Most people would be hard-pressed to identify a typically American style of design, seeing it as merely an outgrowth of foreign influences that has yet to define itself in a recognizable way. But just as our once nondescript American cuisine has transformed itself into a sophisticated fusion of regional cooking styles, so too has what might now qualify as quintessential American design acquired its own cachet.
To find it we must look to our roots as a rural, agrarian society, to a time past when farmhouses, hunting lodges, and ranch houses were given utilitarian designs based on their functions. These early structures’ rough-hewn beams, plank floors, and expansive hearths are favored features today, recalling as they do an era of rugged self-sufficiency and pioneering spirit.
My own designs remain true to that spirit, incorporating the organic textures and vernacular elements that speak to our national identity, but enhancing them with more luxurious appointments. I also like to go beyond simple adherence to early Americana and infuse the spaces with contrasting energies. To evolve the bare-bones simplicity of the original forms into something more personal, I stir in a mélange of ingredients to add comfort and interest—Moorish-inspired carvings, intricate moldings, cushions and slipcovers, needlepoint rugs, Chinese pottery. For me, the magic lies in the coexistence of opposites, fashioning a cohesive whole by blending seemingly disparate objects.