I think most interior designers have a wish to launch their own designer collections. Many big name designers have collections through traditional industry brands including fabrics, lighting, furniture and more. The key here is that in order to gain the backing of a major brand, one needs a big name and, these days, usually a big social media following. It’s just the way it is. But, there is another way to go about this and I have five designer friends of who have forged their own paths by launching their own collections themselves, without backing of big name brands. All designers have, at one time or other, had something in their head for a project and just cannot find it anywhere. Maybe it’s the right size piece of furniture, or a grouping of textiles or rugs that speaks to the designer’s personal aesthetic – or it’s a way to showcase an artistic talent or love of vintage finds. Whatever the impetus, it’s very brave, in my view, to go down the road to launching a line of products under one’s own brand. Beyond the actual design or sourcing is the manufacturing, marketing and sales, etc, etc.
I wanted share the wonderful designer collections these five interior design industry friends are doing.
Deborah Main – The Pillow Goddess
Deborah Main is The Pillow Goddess, a dynamic, innovative design leader who has helped individuals and businesses create beautiful, distinctive high-end spaces for 15 years.
Based in Austin, Texas, Deborah’s experience and deep appreciation of design, textiles, the home furnishings industry, and a wide variety of interiors and home products gives her a fully-rounded understanding of what it takes to provide an exceptional luxurious look and feel to both personal environments and commercial spaces. Her private clients are some of the leading high-end specialty boutiques, interior design businesses, and home brands in the United States. All pillows are handcrafted by Deborah and her head seamstress from her collection of new and vintage textiles collected over the past fifteen years.
INSPIRATION – “I’m inspired by everything I see every day. From nature and the way the light falls at dusk to different patterns I see in nature. I’m also incredibly inspired by fashion and luxury interior design and architecture. Sometimes it can be the smallest detail of a pattern I see in my daily life that will spark my creativity. I also love vintage textiles and am easily inspired by vintage cocktail dresses and gowns. We upcycle them for our pillows.”
Kristin Drohan – The Kristin Drohan Collection
Kristin Drohan, Kristin Drohan Collection, is an award winning designer whose work has appeared on television, in worldwide print, and on-line publications. She started her furniture company, The Kristin Drohan Collection, eleven years ago. It features a collection of durable, eco-friendly pieces ranging from sofas and sectionals to beds, benches, and chairs manufactured in Hickory, NC using natural, chemical-free materials. Kristin studied furniture design at the Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris.
Kristin says “When I started my interior design business 15 years ago, I was looking for custom upholstery vendors who worked with designers (few and far between back in the day), could do complete customization, didn’t cost a fortune, had top of the line construction, and was also eco friendly. I quickly found out I was looking for an upholstery unicorn. After doing a little research and immersing myself in upholstery construction education, I just decided to try and create it myself. I figured if I needed this, my peers must also. We use kiln dried maple frames, 8 way hand-tied spring up and luxury spring down cushions as standard fabrication. The vast majority of the components are recycled content, and the cushion has soy based foam making it hypoallergenic and eco friendly.”
Broadway chair (web link to come)
Lisa Peck – LiLu Interiors, Sylvie & Mira Textiles
Lisa Peck is owner and principal designer at Minneapolis based, LiLu Interiors, her award-winning designs have been published locally and nationally. She is also the designer for her fabric, wall covering and rugs line Sylvie & Mira.
Lisa’s interest in designing her own textiles began in college and after working 25+ years as an interior designer in both residential and commercial fields, the dream was still alive. Says Lisa “I awoke one morning with patterns in my mind and quickly sketched them. From that moment of inspiration to launching my fabric, rugs and wall coverings was a journey of learning and having amazing support from others in the design community.”
The fabrics are digitally printed in North Carolina. There are two grounds available: 100% linen and a heavier 100% cotton sail cloth. The rugs are hand-knotted in Nepal and range from 150 knots to 80 knots per sq. inch and are Goodweave certified. No child labor is used in the making of the rugs and Goodweave supports education in the community. The wall coverings are printed on a 54” type 1 ground in Minneapolis. Custom colors can be offered across the entire range of products. The line is named for Lisa’s daughters Sylvia and Miranda and a percentage of the profits is donated to girls education.
Deckle Dot rug in a custom colorway
Leap Blue fabric on the stools
Scot Meacham Wood – SMW Home
Longtime friend Scot Meacham Wood is a genteel Southerner with a deep-rooted connection to Great Britain. Based in New York City, Scot is renowned for his distinctly timeless design aesthetic as well as for his larger than life personality. Drawing inspiration from his Scottish heritage Scot’s signature style evokes a mélange of European and Southern sensibilities, merging sartorial influences, bold prints and more than a dash of whimsy to create luxurious spaces that bridge generations with his uniquely modern voice.
Launching his design firm in 2001, Scot quickly became one of Northern California’s most sought-after interior design professionals, rapidly developing an impressive portfolio of projects across the United States. With the opening of his lifestyle boutique Scot Meacham Wood Home in 2014 this former concert pianist partnered with the world’s most historic mills in creating a bespoke collection of custom textiles, bringing old-world elegance and luxury to the San Francisco Design Center. Since then, the SMW Home family of products has grown to include furnishings, accessories, décor, and art appealing to trade professionals and discerning homeowners alike.
Charlotte Settee in Cordelia
Pullman Ottomann in Chinoiserie Stripe – Prestonfield Blue
Susan Serra, Susan Serra Associates, Inc., Scandinavian Made
Another longtime friend, Susan Serra is an award winning and prolific certified kitchen designer by profession. She has used her creative experience and trained eye to build the Scandinavian Made collection of artisanal rugs. She has been an avid collector of Swedish rugs for her own home for many years and travels frequently to Denmark and Sweden to visit friends and family and to seek out finely crafted Swedish rugs all across the region.
The rugs in the Scandinavian Made collection represent a broad range of color, pattern, age and size. Each rug is skillfully handmade by an artisan (typically a female) according to her own vision. Therefore, no two rugs are alike – each one, an original work of art, woven on a wooden loom. Using multiple rugs that are similar but different adds a dimensioned and layered look in any room. These rugs are as practical as they are beautiful and are washable and reversible and can be used anywhere in the home from the front door or kitchen to a nursery. The rugs range in age from late 19th century to early 21st century. Some rugs have never or rarely been used, having been put away just for special occasions. Other rugs have a richly worn texture from years of use – a texture that adds history and warmth to any interior.