what is your idea of perfect design happiness?
anne | THE ABILITY TO CHANNEL OUR CLIENTS’ HOPES AND DREAMS
TO A RESULT EVEN GREATER THAN THEY EVER IMAGINED.
suysel | SURROUNDING MYSELF WITH THINGS I HAVE COLLECTED
OR ACQUIRED THROUGHOUT MY LIFE.
what is your greatest fear in design?
anne | SAFETY.
suysel | FURNITURE NOT FITTING IN ELEVATORS! NYC REALITY!
which historical design figure do you most identify with?
anne | DOROTHY DRAPER.
suysel | MADELEINE CASTAING.
HER TIMELESS INTERIORS HAVE ALWAYS SPOKEN TO ME
AND HER RAYURE FLEURIE TOILE FABRIC
IS PROBABLY MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE (below).
which living designer do you most admire?
anne | MILES REDD.
suysel | THE MAN WHO TRAINED AND MENTORED ME – MARKHAM ROBERTS.
I AM IN AWE OF HIS INNATE ABILITY TO LAYER PATTERNS AND MIX ANTIQUES
WITH MODERN PIECES SO EFFORTLESSLY.
what profession other than design would you like to attempt?
anne | GENEALOGIST.
suysel | I THINK I WOULD HAVE FOLLOWED IN MY FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS
AND GONE THE CRAZY COSTUME DESIGN ROUTE – LOVE SEQUINS AND RUFFLES!
what is your greatest design extravagance?
anne | SUYSEL, MY DESIGN PARTNER IS THE ULTIMATE LUXURY
WHEN MAKING DESIGN DECISIONS.
“AM I OUT OF MY MIND CRAZY OR DO YOU LOVE IT?”
suysel | CHRISTOPHER SPITZMILLER LAMPS.
THE COLORS ARE SO AMAZING AND THEY CAN TRANSFORM A ROOM (below).
when and where were you happiest with your design?
anne | UPON SEEING HIS NEW APARTMENT COMPLETE FOR THE FIRST TIME,
THE 11 YEAR OLD SON OF A CLIENT SAID
“I WAS WORRIED. THIS WALLPAPER DECISION WAS BOLD,
BUT IT REALLY PAID OFF!”
suysel | SAME AS ANNE’S!
what do you consider your greatest achievement in design?
anne | STILL WORKING. WE’VE HAD LOTS OF MOMENTS OF PRIDE
SINCE WE OPENED OUR COMPANY IN 2010, BUT ALWAYS STRIVING FOR MORE.
suysel | WHEN WE ARE ABLE TO PUSH CLIENTS PAST THEIR COMFORT ZONE
AND THEY THANK US FOR DOING SO.
if you died and came back as another designer or design object,
who or what do you think it would be?
anne | I’D COME BACK AS ANY OBJECT FOR SALE AT ANTONY TODD.
I WOULD KNOW I WAS GOOD IN MY PAST LIFE TO BE SO EXQUISITE IN THIS ONE.
suysel | AN YVES KLEIN BLEUE TABLE – IT’S A SHOWSTOPPER!
what specific design related talent are you lacking that you would you most like to have?
anne | BEING ABLE TO BETTER VERBALIZE THE END RESULT OF DESIGN DECISIONS.
SOMETIMES “TRUST US” DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK!
suysel | WISH I COULD SEW CURTAINS!
what is your most treasured design related possession?
anne | A JAMES ROSENQUIST SCREEN PRINT CALLED “FOR THE YOUNG ARTIST”
THAT HANGS IN MY SOON-TO-BE DAUGHTER’S NURSERY (above).
I CAN’T WAIT TO KNOW HER AND WHETHER SHE’LL BE A YOUNG ARTIST (LIKE ME),
OR INTERESTED IN SPORTS LIKE MY HUSBAND, OR BOTH OR NEITHER!
suysel | PAIR OF VINTAGE TESSELLATED HORN CHAIRS
IN THE STYLE OF FRANCES ELKINS, WITH HORSEHAIR SEATS (below).
what do you regard as the lowest depths of misery in design?
anne | NEUTRAL AND STARK.
suysel | ROOMS WITHOUT ART, BOOKS AND ACCESSORIES.
what curse word do you most frequently use?
anne | BUMMER.
suysel | IT’S IN SPANISH :)
what is your favorite design related word?
anne | ESCUTCHEON. HOW FUN TO PRONOUNCE?!
suysel | WALLPAPER!
what is your least favorite design related word?
anne | MATCHY-MATCHY.
suysel | TRANSITIONAL.
what turns you on in design?
anne | ANYTHING I HAVEN’T SEEN BEFORE.
suysel | UNEXPECTED WHIMSY.
what turns you off in design?
anne | ANYTHING TOO TRENDY.
suysel | ROOMS THAT AREN’T LAYERED.
what is your motto in design?
anne | UNDER THE RIGHT GUIDANCE, MORE IS MORE!
suysel | QUALITY IS REMEMBERED LONG AFTER THE PRICE IS FORGOTTEN.
ABOUT TILTON FENWICK | Tilton Fenwick is a boutique interior design firm started by Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham in 2010. Built on a mutual appreciation for traditional aesthetic with a fresh perspective, the firm embraces the unexpected in both color and pattern while always infusing comfort.
IMAGE CREDITS | Images courtesy of Tilton Fenwick; the recent New York Times article covering the design firm, Colors To Make Dumbo Crush; Madeleine Castaing sketch via Martha Stewart as it appears in Deborah Needleman’s The Perfectly Imperfect Home.
ABOUT PROUST ON DESIGN | Answered by my design icons, these must-ask questions come from a 19th century parlor game made popular by Marcel Proust, the French novelist, essayist & critic. Proust believed the direct questions and honest responses that they elicited revealed the true nature of the individual. For the purpose of this column, I put a design related spin on the traditional questions.
While this method of questioning has been used by many journalists throughout the years, I was primarily inspired by The Proust Questionnaire, which appears monthly on the back page of Vanity Fair magazine (my alma mater).
Read the complete series of Proust on Design interviews with Madeline Weinrib, Todd Nickey & Amy Kehoe of Nickey Kehoe, Michelle Nussbaumer, Serena Dugan of Serena & Lily, John Robshaw, Mally Skok, Katie Leede, Peter Dunham, Seema Krish and Zak Profera of ZAK+FOX. If you would like to be considered for this column, please contact me at info(at)clothandkind(dot)com.