A Few Questions for Miles Redd

Photograph of Miles Redd, Courtesy of Ballard Designs

A few adjectives come to mind when thinking about the design work of Miles Redd: daring, whimsical, cultivated, and of course, chic. Redd founded his eponymous design firm in New York City in 1998 after learning the business under designer Bunny Williams and antiques dealer John Rosselli and has been a regular on the lists of top designers in national design publications ever since. In 2019 he partnered with David Kaihoi and renamed the firm REDD KAIHOI. His tome, THE BIG BOOK OF CHIC (Assouline 2012) is, in his words, “about dreams coming true” with mesmerizing images on oversized pages that speak to his vision.

Redd spoke at the 2017 Fall Show Lecture Series on the ‘Inspiration and Influence in Interior Design’ examining many of the 18th- 20th century tastemakers who have influenced him, and how he has reinterpreted ideas to make them current and exciting for today’s modern needs. He believes that all ideas are a just a juxtaposition of another idea, and that if you borrow from many, it is merely research.

View of Redd’s living room featuring a ionic column pedestal topped with a white porcelain vase. Photo credit: Paul Costello/OTTO

Now a year into this pandemic, I asked Redd a few questions about the past year.

Ariane Trimuschat: Where have you been spending the last several months of isolation?
Miles Redd: NYC Baby! 

AT: What has NYC been like during the pandemic? Is it strange to see it with no tourists? 
MR: It has been quiet, but with quiet comes a kind of peace, but she is back. The sun and vaccine has the city buzzing again.

AT: Have you been experiencing the city in a new way? 
MR: It is beautiful to see New York rest a bit. I don’t want to say I have enjoyed the pandemic, but I try to look for the positives and the still city was comforting once you got used to it.

AT: What is your favorite piece in your home?
MR: A drawing of panther done by an old friend which hangs in my living room.

View of the living room featuring a William Kent console and panther illustration above. Artist is a friend of the designer.
Photo credit: Paul Costello/OTTO

AT: Aside from people and pets, what makes a house a home? 
MR: Life really, but I always say the second you bring plant material in, and it could be a leaf in a vase, life sparks.

 View from the kitchen. Bust of Diana. Planters by Accents of France. Photo credit: Paul Costello/OTTO

AT: What brings you joy about spending more time at home? 
MR: I am a bit of a homebody, I just love being around things I have collected that bring me joy, but having friends over to enjoy the ambiance and atmosphere gives me the most joy.

The den features a plaster table and custom, red velvet sectional and painted floors. Photo credit: Paul Costello/OTTO

AT: What is your favorite room or area in your home? Where do you go for a moment of quiet and calm?  
MR: My bedroom, I like to stretch out and meditate, because it is cool and peaceful.  

Master bedroom with canopy bed by Larrea Studio. Photo credit: Paul Costello/OTTO

Master bedroom – view of Tuxe- do chest and side chair. Faux fur throw. Photo credit: Paul Costello/OTTO

AT: As we are all mostly working from home, what do you do to create a space, to separate work from your personal life? 
MR: I have small office at home, that I keep isolated for work. 

AT: How has the last few months of isolation changed your design sense, your perspective on interior design and how people live at home?
MR: I think it has really emphasized how important a nest is where you are comfortable and soothed and  can take refuge from the world.

Master bathroom-purchased from a David Adler house and reassembled in Miles’ New York townhouse. Photo credit: Paul Costello/OTTO

AT: How has the pandemic changed the design attitudes of your clients? The things they are asking for or wanting in their homes? 
MR: I think clients realize they may be spending more time at home, so they are more focused and detailed, and going for it a bit more.
AT: What are you missing most these days?
MR: Human connection is suffering – it is just hard to reach out and make new friends at the moment, but good to focus on old friendships and family.  
AT: You spoke in the 2017 Fall Show Lecture Series about the people who have influenced you and what inspires you in design. What do you love about the Fall Show/a favorite memory?
MR: I am really impressed with the booth designs, I feel like the dealers make such an effort on design and it is very inspiring.

Miles Redd speaking in the San Francisco Fall Show Lecture Series

AT: With no social engagements or traveling/commuting, do you have more free time on your hands? What are you doing with this time?
MR: Taking a breath, relaxing, enjoying the peace.

Looking onto the back terrace from the master bedroom. Faux horn windows painted by Agustin Hurtado. Photo credit: Paul Costello/OTTO

AT: What rule are you breaking during isolation that you normally don’t allow yourself? 
MR: I don’t believe in rules.

AT: What is the first thing you’ll do when all restrictions are lifted? 
MR: Kiss a handsome stranger! HA!

By Ariane Maclean Trimuschat

Ariane served as Show Director for the San Francisco Fall Show for 7 years through 2019. She is now the show’s international liaison as Director at Large, living in London with her family.  Follow Ariane on her blog, SOJOURNEST, where she focuses on all things home and travel and on Instagram at @arianetrim.