Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Hostess with the Mostess: Amanda Nisbet

Contrary to popular belief, New York designers not only get along but enjoy each others company! It's wonderful to be able to chat with another designer about work and commiserate about clients and learn from each other. And no where was this more evident that at interior designer Amanda Nisbet's apartment Friday night (above). Amanda and her wonderful design assistant Anne Patterson put together a snazzy soiree with a guest list of fabulous friends and designers and I was honored to be invited. Look a full post on her beyond chic home later!

I met Amanda at the Kips Bay President's Preview and then ran into her and Anne again at her friend Gerald Bland's reception for the opening of the sale of Albert Hadley's drawings that same week and loved her instantly! Amanda is not only a ridiculously talented designer but also fun and down to earth. I was talking to Anne about how all three of us have art history degrees which we think helps us with our work. If you don't know the design rules from design school, you are free to break them and you are less likely is create a floor plan where all the furniture is measured and placed to within an inch of it's life! I am also excited to let you know that Anne has agreed to let me shoot her apartment for an upcoming post so check back in a few weeks for what I know will be a great story on how design assistants create amazing interiors on a budget!

Another person at the party who I chatted with about being an art history major was Elizabeth Mayhew. I've been a big fan of hers for years and it was so nice to finally meet her in person! She has a great new book out now called FLIP! For Decorating and she said that she thinks about art history principles of space and composition all the time when she styles interiors. I can't wait to talk to her more about this and her book soon!

The person I was most excited to meet at the party was interior designer Christopher Corcoran who created that beautiful landing at the Kips Bay Show House this year! I didn't get to meet him on my tour and I can tell you that he was very humbled and grateful that you all loved his design. I knew I wanted to write another more in depth post about Christopher so you could learn more about the designer behind the landing and he has agreed so look for that soon too!

Anne gave me and my dear friend and interior designer Brad Ford a tour of Amanda's apartment and so I returned the favor by giving the tour to Christopher where we were joined by Amanda's friend and actress Caroline Rhea. The two women have known each other since they were eight years old and Caroline told us about how Amanda had great style even then and had an Oreo necklace that everyone wanted after they saw it. Some people are born with great style and Amanda is definitely one of those people!

It was wonderful to see the lovely and talented interior designer Amy Lau again. She designed the amazing flowered stairs at Kips Bay this year. Amy is very inspiring and never boring (inside joke) and I always feel motivated after I talk to her! I always seem to be running into the popular potter Christopher Spitzmiller these days which is fine with me since he's so handsome and nice! Also, the lovely and elegant Carolyn Sollis who I just adore! Carolyn used to be the style director at House and Garden (may it rest in peace) and is now working with Bunny Williams on PR for BeeLine Home. She is one of the nicest women I know and is always a joy to chat with! I also keep running into interior designer James Andrew all about town and I forgot to mention in my other post that his partner Scott McBee is a wonderful artist too!

The divine textile designer Michael Divine was in attendance with his designer partner Thomas Burak who I am sad to say does not have a website. We are going to have to work on that. Michael was sweet enough to invite me to visit them in the country. I can picture it now. City mouse goes to the country! Michael and Thomas are friends with fellow blogger Ronda Carman who was also on hand with Arkansas interior designer Tobi Fairley.

I had been wanting to meet Mita Bland, the wife of antique dealer Gerald Bland, since I heard that her beautiful watercolors would soon be included in the book, Sister Parish Design: On Decorating. The premise is similar to Mark Hampton's books but this one will be full of decorating advice not only from Ms. Parish but all the top designers today. It sounds like just the type of book that will have the design world buzzing and I can't wait to talk with her more about the project and hopefully Susan Bartlett Crater, Sister Parish's granddaughter and her design partner Libby Cameron. I can already imagine the stories they must have to tell! Speaking of funny stories, when Gerald mentioned he was from the south, I made the comment that I thought he was English. Mita not missing a beat said that he's been working on that accent for a long time! They are a really chic couple!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the best part of blogging has been all the wonderful, inspiring, talented and creative people that I have been privileged to meet. I am also so happy that I have this forum so that I can share their amazing designs and stories with all of you! I know this post was long but it is also very important to me to support anyone who has chosen a career in the arts since we all know how tough it can be sometimes. Oh, and also because I genuinely do like them too! I also want to say a big thank you to Amanda Nisbet for bringing us all together. As everyone knows, throwing a party is very stressful and she was an incredible hostess!

7 comments:

Christina said...

Hi!
I think you have great taste and have been reading your blog for some weeks and just wanted to know how you used your art history degree to get started with interior design?

I graduated last spring with a degree in art history and wanted to put it towards a career in design. With the economy the way it is, I'm sure this is also a tough field to break into. Thanks!

Habitually Chic said...

Hi Christina - Art history gives you a great eye for color and a great sense of design. And since art is so important to an interior, it helps you choose it when the time comes.

I think the best way to get into design is to see if you can intern somewhere even if you have to take an unpaid internship. While there, work really hard and try to learn as much as possible. Volunteer for every job. Cleaning up the samples is a big intern job but it teaches you all the fabric designers and showrooms. You will learn more practical design skills than anyone who went to design school.

I was just talking to a friend who has a design degree about insurance certificates and she wasn't taught anything about them. NY apartment buildings require you to send them proof that the vendor has the nesessary insurance in case something happens while they are installing carpet, painting, etc. They don't teach you about that in school. You may want to buy a book to learn terms. That is one good thing about design school, they teach you about all the design styles. Study and teach yourself the difference between Louis IV, Louis V and Louis VI styles. If you live in NYC, check out the Wrightsman Galleries.

Learn that a CFA means "cutting for approval" and COM means "customer's own material." Read all the design magazines and books you can.

You may have to start at the bottom but it's worth it. Good luck and feel free to email me for more advice!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful gathering of interesting people. For those of us that live in New York, you never know who you'll run into at any given time, event or party. Looking forward to the follow ups on some of these talented folks

Brillante Home Decor said...

I love your answer to Christina, it shows that you take the time to listen and to help! so important to be connected and so great to be part of this blogging community.
I really enjoy your Posts and your personality.

The Devine Life said...

It was great chatting you. Looking forward to our lunch this summer.
Michael

pve design said...

What a wonderful hostess and quite the spot for a soiree. So glad that you gave us a tour.
pve

Christina said...

Thank you so much for that advice. It really is important to know the language and terminology of the area you want to pursue.

I will definitely look for an internship and maybe even consider going back to school. It's great that there are bloggers like yourself who take their time to share what they know with others, it is greatly appreciated! I will also keep reading your blog as a source of inspiration:)

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