The Style Files: Meg Braff

{Meg Braff | Portrait by David Land}

Meg Braff is known for her exuberant, yet classic style. Meg fully embraces color and pattern and is quite adept at mixing pieces from various eras to create spaces that are effortless and inviting. A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Meg completed her studies at Vanderbilt University, then went on to study design at Parsons School of Design prior to founding her eponymous design firm in 1994. Her firm is now based in Locust Valley on Long Island, where Meg also runs her shop, Meg Braff Antiques & Decoration. In addition to having an impressive roster of projects across the country, Meg also has a line of beautiful wallpapers, and recently published her first book, The Decorated Home with Rizzoli, which features a slew of stunning images and Meg’s sage advice for decorating novices and experts alike. I have admired Meg’s work and her penchant for color for years and was so happy to finally meet her in High Point a few months ago. I hope you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Meg Braff: Exuberant, classic, timeless, playful, colorful.

{Photography by J. Savage Gibson}

PC: Has living on Long Island influenced your aesthetic in any way?

MB: The North Shore of Long Island is abundant in rich architecture from the 1920s, 30s and 40s. I love the opportunity for a little throwback glamour that these houses set the stage for.

PC: What does your home say about you?

MB: I am now putting the finishing touches on my new home in Locust Valley. It’s less traditional than my previous home, bright and cheerful with room for a crowd; ideal because I have four teenage boys and love to entertain. I hope the house feels open and welcoming to guests, and that they’ll find as much joy in the colors, patterns, and dramatic design statements as I had in designing them.

{Photography by Nicholas Mele}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

MB: I love Pinterest! But really, I am inspired at every turn— books and magazines, museums, home and garden tours, conversations with colleagues and friends. There is so much to see and learn and the more I travel and observe the more I am inspired.

{A Photo of one of Meg’s Projects in East Hampton via her Pinterest Profile}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

MB: Currently I am loving images of Aerin Lauder, her beautiful homes and her great personal style. In terms of historical figures, I am continuously inspired by Frances Elkins and Albert Hadley. Francis for her pioneering mixing of periods and styles, and Albert for his inventive use of color and pattern.

{Aerin Lauder’s Southampton Living Room via Vogue}

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

MB: Humor, honesty, loyalty and good manners

{Photography by Tria Giovan}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

MB: Dark Chocolate

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

MB: Charlotte Moss has been a wonderful friend and mentor throughout my career. She was even so kind to write the foreword to my book. Her aesthetic eye, sense of color, and thoughts on gracious living are endlessly inspiring, as is her amazing philanthropic work.

{Photography by Francesco Lagnese for House Beautiful}

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

MB: Enjoying the company of family and friends in beautiful spaces and locales.

{Photography by J. Savage Gibson}

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

MB: I’m currently working on some really exciting projects, including several residences in South Florida, a New York apartment for longtime clients, historic homes in Bermuda and off the coast of Maine, a ranch in Texas and a really special estate in Locust Valley. I’m also continuously expanding my wallpaper and fabric lines with new patterns and color ways. Come fall, I’ll continue traveling in celebration of my book, The Decorated Home. I’m excited to be visiting Houston, Dallas, and Washington DC.

{Photography by Tria Giovan}

Go-To Outfit: Solid color dresses with bold jewelry and big sunglasses!

Style Mantra: Buy what you love!

Scent: Jo Malone’s Lime Basil

Piece of Jewelry: I’m never without my Cartier watch, my engagement ring, and a chunky gold ring designed by my friend and client Blair Hussain

Color I Never Tire Of: I love almost every shade of green. Its blends so seamlessly I love the transition that green provides, brining indoors out and outdoors in

Flower: Ranunculus

Indispensable Design Element: In my opinion, chinoiserie pieces, rattan and lucite are appropriate in almost every space.

Era for Design:  The thirties- I love the furniture of this era, and that the rooms were usually less “designed” than they are today.

Dream Project: My ideal project is a beautifully restored 1930s house, with detailing that provides a great backdrop for a mix of modern and antique pieces.

Fabric/Textile: I love Les Indiennes from Quadrille, Les Touches from Brunschwig & Fils, and Tweed, from my own line. All are versatile, playful, and available in many great colors.

Hostess Gift: I love to give truffled Almonds, and I send a lot of flowers as a Thank You.

Meal: I order Dover Sole whenever I spot it on a menu.

Drink: Love a crisp white wine, or Rose in the summer

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Catching up with my husband and boys, and scanning the days flagged emails.

3 Things I Love About My City: Locust Valley is a small community filled with beautiful gardens and some grand old homes. There is a great little design community, with many decorators and a strip of home decor and antiques stores (including mine!) right in the center of the town. Its friendly, cheerful, but at only 20 miles of New York City the conveniences of the city are easily accessible. Truly the best of both worlds!

Weekend Destination: Palm Beach and Bermuda are great weekend jaunts, especially during cold and dreary winters. Newport, RI is one of my favorite spots in the world and wonderful for a weekend, a week or a Summer!

Hotel: The Berkeley in London

City: Musee D’Orsay

Museum: Paris

Artist: I love color and vibrancy of Henri Matisse. Right now I’m loving Roger Muhl and Gabriel Godard

Actor/Actress: Michelle Pfeiffer

Prized Possession: My 1969 Mercedes “Pagoda Top” 280SL convertible that I bought myself as a fortieth birthday present. White with Navy interior, its a dreamy summer car.

Risk Worth Taking: Start your own business, just go for it!

Greatest Extravagance: I love having an abundance of cut flowers and orchids in my home,

Go-To Color Palette: I am always in the mood for Aqua, Chartreuse and Aubergine, all together or in any combination.

Rule to Break: I love symmetry and balance, but too many pairs can feel unimaginative.

Movie Set Design: I love movies filmed in fabulous old houses such as The Philadelphia Story, Dinner at Eight and other movies of that era. Recently I loved The Queen on Netflix.

I can never have too many… Cabbage ware and throw pillows

{Photography Courtesy of Meg Braff Designs}

The Style Files: John DeBastiani

I have admired the work of Los Angeles-based interior designer, John DeBastiani for quite some time. His aesthetic is classic, tailored, and timeless. Dexterous in his design talent, he can execute a completely neutral palette or one filled with a burst of color and pattern with equal aplomb. While I admire designers who have created a signature look, I love it when a designer can master multiple looks and make it feel effortless. Originally from Boston, John has called Los Angeles home for several years now. In fact, we met for the first time at this year’s Legends of La Cienega in LA. John’s firm has offices in both LA and New York with projects across the United States. John’s work has been published in House Beautiful, Luxe, and Traditional Home. I hope that you will enjoy getting to know John as much as I have!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

John DeBastiani: “New Traditional” in concept. Using a soft color palette, clean lines and always practical and comfortable.

PC: Has living in Los Angeles influenced your aesthetic in any way?

JD: In Los Angeles, everything is so informal and the lifestyle is very laid back. My design esthetic has definability become more casual. “California Casual” is definitely something to embrace! The houses and rooms are also much larger than say the East Coast so furniture scales usually increases as well. 

PC: What does your home say about you?

JD: My home is definitely eclectic, so when I come across something I love, it will work right into the overall design. 

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

JD: It sounds a bit silly, but lately, definitely Instagram as well as the shelter magazines. It’s fun and inspiring seeing so much great work.

{A Glimpse of a Recent Project John shared on his Instagram, @johndebastiani}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

JD: I think Steven Gamble’s work is genius. Its fresh, creative, well balanced and most of all makes sense. From the past it would have to be Billy Baldwin. So classic with bits of modern thrown in and always used a beautiful color palette.

{A Project by Steven Gambrel as featured in ELLE DECOR}

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

JD: Honesty

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

JD: Ice cream, I’m currently crushing on here in LA the “Salt & Straw” shop. Loving the “There Weavers Spent Grain with Black Berry Fig Jam flavor!

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

JD: I had an amazing boss when I worked for Brunschwig & Fils in my late 20’s. He taught me the basic rules of design. Things like scale, pattern, color and appropriateness. I would not be where I am today without that education. It’s beyond important and I think its where many of today’s young designers fall short.

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

JD:“The Good Life”..it always reminds me of the Frank Sinatra song!!! I believe one should posses inner happiness and mix in doing what you love (sometimes they go hand in hand), having a great love in your life, and being able to have a little pocket change to have some fun!

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

JD: I’m looking forward to growing my business. I am getting a lot of work on the East Coast and it would be fun to expand on that. I would also love to try to design a furniture line. I design and make most of everything in my projects and it would be fun to start really honing in on the most successful pieces.

 

Go-To Outfit: Blue shirt of some pattern or plain with white jeans and dressy moccasins and a wide ring belt

Style Mantra: Keep it simple.

Scent: Hermes- Un Jardin Sur Le Nil

Piece of Jewelry: Stainless Datejust Rolex…It has a platinum bezel so that dresses it up a bit.

Color I Never Tire Of: BLUE BLUE BLUE!!!

Flower: Lily of the Valley

Indispensable Design Element: Wonderful Pottery

Era for Design: 1960’s– an age when traditional values where challenged

Dream Project: A Beach Compound on Nantucket

Fabric/Textile: Any Texture from Holland & Sherry 

Hostess Gift: The Bougie Apothicaire Candle in the Spirituelle scent

Meal: Anything on the grill

Drink: Bourbon Manhattan Straight up, very cold

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: On the Sofa with Netflix

Weekend Destination: Montecito

Hotel: The Carlyle in NYC

City: London

Museum: Beauport House in Gloucester, Massachusetts–Built in 1907 by Henry Davis Sleeper, one of America’s first interior designers….beyond fabulous!

Artist: Cy Twombly

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Turn me loose”- Lover Boy

Actor/Actress: Jane Fonda

Prized Possession: None.. I am not attached to anything, really!

Risk Worth Taking: Falling in love

Greatest Extravagance: Any purchase from Tom Ford

Go-To Color Palette: Soft muted colors, probably blues

Rule to Break: Having white wine with beef

Movie Set Design: It’s a huge cliche but, Auntie Mame. Her living room was forever being re-decorated in a really good way.

I can never have too many… Good Friends

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The Style Files: Sam Allen

Sam Allen Headshot 1

Sam Allen is a young interior designer based in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Having grown up watching his decorator mother in action, Sam knew that design was his calling from an early age and established his eponymous design firm while still in his teens. In the years since, Sam has been recognized as a “Next Wave” Designer by House Beautiful and his work has been featured in multiple publications including The New York Times, Luxe, Vogue, and Domino proving that talent and good taste are truly ageless. Over the years, Sam and I have become friends and frequently run into each other at design industry events such as Legends of La Cienega in Los Angeles or furniture market in High Point, North Carolina. I recently saw Sam not only in Los Angeles, but also in New York where we both designed tables for the annual Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Spring Gala. I have enjoyed watching Sam’s career blossom over the past several years and have no doubt that big things are on the horizon for him. Enjoy!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Sam Allen: Clean and classic meets elevated glamour, and always original. I like crisp, traditional neutrals with a personalized edge.

Sam Allen Vignette

PC: How has living in Connecticut influenced your style?

SA: There’s an interpretation of East Coast style that translates well across the board. It’s fresh and lively, but also refined, with a large dose of cozy. Those are all notes I enjoy seeing in a finished project.

Sam Allen Skirted Table

PC: What does your home say about you?

SA: Nothing makes me happier than perfecting the finishing details, and that comes through in my own home. I even have a folding board for my clothes.

Sam Allen Bedroom Stripes

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

SA: For my own, personal inspiration, I love travel. Whether it’s a design-focused trip, like going to LCDQ Legends or High Point, or just a vacation, I feel my creativity enhanced when I’m exposed to new experiences. It doesn’t even have to be far – even a day trip to New York for Kips Bay or to a museum can be inspiring. For a project, I like to be inspired by my clients. Getting to know them and who they are, and executing a vision that enhances their way of life – that’s inspiring!

Sam Allen Bold Living Room

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

SA: David Hicks’ style was iconic. He really knew and understood the way people live. As for someone current, Bruce Budd is doing really beautiful work. Every time a new project of his is published, I love it. In the world of fashion, Brunello Cucinelli’s style is classic and elevated in a way I strive to emulate.

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{Worlds Collide: A Bedroom Designed by Bruce Budd featuring David Hicks’ Iconic La Fiorentina Fabric}

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

SA: Self-confidence. Have faith in yourself or no one else will.

Sam Allen Dining Room

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

SA: Shopping. Serious shopping. Particularly in Paris.

Sam Allen Vignette

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

SA: Martha Stewart. She’s a family friend, and I interned for her at the beginning of my career. I admire her resilience and ability to evolve. She’s a smart businessperson.

Sam Allen Kitchen

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

SA: Waking up in the Peninsula Beverly Hills and never having to go back to reality.

Sam Allen Bedroom

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

SA: I’ve just started a large new project in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s in an amazing location on the water with exquisite views. We’re currently developing the creative concept, and I’m very excited about it.

Sam Allen Bath

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Go-To Outfit: I love my Brunello Cucinelli cashmere sweatsuit, worn with leather sneakers

Style Mantra: “Buy the best, and you will only cry once.” Miles Redd speaks the truth.

Scent: Lily of the Valley

Piece of Jewelry: My yellow gold Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch

Color I Never Tire Of: Hermès Orange

Flower: White Peonies

Indispensable Design Element: Quality textiles and flowers

Era for Design: Billy Baldwin and the 1950’s

Dream Project: My mother always says that a project can only ever be as good as the client. So my “dream project” would be working with someone who allows me creative control and trusts my vision.

Fabric/Textile: Bennison and C+C Milano

Hostess Gift: White, fresh cut flowers

Meal: Homemade pasta

Drink: Diet Coke

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Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: A manicure

3 Things I Love About My City: Its charm, the timeless beauty and architecture, and the fact that it’s on the water.

Weekend Destination: My grandparent’s home in Martha’s Vineyard

Hotel: The Peninsula Beverly Hills

City: Paris

Museum: The V&A in London

Artist: Jean-Marc Louis

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “In Da Club” by 50 Cent

Actor/Actress: George Clooney & Meryl Streep

Prized Possession: My friendships

Risk Worth Taking: Starting your own business

Greatest Extravagance: Cars

Go-To Color Palette: Crisp neutrals

Rule to Break: All of them!

Movie Set Design: Anything by Nancy Meyers

I can never have too many… Minutes of the day!

Paloma Signature

{Images Courtesy of Sam Allen Interiors | For more of Sam’s work and funny personality, follow him on Instagram @samallen1}

 

The Style Files: Bradley Odom

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Bradley Odom is the talent behind one of the best stores in Atlanta, Dixon Rye. Dixon Rye is filled with an expertly-curated assortment of interesting vintage finds, fine antiques, and a mix of interesting new upholstery, casegoods, art, accessories, and art. Prior to opening Dixon Rye, Bradley was an award-winning graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design and had a very big career in retail. Bradley’s experience as Director of West Elm and J.Crew allowed him to collect inspiration from communities and individuals across the world, and ultimately, informed his eye for quality design. At the helm of Dixon Rye, Bradley has developed a distinct style all his own which marries the rough with the refined. He has an expert eye for juxtaposition, interesting pairings, and an innate ability to create just the right amount of tension between pieces in order to create spaces infused with personality and character. I visited Dixon Rye on my last visit to Atlanta in January and hope to return soon! In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Bradley today!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Bradley Odom: Dark and moody—masculine colors with immense texture. At Dixon Rye we talk a lot about identifying the hero of a room and letting it be a hero. For me personally, the hero is usually something leather or a cool architectural find.

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PC: How has living in Atlanta influenced your style?

BO: I’ve been in Atlanta now for 17 years – so hard to believe. I’m originally from Mississippi, but definitely consider Atlanta home. I opened Dixon Rye in October 2015 with the intent of creating a furniture and design destination that mixes authentic Southern expression with modern sensibility. The store is filled with carefully curated furniture and décor pieces that speak to my Southern roots from living in Atlanta paired with a strong passion for beautiful things.

Dixon Rye Store

PC: What does your home say about you?

BO: That I’ve been busy the last 10 years. I recently decided to do a complete update to my bedroom, starting from scratch. I designed a bed for Dixon Rye that is going to now be my bed, in leather. The bed and my art are the inspiration for the entire room. I am continually finding a new hero which means I will redesign a room to honor that piece.

Dixon Rye Store 3

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

BO: There is inspiration all around us. We aren’t great about stopping long enough to see it. We are all so busy that we sometimes miss what is around us and think inspiration has to be a special, planned activity. Don’t get me wrong, traveling gives me life. I was fortunate enough to travel often in my prior role and got to see so much of the world that inspires me, but I really try to make an effort to find inspiration in the city I love, Atlanta—our forest in the city. I’m very visual and a collector of images, which is exactly why I created the weekly inspirational diary, Quiet Decency, we send out each Sunday. I really wasn’t sure it would resonate with people, but the following has been overwhelming. You can sign-up, HERE, to receive.

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PC: Who are your personal style icons?

BO: I can’t say that I have a particular icon, however, I find myself following anyone who has a vision. Visionaries, in general, are forward minded, global, out of the box thinkers and aren’t too concerned for what everyone else is doing. I prefer that over what someone else has done.

Dixon Rye Store 4

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

BO: Humility. Where there is humility, there is usually trust and integrity.

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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

BO: Ice Cream! It’s an issue. Jenni’s Ice Cream has an almond butter brittle that is hard to pass up.

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PC: Who or what has been your professional influence?

BO: There are a two: My friend Glenn, whom I met in 2005 has become a father figure and mentor for me. He challenged me out of my routine job and helped me to understand my talents which led me to taking risks. I also had the honor of working with Mickey Drexler during my J. Crew years. And although I never reported directly to Mickey, we met several times. In a visit once to one of my stores, he asked me to join the corporate jet to fly to the call center, which at the time was in need of a rebranding, to connect the center to the same experience as the stores. I joined the trip and two weeks later had a job offer for a Director’s role. I will never forget Mickey seeing something in me, that at the time, I didn’t see in myself.

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

BO: Having an inner peace (Quiet Decency) that allows me to rest every night, feeling fully challenged and fulfilled.

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

BO: The ongoing project that is forever evolving is Dixon Rye, of course. I’m constantly sourcing the newest discoveries that fit our aesthetic. At the moment, I’m most excited to see how we’ve given new life to some of our antique finds. I love to re-envision an old piece with new fabrics or hardware. We have also recently launched our online shop. In June, all products will be featured on the online shop! We have two local design projects that are really coming together. Both are full renovations and both families have been really receptive to thinking forward. Sometimes you worry that you are pushing them a little too far out of their comfort zone, but I am always honored by the trust they put in their designer! In the Fall we’ll begin working on phase II of a recently completed Farm House project. We’re building a new kitchen and turning the existing kitchen into a bar area. You’ll see the first phase in Atlanta Magazine Home’s Fall Issue. Then of course there’s my bedroom project. Feels so great to finally be working on my space again.

Dixon Rye 5

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Go-To Outfit: White jeans, Tretorns and a navy blazer and I hardly leave home without my AERO Studio leather bag.

Style Mantra: Don’t over complicate it, but don’t be so basic, well, that you’re basic. You have to have your own style that works for you.

Scent: Tom Ford, Ombre Leather

Piece of Jewelry: My eyewear

Color I Never Tire Of: White– it’s the perfect palette cleanser.

Flower: Although I never tire of the magnolia, I do love ranunculus

Indispensable Design Element: Texture

Era for Design: Early 1900 Bauhaus era

Dream Project: A Boutique Hotel

Fabric/Textile: I love textiles that can function as art. Currently obsessed with a Mulberry for Lee Jofa Rain Dance Fabric. It’s this beautiful embroidered fabric that’s able to stand alone as a statement piece in any room or as simple as a wall hanging. Menswear plaids get me every time. The Johnstons of Elgin wools are beyond fabulous. I’m currently building my bedroom around Glen Isla in Olivine.

Hostess Gift: Certainly depends on the party and level of friendship, but I love gifting the Arrow Platter from Astier de Villatte.

Meal: It’s a toss up between a good burger and sushi.

Drink: Good Coffee

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Being outside with my pugs.

3 Things I Love About My City: Four distinct seasons, each of which I love for different reasons. I love being outside and Atlanta has some really great hikes within the city. Lastly, community. Atlanta is a big city but still has that smallish town feel because it’s the South.

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Weekend Destination: If you follow my Instagram, you’ll quickly learn that I escape Atlanta for Old Edward Inn in Highlands, NC every time I get a chance. It’s a quick 2.5 hour drive from Atlanta. The team at OEI are so accommodating and I’ve been going for so long that they just know what I like…which is mostly to just be.

Hotel: Ilse Crawford Designed ETT HEM HOTEL

City: London

Museum: Victoria and Albert Museum

Artist: David Hockney

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Robyn- Call Your Girlfriend

Actor: Paul Newman

Prized Possession: A photo of my Mother as a child standing in a field of flowers. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Risk Worth Taking: The last 7 years have been all about risk for me. I decided to go back to school Full-Time in 2000 to get an Interior Design Degree from SCAD. Shortly after, I left my corporate job in 2015 to launch Dixon Rye. Definitely worth the risk!

Greatest Extravagance: Good food

Go-To Color Palette: Dark Greens for a bit of a naturalist aesthetic. Sometimes when working on a new project, I have to stop and say…No Greens!

Rule to Break: All of them! I’m an “ask for forgiveness” kinda guy.

Movie Set Design: A Single Man

I can never have too many… Travel books and Navy blazers

Paloma Signature

 

The Style Files: Amanda Reynal

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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.

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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