After finishing undergraduate school at UC Berkeley, I moved to NYC and my first big project was a 60,000 sq foot home , we only used native american woods and american crafts artists for the majority of the interiors: it was an amazing first project and I loved it, I designed every inch of the home and I loved working with the craft artists and natural woods throughout the home
2. You say you honor “the soul of design” (also the title of your upcoming first book!). What does that mean to you?
I believe spaces have a profound effect on us : in very subtle and very direct ways, I like to call it Neurobeauty: beauty creates healthy brain chemistry which in turn can make us feel better and inspired in our daily lives, when we are inside an interior that uses natural light, soothing and or energizing colors, natural materials and elements made by the human hand I think those elements and things have soul and soul feeds us a humans to help us be better people, our environments have a direct impact on who we are in the world and how we interact with the world around us
3. How have your travels around the world influenced your work?
I travel as much as possible, my travels keep me open minded and my ideas fresh, I constantly study culture, design, color and artisan made products from around the world which I think helps to keep my work timeless and have a sense of place
4. What’s been your most challenging project to date and how did you overcome the obstacles?
I worked on a project where I did not have a connection to the home, the home was not well built and it did not have a good sense of place and path and it was not a very good looking home: the client hired me to bring beauty into her home through soft furnishings: window treatments and other elements that would give her home more refinement and outward beauty, and make her like the home more, I decided to not walk away from the project ( because I did not like the house) and make the project a personal challenge, I thought that if I can make this house beautiful with gorgeous soft furnishings and give the house a new life through my work then I have helped to make the client happier in her home, and it all worked out , she said the work transformed her home and made her so much happier inside the home, I was fortunate to be able to do most of the fabric work with Fortuny and it was so beautiful when we were done
5. What’s your favorite travel destination and why?
I have so many but every year I travel to some of the same places for design inspiration : Paris, India, Italian and French alps, Big Sur:
Paris for the yearly Maison et Objet: so I can my eye open European design and what is new , India: I work with artisans there on Textiles, and it is so inspiring to be immersed in the intensity of it all: colors, textiles, culture , I also love to study the patterns and I love the daily rituals of flowers and patterns in the most elaborate and simple settings, Big Sur to quiet my mind and reflect on how I can do my best work and be a better person in the world the rugged beauty always takes my breath away, the Italian and French alps for the same reason
6. Musical album or artist that’s inspired you most in your life and why?
I do not have one: I love Bach, Yo Yo Ma, the Beatles, Carly Simon, Gregorian Chants, Adele, Train, U2, etc.: I love listening to o music in very old cathedrals when I travel in Europe . I love music for different moods: exercise, relaxing, poetry, inspiration …
7. If you could design the set for any movie, which would it be and why?
Rivendale: for Lord of the Rings: it has the right amount of fantasy, artisan made elements, an evolved sense of place and nature all around : mountains and water the sets create a beautiful sacred beauty that is inspiring and soulful
8. Classical or classic rock?
9. Netflix or night out?
10. Beach or mountains?
11. Pancakes or waffles?
Latvian pancakes — they are more likely crepes and I put fresh fruit inside.
12. Early bird or night owl?
Early bird, but often a night owl too with work deadlines and travel times zones, but I love doing my workouts in the very early morning and watching the sun rise.