A total accident as I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Painting and realized I had no job skills whatsoever. So my teacher Mom took me to the local college library and looked up possible jobs and Interior Design popped up first for people with my degree.
2. You designed homes for clients like Ralph Lauren and the Lauder family; how did these projects come your way and what were the most memorable aspects of both?
They came from my boss, Naomi Leff, in New York City. She only worked with billionaires and we designed Ralph Lauren homes and most of his stores. I was a consultant for Estee Lauder for over 5 years doing their corporate headquarters in New York City with 1000 offices in the General Motors building and also worked on many of Mrs. Lauder’s personal homes.
3. How is creating a high-end store like Saks Fifth Avenue and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong different from creating a home?
Retail is about creating vision to romance the customer with guides to lead customers through spaces and to create a euphoria which makes them want to buy.
4. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your 20+ year career and how have you overcome them?
Technology has changed everything as clients have access to items online but access is not knowledge nor experience. So we have many clients who have tried doing it themselves who then come to us after having wasted a great deal of money trying to do it on their own.
5. Where do you draw design inspiration from?
Fine art always.
6. What’s been your favorite project to date?
An apartment in Paris’ Quai de Bethune on the Ile St. Louis.
7. Musical album or artist that’s inspired you most in your life and why?
I like Monir Farmanfarmaian — 93 yrs old! Because her traditional Persian mosaic work which is done in faceted mirror and it has an extremely contemporary look.
8. If you could design the set for any movie, which would it be and why?
Barry Lyndon as a movie because of the color palettes…just fantastic!
9. Describe your perfect Sunday.
Reading the NYT online with lox and bagels and going for a marathon walk.