Enduring Style – Miles Redd

“Please, call me Miles,” began the exchange and already I could tell that we were off and running.  I must admit, before I began this series I had a limited view of Redd’s work.  My view was limited; his work is not.

I had that blog-saturated word association thing going between “Redd” and pink and red – his own home that I had seen again and again.  Then Jennifer, Courtney, HOBAC put him on their lists and Aesthete’s Lament declared his work, “has legs,” and, well, I had to look again.

And when I looked again I found a much broader scope of work than I expected.  And I was entranced by the country houses.

We began our acquaintance over email, but at the end of our first exchange Redd queried, “Perhaps a phone conversation…Let me know.”  You forget, you know, how the sound of someone’s voice changes the whole thing and you can hear where his energy lies as he speaks.

Redd was appreciative of the recognition without being the least bit cloying or false in its acceptance.   “Why do you think your rooms have timeless appeal?” I wondered.
“I’m guessing my rooms have a timeless quality because I study ‘the Greats’ and do my best to emulate their lessons.  I take their ideas and build on them – I think that is what all art forms are doing.

I studied all the great decorators at Parish-Hadley and created a reinterpreted version playing with scale, color and a mixture of classical and modern.  I give Bunny (Williams) credit for teaching me to push things out from the wall – to ignore the fireplace in a weird way.  I learned how to combine upholstery and frame pieces, squishy and tight, leggy and mass, brown and painted that seems second nature now.”

House of Beauty and Culture referenced the significance of Redd having “the right clients” to leave a lasting mark.  I asked Redd how he would define “the right clients” and he paused and chuckled nervously, “Well…resources, but beyond that imagination and a sense of humor. A lot of my clients seem to have southern backgrounds and are either living in New York or have had a New York experience.  They have a clear understanding of the importance of layers.  I like strong clients and enjoy the collaboration as long as they trust me to let them know when they are making a mistake.”

Redd had a few picks of his own for enduring spaces.  “Pretty much everything the de la Rentas touch is masterful in its room arrangement, color palette and collection of objects and furniture.

Look at the bedroom/ballroom in Kent, recently in Vogue.”

And of the “now” generation, who inspires?

“Gil Schafer, with whom I work from time to time, because he’s an architect who thinks like a decorator.  He likes rules, but knows when to break them.”

David Netto’s apartment is a study in modernism and classicism.

Markham Roberts whose diagonally striped entrance hall is one of my favorites.  I think Thomas O’Brien has done some beautiful things and same goes for Bill Sofield, Theirry Despont, Peter Marino, Bunny Williams, Steven Gambrel, Haynes Roberts, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Tom Scherrer.  I could go on and on….”  Let’s hope he does.
Do click over tomorrow if you have a chance to catch Suzanne Rheinstein’s thoughts as well.
The images of Miles Redd’s work (1 – 7) are available on his site here, though I had some from previous publications;  the de la Rentas’ homes, top two from Vogue Living Houses Gardens People, the last from Vogue, December, 2008; Gil Schafer’s bedroom from his site, David Netto’s home from his site, originally Elle Decor October 2005; Markham Roberts via his site as well.  I know that Redd was speaking off of the top of his head; any oversight or omission was purely due to time and circumstance.  A personal aside – Nick Olson picked up when I called.  I was nervous as a school girl; he is a long-time blog-crush of mine.
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22 thoughts on “Enduring Style – Miles Redd

  1. A great interview with my favorite designer. I actually love the reds and pinks, but it was good to show his versatility and breadth.

  2. I have enjoyed your series on 'Enduring Style', and have been very interested (and intrigued) to read about the general feel that Miles Redd is the one to watch from this generation.

    Redd (who grew up in Atlanta) did the interiors of a lovely, historic home in Atlanta that belongs to an acquaintance; I was supposed to attend a meeting at the home in April, but the meeting was canceled at the last minute. I have heard the decor is amazing…a vision in turquoise (the clients favorite color).

  3. Mrs Blandings- You've done it again. I think this is a great interview. Redd is now REAL.His work is twisted traditional- I love how he seems comfortable giving kudos to other designers-someone comfortable with his own.
    Thanks for getting this! la

  4. Redd was a complete delight – it made the process so easy and fun.

    And, TTI, I hope that project is photographed; I have a thing for turquoise, too.

  5. This was such a good read. I do like the style, but find some of it a bit too much for my taste, but it is truely timeless and I love that. Thanks

  6. Redd is certainly a contemporary "great" and your interview was wonderful. It's interesting to learn who inspired him – some new names for me.
    Thank you

  7. You are on fire! I should just unsubscribe from all the blogs I read and just fill my days with the goodness that is here at Mrs.Blandings.
    I think I'll read this post again at lunch, and then after dinner, and perhaps again before bed.
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. So awesome! I usually like rooms that are bit more sparse, but these are wonderful. The man clearly has talent! And may I just say that I am officially obsessed with the horns on the mantel.

  9. I think having room gone Redd has pushed your envelope! The evolution seems natural and organic when hearing Redd talking about rules and when to break them, about doing his homework with the classics and applying his personal twists. It is said that every great poem is written on the backs of others. This interview reaffirms that ignorance is not bliss but knowledge is opportunity for greatness. And that goes for Redd and yourself. And graciousness must be in the air.The way people share credit, give credit shows their character. And with that, I'm going to the garden and weed and think about these lovely images and the people who make them.

  10. I misunderstood Mrs. Blandings' original generous invivtation to participate, thinking she was only asking each of us for the name of ONE designer, and since I naturally assumed that other people would name Miles, I didn't, not even after Mrs. B, realizing my too-narrow interpretation of the concept, kindly offered me a chance at a re-write. But if I hadn't screwed up in the first place, Miles would have been on my list. too, making it a clean sweep for him.

    But even if Miles had never done anything else, he will always be my hero for rescuing Leola Armour's glittering mirrored bathroom & giving it an appropriate home. It's nice, too, to hear from the man himself, with his generous words for other people's work. I don't know, maybe that just comes from his Southern upbringing. But can you imagine, say, the late, great David Hicks deigning to praise the work of his contemporaries? I can't.

    Mrs. B, you kill me when you ask us to click over tomorrow "if we have a chance"–as if any of us would dream of missing another installment of one of the highlights of the blog year. With most of my favorite bloggers meeting up in one spot like this, your excellent series reminds me of that photo of the midcentury cocktail party with all the great American decorators squeezed together into James Amster's tiny living room. Congratulations.

  11. This is smarter than most any magazine writeup I've read of MR. It makes me realize how mediocre the writing is in most shelter magazines.

    I'd like to see more profiles like this.

  12. Anon – Thank you – I am flattered. Don't miss Mitch Owens in Elle Decor (and do google the older pieces) he's better than me times two.

  13. I politely disagree; you interview like someone whose interest is in people first, and that makes your voice distinctively richer than what I usually encounter in shelter magazines–more like how a good novelist would portray someone.

    Also happy to see you use some of the lesser-known images of MR's work, and not just the Greatest Hits.

    Keep it coming.

  14. Patricia, ditto to all of the praise you have received from your very smart commenters. Like Erika, I often re-read your posts because they are so well composed. And I had the same reaction as Anonymous in that I realized how shallow many design magazines are when it comes to the prose and interviews. I hope you don't stop blogging to write solely for a magazine, but if you do I will definitely become a subscriber. Can't wait for your piece in Elle Decor.

  15. Miles style is saturated and incredibly composed and edited. I love his work, I like his comments.Particularly the one on clients and how to leave a mark…
    You have a knack to ask the right questions in an alluring way!
    Thank you!

  16. Patricia darling, the crush is mutual! Must agree with the anon above: your interview is smarter and crisper than most any I've read on Mugatu. No surprise that Elle Decor has snapped you up!!

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