Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Style Files: Windsor Smith

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Over the years, we have established several recurring series on La Dolce Vita. One of my all-time favorites, was “The Style Files” which ran from 2010-2011. It seems a lot of you enjoyed it as well as I get emails from readers from time to time asking that I bring it back.  At the beginning of this year, I spent sometime coming up with concepts for new series to feature on the blog, but my mind kept going back to “The Style Files”, so I am thrilled to announce that the series will be returning and appearing on LDV regularly. One of the most amazing things that my blog has afforded me is the opportunity to connect with likeminded individuals and with the people I admire within the design industry. Bringing this series back will allow me to share further insight into some of the most fascinating personalities in the design world with all of you.
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I am so excited to kick off  the return of the series with the one and only, Windsor Smith. Windsor is  a “lifestyle architect” and the founder of her eponymous design firm in Los Angeles as well as the creator of Windsor Smith Home, Inc. which includes a line of fabrics with Kravet, furniture with Century Icons, and Windsor Smith Home Collection—a private label line of bespoke furniture and accessories. Windsor’s work has garnered extensive media attention with features in House & Garden, Veranda, House Beautiful, InStyle, The Wall Street Journal, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. As many of you probably know, Gwyneth scooped up the gorgeous House of Windsor (a showhouse whose concept was created by Windsor and Veranda ) in L.A.’s Brentwood neighborhood and has worked with Windsor on several other design projects, including the redesign of her Hamptons living room using Windsor’s Room in a Box design solution. I love that Windsor’s style is approachable yet rooted in tradition. Her rooms are vibrant, filled with color and interesting pieces and maintain an effortless elegance. Windsor’s beautifully-curated spaces are an exercise in “livable luxury” with a touch of “grounded glamour”. I recently had a conversation with Windsor to better understand her design philosophy, her inspiration, and what makes her tick. Her answers to my questions are sure to delight, inspire, and even surprise you. Enjoy!
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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?
Windsor Smith: Eclectic, optimistic and elegant.
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PC: Would you say that living in Los Angeles has influenced the way you decorate?
WS: The relaxed approach to luxury is in the DNA of all that I do!
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PC: What does your home say about you?
WS: That I am daring, coy, and expansive in my taste and style, but a devout traditionalist at heart!
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PC: What do you love most about being an interior designer?
WS: I love the intimacy of the work, the relationships, and the trust the client places in me to create their environments with and for them. And of course, the constant connection to tactile and beautiful materials.
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PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?
WS: Everywhere! I am walking velcro looking for inspiration. I found a printing plate for a 500 dollar bill at a flea market and plated it in gold and had it made into a necklace. It was my P.Diddy moment! I totally embarrassed my kids by wearing it! Nothing is safe around me—I have no scruples when it comes to repurposing almost anything into an object of beauty, humor, and intrigue.
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PC: Who are your personal style icons?
WS: Pharrell is my new style crush for his joyful, intuitive approach to music, art, and fashion. Slim Keith, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, and French and Italian women for their effortless sense of timeless style.
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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?
WS: Shopping for vintage cars on Ebay.
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PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
WS: Deliver on time and under budget!
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PC: Finish this sentence: Before I die, I’d like to…
WS: I’d like to have a Benjamin Button experience and work my way back to the beginning of my life. It has been so great, I want to do it again before I go. EXACTLY the way it happened, only in reverse.
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PC: Who/what has been your greatest professional influence?
WS: If we are not talking creative, but professional, I would say my own inner desire to do well by those who count on me. It makes me try harder and push the envelope from all sides creatively.
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PC: What is your idea of living la dolce vita?
WS: I’m pretty simple: time for my family and friends uninterrupted by the mundane workings of life that steal our moments far too often. A quiet Bahamian hammock nap on the beach, a cool dip in the pool, and Italian linen shirt, a warm, airy home filled with light and fresh flowers; movie night in our pool house, soulful music on Pandora, 1stdibs, a great martini with almond stuffed olives, a well-made classic automobile with supple leather seats; cherry blossoms in bloom, a Bottega Veneta leather-bound family photo album, and a few chunky gold rings and I’m good. I will have lived.
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PC: What can we look forward to next from you?
WS: My line with Century-- launching it is the perfect culmination of the pieces that I have found I want to use over and over for the feeling they bring to a room. More build projects that incorporate lifestyle and family into the design along with a larger presence in the digital space with WSRoominaBox.com. In 2015, my book with Rizzoli launches as well as my line of whimsical and gorgeous objects with Arteriors.
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Go-To Outfit: Pale Gray Linen Jodphurs with White Oxfords, a White Jil Sander Men’s Shirt, Gold Hermes Belt, and Gold Rolex Watch
Favorite Scent: Byredo’s Bal D’Afrique
Color I Never Tire of: Deep Navy
Favorite Flower: Pink Peonies
Indispensable Design Element: Soft Summer Slipcovers
Go-To Hostess Gift: Chanel Nail Polish in Blue Satin or Bundles of Fresh Sage from my Garden
Snip20140415_107 Favorite Meal: Anything from Mozza
Favorite Way to Unwind After a Long Day: A Swim or a Little Reading in our Pool Cabana
3 Things I Love about my City: The Sunshine, Synchronized Swimming Lessons at the Annenberg Center at the Beach, Disney Hall
Go-To Weekend Destination: Ojai
Favorite Hotel: Hotel du Cap
Favorite Artist: Richard Serra or Cy Twombly

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{Images Courtesy of Windsor Smith}

11 comments:

lisabeth said...

Thanks! It is great to get to know someone whose style I thoroughly admire. I will look forward to this feature on your blog. Lisabeth
hostaandco@gmail.com

Olivia @ Lacquered Life said...

I have always been a huge Windsor Smith fan, thanks for sharing! And there are so many things I love about this interview - most of all she has a book coming out we can look forward to! xo

preppylove said...

All of her favorite things are fabulous! I really want that vintage car.

Karena Albert said...

A Wonderful feature on Windsor, she is amazing! I adore her dining room with the settee!

xoxo
Karena
Feature: Decorate Fearlessly

Anonymous said...

That House of Windsor will always be one of my favorites. Lucky Gwyneth!

P.S. I love that Windsor takes synchronized swimming lessons.

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

What a great feature! That sink is amazing too!

Anonymous said...

Love it!! Thank you for bringing back SF!

Lily L-M said...

Great inspiration! excuse me while I go pin away...

x Lily
http://whilemyboyfriendsaway.blogspot.com/

peggybraswell said...

Have always been a huge Windsor Fan + will look forward to this feature on you blog. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Bob said...

NYC is looking forward to rolling out the RED CARPET for your launch with CENTURY furniture in the New York Design Center.

Lysandra McGregor said...

This was truly inspiring!
The gray kitchen was so beautiful! Im definitely looking forward to more from this series!