what is your idea of perfect design happiness?
DOING WHATEVER YOU WANNA DO TO YOUR HOME AS LONG AS IT MAKES YOU HAPPY, ACKNOWLEDGES THE ARCHITECTURE AND/OR HISTORY OF THE HOUSE OR BUILDING, ABIDES BY THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN, AND MAKES YOU EXCITED TO COME HOME.
what is your greatest fear in design?
I’M TERRIFIED OF CREATING SPACES THAT ARE CONSIDERED ‘SAFE’ OR ‘TEXTBOOK’; IT’S JUST NOT PART OF MY CONSTITUTION, AND I’D RATHER SELL SLANKETS, SNUGGIES OR SELFIE STICKS FROM A CALL CENTER THAN STICK TO THE STATUS QUO.
which historical design figure do you most identify with?
ALTHOUGH HE'S YOUNG AND STILL KICKING IT BIG-TIME AND THEREFORE NOT NECESSARILY 'HISTORICAL' PER SE, HE'S AN ICON. I LOVE HIS MIX OF CLASSIC AND INDUSTRIAL PIECES AS WELL AS HIS SOMEWHAT CASUAL YET ELEGANT APPROACH TO LIVING. EVERYTHING HE DOES LOOKS COLLECTED AND WELL-CRAFTED AND THERE'S ALWAYS A MASCULINE VIBE AND THAT'S TOTALLY WHAT I'M DRAWN TO.
what turns you on in design?
what turns you off in design?
what is your greatest design extravagance?
REGARDLESS OF BUDGETS BIG OR SMALL, I’M ALWAYS A SUCKER FOR SPENDING ON GOOD ART. WHEN BUDGETS ARE TIGHT, I’LL BUY STUDENT WORKS, INVEST IN HAVING THEM PROFESSIONALLY FRAMED, THEN PAIR THEM WITH BARGAIN FURNITURE FINDS FROM IKEA AND/OR FLEA MARKETS. I THINK GOOD ART ELEVATES THE TASTE LEVEL OF EVERYTHING AROUND IT, AND IT’S AN AMAZING VALUE ENGINEERING TOOL.
which living designer do you most admire?
THREE-WAY TIE: BETSY BURNHAM, MATTHEW QUINN AND JOE LUCAS.
BETSY BURNHAM’S MAGICAL ABILITY TO CREATE PREPPY-ISH, CLASSIC AND EDGY SPACES THAT ARE BOTH CASUAL AND COMFORTABLE BLOWS MY MIND. MATTHEW QUINN’S KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS, I MEAN, THERE’S JUST NO WAY TO DESCRIBE THEM OTHER THAN SAYING MATTHEW’S IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN. JOE LUCAS HAS MASTERED THE TRANSITIONAL AESTHETIC, SO MUCH SO THAT I FREQUENTLY STALK HIS WEBSITE TO SEE IF HE'S POSTED ANY NEW PROJECTS.
what profession other than design would you like to attempt?
ICELANDIC AND GREENLANDIC OFFROADING TOUR GUIDE. PRETTY SPECIFIC, RIGHT? YEAH, I KNOW. I'M ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED WITH ICELAND AND GREENLAND AND LANDSCAPES THAT LOOK LIKE MARS KINDA. IN A PERFECT WORLD, I WOULD HAVE AN AMAZING ATTIC APARTMENT IN REYKJAVIK AND SPEND SEPTEMBER THROUGH DECEMBER TAKING PEOPLE OUT TO SEE THINGS THAT ARE OTHERWORLDLY.
when and where were you happiest with your design?
HGTV DREAM HOME 2016 IN MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA.
IT'S A 3300-SQUARE-FOOT LUXURY HOME ON THE WATER AND I REALLY REINVENTED WHAT FLORIDIAN STYLE MEANS TO ME. THIS IS PROBABLY THE LARGEST PROJECT I'VE EVEN DESIGNED AND I'M REALLY PROUD OF HOW IT'S TURNED OUT. IN FACT, THE ENTIRE HOUSE GOES LIVE ON HGTV.COM THIS WEEK. MY FAVORITE ROOM OF ALL IS THE TERRACE LEVEL BEDROOM WHICH IS SIMPLE AND COVERED IN WHITE WITH SPLASHES OF FRENCH BLUE THAT PICK UP IN THE SICK VIEW OUTSIDE THE WINDOW.
what do you regard as the lowest depths of misery in design?
NOT HAVING ANY TASTE WHATSOEVER, GOOD OR BAD.
A LITTLE BAD TASTE CAN BE AWESOME AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING, JUST LIKE GREAT TASTE CAN BE INSPIRING AND MAGNIFICENT. BUT JUST NOT CARING WHAT YOUR HOME SAYS ABOUT YOU AT ALL, THAT I CAN’T GET MY HEAD AROUND. I SAY THIS AS I SIT IN MY OFFICE IN PAJAMAS, SPORTING A T-SHIRT STAINED WITH ICE CREAM AND WEARING A SOCK ON ONLY ONE FOOT…SO CONSIDERING THE SOURCE HERE IS KEY.
what is your favorite design related word?
TIE! PERPENDICULAR AND MONOCHROMATIC.
what is your least favorite design related word?
what do you consider your greatest achievement in design?
I’M REALLY PROUD OF MY RANGE.
I HAVE THIS OBSESSION WITH NEVER BEING A ONE-TRICK PONY AND THRIVE ON HAVING CLIENTS WITH COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STYLES SO I CAN CONSTANTLY FINE-TUNE MY AESTHETIC. AS A DESIGNER, I'M INHERENTLY MASCULINE AND PREPPY AND FAVOR DARK COLORS, BUT I'VE DONE TONS OF TRADITIONAL FEMININE SPACES, ENTIRE HOMES VOID OF COLOR, COTTAGES COVERED IN PASTELS, BACHELOR PADS PACKED WITH HIGH-ENERGY HUES, WHITE-ON-WHITE ROOMS AND EVEN CLASSIC COUNTRY HOMES.
if you died and came back as another designer or design object,
who or what do you think it would be?
AXEL VERVOORDT (ABOVE).
I WANT TO COME BACK AND DO NOTHING BUT DESIGN AND DECORATE CASTLES IN A MANNER THAT’S TOTALLY CASUAL, COMFY AND UN-CASTLE-ISH.
what specific design related talent are you lacking
that you would you most like to have?
I’M JUST NOT GOOD AT IT. I LIKE SO MANY THINGS THAT I FIND THE ART OF EDITING TOUGH ENOUGH, LET ALONE SCALING BACK SO MUCH THAT THERE ARE ONLY A HANDFUL OF OBJECTS IN A ROOM. I REALLY WANT TO LEARN TO EDIT MORE, LIKE BETH WEBB, BRIAN PAQUETTE OR KAY DOUGLASS.
what is your most treasured design related possession?
A POP ART PAINTING OF FISHER PRICE LITTLE PEOPLE BY ARTIST JONATHAN FENSKE (ABOVE). IT’S CALLED ‘CHIVALRY IS DEAD’ AND IT’S A LITTLE PLASTIC KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR RIDING ON HIS LITTLE PLASTIC HORSE AND IT JUST MAKES ME SO HAPPY WHICH IS TOTALLY MESSED UP BECAUSE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE KINDA SAD. WTF?
what curse word do you most frequently use?
BELIEVE IT OR NOT THE CURSE WORD I USE MOST IS NOT EVEN A CURSE WORD PER SE, BUT JUST A WORD THAT SOMETIMES SOUNDS CURSE-Y: 'BALLZ'. THE PLURAL OF BALL BUT WITH A HARD Z INSTEAD OF AN S. TRY IT LIKE AFTER YOU STUB YOUR TOE OR SOMETHING; IT TOTALLY WORKS.
what is your motto in design?
ROSES ARE RED. VIOLETS ARE BLUE...
AND THEREFORE THERE IS NO REASON FOR YOUR HOME TO BE BEIGE.
ABOUT PROUST ON DESIGN // Answered by our 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 this column, we have put a design related spin on the traditional questions. While this method has been used by many journalists throughout the years, we were primarily inspired by The Proust Questionnaire, which appears monthly on the back page of one of our all time favorite magazines, Vanity Fair (also Krista’s alma mater). Read all of the previous Proust on Design questionnaires here.