Designing as a Collector

Sometimes I feel I am a collector who does interior design, and other times I feel like an interior designer with an eye for collecting.

Either way you look at it, collecting has become an integral part of my practice that helps define who I am as an interior designer.  For me, collecting is about looking at a home as something that builds over time.  It changes, evolves and is not a static thing.  The result you get from designing in that way is a look and feeling that is personal, never generic, and the process is akin to creating a painting.  It starts with a clear picture and plan, but the process itself is organic allowing for redirection and editing based on the treasures we find.    

As a collector, I love finding pieces that speak to me, something with personality that reflects the hand of its maker. When I see something I like, something authentic, interesting and exciting, I get this feeling in my gut. Throughout my career this has been part of my process. This led me to opening my shop on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, where I now have a venue for displaying those unique items and sharing them with both my clients and the public at large.

One appealing aspect to creating an artful and unique collection for a client is that there is always room for "good" mistakes.

With architecture, everything has to be perfect; in that regard, I'm a purist. But when it comes to furnishings, including lighting, artwork, and decorative objects, I can experiment and be more creative with composition, materials, and scale.

My years of experience collecting and my eye for unique pieces have led me to some of the best sources in the world. I love shopping in Europe, Belgium in particular, because I am partial to European mid-century design as well as antiques.


Want to integrate the idea of designing as a collector into your home?

Whether you want to start a collection or have some experience, whether your budget is large or small, here are some tips to get you started:


First, collecting is about finding unique pieces. It's about authenticity. Don't be taken in by copies.


Don't be fearful about not being an expert. Finding things that are fit for you, is what's important. Don't forget, there's nothing that can't be changed down the line; collecting is an evolution.


Purchase what moves you, a piece that is unique and has provenance. Try to avoid buying something just to fill a spot. Be patient! Everything doesn't have to be perfect and complete. This is an ongoing process that takes time.


Work with reliable sources. There are lots of reputable dealers in the US. I recommend starting with local dealers so you can visit their shops and get to know their areas of expertise.


Finally, pay attention to individual pieces; a table, lamp, sculpture or vase. Browse through design magazines and instead of taking in an image of a whole room, examine all the components that make up the big picture. Observe scale, layout, balance and composition, and use these as a point of reference when you start considering what would work in your home.

Most importantly, follow your gut,
take chances, and have fun!