Buzz: What advice do you have for a young married couple with a new apartment to decorate but only have a limited newlywed budget?
GB: Deaccession all their wedding gifts and purchase a decent sofa.
Buzz: Looking back at your first home, what decorating knowledge do you wish you had back then in designing the interiors?
GB: At the risk of sounding conceited, I have always been able to picture exactly how my personal interiors will materialize. I am 90% visual. My other senses are crammed together in the latter percentage.
Buzz: What do you see happening in colour trends these days?
GB: All colours appeal to me. However, in principal, I do prefer using pungent colours as accents in a room. The lilacs and mauves and celadon greens coupled with pale grays are a current favorite.
Buzz: What do you tell a client who has inherited a piece that’s truly ugly? Do you decorate around it, store it somewhere far away, or accidentally drop a piano on it?
GB: If they cannot live without it, I would probably work around it… hopefully banished to a secondary room, although it would always haunt me and I would never want to photograph the space.
Buzz: Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is a rug or floor treatment that sets up the colour palette and feel for the rest of the furnishings? Agree?
GB: In some cases, the rug becomes the soul of the room. I like designing my own rugs, which certainly introduces a particular signature. But for me, a painting on the wall is invariably my source of inspiration.
Buzz: Can you share with us your thoughts on the “latest” trends in furnishings?
GB: The last decade has wrought an intense infatuation and appreciation for contemporary furniture. It was long overdue. We are living in such amazing times. There hasn’t been a millennium since the dark ages …we should be celebrating our moment in time.
Buzz: What one new twist on decorating would you genuinely call new and cutting edge?
GB: Nothing is more cutting edge than the advent of technology.
Buzz: Tell us about your use of white and off white rugs, chairs and other furnishings. You seem fearless in your use of them.
GB: I realize that white is not an official colour, i.e. the spectrum, but it is for me the happiest and most joyful of all. How could I ever be depressed in a white room? It is all about serenity.
Buzz: What’s the best advice on decorating for small spaces?
GB: Light colours and mirrors.
Buzz: How do you define elegance?
A disdain for fuss and frill.
Buzz: How do you define success?
GB: Never believing your own publicity.
Buzz: What’s your most cherished antique?
GB: My Faberge Easter egg made for the Imperial Russian Family.
Buzz: Hypothetical question: In one hour, some unexpected guests are coming to visit? What’s one thing you can do (other than slit your wrists) to dress up your place for company?
GB: Hire a handsome butler.
Buzz aside: I’m laughing so hard it hurts.
Buzz: “Going green” is on everyone’s mind these days. What’s a good way to be eco-chic in designing an interior?
GB: I love using LED lighting.
Buzz: What’s your one best piece of decorating advice?
GB: When in doubt, don’t.
Buzz: Is it design suicide to do a room that has only brown furniture with nothing painted, gilded, glass or metal work?
GB: Not if it’s a period room in a museum.
Buzz aside: Yet another perfect answer. At this point I’m pea green with envy.
Buzz: What’s your most guilty pleasure?
GB: My Bentley Continental Flying Spur, and my driver, Carlos.
Buzz aside: Make that chartreuse with envy.
Buzz: Old school designers like Albert Hadley (and I believe Sister Parish) were famous for creating binders with all the vital information on each installation right down to where each accessory should go? Do designers still do that and should they?
GB: We always do project manuals if a project exceeds 20,000 square feet. They are especially helpful with global projects.
Buzz: What’s your favorite book on design (other than your own of course!)?
GB: “Essence of Style” by Joan de Jean
Buzz: What are the essential elements of good design?
GB: Scale, balance, innovation, joy.
Buzz: Thank you Geoffrey for one of the most enlightening, entertaining and clever interviews. You made my day.