Designer Crush: Andrea DeRosa & Ashley Manhan of Avenue Interior Design

1. Who is your biggest role model?

Hands down, our parents. They were all innovators and pursued entrepreneurial endeavors that inspired us throughout our childhood and well into our own careers. We both grew up in homes were we were told we could do, or be, whatever we wanted and that’s exactly where we are now – in our dream job.

2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?

Any Nancy Myers movie. Her sets are the things interior dreams are made of — effortless, alluring, comfortable — all around perfection.

3. What new design elements are you excited to integrate into your work?

Colorful, graphic patterns for flooring. We’re using a variety of traditional encaustic tiles in a number of our current restaurant projects – they make stunning additions to residential interiors too.

4. How do you completely unwind?

By taking advantage of everything California has to offer. A quick drive out to the desert, a long weekend in the mountains or a drive up the coast.

5. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?

Being the fashion editor at Vogue.

6. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?

Nothing even worth mentioning here! We were both really fortunate to have great opportunities in our industry before starting Avenue.

7. What’s your favorite recipe?

When it comes to cooking, we love Gwyneth and anything from Williams Sonoma – their recipes never disappoint. The Roasted Kabocha Soup a la Goop is one of the best! And nothing welcomes fall cooking better than the Penne w/ Butternut Squash and Italian Sausage Ashley adapted from Williams Sonoma: 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 ½ lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 ¼ lb of spicy Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped sage
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • ¼ c dry white wine
  • 1 ¼ c chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Heat oil in skillet.
  • Add squash and cook until brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  • Brown sausage and stir in garlic and crushed red pepper.
  • Cook for an additional minute or two.
  • Add white wine and simmer, uncovered, stirring and scraping the pan clean.
  • Add chicken broth and sage.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook your pasta.
  • Drain pasta reserving ¼ c of the water.
  • Add all ingredients, including the water, butter and parmesan to taste, back to the pot and toss over medium heat for a few minutes before serving.

8. Create your perfect playlist for us.

We’re addicted to Pandora – it’s the ultimate playlist. At any given time you’ll find anything from the Rolling Stones to Feist playing in our office.

9. Who is your designer crush?

Aerin Lauder. Her collection for Circa Lighting is beautiful, fun and unexpected. We’ve used it everywhere. 

Lightning round!

10. Would you rather shop new or vintage?

New, Newer and Newest!

11. First celebrity crush?

Leonardo DiCaprio, without question.

12. What’s your hidden talent?

Baking.

13. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?

Jon & Vinny’s on Fairfax in LA.

14. SF or LA?

Of course LA!