The decor of a home in New York’s Hamptons took inspiration from the work of Nancy Lancaster, Billy Baldwin, Albert Hadley and Sister Parish, for whom Bunny Williams once worked. For the wall color, the client specified the blue used in a drawing room in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. “Mixing furniture of different periods with Contemporary Art creates a timeless quality,” Williams advises in the book, referring to the home’s living room. Photo by Fritz von der Schulenburg.
Love is in the air—and in our designed spaces
"If you love something, it will work. That’s the only real rule."–Bunny Williams
It’s pretty simple, and legendary interior designer Bunny Williams certainly isn’t wrong about it: If we love something, we can pretty much always figure out how to make it work. Whether that’s in a relationship, travel locales or designed spaces, the heart wants what the heart wants.
And as interior designers, we spend years—and maybe even decades in some cases—trying to navigate what we love about our jobs and how best to express that love for this industry into the work we share with our clients.
This month, we are excited to share a wonderful Q&A with Laurie Laizure about her participation on the Delta/Brizo Showroom Product Tour in Indianapolis this past fall.
Laizure may not be an interior designer by trade, but she absolutely loves helping designers and listening to their problems via Interior Design Community, a vibrant online resource she created that now supports hundreds of thousands of designers worldwide.
“My idea for the community was to create a place where people who worked in the industry could share tech and marketing tips,” Laizure says. “I did not realize how popular it would become and how desperately open communication was needed in the interior design industry.”
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Spring High Point Market
Registration for the Spring High Point Market is open! Held April 13-17 in High Point, North Carolina, the spring event is sure to offer an abundance of events, tours, educational opportunities, dining and entertainment, networking and visits to more than 11.5 million square feet of showroom space.
The music room in style-arbiter Brad Shellhammer’s home is brimming with his collection of 500 vinyl records. As a result, the art on the walls—vintage posters of Grace Jones, Erasure, Elton John and other artists—dictated the color choice: vibrant cherry red. The counterpoint is in the gray Herman Miller sofas layered with pillows covered in Marimekko fabrics. Photographed by Chris Mottalini as it appeared in “More Is More Is More: Today’s Maximalist Interiors” from Rizzoli New York.
The color red is shot through the centuries, like threads weaving a rich tapestry of meanings and symbolism that has evolved across diverse cultures and epochs. In ancient times, red often symbolized power, passion and vitality. The Egyptians associated it with the god of chaos, Set, while the Romans linked it to Mars, the god of war, highlighting its connection to strength and conflict.
In medieval Europe, red took on dual meanings. It symbolized wealth and luxury, as only the affluent could afford the expensive red dyes derived from cinnabar and minerals. Simultaneously, it became associated with sin and temptation, as seen in depictions of the devil in religious art.
As time progressed, red continued to acquire multifaceted connotations. In Eastern cultures, particularly in China, red is a color of good fortune and happiness, often used in celebrations and weddings. In contrast, Western cultures began associating red with danger, stop signals and caution.
In the realm of emotions, red remains synonymous with passion and love. The red rose has long been a symbol of romantic love, transcending cultural boundaries.
The meaning of the color red continues to evolve. It represents energy, excitement and urgency in advertising and branding (think Coca-Cola and CNN), while also symbolizing solidarity and awareness for various social and health causes (think the AIDS ribbon and CVS). The varied meanings of red throughout history showcase its versatility, reflecting the ever-changing nuances of human perception and cultural significance.
Red is not often predominant in interior design, but when designers choose it, it is a powerful tool to evoke emotions and create impactful spaces. The use of red in interior design ranges from subtle accents to dominant focal points, depending on the desired effect. The ubiquitous “red library” comes to mind.
Diana Vreeland in her circa 1976 living room, decorated by the legendary Billy Baldwin. Photographed by Horst P Horst. Image courtesy of Pinterest.
On the subject of dominant focal points, it’s impossible to forget Diana Vreeland’s iconic living room, famously known as “The Garden in Hell.” The legendary fashion editor created a flamboyant and theatrical space with an assist from the legendary decorator Billy Baldwin.
The room was adorned with whimsical elements, including zebra-printed carpets, red floral chintz walls and vibrant cushions; the juxtaposition of exotic influences, such as Chinese porcelain and Moroccan textiles, showcased Vreeland’s love for global aesthetics. This eclectic mix of styles and textures transformed her living room into an unconventional sanctuary, perfectly mirroring her unapologetic and trendsetting approach to fashion and style. The space remains an enduring symbol of Vreeland’s fearless creativity and ability to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Two modern-day red rooms come to mind. As it happens, Los Angeles-based Mark D. Sikes and Chicago-based Alessandra Branca were given adjacent spaces to decorate in the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in the spring 2015. (See both in this “The New York Times” article or view them in the video below)
Sikes’ space was a gingham-clad dining room, which he told me was inspired by Marella Agnelli, while Branca’s ticking-striped living room brimmed with English antiques anchored by a vast Chinese screen. Both spaces were a master class in using red to great success.
In subsequent years, I had an in-depth conversation with Branca about employing red in interiors. She had this to say, “Red’s richness varies immensely depending on the effect of light, context and material. Blue-based reds and yellow-based reds are worlds apart, and yet they can be mixed with great success in interiors. Paints soak up red pigment like a sponge, and that changes their intensity. Upholster red felt or fabric on a wall, and that same color commands greater attention and depth.
“Light changes red, too, causing it to read differently in every region of the world and every season. Terra cotta-red walls in a living room in Rome look vastly different from the coral red in the Bahamas, the rugged reds of the American West and the refined red of a New York City apartment. Textures get in on the game as well, from the luscious red of mohair velvet to the luster of the lacquer on a japanned screen to the warmth of red fibers in an antique Turkish rug.”
Ultimately, using red in an interior is an impactful choice for evoking emotions and setting the tone for a space. Its ability to create warmth, drama and a sense of excitement makes it a valuable tool for designers seeking to make a bold statement in their work.
Stay updated on this series author, Carl Dellatore, by following his Instagram. About Carl Dellatore & Associates – provides designers, architects, and creatives with writing, editing, and copyediting services by an established team to effectively reveal your story.
As mentioned above, Los Angeles-based Mark D. Sikes and Chicago-based Alessandra Branca were given adjacent spaces to decorate in the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in the spring of 2015; we have located a clip to share with you.
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Creating an Open Line of Communication for Interior Designers
By Lindsay Field Penticuff
Laurie Laizure is Founder of Interior Design Community (IDC), a vibrant online resource for hundreds of thousands of designers worldwide to learn from one another, share frustrations, worries and joys, and gain valuable information to make their businesses stronger so they may increase revenue and build better procedures.
“I love to help designers and listen to their problems,” she says, adding that she’s been running IDC for 11 years. “I keep all questions confidential so it is a safe space to ask questions, and I bring a fun sense of humor and witty banter to everyday problems designers face.”
Laizure studied journalism and graphic design in college, but she has been working in the interior design industry for more than a decade now, and she also serves as Director of Social Media for the Designer Society of America (DSA).
“I stumbled into running Interior Design Community. It was early on in social media and web marketing, and I was learning a lot about that when I started a digital printed wallpaper business,” she says. “I had worked in fine art printing for 12 years for printer manufacturers and found this great material you could stick to walls and peel off.”
Her idea for the Interior Design Community was to create a place where people who worked in the interior design industry could share tech and marketing tips.
“I did not realize how popular it would become and how desperately open communication was needed in the interior design industry,” she says.
Laizure recently answered questions for us about her participation on the Delta/Brizo Showroom Product Tour in Indianapolis in October, and we simply couldn’t overlook an opportunity to pick her brain about the event. Enjoy the Q&A below!
Can you share with us your initial impressions and highlights from the Delta/Brizo Showroom Product Tour? What stood out to you the most during the experience?
“I was very impressed with their product development team as a whole. When we first got bussed to the facility, we were brought into a room for a talk with their industrial design team, where they explained how Brizo came to be, and the history behind the company and their commitment to innovation—which includes sending their design team on two trips per year somewhere in the world to take it all in and look for interesting design elements.
“They spoke about one of the first innovations for Brizo (the Virage faucet). After no luck on a design quest in Europe, they stumbled into a bar for some beer, and on the way out saw this iron fence with a quarter turn and that became the inspiration for Virage. The edges on this faucet are soft, so they have to be hand-buffed by big guys with burley arms, and they experienced 40% waste getting it right. I think that speaks volumes about their commitment to innovate. Most companies would have scrapped it, but this faucet has been a top seller for them so they were right to stick with it.”
How do you see the Delta/Brizo team contributing to the design community, and what role do they play in shaping industry trends?
“I think that it’s difficult to shape or follow design trends when you manufacture faucets and shower heads. I think, as a company, the Peerless, Delta and Brizo teams strive for timeless products, with a twist depending on the line.
“Peerless is affordable, but they offer some really elegant designs. Delta is full of tech advancements and strives to be at the forefront of design for that price point. Brizo is the luxury line, and they want timeless elegance with a twist. They want to push the envelope when making products. Their industrial designer told us that if the engineers aren’t a little nervous about their designs, it probably isn’t the direction they want to go. It should be unexpected but somehow feel like it may have always been like that or always should be.”
In attending the product tour, did you come across any specific design elements or innovations from Delta/Brizo that you found particularly inspiring or unique? How do you think these aspects contribute to the overall design landscape?
“There were lots of unique products and features. It was exciting to see their new steam shower. I think steam showers will become the norm in the future. There are so many health benefits to steam, but it’s also so relaxing and great for your skin. The light and aromatherapy were added bonuses.
“One of the designers was showing off how their different spray patterns work on the delta faucets. They have a spray that’s very wide that avoids splashes when cleaning dirty plates. The engineers showed us how their touch faucets works and how they are moving to completely touchless, where you can wave your hand under the faucet to get water—without the waving you have to do in airport bathrooms. The testing worked flawlessly in front of us.
“We also saw how their shower heads dispense water to give you added water pressure. It was so interesting!
“That said, it’s very apparent that Delta/Brizo loves designers. They even employ Elle H-Millard, an excellent interior designer who now works for the brand and is part of design outreach.”
As someone deeply involved in the interior design community, how do you perceive the relationship between Delta/Brizo and design professionals? How does the brand engage and collaborate with designers to enhance their work?
“ Delta/Brizo does a lot to collaborate with designers. I have attended events for Delta/Brizo throughout the years at trade events, their own hosted events and now at their Indianapolis facility, and the goal is the same: They want feedback, they ask questions and learn from designers. They want to foster a creative space and learn from designers, but they also want to have designers learn from them. It’s a very collaborative process.”
Design often involves storytelling. Can you share any specific backstories you discovered during the tour? How do these narratives contribute to the overall brand identity and resonate with the design community?
“As you heard above about the Virage, they also told us that they spend a lot of time trying to break, stain and scuff their products so that they make highly durable products that designers can trust. It was very interesting to see that most of the full-time kitchen designers there exclusively use Delta/Brizo for the quality alone. They do not want to hear from a client a year later that the product didn’t wear well.”
Given your role in social media, how do you think Delta/Brizo effectively communicates its design philosophy and passion for innovation to a broader audience? What strategies or elements do you find most compelling in their social media presence?
“They do a fine job of it, but I would love to hear even more backstories about each of the products they make. Designers have to justify the cost of luxury products and, yes, care, detail, and quality materials go into each product, but clients also love to hear a story. It would be nice to have a paragraph on each product that tells the story and helps designers better sell the brand.”
The Delta/Brizo team is known for its commitment to sustainability and technology in design. How do you see these principles reflected in their products and what impact do you think they have on the broader design industry?
“The Delta/Brizo team's thinking goes beyond most in the design industry. Their commitment is impressive. While we were there, we did a water tasting. That sounds super boring, but it wasn’t. We tried water from around the world—some flat and some sparkling. We tasted the differences and learned why water is made to taste like that due to local cuisine and preferences. I think we all know clean drinking water is our most precious resource, but Delta is thinking of all the ways to ensure future generations can access clean water easily, as it is part of their corporate culture to care and think forward.”
Attending events like the Delta/Brizo Showroom Product Tour often involves networking and connecting with other professionals. Can you share any memorable conversations or connections you made during the event that stood out to you?
“I had so many deep discussions about the design industry as a whole with the other 17 design professionals who attended. Many wanted backstory information about products, and more detailed information on cleaning and care for products, but the best conversations were about family, our work and our passions.
“Lisa Mende was the first person I ran into. We immediately grabbed lunch (both trying the famous Indianapolis shrimp cocktail). Lisa and I have both experienced the sad loss of a child, so we talked about that. She is an absolute icon. I admire her strength and commitment to her work. Lisa probably knows more about product than any other designer I have ever met. Her brain is a catalog of resources!
“Emily Clark and I had a lovely conversation about our children and raising kids who become adults before your eyes. She is so talented. She works with her husband in their design build firm—and wow! Craftsmanship is key for them. Emily also is a talented singer who studied music in college. I love to see second-career designers have that much success. They know what they want!
“I had lots of fun conversations with Justin Shaulis. He recently moved to New Jersey from New York City, and I was able to figure out that he must be neighbors to another design pro I know (Amy Wax). What are the chances? … Justin is a huge advocate for the need for storytelling when selling design products. He pushes boundaries and creates jaw-dropping spaces. Plus, he is just the kindest, sweetest guy you could ever meet.
“I really could go on and on. I had deep and meaningful conversations with each designer who was there. They all bring so much to the table at an event like that. They are missing work and family time to learn and grow, and to meet and network with the other designers in the room. Events like this are to be cherished. It opens your eyes to how someone else runs their business, and furthers a dialog and bond with other professionals who care about design as much as you do. We are one community. We are in this together. We need to foster that spirit of working with one another.
In your opinion, how does the Delta/Brizo brand contribute to the evolution of interior design, and what role does it play in pushing boundaries and challenging traditional design norms?
“They are a forward-thinking bunch. They love to push the envelope—like with the Frank Lloyd Wright faucet, in which the water has to make a 90-degree turn to come out and it’s made with wood (not exactly water-friendly). So much thought went into the engineering and longevity of this piece.”
As someone who is deeply passionate about design, can you tell us about a specific moment or aspect of the tour that ignited or reinforced your passion for interior design? How does the experience contribute to your own journey in the design world?
“There was a little contest to put together materials based on a design material they provided in conjunction with Material Bank. It was fascinating to watch all the designers playing with materials on the spot and coming up with creative ideas. I would not be in this industry or continue to run Interior Design Community if I didn’t love designers, and how they think and work. You will never find a group of people who use their left and right brains in the same way as a group of designers. They are problem-solvers and deeply analytical thinkers, but they are also dreamers and are creative beyond measure. It’s so very inspiring and made me even more excited to come back to work and do what I do.”