What is the first thing you do to design a room?
First, I mentally remove the existing furniture from the room. Then, one-by-one, I carefully place the most appropriate pieces back into the space. I believe a well-appointed room should have a mixture of antiques, sentimental, and new pieces. Assuming construction/demolition is not part of the scope of the project, I then draw up a simple furniture floor plan which will help me determine the pieces I will need to design and shop for.
What’s the secret to styling a mantle?
Balance and light are the key to a well-styled mantle. I tend to use mirrors when styling mantles as the light bouncing off of it will make any room brighter and is one of the oldest design tricks in the book. (thank you, Dorothy Draper!) I then layer in found objects in varying shapes and scales. I like to keep mantle decorations simple and clean. Nothing too cluttered. On occasion, I will add a small pair of lamps to flank the fireplace.
Do you have a designer pet peeve?
Bedroom suites. A full bedroom suite with matching bed, bedside tables, dressers, and mirrors is my biggest pet peeve of all times. Although it may seem like an easy solution when you have a large bedroom to design and decorate, it is not the best choice if you are trying to design a stylish room. Instead, select a beautifully upholstered headboard in a timeless material, bedside tables that are in proportion to your room, and dressers that meet your storage needs. If you love to buy in pairs, light the space with matching lamps to add balance.
What’s a design tip that never fails that you’ve learned over the course of your career?
This one is as old as time… “Measure twice, cut once”