An international interior design sensation and Atlanta native, NYC-based contemporary designer Miles Redd has created an infectious new design aesthetic, defined by his trademark bold and cinematic approach to glamorous but cozy interiors, and propelled by his no-holds-barred take on individual, original spaces. Inspired from the start by Buckhead’s classic architecture, Redd studied at some of New York’s best design schools before landing apprenticeships with such luminaries as antiques dealer John Roselli and decorator Bunny Williams, who educated him in the arts of antiques dealership, shopping and, most importantly—timeless decorating. Now a featured regular in top-shelf publications like New York, Vogue, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, House & Garden, W and Domino, the breadth of Redd’s projects range from Upper East Side town homes, to a Miami Beach condo, to a Wyoming ranch, to a farmhouse in the South of France, and of course, a stately Atlanta mansion.
In anticipation of his arrival to Atlanta as honorary chair of the 2009 SCAD-Atlanta Scholarship Gala—held April 16 at the college’s 1600 Peachtree Street location—AH&L caught up with the high-impact decorator for a one-on-one chat, to discuss where he’s been, where he’s going, and the one design rule he can’t do without.
Above is a sampling of some of Redd’s favorite rooms, all of which embody his personal brand of vibrant, yet comfortable style.
1. What do you remember most about your time growing up in Atlanta?
Sitting in the very back of the carpool, riding around looking at the rolling green hills, jumping on the trampoline. It was so wholesome and idyllic.
2. How did Atlanta inspire you early on, in terms of design?
I was most inspired by Philip Schutze and Neel Reid – architects of the grand and glam homes of Atlanta.
3. When did you leave Atlanta and why?
I left Atlanta to go to college and also to come to New York City, first at the Parsons School of Design for fashion and then at NYU to study film.
4. How often do you come back, and where do you shop?
I make it back to Atlanta about three times a year. It does have great shopping; I love Linda Horsley Antiques, Tom Hayes & Associates/Toby West Ltd., Belvedere and Travis & Co.
5. Even though they are new designs, your rooms have the looks of those that have been lived in for decades. What is your secret to creating rooms that feel so comfortable and loved?
It’s all in the mix. And my rooms are object driven, as opposed to fabric/upholstery. It makes them more meaningful.
6. We sometimes have a tendency to redecorate our homes every few years. How can we achieve a more long-term design aesthetic?
A sense of what is a fad vs. what is timeless – and I suppose that’s just instinctual.
7. We all amass some degree of clutter. What is the best way to make our disparate objects look neat and collected?
A tray to contain them.
8. How important is it to splurge on that perfect impact piece? In this economic downturn, is it OK to compromise?
I would rather do without than compromise; my advice is to wait until you can afford the impact piece. There is no substitution for real, enduring quality.
9. What is your design process? Do you start with a master plan, or is it organic?
Always a master plan. I work from the ground up, but there is always room for a great find.
10. How important are order and symmetry to a well-designed room?
Order is very important. And decorating is pointless without proper housekeeping.
11. What’s one thing you cannot stand to have in a room?
Hmmm… How about CD towers? Or anything generic that shows a lack of thought.
12. What is your No. 1 design rule?
“Buy the best and you only cry once.”
13. Many people say that you are a rule-breaker; what do you have to say to them? What are your thoughts on traditional design rules?
I never feel that I am “breaking rules” – mainly because I don’t believe in rules. They box you in. I just go with my gut and what feels good.
14. What are the metrics of your design success? How do you determine that a project works, and how do you gauge your success as a designer in the larger scheme?
I return calls promptly, and I come from a logical, considered place – that’s really all. Also, amazing support from colleagues, parents and the craftspeople I work with everyday.
15. What do think is the source of your fame/your success? Why do you think you have struck such a chord with the design public?
You are too kind. I really am just lucky to know lots of editors(!)
16. You’ve been described variously as the “sultan of swank” and purveyor of “cozy glamour” by the design press. What are the three words you would use to define your personal brand of design?
Graphic, colorful and with a sense of fantasy.
17. You seem to live a very full, design-centric life. What do you do to escape or decompress?
I love the movies and a cozy dinner. Also the beach and exercise are key.
18. What is something people might not know about you?
That I can water ski on only one ski.
19. You’ve received a great deal of acclaim over the years. What would take your work to the next level?
“Miles Redd: the Movie”
20. What would you like to see happen in design?
I’d like to design the White House – but without a committee.
For tickets or more information about this year’s SCAD-Atlanta Scholarship Gala, contact Rebecca Nort at (404) 253-2728 or visit scad.edu.
To learn more about Miles Redd and see a snapshot of his design portfolio visit his firm’s Web site, milesredd.com.