Noor Tagouri’s Dream Mountain Retreat
Noor Tagouri is a world builder. Starting her career as a local reporter at the age of sixteen, Noor is a celebrated activist, dedicated investigative journalist, and an innovative storyteller. Through social media, speaking tours, documentaries, podcasts, and her production company At Your Service, she focuses on issues affecting marginalized communities and uplifting voices and stories often ignored in media. We have been huge admirers of Noor's for years, so we were incredibly excited to partner with her and her husband Adam on styling their new home. Set mountainside in upstate New York, their new space will double as Camp/us, the headquarters for AYS. We also got the chance to sit down with Noor, discussing using new media to build community, the vital lessons learned being an entrepreneur, and how important it is to curate your home with deeply personal accents.
You have been a journalist, activist, and speaker since you were 16 years old. Tell us a little bit about how you got into this work so early.
I’ve been asking questions and telling stories since I was a toddler. I didn’t know I could do this for a living until my dad explained that the name for it was a journalist! So, I began writing for local papers when I was 16 and went into radio, local TV, digital, documentaries, podcasts—and now I'm doing a mixture of it all! I was so vocal about my dreams of being a journalist, and I got my start by sharing my story on social media. At the time, I was performing spoken word poetry (a healing tool I used for myself), and then I started getting requests to speak at universities. I didn’t realize until then I could do this professionally!
We have been following your account on social media for years and love how you perfectly blend your beautiful sense of style and using your platform to be a voice for the marginalized. Tell us a little bit about how you got started turning social media into a full-time career.
I got on social media when I was 16 because my mom was sick of me using her Facebook to stalk my friends, haha. I wasn’t into it at first but realized I could use it to build community. I started by sharing an online “Good Deed Opportunity” campaign that helped in building my family's ISeeYou Foundation meant to alleviate local homelessness. Then, it became the platform that I would share my reporting on, even before I had real journalism jobs. Sometimes those stories would do better than the viewership on the local news! Adam, my now husband and manager, helped build my brand into a media outlet itself where we produce the series we want to see. We feel so lucky to support that work with our behind-the-scenes brand consulting company, At Your Service. At AYS, we work with brands to tell their stories through a lens of service to the community.
Shop Noors' Home
What is the most important thing you have learned throughout your career?
Reassurance is futile. I learned this from my mentor Seth Godin. He taught me that if we are to be pioneers at the forefront of changing the world, then we are going to be uncomfortable. And more so, people’s reassurance or validation won’t make you feel better because they don’t have the answers either!
What made you and Adam choose upstate New York for your new home?
We had stayed upstate at our friend’s mountain home last year and fell in love with the mountains. Adam started looking for a weekend place upstate, and when the pandemic happened, he started looking harder. We decided we wanted to establish the At Your Service HQ in nature to cultivate connection and creativity. It has been so amazing!
For those heading upstate to visit, what is the one thing you must do?
There’s tons of incredible food here—our favorites include Silvia’s, Cucina, Dixon’s Roadside, Tinker Taco Lab, Shindig, and so many others! I'd say the best thing to do up here is going hiking and vintage shopping. If you go to Tinker Taco Lab, my favorite local taco spot, then Three Turtle Doves is an amazing vintage shop.
What was your design process for designing this home?
We got a LOT of advice from our friends and mentors, Jenna Lyons and Phillip Lim. The process meant a lot of FaceTimes and Pinterest boards. Adam has an incredible design eye and is such a talented curator, so he went all-in on this project and likes to refresh the look all the time. We wanted all of the furniture and art to mean something to us.
How would you describe your home’s design style?
It’s definitely mountain farmhouse taste with a distinctive North African energy. My family is Libyan and Adam's is Moroccan, so we wanted to blend the North African and American identities.
What is your favorite space in your home?
Right now, I'd say definitely around our fireplace and surrounded by books.
You have now bought and redecorated a home, any tips for those out there about to do the same?
It is one of the hardest things you’ll do—especially if it is your first time (it was ours), so go easy on yourself and know that everything will get done. Don’t be attached to a timeline, it’s nearly impossible to have everything go as planned. Use second-hand or vintage pieces to make your house feel more lived-in and like a home. It feels so comfortable. If there are rooms you know you will be remodeling down the line, have fun with the design and colors now. Even if you think it’ll be tacky later, enjoy it! Do what makes you happy.
Three accounts we all need to be following on Instagram:
What is next for you and AYS?
We are working on new podcast series, a new investigative series, and a public speaking course! I’m so excited to continue bringing people the experience of a story through different mediums.