certain spark. People are attracted to her personality, not to mention her natural beauty. She also has undeniable innate style. By my own definition, innate style comes from a true understanding of yourself.
To her credit, Tamara resists letting her surroundings influence her style here in Alexandria. She has continued to stay very true to her Colorado roots, which encompasses an overall appreciation for the outdoors, and makes sure her children are exposed to that same sense of adventure by making visits home a priority. Our paths would cross only occasionally during those LCTA days, and then one day I discovered she was going to be moving in directly across the street from us on South Fairfax. This was the first sign that the universe wanted something collaborative from our relationship.
The second sign was the afternoon when Tamara invited me over to give her an opinion on her floor installation. We were chatting and she mentioned that we should do something one day. She was not necessarily sure what it would be, but she identified we potentially had a future project on the horizon and more to the point…she said it out loud. That seed lay dormant for maybe two years and then one day I get a call from Tamara. She describes how she has been working with a fantastic woman, Rebecca Dannenberg, and they are producing samples for a clothing collection.
The rest is pretty much history at this point. The universe has had their way and we are now in year two of collaborating, styling, and creating! Two things I cherish about Tamara — her resistance to conformity and her sense of adventure. And what impresses me most? As someone who has been working closely with her for nearly two years now, it’s her fearlessness. Sometimes I wonder if she and I are playing a secret game of chicken. Who will back down from the challenge first? I promise I’m not testing her but she calls my bluff almost every time…which is how TSALT now resides at 106 N. Saint Asaph Street and is full of the most unusual days you can imagine.
How do you spend your time: When I’m not with my three teens Trey, Finn, and Keeley, and my husband Andrew (Salty), I am working and designing at TSALT. Lots of travel to NYC for fabric sourcing and showroom appointments. I try my best to fit some trips to our home and family in Colorado in there somewhere!
Neighborhood: Old Town
How long have you lived in Alexandria? 10 years
Hometown: Aspen, Colorado & West Redding, Connecticut
What brought you to Alexandria? Change of life plans, friends, the small town charm of Old Town partnered with Lyles-Crouch elementary school
What would surprise people about you? I used to barrel race in rodeos and I can fly a single engine plane (Cessna)
You’re a superhero: What’s your power? The power to heal others…be it physical or emotional pain. But the designer in me thinks it would be really fun to just look at someone, click my fingers, and put them in the perfect outfit/color for their body type and situation.
Favorite cocktail: I’m obsessing lately over sparkling water, mint, and crushed ice with a splash of Rose’s lime.
Last book read or movie seen: “The Magnificent Seven.” Salty is a huge Western fan so Keeley and I went with him to the local premiere. We loved it. There’s nothing like a good vs. evil western!
Guilty pleasure: Swedish caviar in a tube. Crazy high in calories and fat but crazy great on toast in the morning. I became addicted when I studied in Sweden and now I can only find it at Zabar’s in NYC.
Phrase you overuse: “Seriously.” It’s a personal romantic joke between Salty and me, but I use it all the time.
Facebook or Instagram? Facebook keeps me connected with friends afar, but Alicia McCaslin is really trying to teach me Instagram!!!
Latest binge watch? Gilmore Girls with Keeley and Supernatural with Finn. (I feel like Jared Padalecki lives with us!)
Bucket list travel destination: African photo safari with the family, and the thermal pools of (Hierapolis) Pamukkale, Turkey
If you could only have one for the rest of your life….which would it be? Wine or coffee? My favorite go-to is Aveda tea, hot or iced, but since Andrew has his own coffee business in Colorado (INK coffee) I should stick to that!
Define your style in three words or less: Classic, Edgy, Equestrian (Comfy)
Editor’s note: Tamara’s always loved her boots! So fashionable, even at a young age.
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: Boots! Always! Be it Valentino or Mucks…boots, boots, boots!
Favorite trend ever: Skinny jeans (great with boots!)
Favorite current trend: Over the knee boots, of course! I also really love the deep jewel tones this fall.
Beauty product you can’t live without: Shiseido sunscreen and stick sunblock that won’t get into your eyes.
Favorite fragrance: La Prairie Midnight Rain
Heels or flats? I love heels. The brick sidewalks in Old Town and Aspen make me steer clear of stilettos though!
Favorite room in your home: The kitchen (or wherever the kids are!). I love to cook and I love to eat!!!
Antiques, Modern or mix? I definitely love a mix
Last item bought for your home: We just completed an addition so it was a huge, comfy sectional that my son Trey picked out. We love it!
Next planned purchase: Not very exciting…a trash compactor for recyclables.
Favorite way to entertain: I thrive on chaos, so spur of the moment works well for me. In Colorado, my husband built a saloon and bandstage on the ranch back in his bachelor days, so we have a lot of barbeques and music going on out there in the summer.
Clutter-free or well lived in: A perfect combination of both! Virginia is more clutter free while Colorado has a ridiculous amount of outdoor gear: skis, boots, bikes, tents, kayaks, rafts, AAAH!!!
Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated: Some of our walls are fabric covered and the rest painted but I’m currently obsessing over a shagreen for our entry and a cool textured faux croc for our powder room (since the cat thought the grass cloth was a scratching post!).
Your go to work out: Skiing or biking (and yoga with Keeley)
Most fun way to exercise: Skiing
Group exercise or solo: I love skiing with my kids, so I guess that’s group slash solo?
Fitness goal: Motivating myself to go to yoga or Pilates more often
Haven’t yet but might be willing to try with coaching/encouragement: a “Zumba-esque” type group fitness. That whole atmosphere is intimidating to me. Or maybe hot yoga…
Proudest fitness achievement: Still able to ski double blacks with my kids. Wow, they’re good!
Favorite spot in Alexandria: The wisteria-covered porch at our house and the far platform at Dyke Marsh. Both are so relaxing.
Last purchase in Alexandria: Black Butter block heels from The Shoe Hive that we used in a shoot and forgot to tape the bottoms and they just happened to be my size!!! Score! They’re terrific for walking in Old Town.
Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot: There are so many great places here! We really enjoy Hank’s Oyster Bar. The new HI-TIDE lounge just recently opened and I love the whole vibe there. (And I hear they pour Key beer!) Virtue is fun to meet up with friends, but our go-to lunch place is probably the Old Dominion Boat Club.
Favorite Charity: Wright to Read
Favorite annual Alexandria event: I’m Swedish and Scottish so the Scottish Walk is my favorite. My grandfather played the bagpipes and I remember him performing in our living room and in parades when I was little in Canada.