What do you listen to when you work or design? Around here it depends on the mood of the team and the projects we are currently working on. Check out the playlist we’ve been listening to a lot lately. In no particular order. We generally listen to it on shuffle.
Designer Mead Quin has become widely recognized for her cohesive, elegant, and functional designs throughout the Bay Area. With a background in fine art at Vanderbilt University, Mead has taken inspiration from her artistic roots as a successful-portrait painter and transferred that talent to the interior design world. She landed her first opportunity as an assistant for Grant K. Gibson Interior Design.
In an interview with SFGATE she reflects on that experience, “Grant took me under his wing early on, and showed me that kindness, laughter, wicked natural talent and the ability to not take oneself too seriously are what you really need to make it in this industry.”
Following that opportunity, she began designing with the talented Martha Angus up until 2013 when she took the next step in her career and opened up her own design firm in 2013. Quin’s work is sophisticated and intellectual. Her work features white interiors, interesting shapes, and lines to create, in her words, “livable art.”
We are excited to begin our window treatment and custom sewing collaborations with the uber-talented Mead Quin Design. She is one of the kindest designers I’ve ever met, and we resonate with her design philosophy of ‘everyday simplicity, genuine authenticity, and high-quality focus.”
I stumbled upon a vacation-rental remodel through a friend who recently bought a vacation home in Mexico, and I jumped at the chance to help him remodel it for the rental market. I knew him pretty well, and wanted a strong concept that would photograph well. I also wanted to create a design experience for the people who were going to be vacationing there.
Photos by Elle Decor - Please read more about this project at House Tour: A Miami Penthouse
The two-floor apartment, with stunning views of the old town and ocean, had been slightly remodeled mainly by replacing the original clay tiles with polished white ceramic tiles. The new owner wasn’t thrilled, but I saw it as the perfect opportunity to mix modern and traditional Mexican furnishings to create a contemporary design. I had recently seen a project that Jean-Louis Denoit designed in Elle Decor (inspiration photos in this blog) and wanted to play off of that inspiration for this project.
Our major concept is Duality implemented by using:
· Monochromatic color palette of white and royal blue (we have since introduced purple into the bedroom. Sometimes you have to work with what you can find at the market, but it was a happy accident 100%)
· A mixture of found and purchased traditional Mexican furniture and contemporary designs (we are even high gloss painting some of the original furniture)
· Organic and geometrical shapes (in furniture, plants, and terrace design)
We also wanted to create a signature brand that is both completely livable and artistically inspiring. Follow us along as we go through the design process of concept, furniture plan, Guadalajara furniture shopping, and more as we venture further in the world of Mexican design. This process has changed me in many ways. I’m not a huge crier, but I’ve cried of joy, of friendship, and of complete frustration on every recent trip to Mexico. Guadalajara was rough to say the least. Luckily, I’m not one easily deterred by a challenge or emotions. There will be tears, but I’m always up for the challenge.
Jeffrey Dungan, award winning architect and designer just released his first book, The Nature of the Home: Creating Timeless Houses. The Alabama based creative channels his expertise, teaching others how to create their dream home. We were lucky enough to get the chance to ask him some questions about his design process and favorite recent projects.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
JD: I would say that easily the most rewarding part of my job is working with people. Two major relationships are the clients without whom we would never be able to do meaningful work and who in many ways are our partners in making beautiful thoughtful places. Also the energy and passion of the people who work with me in our studio are key in the design and execution of these ideals we hold so dear.
What is your favorite recent project you worked on?
JD: Favorite recent project? Well, I am very lucky in that at this point we just take projects we really want to do and feel strongly about the relationship with the client, so it would be difficult to choose a favorite as it is to say which of my daughters is my favorite! If you put a gun to my head I would say I really enjoyed working on a large estancia in the Dominican Republic. We are creating an entire farm complete with horse stables and some smaller guest houses called casitas as well as a large main house for entertaining. We imported a 150 year old barn frame from Pennsylvania and designed the house around that with lots of glass and a wrap around porch and outdoor courtyards and a swimming pool- just to add some complexity its all done using the metric system, and I’m still working on my Spanish.
You said in your interview with Cashiers that your biggest fear was white paper, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
JD: Well I just don’t like a big old piece of blank white paper staring at me, it conjures up notions of writers block or similar scary creative instances. I can do it but I tend to grab a piece of whatever is laying around including paper plates old construction drawings or in once instance wax paper from a kitchen and draw on that. Plus I draw very small at the beginning so its what Bill Clinton might call “sufficiently deniable”. Its all part of a personal process of thinking out loud with a pencil which is not rocket science but is central to my creative method.
One of our early clients once said, they never knew that having a designer remodel their home would help them live a better life. How do you think an architect can bridge the differences between how they live their lives and how they want to?
JD: Everything we live in was designed by someone, somewhere at some time- I think the question is, was it designed thoughtfully? Is it beautiful to you and does it move you in some positive way? It is clear that if and when the answers are yes to these questions our lives are elevated from the old into a new experience. Its powerful and pivotal to feel the difference. The question is not CAN an architect do it- the question is DID they do it, and when done well- the answer is obvious. Our goal is to help people live better lives. That is worth getting up for every day in my book.
You stated on your website that if you listen to the site the house will almost design itself. How does the site and local products help inform your decisions?
JD: When I talk about the site I am talking about a few things, context is a huge definer of any great design. Where are the best views, and which views would I like to eschew and how does the sun come across the site every day- because its not changing its path. What I really love is nature and the movement of the earth in its rise and fall, I’m looking for the spot in that terrain that will easily and readily accept a house, and how the shape of the house could most easily fit into it. When people say that the house looks like it grew out of the site or that it appears as if it had always been there- it's the best compliment they could give.