Unfortunately, I do not have the opportunity to keep up with my favorite blogs as much as I would like. However, I always strive for a daily visit toThe English Room – the blog of interior designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips. Time and time again, I’m inspired by Holly’s posts, unique finds, and of course- the items that I wish I’d compiled and put together myself (*note Aerin Lauder’s GILDED matchsticks- brilliant).
After finally coordinating our calendars, I took the time to ask Holly some questions that I’d love to relay to her over a coffee (*I do hope we get to do this someday). Her gorgeous interior design portfolio reflects the aesthetic of her blog – contemporary – yet, traditional, quirky, fun, and tastefully elegant. I particularly adore Holly’s bold use of color and how she is fearless when it comes to mixing colors and patterns- with admirable results. She is BEYOND talented!
N/S: Did you always know you wanted to be an interior designer? If you didn’t go into interior design, what else might be an ideal career for you?
I thought I wanted to be an artist as a child but, I have been around design my entire life. It is in my blood and I get to shop for a living. What could be better? I often think I should have an animal rescue on a ranch or a personal shopper.
N/S: How would you describe your personal style? Your favored style of interiors and aesthetic?
My style is eclectic, colorful and layered in dress and at home. My favorite interiors are always similar to that too. Tony Duquette and David Hicks got it all right in my eyes.
N/S: Who are your own personal influences? Where do you seem to find your inspiration?
Mario Buatta, who designed the home in which I grew up and my mother, Nancy Hollingsworth who became a designer at Mario’s instance years later. I have such a solid background in the classic design and antiques through studying in London at Sotheby’s but, an eye on the future with my love of mid century and modern as well. My style may not reflect the classic“English Country” look but it has shaped my interior style. Inspiration for me is almost everywhere. Travel is a must. The visual stimulation of shopping daily is what keeps me loving this.
A Mario Buatta project via Sybaritic Spaces
N/S: What has been your most challenging project and why?
Clients who have had multiple designers before you should always be a big red flag. Clients that do not fully trust your aesthetic do not get the best of you.
N/S: Where is your favorite place to travel or a place where you have traveled? What makes it so special?
That is hard. I love to travel. I will always be drawn to London, having lived there twice it feels like my home away from home. A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming is my favorite vacation spot of all time. It is cowboy cool combined with outstanding scenery and fun family time.
Interior designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips (right) with Alexa Hampton (left)
N/S: What is your favorite project you’ve completed or been a part of?
The Forest Drive Project on my website was a favorite. It is a modern minimalist house, which has owned by serious modern art collectors, and family friends. The architect happens to be my close friend since childhood and this was her parents house. I have also love working with a particular bachelor in the past. He has given me a budget and said “go”. That is any designers dream.
N/S: What is your favorite color? Color combination? Flowers?
I am a color junkie. I adore orange always with purple as a close second.Flowers would be orchid because they are easy, but orange ranunculus, fuchsia peonies or bright green parrot tulips are favorites.
N/S: What’s on your nightstand at the moment? What are you reading?
Stacks and stacks of shelter mags and Vogue are by my bedside. I am actually reading The Business of Design by Keith Granet. The design biz is changing rapidly and I thought this was a good continuing education for me. I rarely read novels except in the summer at the beach.
N/S: Describe your perfect or ideal day?
It starts with coffee, blogs and a long walk (a hike if at our mountain cottage) with my dogs, shopping for vintage furniture, a nice dinner with good wine and chill time on the sofa with the kids watching a movie. That is an ideal day. They certainly don’t all play out like that.
N/S: What’s your most prized possession?
If we are really talking possessions that is hard… in a fire I would grab my family, dogs, critters (bearded dragon, Turbo and Henrietta the hedgehog)and my jewelry, from my massive collection of bangles to my favorite oversized 4″ diamond cross my husband gave me. Photos are on the “cloud” so I could replace those.
N/S: Who to you emanates great style?
Iris Apfel– I adore her arm loads of bracelets and kooky “more is more” aesthetic, Olivia Palermo- she never misses and she has an affinity for leather and fur as I do.
N/S: How did the English Room come to be? The Blog? Any plans or dreams for the English Room you can share for the future?
The English Room was started by my mother in the early 1980′s. I have continued it as it it has evolved into eclectic design firm and shop. I started the blog in January as a form of marketing. It has been such fun sharing my daily musing. I hope to have some exciting things published in the future. I have a client now who is is as pattern and color crazy as I. Her house is off the hook. We are trying to finish it now.
N/S: What are you most looking forward to? Any exciting trips or projects planned?
I look forward to watching my business and blog bloom. I hope to get toParis soon. It has been way too long.
N/S: What do you think some of the greatest mistakes are individuals make when decorating?
People often miss on scale and proportion or trying to match colors, not going bold enough in design. I think it can be so much more interesting when you have a layered and blended color. I cannot seem to embrace the bland and beige. “Beige is boring, ” says my friend Mario Buatta “the Prince of Chintz” and I agree.
N/S: What’s your favorite book?
My collection of vintage David Hicks design books…
The Thomas Crown Affair, the interiors and fashion in both are divine.
I could live on a good cheese plate and a great Chardonnay, Mexican is a close second.