"There are those who spend lifetimes in houses that have nothing to do with who they really are. They may be perfectly designed, yet if they fail to reflect the personalities of the people who live in them, the very essence of intimacy is missing and this absence is disturbingly visible." --Rose Tarlow
In my next life can I be Rose Tarlow? What perfection. Get an idea of how breathtaking this designer's aesthetic is by looking at her website, then watch the following video of her with Martha Stewart. In the life after that I'll be Martha Stewart.
Rose Tarlow | Melrose House
The Private House
Rose Tarlow talks with Elle Decor
ELLE DECOR: How do you define your style?
Rose Tarlow: Harmonious and symmetrical. I like things to feel peaceful but also young, fresh, and crisp, even with antiques.
ED: How has your aesthetic evolved?
RT: I started out as a dealer in antique French furniture and Chinese objects. I still love those, but I've pared down to more refined things. Simpler is prettier. Even a manhole cover can be beautiful if you treat it like it's important.
ED: What or who are your influences?
RT: The lessons you learn are more important than the designer or architect you learned them from.
ED: What are you trying to bring to design?
RT: A little eccentricity. In furniture, I like pieces with personality; in rugs, utter simplicity. I always wonder how I can make a design more special.
ED: What are hallmarks of your interiors?
RT: It's the mix that's important -- a little metal, a little wood, a little leather, and a worn silk-velvet pillow. Wood is my favorite thing. Someone said I must have been a tree in another life.
ED: What is your design mantra?
RT: Don't try to be different; just be excellent.
ED: What are your three must-haves?
RT: I can't think of three, but quality is crucial, right down to the paper towels. Everything you live with should be wonderful -- not expensive, just good.
ED: What advice do you have for someone starting out in the business?
RT: Learn more -- schools don't teach you everything. When I teach design students, I make them crunch up a fabric in their hands and determine whether or not it will drape properly around the curves of a chair -- and they've never done that before. Understanding scale and proportion will help you whether you are designing a building or a piece of furniture. Read every book about design and architecture. Work for someone you admire before going out on your own, because decorating is more than having a resale number. Go to auction houses and junk shows to see what's good and what's not so good so you will know the difference.
ED: What's the best decision you ever made?
RT: Selling part of my company and letting others help run it. It allows me to do what I like to do, not design showrooms or worry about publicity. Letting go has given me a chance to be more creative.
More on Rose Tarlow:
The New York Times
The Peak of Chic
Living With Style