I think one of the reasons that I truly enjoy viewing your design projects, from an editorial point of view, is that you can successfully tap into your clients’ design loves and create a completely unique interior – regardless of style, that reflects that clients’ lifestyle. I love that your portfolio includes such a beautiful and elegant representation of a variety of design influences from traditionally styled homes to contemporary designs. One of my favorite interior design projects was a Palm Beach villa. The use of blues and the overall color palette was emotionally captivating. Just viewing the photos I could sense the tranquility and serenity. Tell me a little bit about that project.
Living room in Palm Beach villa designed by Brown Davis Interiors, Inc.
Todd: We had designed this client’s home in Washington DC and when they decided to buy an oceanfront condo south of Palm Beach they asked us to design it. This client loved that blue color and the idea from the very beginning was to pull together something that was very soothing and calm. So Rob, who is amazing with colors, orchestrated the color palette for the project.
Brown Davis Interiors is known for its couture approach to design. Each design is custom fitted to the client from color selection to design implementation.
Todd: The color palette for the Palm Beach villa was very specific to that client, and that’s something we strive to create for all our clients. We consider our design work to be bespoke. For example if you go to Paris to have a dress made, it is made for just for you from the color to the cut to the fabric. In a sense, we create interior design couture for our clients.
With regards to your design projects for former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hilary Clinton, did you start with their home in Chappaqua or their home in Washington DC?
Todd: We did their DC home first. What happened was that we had a client, Barbara Harrison, who was a newscaster, and was friends with Hilary. Barbara said to us one day (we had done Barb’s house previously), Hilary needs a decorator, and I’m going to tell her that she needs to hire you. Around that time we had just been published in Southern Accents. So she took a copy of the magazine with her to an event at the White House that evening and she gave it to Hilary. Lo, and behold the next day we got a call and apparently, not only, had Hilary heard of us through Barbara, but she had been to the British Embassy and had seen what we had done there and she really liked it.
We then spent a lot of time with Hilary going around town looking at different places that were for sale. We found one that suited them; they bought it and we designed the interior. Bill was always a little bit iffy on us because he wasn’t quite sure what we were up to, but then he saw how well the house in DC came out and he asked us to help design their Chappaqua, New York house.
Todd: So we did the Chappaqua house and as a result Hilary asked us to design her Senate office.
Rob: It was pretty interesting in terms of, we never did, even though we were in DC, official government property- and this was a project that was tied to so much social pressure. We knew not to do anything outlandish; in fact we didn’t really order anything special it was all from the congressional inventory.
So they have a warehouse with official government purchased furniture?
How was that- having to use “what they had on hand”? I know that you’re used to being able to source beautiful products from the very best collections, and even more recently you were able to utilize artwork from the MET that was part of a client’s impressionist collection.
Todd: You know there are some projects where the sky’s the limit and you can do whatever you want, but in reality there are few clients that will say do whatever you want. So for every single project it’s about figuring out the design parameters. I think that a lot of people can take a beautiful space or beautiful furniture and make it look great. The real talent lies in taking a really horrible space and not so nice furniture and making it look really nice. Being able to do that is a big part of the creative process – being able to create that magic. And creating that design magic doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money.