New York City
Principal Designer and
Creative Director of BHDM,
How would you describe your style?
Crisp, layered, and approachable
Tell us a bit about your professional background.
I went to school for interior design, and began my career designing stores. At 23 I helped design the launch for Michael Kors, and spent the next 10 years designing for all sorts of fashion, cosmetics, jewelry and home brands. I spent 6 years at Ralph Lauren as a director of store design - my job there took me all around the world opening new stores and sourcing one of a kind objects for the brand. In opening BHDM 11 years ago I was able to parlay the notion of storytelling evoked in my retail projects into hospitality. Our team is now about 20 people based mostly in New York and California - we design many different types of projects, from single and multi-family residential, to hotels, restaurants, offices and startups. Every day is different, every project is unique, and that’s what keeps it exciting for me.
Is art part of your original design concept or does it evolve as the project progresses?
Art and design always go hand in hand to our work. Sometimes an artist takes center stage, like murals we commissioned for the Waldorf Astoria, Atlanta. Other times it's one of the layers of a project, as seen in the many different types of work at our Hyatt Regency San Francisco project. I am interested in many different mediums, and gratefully get to use many of them in our diverse project aesthetics.
How do you select art with your clients? Do you suggest the work and have them approve or do you look for art together?
We always make the first suggestions - I like art that is intentional: intentionally cohesive or dissonant. But in either example, I like art to work with our projects. Sometimes a client will bring art to the table, and if it’s early enough we can build the design around it. What I DON’T like, is when art becomes just an extra…like “we needed art there.'' That's not the point, to me.
Can you tell us your favorite design hack?
I love painted white floors. Without fail, they take a space from just fine to superstar status. They’re reflective, luminous, clean and crisp, and a great backdrop to anything (or any art) you want to add to a space.
My favorite cheap and cheerful tip: hang art over the front of your bookcases.. It does a few things: 1 - adds added layers to your wallscape. 2 - it allows you to need less “stuff” to fill those shelves behind. I’ve done it in a traditional look with oil paintings, and in my own all black and white beach house, with photography.
BHDM’s portfolio is so diverse. What is your process to understand the needs of each client and property?
It all starts with a lot of listening. I’m listening for what the bigger ask is. For residential and commercial clients alike, we’re always trying to answer the question “what is the story you want to tell the world with your space?” From there, we craft a narrative - sometimes its “concept,” sometimes it's more of a story, but it’s always the point of view that derives all the design decisions for the project. When we work with brands, we build a DNA for the brand - this becomes the do’s and don’ts, and is a great guide for all in the design process.
Favorite spot in New York for a cocktail?
My back porch in East Marion, with friends. (our friends make a great martini…) And favorite Greenwich Village haunts, like the Knickerbocker, Marian’s, and Le Baratin.
Favorite spot in New York for a coffee?
Seven Grams, near my office (but it’s mostly for the cookies.)