The Style Files: Amanda Reynal

Amanda Reynal Headshot

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Amanda Reynal. An interior designer for over twenty years, Amanda studied at the New York School of Interior Design and Parsons School of Design. Upon graduation, she worked for the lauded firm, Cullman and Kravis in New York. Eventually, Amanda’s travels lead her to London, then to Des Moines, Iowa where she currently resides. Since 2001, Amanda has been at the helm of her eponymous design firm which she recently expanded to include a retail store. Amanda is known for her cheerful, vibrant aesthetic, influenced by her travels and time spent living on the East Coast as well as in Palm Beach. Amanda also happens to be my friend, Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat‘s sister. Style certainly runs in this family! Enjoy!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Amanda Reynal: My style is ever evolving but it is always grounded in the classics with attention to scale, materials and architectural detail and then infused with personality and some color. Every project, client and home are different and require a fresh eye and new perspective. I love to incorporate both old and new items to keep a space dynamic and multi dimensional. I try to adhere to the architecture and bones of a house or space while imbuing it with the individuality of the client.

Amanda Reynal Breakfast Room

PC: How has living in Iowa influenced your style?

AR: We first moved from NYC to Iowa 16 years ago, then moved to London for a few years and back to Des Moines ten years ago. Coming to an unfamiliar environment with a new landscape both physically and figuratively forced me to define my style early on. Getting away from everything that is familiar and safe has influenced me enormously. It has been liberating to be in a different part of the country and to be able to be creative without expectations. Just a few miles outside Des Moines are rolling green hills of farmland and stunning rural coutnryside. The natural vs urban landscapes so close to each other translates into interiors as well. Midwesterners have wholesome values and enjoy being in their homes surrounded by family and friends. Houses here tend to be large and lived in hard during the long winters. I don’t want to sacrifice style and personality to accommodate wear and tear so I learned how to translate and re-scale my aesthetic to suit the Midwestern sensiblity. We live with our interiors for a long time so I feel a responsibility to design rooms that are current but will still look elegant years down the road. Well scaled, classic upholstery forms and a mix of old and new pieces are the foundation of most rooms I design. To keep the schemes updated I love to add personality pieces and a curveball or something new.

Amanda Reynal Master

PC: What does your home say about you?

AR: When people first visit our house in Des Moines, they often say, “I can tell you are not from here”. To me, I see our home as a compilation of the many dimensions of my life and travels that I bring to the table: traditional elements of my Northeastern upbringing mixed with English antiques brought home from our years in London and a punchy infusion of Palm Beach style, color and pattern from a lifetime of vacations spent there. This mixture seems to work because it is all part of the evolution of my design style. I am the only girl in our household and several years ago I lacquered our front entry vestibule hot pink. My husband and boys thought they would hate it but now its a defining element in our house. Our house is brimming with art, texture and pattern. During the darkest days of an Iowa winter I adore coming home to brightness. We love to have parties of all kinds so I designed our house to accommodate everything from formal dinners to dancing and ping pong in the garden in the warmer months.

Amanda Reynal Console

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

AR: I love visiting museums and historic homes and gardens. When home I turn to books and of course, Instagram.

Amanda Reynal Blue Sofa

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

AR: My mom is so chic, she always has had her own definitive style. Babe Paley, Bunny Mellon, all of the grand dames of the mid 20th century intrigue me. Today, Aerin Lauder is pure elegance and everything she brands reflects her poise and refined style.

Babe Paley Vogue

{Babe Paley photographed by Norman Parkinson via Vogue.com}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

AR: Honesty and the ability to laugh during a difficult moment.

Amanda Reynal Dining Room

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

AR: White wine every night and dark chocolate

Amanda Reynal Kitchen

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

AR: My five years of working at Cullman and Kravis for Ellie and Hedi were formative. I learned literally everything about decorating as well as antiques, fabrics, installations and how to work with vendors. More importantly, perhaps, I also grew as a person. Ellie is the most gracious, kind and professional designer I have ever known. From her, I learned how to handle difficult situations as well as importance of being well informed. Albert Hadley also influenced me professionally, he was a dear family friend. Although I never worked for him, he mentored me on my career and gave me wonderful advice when I was starting out. Mr. Hadley was so kind to me and even came to my wedding. His style was inimitable.

Amanda Reynal Pink Bedroom

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

AR: Have some fun every week, love what you do all day long, spend time with family and friends and don’t wait until the future to do what you want to do. Wine every night and lots of travel are essential as well.

Amanda Reynal Shop 3

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

AR: I am really enjoying having a shop attached to our office. Curating accessories, artwork and other special items has been a ton of fun and very rewarding.

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Go-To Outfit: skinny jeans, and Stubbs and Wooton velvet slippers in the winter and dresses in the summer

Scent: Lorenzo Villarossi Mare Nostrum from his atelier in Florence

Piece of Jewelry: a hand engraved gold disc pendant my husband once gave me for my birthday. I have been wearing it for years and it goes with everything.

Color I Never Tire of: shades of green

Flower: pink peonies and ranunculus–I’m an early June baby.

Indispensable Design Element: beautiful hardware, its like jewelry in a room

Era for Design: palm beach regency and the renaissance

Dream Project: any tropical house near the sea

Fabric/Textile Quadrille: anything and newcomer Collier Rose

Hostess Gift: an Odeme candle, the scents are heavenly

Meal: bouillabaisse

Drink: Aperol spritz, rosé and chardonnay

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3 Things I Love About My City: no traffic, accessibility, our world class museum, the Des Moines Art Center and my friends

Weekend Destination: Home, everywhere we love to go is at least a flight away so we are home on the weekends. Our weekends are fun filled and relaxing without having to go away.

Hotel: The Gritti Palace in Venice or any of the Firmdale Hotels by Kit Kemp

City: London

Museum: The Sir John Soane, the Victoria and Albert and the Peggy Guggenheim… I adore museums

Artist: Canaletto and William De Kooning

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow

Actor: Daniel Craig and Gael Garcia Bernal

Prized Possession: my health

 Greatest Extravagance: our house in upstate New York. It takes two flights to get there but the whole family is happiest on the mountaintop.

Go-To Color Palette: blue and green- the colors of the sky, sea and grass

Rule to Break: don’t eat past 7pm

Movie Set Design: the original Sabrina and Auntie Mame

I can never have too many… friends

Paloma Signature

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