The top shelf of de­sign


Let’s face it, we all like to feel thatwe know some­thing spe­cial— that thing that not ev­ery­one is privy to, but we are be­cause we know the right per­son, or hap­pen to be in the right place at the right time, or be­long to a well-in­formed cir­cle of friends. There is a cer­tain sense of power and grat­i­fi­ca­tion in the know­ing.

One of the­ways that truly re­spon­sive and au­then­tic de­sign hap­pens is through ex­pand­ing the avail­able means to tell your story. Any­one with whom you likely so­cial­ize has ac­cess to the same home-fur­nish­ings web­sites (you knowthe ones) as you do. But the ubiq­ui­tous brand/de­signer names and prod­ucts sold through th­ese sites can only go so far, in that you end up with a slightly dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tion of the same stuff ev­ery­body else al­ready has. Art­ful­ness comes in the way th­ese com­mon fur­nish­ings are mixed with the world out­side the web­sites that can cat­a­pult the ex­pected to the en­vi­able. One piece fro­man ev­ery­where re­tailer, mixed with ethno­graphic tex­tiles, vin­tage and cus­tom de­signed pieces, and a per­sonal col­lec­tion of art not only shows savvy but a lit­tle bit of ad­mirable non­cha­lance.

A good in­te­rior de­signer is a great mixol­o­gist— of ideas, in­spi- ra­tions, prod­ucts, trends, and sources. The re­sult will be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent each time, specif­i­cally con­cocted to you. Firstly, good de­sign­ers take into con­sid­er­a­tion re­quire­ments and re­stric­tions and ap­petites for ex­plo­ration.

The next step is know­ing about, and hav­ing com­mand of, avail­able in­gre­di­ents. This is where sea­soned in­te­rior de­sign­ers can re­ally prove their worth. They know that an­tiquing a mir­ror for an in­set, or a ta­ble top, is not only eas­ily achieved, but we know who to en­list. They know what re­sources can be shipped in four weeks ver­sus four­teen; what fab­rics will stand up best to heavy use or need to be backed for longevity; or the best ar­ti­san to create the one-ofa-kind cus­tom ap­pli­ca­tion to a fire­place or cabi­net to com­plete the space. It is one thing to know that th­ese things are achiev­able, and who can do them, and quite an­other to wade through in­fi­nite pos­si­bil­i­ties and get it all done on time, and in tan­dem with all the other mov­ing parts of an in­te­ri­ors project.

If it is sold some­where in the world, we can find it, and we’re ob­ses­sively look­ing for not only what’s new, but what’s pow­er­ful, what can trans­form the or­di­nary into the ex­tra­or­di­nary. And while there’s the in­ter­net, con­fer­ences, con­ver­sa­tions, and aunts who’ve just re­turned from around-the-world trips, in­te­rior “de­sign cen­ters” found in ma­jor cities can be equally com­pelling places. Typ­i­cally only open to the trade, this are where de­sign­ers shop and take their clients to test drive and view the lat­est in each prod­uct line. Com­bined with ev­ery­thing else out there in the world, and your per­sonal vi­sion for telling your own story, ex­pe­ri­ences like that can be­gin to make it all real.

We’re sure no one read­ing is in­ter­ested in sur­round­ings that are paint-by-num­ber, nor in­te­ri­ors that ap­pears as thought­less and ad-hoc. In­stead, we’re con­vinced — from what we’ve heard from you— that there is a keen in­ter­est in per­sonal, com­posed spa­ces to live and work, and a re­al­iza­tion that it takes more than a quick glance at a menu to fig­ure out what’s go­ing to truly quench your thirst.

Heather Van Luchene, ASID, and Steffany Hollingsworth, ASID, are part­ners in­HVL In­te­ri­ors, LLC, an in­te­rior-de­sign firm of­fer­ing pro­fes­sional res­i­den­tial and hos­pi­tal­ity de­sign ser­vices. Both areNew Mex­ico-li­censed in­te­rior de­sign­ers. They can be reached at (505) 983-3601 or info@ hvlin­te­ri­


Pierre Frey’s col­lec­tion of fab­rics, wall­pa­per, and rugs beau­ti­fully paired with in­ten­tion and avail­able through in­te­rior de­sign­ers

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