Elle Decor
Elle Decor’s Quote of the Week
Semptember 2014

Todd Merrill Portrait


Words of wisdom from some of ELLE DECOR’s favorite talents and tastemakers over the past 20 years

Elle Decor Staff | Current

“My favorite project is always the next one.”
—Architect Michael Graves, July/Aug 11

Past Quotes

“Serious is a word that must be entirely avoided when it comes to decoration.” —Designer Kathryn M. Ireland

“I work on the assuption that a house is successful if it’s plesant to live in.” —Designer Alexandra de Garidel-Thoron

“I try not to bring in anything I don’t love looking at. It’s about restaint … There is something about an unfinished quality that leaves within you that sense of possibility.” —Artist Caio Fonseca

“Our goal is always to create a place where there’s a memory.” —Designer Laura Sartori Rimini, April 08

“I don’t see boundaries between styles, such as modern or contemporary. I’ve collected each piece from a different experience or period of my life.” —Fashion Designer Carlos Miele, October 10

“You should have a picture of yourself as a kid in your home so that you remember where you came from.”—Musician John Mayer, September 09

“We’re really into comfort. Not some abstract idea of what a comfortable room should be, but real comfort—the kind where you can happily drift off for an hour or two with your dog at your feet.”—Decorator Jeffrey Alan Marks, June 10

“I learned that passion about objects and furnishings makes for fearless decorators—and that if you are comfortable in your home, everyone else will be too. That sense of authenticity is what gives a home its soul.”—Interior designer Courtnay Daniels Haden, Jan/Feb 10

“I like to set people free. I give them a hint and encourage them to go with their imaginations. It is the only way that new things can come true.”—Designer Muriel Brandolini, Jan/Feb 06

“As far as I’m concerned, either you have the confidence to like what’s good, or you don’t. Either you know who you are, or you’re lost.”—Filmmaker Nathaniel Kramer, May 10

“A home should be a distillation of your interests, of who you really are. If you’re happy with your life, your space will reflect that.”—Designer Rafael de Cárdenas, October 10

“I’m not as concerned with provenance as much as with how something looks. Design is a puzzle, and certain things just work.”—Decorator Eve Robinson, Feb/March 04

“Every room needs a slap in the face.”—Dransfield and Ross co-owner Geoffrey Ross, Jan/Feb 06

“I appreciate history, but you have to bring your own experience into your rooms.”—Fashion Designer Istvan Francer, September 09

“I love what you might call brutal elegance. Where form and function are really obvious. There is nothing easily broken in this house.”—Actress Meg Ryan, June 10

“Modesty is great, and quietness is nice, but sometimes it’s much more fun to be decadent.”—Interior designer Robin Standefer of Roman and Williams, March 10

“It’s not hard to make a space that looks good by itself. The trick is to craft a room that’s even more attractive when it’s occupied. That’s when it becomes magical.”—Interior Designer Kerry Joyce, March 10

“Life in the 21st century means taking the best of history and making it work for you.”—Decorator Miles Redd, Jan/Feb 09

“I’m more influenced by people’s attitudes and spirits than by their particular style. Whether it’s Elsie de Wolfe or Pauline de Rothschild, I always admire women who had a vision and stuck to it. Because ultimately, the way you live has to be a reflection of you.”—Interior designer Charlotte Moss, November 09

“The best decisions are always made at the last minute. Just know what the last minute is.”—Furniture dealer Holly Hunt, November 09

“[My approach] is all about the wow factor, and sometimes that means pushing right to the edge of good taste. But if you don’t push, life’s pretty dull”—Furniture dealer Todd Merrill, December 09

“I don’t think people have enough fun with decorating. It doesn’t always have to be so serious. Design isn’t like marriage. You don’t have to commit for life.”—Designer Ross Cassidy, June 10

“Even if I love it, I don’t put everything on display. I am always ruthlessly editing.”—Madeline Weinrib, December 08

“I don’t think of decorating as a science or a discipline. People always say start with the rug, but it is often the last thing I end up selecting. I begin with whatever makes my heart sing.”—Design shop owner Deborah Buck, December 08

“The design process is hard work, but in the end I want my interiors to look inspired and relaxed, not studied.”—Interior designer Katie Ridder, March 06

“You always want to mess with perfection. You decide to convey an idea, then do something to throw it a little off.”—Landscape designer Mario Nievera, March 06

“Collecting is very autobiographical. It’s a pathology.”—Gallery owner Roland Augustine, March 06

“Pedestrian is not in my vocabulary. Every wall has to have some element of interest and richness. I loathe Sheetrock!”—Editor and stylist Freddie Leiba, March 09

“Something may be a bit on the wacky side, but if it’s also chic, then it works.”—Jewelry designer Stephen Dweck, September 09

“You really have to think before doing anything to an old house. Because you can never get it back to the way it was.”—Anthropologie antiques buyer Keith Johnson, August/September 03

“Rooms are albums that provoke memories. What you decorate with should remind you of a street you wandered down or an experience that made you happy.”—Designer Amy Hase, September 10

“More is more. Less is never more—less is obviously less. Who wants less?”—Interior designer/shop owner Michelle Nussbaumer, November 09

“I don’t shop. I buy things that inspire me, that give me emotion.”—Fashion designer Giambattista Valli, April 04

“I dress homes the way I dress myself—layers and collages, bits of old things mixed with new, like a patchwork. Eclectic style is hard to achieve, but it’s always personal.”—Textile designer Sherri Donghia, December 07

“Nothing is passé if you really love it.”—Interior designer/antiques dealer Rose Tarlow, June/July 94

“When I entertain at home, I take time and pleasure in the small details that make all the difference. Entertaining is about giving to people and sharing with them.”—Fashion designer Valentino Garavani, October 07

“Light is the magical ingredient that makes or breaks a space; it’s one of the most important elements in all my interiors.”—Interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, June/July 94

“I just don’t like to settle. Good enough is never good enough.”—Fashion designer Josie Natori, October 07

“Kitchens should be designed around what’s truly important—fun, food, and life.”—Chef/restaurateur Daniel Boulud, September 08

“My mantra is curate, don’t decorate. I’m more about objects than swags or flounces.”—Design entrepreneur Troy Halterman, November 02

“So many people arrange furniture in order to see what’s going on outside. But why? The view isn’t going anywhere.”—Interior designer Albert Hadley, May 10

“The most important thing? Perfect lighting at all times.”—Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, April 02

“I don’t know if less is more or more is less.”—Gallerist David Gill, November 05

“People think you’re limited when a space is small, but I think the key is seeing everything as somewhat in flux, never standing still, always shifting, realigning. In a lot of ways, it’s like a garden.”—Landscape architect Mario Nivera, March 06

“Real comfort, visual and physical, is vital to every room.”—Interior designer Mark Hampton, June/July 94

“Our kitchen is warm; it’s who we are. And it has everything. Honestly, I could get rid of the rest of the house and just live in the kitchen.”—Ralph Lauren Home executive Adrian Kahan, June 08

“If a house is a novel, then a poolhouse is a short story.”—Architect John Keenan, June/July 94

“The drama of this interior doesn’t come from the obvious; it comes from the strength of the point of view. The rooms are sets—not for theater, but for living.”—Interior designer Vicente Wolf, August/September 01

“Yellow is a color that’s easier to use as a textile than a paint.”—Interior designer Steven Gambrel, November 07

“The best interiors make your heart pound.”—Interior decorator Tony Fornabaio, November 06

“An enfilade holds an element of surprise the way a good plot does. It hints at what’s on the horizon and keeps your curiosity up.”—Interior designer Stephen Sills, November 07

“I can’t abide rooms that go unused or untouched for days or weeks.”—Interior designer Malcolm James Kutner, April 07

“What’s the purpose of living in a loft if you put up walls?”—Fashion designer Naeem Kahn, September 06

“A house has to evolve and change.”—Furniture designer Julian Chichester, November 06

“I couldn’t live without something that touches my heart. No one should.”—Fashion designer Donna Karan, April 02

“Architecture is supposed to complete nature. Great architecture makes nature more beautiful—it gives it power.”—Architect Claudio Silvestrin, February 91

“Furniture and food are ways that people define their attitude toward life. They’ll buy better stuff if it’s offered to them.”—Design visionary Sir Terence Conran, June/July 04

“Objects really do acquire a life of their own, when they’ve been held and loved for years.”—Antiques dealer Vito Giallo, February/March 99

“When you do a modern space, each item is extremely important. You can’t ad lib.”—Interior decorator Noel Jeffrey, September 07

“I gravitate to handcrafted and textural things—things with good imagination.”—Decoupage artist/shopkeeper John Derian, December 08

“I don’t discriminate when it comes to provenance. Home Depot changed my life.”—Decorator/author Tricia Foley, December/January 02

“Light, air, sound. In every space, it’s how you embrace those things.”—Architect Michael Gabellini, November 07

“The most elegant interiors are just slightly tatty.” —Interior designer David Netto, October 05

“I love the mystery and exoticism of Chinese culture, and the simple, timeless nature of the furniture. In the West, each period is marked by a distinct style, but in the East, even things made 300 years ago look perfectly contemporary today.”—Guerlain cosmetics creative director Olivier Echaudemaison, October 03

“Most people start out wanting to go for their fantasy, but end up painting their walls dove-white.”—Shopkeeper/interior decorator Rayman Boozer, May 06

“When it comes to art, buy with your eyes, not your ears. I tried very hard not to ‘decorate’ with art. Art should be reflective of your personality and what’s going on in your head—not reflective of the colors of a sofa.”—Hotelier Jason Pomeranc, November 05

“I must have books everywhere. They’re the soul of a room—they reveal the taste, the interests, and the secrets of whoever lives there.”—Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, April 02

“Buy the best, and you only cry once.”—Interior designer Miles Redd, November 06

“Matchy-matchy is not for me. I don’t want things to be too perfect. It’s like pairing a matte top with a shiny skirt, so they play off each other. I want there to be relationships with texture and color, and sometimes it’s more about the contrast that chimes.”—Fashion designer Peter Som, September 05

“There is a conception in this country about luxurious things that we have to save them for a time that’s right. But an object is truly luxurious if you allow it to be, if you use it. When you live with beautiful things you stimulate your mind, you enjoy life a little bit more.”—Fashion designer Ralph Rucci, September 05

“When I see something great, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. In fact, sometimes the best things are from cheesy places.”—Hotelier/restaurateur Jeff Klein, April 02

“I need contrast—the old and the new, the rough and the soft. The clash of it all is very sexy.”—Fashion designer Catherine Malandrino, April 02

“Minimalist rooms can be so beautiful, but I can’t live in one; I love objects too much.”—Interior designer Bunny Williams, December 03

“I could never live without artwork. It’s a constant inspiration.”—Fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez, April 02

“I’m all about exuberance. We only have one short life to live, and we shouldn’t waste it being tasteful.”—Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, March 05

“I love the visual energy that comes from the imperfect, the unexpected. People sometimes think designers create fairy tales, but we give them something that’s much more sincere. We don’t live in fairy tales.”—Interior designer Victoria Hagan, August/September 02

“In the most successful spaces, you don’t see everything at once. The more time you spend in them, the more you discover. They open up like flowers.”—Interior designer Vicente Wolf, January/February 07

“There are two things that make a room timeless: a sense of history and a piece of the future.”—Interior designer Charlotte Moss, April 02

“Old houses are alive. All you have to do is pick up the thread and go with it. There is something reassuring about them that you don’t find in modern dwellings. A new space has to be tamed. It takes a lot of energy and quite a bit of intuition.”—Antiquaire Pierre Passebon, December/January 97

Todd Merrill Studio
80 Lafayette Street
New York NY 10013
Phone: 212 673 0531
Website: www.ToddMerrillStudio.com
E-mail: [email protected]
Instagram: @ToddMerrillStudio
Todd Merrill Summer Studio
11 South Main Street
Southampton, NY 11968
Phone: 631 259 3601