We had questions and these top designers have answers
When a handful of Litchfield County’s most talented interior designers and architects gathered at the Mayflower Grace early this summer for a Day of Design, we pulled some aside for the latest insights.
What’s the most common design or decor mistake people make?
Couturier: Often people have no sense of space and no sense of architecture which makes them put furniture in the wrong place and use pieces that are not of the right proportion for the rooms where they are intended to be used.
Lambertson: People are afraid of scale, particularly items like furniture that are large scale. They might think something is too big, but over-sized pieces can make a room magical, and make a statement.
Norsworthy: People fall in love with a piece and they want to incorporate it in their environment even when it doesn’t work.
de Dampierre: They mix too much stuff together in one room like they’re staging a photo and they lose sense that you have to live in the house, instead of peaceful it becomes unliveable.
What trends do you see coming soon?
Couturier: An absolute disregard to antiques. Nineteenth- and 18th-century artifacts are going the way of the dodo bird. The world is becoming one, whether you are in Shanghai or New York, Mumbai or Moscow. It’s one culture and one culture wants what is common to most, I am not quite sure what it is, but it does not include Mme. de Pompadour’s dressing table.
Lambertson: What I notice is that interiors, architecture, and design are being influenced more by fashion. I’m seeing it in prints, fabric, and carpets.
de Dampierre: Color is back, no one wants black and white anymore.
Norsworthy: If I notice a trend, I stay away from it.
Tell me about objects you love to collect.
Lamberton: I collect everything. You’ve heard of a minimalist, well I’m a maximalist. I collect vintage calligraphy brushes that I keep in a giant red lacquer bowl, eye glasses, textiles, self-portraits of artists 19th-century to current. I could go on.
Norsworthy: Orbs of all sorts; and keepsake boxes.
Glisser: Anything Christopher Dresser—and mid-century work on paper.
Couturier: I am voracious, and I collect everything because if my head is in the present my feet are firmly in the past. I love 18th-century French furniture and I might be one of the last ones to collect it.
What’s the one design item you can’t live without?
de Dampierre: Color. It’s so very important because it makes a space personal. It creates a mood.
Lambertson: Color makes a statement, but it can be a scary thing for newcomers who are afraid to use it.
Gissler: Dimmers. Light creates atmosphere, and having the ability to control it is key.
Norsworthy: You can never have enough throw pillows. It’s the one thing you can put in any room.
Couturier: If one thing is not around, get something else! People take things far too seriously, design is a luxury and a pleasure not part of a ploy to make you unhappy or discontent.
What was your best find and what was the one that got away?
Gissler: A Toulouse-Lautrec drawing I found at an estate sale for $100. It was years ago, I just didn’t have the money at the time. My best is a little painting my brother gave me as a present after I had spotted it in an antique store.
de Dampierre: I was an antiques dealer so I know the worst thing is to not buy when you see, so I always do. My best find was the antique wall paper in my dining room that was the last made by a certain French designer before the French Revolution—the dealer I purchased it from had no idea!
Lambertson: Twenty-five years ago, I was at an antiques and art show, and I saw a large painting circa-1930s oil painting behind glass of a man holding a martini glass leaning against a mantel that reminded me of a Noël Coward character. I turned around to think about it and when I turned back it was gone.
Norsworthy: I was in the south of France and bought some antique linens that had my initials on them. I left them under a table at a restaurant and they were gone when I came back for them.
Couturier: There is absolutely nothing that cannot be replaced and there is nothing material that I am sorry to have missed, ever, anywhere in the world.