The Style Files: Alexa Hampton

Alexa Hampton Portrait

Known for her classically-influenced, elegant work, Alexa Hampton is an enigma of sorts. She is design royalty, the daughter of legendary interior designer Mark Hampton whose eponymous firm she has helmed since 1998. Since then, Alexa has completed projects the world over, published design books, and created a brand that includes furniture with Hickory Chair, lighting with Visual Comfort, as well as fabrics and trims for Kravet. She is fiercely intelligent and articulate, yet is also one of the most approachable and down to earth people I have ever met in this industry. She is hilarious, with a disarming, boisterous laugh and a contagious joie de vivre. She makes everyone around her feel welcome and will have you laughing in mere moments. When I say she is an enigma, I mean that Alexa isn’t someone you can take at face value. If you did, you’d be missing quite a bit, including her true essence. Just wait until she shares what she thinks her home says about her!

While Alexa is one of the foremost interior designers in the country, gracing all of the lists of top designers from Architectural Digest to ELLE DECOR and she’s had her work published in every important publication, she is not what you might expect. Her work is classic, rooted in the most traditional of styles; faithful to the formal elements of design. Yet, Alexa possesses an ease about her. She is genuine and unaffected. In short, she is at once an inspiration and a breath of fresh air. I’ve admired Alexa’s work for many years now and have gotten to know her a bit better over the years from when I worked at Visual Comfort a few years ago to recent trips to High Point, so I am absolutely thrilled to share today’s installment of the Style Files with you. If you don’t already have the pleasure of knowing Alexa Hampton, I’m sure you’ll find a few surprises in her answers and will be smitten with her by the end. Enjoy!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Alexa Hampton: My style is eclectic. However, I am drawn to classic forms, and I prefer logical spaces to impractical ones. Interiors that combine great beauty with livability are always the goal.

Alexa Hampton Vignette

PC: What does your home say about you?

AH: It says that I have a family. It says that I have a fetish for souvenirs of the Grand Tour. It says that I love artwork. But, it also tells lies about my age, saying that I’m older than I am and it deceitfully suggests that I am a formal person and certainly not one who is practically always barefoot, prefers to sit Indian style and frequently walks around in men’s boxer shorts.

Alexa Hampton Living Room

 

PC: Has living in New York influenced your aesthetic in any way?

AH: Houses require that their interiors be somewhat appropriate to their exteriors. In New York City, interiors are disembodied from the exterior and therefore we can have any kind of interior design we choose. It’s a very liberating feeling, especially for a designer.

Living Room by Alexa Hampton

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

AH: I am inspired daily by my surroundings, family, clients and colleagues. Especially with the internet, beautiful design images are so easily accessible that I am forever inspired. I know this is a lame answer, but it’s the truth.

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PC: Who are your personal style icons?

AH: My father, Mark Hampton, Bill Blass, Madeleine Castaing, Emilio Terry, Carlos de Bestegui, Givenchy, François Catroux, Yves Saint Laurent.

alexa and mark hampton

{Alexa and her Father, Mark Hampton}

PC:  What is your guilty pleasure?

AH: Watching Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Alexa Hampton TV Room

PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

AH: Originality should not be prized over good sense and great style. Make sure to always sit in your furniture first. Comfort is key!

Alexa Hampton Living Room2

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

AH: Definitely my father in the field of design. However, I have tons of professional influences that aren’t interior designers. From Bill Blass to Gwen Stefani to Tina Fey to Michael Bloomberg to Palladio; I have lots of professional heroes.

Alexa Hampton Style Files

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

AH: Cuddling with my husband and three children. Eating a wheel of cheese and not gaining weight. Reading all night long and sleeping in and it not being a problem. Drinking red wine with friends. Drawing while the TV is on in the background. Laughter. Continuing to love work and going at it day after day, happy to be designing. Having a 2 hour massage.

Alexa Hampton

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

AH: My apartment is being published in Architectural Digest’s April Issue: Designers’ Own Homes. I’m launching a slew of new furniture pieces for my 10th anniversary at Hickory Chair this Spring market. I have a new accessories collection launching with Maitland Smith, also in the Spring, and I have great projects that I am working on across the country for amazing clients who inspire me daily.

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Go-To Outfit: Head to toe black and 5” heels. What can I say? I’m lazy.

Style Mantra: Between neck and knees, keep it covered! No spaghetti straps or miniskirts for me anymore. When I’m more comfortable and confident, I look better.

Scent: Narciso Rodriguez

Piece of Jewelry: A great bib necklace or the engraved gold medallion I gave myself with my kids’ first initials entwined on one side and my husband’s, my kids’ and my own birth dates inscribed in Roman Numerals, like a clock, on the other.

Current Obsession: Khotan Rugs

Color I Never Tire Of: Blue

Flower: Anemone

Indispensable Design Element: A Pencil and Paper

Era for Design: Empire, Georgian, Greek Revival

Dream Project: Personally, my dream project is to build a big house for my family in the Hamptons with the collaboration and talent of an expert architect like Eric J. Smith or Gil Schafer. Professionally, I would love to work on a chateau in France, an apartment in Paris and a huge hotel.

 Fabric/Textile: velvet– cotton, linen or silk

Hostess Gift: A great bottle of wine: Super Tuscan, Rioja or Bordeaux

Meal: Anything at the Hotel Bristol in Paris or La Table de Joël Robuchon

Drink: Red wine–Super Tuscan, Rioja or Bordeaux

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: a frozen margarita at Rosa Mexicana or getting into my bed with my kids and falling asleep while they chatter and/or try to kill each other.

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3 Things I Love About My City:  The Energy of Madison Avenue, the Museums and Restaurants, the Schools

Weekend Destination: Southampton

Hotel: My Top Two are Le Bristol in Paris and Gritti Palace in Venice

Museum: The Frick Museum is one of my favorite museums. It is also where I took my husband on our first date nineteen years ago when I wanted to show him something perfect and perfectly New York.

Artist: Velazquez, Titian, Manet, Sergeant, and Hammershoi

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Stevie Wonder’s life’s work. His songbook is varied and amazing! My absolute favorite is Superstition.

Actor/Actress: My Sister, Kate Hampton

Prized Possession: collected artworks, books, souvenirs of the grand tour.

Risk Worth Taking: It’s worth it to risk wanting to succeed and to fail. If we all were successful at everything we tried, we’d probably be odious people.

Greatest Extravagance: massages and manicures

Go-To Color Palette: In the past, I’d say blue and brown but I’m really trying not to default to anything specific. I hate it when I go stale.

Rule to Break: “Expect the worst because it’s better to be surprised than disappointed”. I think this is truly terrible, crappy advice. We should all be as happy and optimistic as we can be as often as possible.

Movie Set Design: Gladiator

3 Dream Dinner Party Guests: I’m going to have to say 4 party guests with me as the host: my 3 kids and my father. To have them meet would be the greatest thing ever.

Paloma Signature

10 thoughts on “The Style Files: Alexa Hampton

  1. I’m glad that you shared this with us. I’m just now discovering her. I recently bought one of her books and am enjoying it. I’m starting to admire her.

  2. I love her work and have seen interviews where she seemed like a lot of fun. This interview made her even more personable and down to earth! Want to drink red wine and go to the Frick with her. … and teared up almost about dinner with her kids and dad.. A lot for such a short interview- well done..

  3. Really enjoyed this post! Nice to see the personal side and learn more about the “real” Alexa Hampton- Love her work!

  4. What a wonderful post. I have loved her design style, she is classic and timeless and it is so fantastic that she has carried on with her father’s legacy. I, too, share her guilty pleasure, RHOBH, I actually have a lot of Bravo TV guilty pleasures.

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