Designer Crush: Kyle Schuneman

1. Who is your biggest role model?

In design, Martha Stewart hands down. She built an empire by knowing her voice and sticking to it. It’s so important in design, and specifically in building a brand, to know your strengths and to create things your gut tells you is right. Martha has done that so well. You trust her products as soon as you see them in the different retailers.

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

Any of Nancy Meyers’ movies (Something’s Gotta Give, It’s Complicated, Parent Trap, etc.). All of her sets are so beautiful and they play such a role in the characters' lives. I’ve designed dozens of sets for advertisements, catalogues, and TV shows, and it’s such a gift to be able to tell a story through design. I think that can really be translated into interior projects as well because you want to tell the story of your clients since these are the spaces they are going to make memories in.

3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?

It really depends on the client. Some people know exactly who they are, but most don’t. For those who don’t, I like to meet them in one of their favorite bars, restaurants, or hotels. Commercial design is where risks are taken, so you can bring that into your home in pieces where it still feels comfortable. Most people can show you a room that they love in these spaces because it’s a final product. It’s easy for me to see who they are when they start telling me the elements that they like. If they don’t have a favorite space, I like to ask them their favorite landscape (for example the desert or the coast). By knowing that, you can see what kind of surroundings they like to be enveloped in and translate that into their home.

4. What new design trends are you excited to integrate into your work?

I’m not a big trend guy. I think they can be traps in getting seduced into things you think you should like and less about who you really are and what you want to be surrounded in.

5. Tell us how the Apt2B collaboration came about.

They approached me after my book came out, as we both had a lot of the same goals. My book, The First Apartment Book, was geared toward millenials living in the city and my philosophy that living small doesn’t mean you can’t have big design was something Apt2B shared. We created an upholstery line that had everything from apartment size sofas to chairs and sectionals and are now on our third collection, but what I’m most excited about are the new beds that just debuted that I designed with them.

6. Why did you want to try your hand at bedroom design?

I think a bed is such a personal sanctuary and I really wanted to create beautiful pieces that would be really personal to people. The three styles each come in 30 different fabrics so there are so many combinations from hot pink to charcoal to let your personality fly. I’m really proud of the beds and they are all built in downtown LA.

7. How do you completely unwind?

With my dog, Crouton, in the backyard. When I see his face even after a long day he makes it all okay.

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

I would have probably gotten into politics, but hey, I’m still young and you never know what the future holds!

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

My first job working in the TV world was a production assistant for a Super Bowl commercial. My job was to clean up confetti from the confetti canyons all day for 12 hours...constantly sweeping up confetti. But I’ve been through the ringer with jobs, everything from working at an ice cream store to retail to mowing lawns.

10. Who has your favorite client been and why?

My favorite project was doing my book because I got to work with 10 different clients and really tell their stories. That’s why I got into design, to bring out each person’s unique personality through their home no matter what the size or budget.

 

Lightning round!

11. Would you rather shop new or vintage?

Vintage.

12. First celebrity crush?

Marky Mark.

13. What’s your hidden talent?

Handstands.

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

Bestia in downtown LA. Try their bone marrow gnocchi.

15. SF or LA?

I’ve lived in both and I’m a SoCal kind of guy.