ILevel recently talked with New York-based interior designer and blogger Patrick Hamilton about his design style, what inspires him and, of course, what’s hanging on his walls.
1. As an interior designer, how would you describe your style?
I tend to think of my interior design style as a contemporary spin on traditional style. But every traditional room needs something modern in it, and every contemporary room needs something vintage, antique or organic. So it’s always about the mix. And my clients always bring their personal style to the table, so the work ends up, really, being more about them than me.
2. What inspires your designs?
EVERYTHING! Nature, theater, rugs, museums, art….
Nature, because nature never gets color wrong; theater, because it uses interior design and lighting to tell a story, and underscore a character’s story; rugs, because the palettes are often so inspired; museums, because they often present ancient pieces in a stark, contemporary environment that I find so inspiring. It really helps see art and artifact in a brand new light.
And art because, well, just because! How can you not? I very often attend art shows or see work on my Facebook feed and say, “I would love to build a room around that piece!” I’ve even started to blog about it!
3. What are your favorite sources for great home design in New York?
I work with a lot of young families and first-timers when it comes to hiring a designer, so I use a lot of retail sources like Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Room & Board and Design Within Reach, all of which revolutionized the lead-time expectation within the industry. You can get great custom, designer looks if you use any source correctly.
In the Design buildings and to-the-trade sources, I love Bright Furniture (perfect proportions!), Ted Boerner (Mad Men modern!), Niedermaier (modern theatrical glamour!), the Frazier Collection (masculine elegance!), New Traditionalists (haberdashery chic!) and Edward Ferrell+ Lewis Mittman, some of the finest casegoods and upholstered pieces on the market today…. and one of the few places where you could do all the shopping in one place, and not have it look like it all came off the same truck. And I still aspire to use the pieces from John Saladino in a future project!
I really love that so many of these sources (including the retail ones) are making more and more of their product in America. Some, exclusively Made in America.
4. What about art galleries… any favorites?
I’m lucky to live in New York, where annually, the art world comes to us. I’m a big fan of the annual mega-shows like the Armory Show, scope, AIPAD, and the Affordable Art Fair.
I love the collection at Cheryl Hazan (including the works of my good friend Babette Herschberger), and also on that same street, my friend and framer, Steven Amedee Custom Framing uses his shop as a gallery. I’m never disappointed with the shows he mounts. I just discovered Brad Greenwood through one of Steven’s shows, and he’s introduced me to Jefferson Hayman and Denny Camino through past shows. I also love the quirky sensibility of David Winter, at Winter Works on Paper. And Daniel Cooney, of Daniel Cooney Fine Art, has an exceptional eye.
I also love some of the less traditional sources for art that is a touch more accessible… like Mixed Greens and Lumas. They’ve both made great work a lot more attainable, and removed some of the intimidating trappings of galleries from the equation.
But art is everywhere in New York, and one of my favorite artists, Dan Romer, isn’t even repped by a gallery at all. He should be though! I’m making it a goal!
5. What’s hanging on your walls?
I collect male portraits… from vintage (and anonymous) oils to contemporary photography, including two photos of baseball players, one by Andrea Modica and one by David Deal. Most are head and shoulders shots, symmetric, either the front or the back of the head. I think the sexiest, most revealing part of a person is the face, so maybe that’s why these are the kinds of pieces I’m drawn to!
My prized pieces are a Herb Ritz photo (from Wessel + O’Connor, in Lambertville), and a Bruce Weber boxer from antiques dealer Dallas Boesendahl. In college, I aspired to collect a Weber and a Ritz, so these are not only pieces I really love, but they’re landmark moments for me, too.
I confess, though… there’s currently more framed art under my bed than on my walls! Ah, Manhattan living!