Designer Crush Q&A: Tom Callaway


Instead of focusing on “shock and awe,” we adore that you can feel Tom’s love of traditional interiors with tons of warmth and texture when looking at his work. The homes he designs aren’t just pretty to look at, but they are spaces we would actually love to live in. We are so inspired by all the exciting projects Tom has taken on thus far in his career and couldn’t be more pleased to bring you his answers to the Designer Crush Q&A

1. Where do you currently live in CA and what’s your favorite thing about how you’ve designed your personal space?

I live in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. I’ve put stone on the exterior of my little cottage, creating a bit of English Cotswolds.

2. What’s your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)?

I would design and decorate a sprawling, early California style rancho/hacienda over looking the sea, for myself and my loved ones.

3. In real life, what’s your favorite project you’ve completed to date?

I have several favorites, but if I have to choose only one, it would be a Spanish Colonial compound I designed in Los Angeles, called “Camina con Christo.”

4. You’ve been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be?

A superb etching by Georges Braque.

5. What’s your creative process when designing a space?

I create an imaginary story for every project, i.e, how it came to be, etc., and then design to make the story become real life.

6. Where do you score your favorite interior design items? Any shopping tips?

I prefer antiques and one of a kind items. I love Lee Stanton Antiques, Hollyhock, Pat McGann, Nathan Turner, and Lief. Buy what you love when you see it. If you love it, you’ll always find a spot or project for it.

7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?

My days of working with carpentry tools and glue guns is over. I once designed and built an entire staircase of raised paneling (at chair rail height) up three floors of a commercial building, only to find that the last ten feet did not work out mathematically. It meant taking it all down to recut and rebuild. I literally cried real tears that day. But it all came together eventually. This was before I went into the design business, and was young enough, silly enough, and poor enough to think I could do anything myself.

8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?

I have recently designed a line of textiles and wall papers that I look forward to installing in many of my new projects. I think wall coverings are going to be a major trend over the next decade.

9. Lightning round!

Beach or mountains?

Mountains looking at water.

Twitter or Facebook?


Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?

Architectural Digest, but Wallpaper is very cool.

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?

Both! But kitchen if you can only choose one.

Would you rather shop new or vintage?

Vintage whenever possible, but I prefer a mix of old and new.

Great view or perfect pool?

Great view.

SF or LA?

I’ve lived in both, and LA is for me.

10. What’s one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?

Remember the word “budget” even though it’s the last word you want to remember.


Want more Tom Callaway? 

Thomas Callaway and Associates, furniture line, Stuff Tom Likes on 1st Dibs, Stuff Tom Likes on Facebook    

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