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5 Millennials Killing the Interior Design Industry

You've heard the rumors by now that we millennials are killing cable, Applebee's, and diamonds. But some millennials are also taking on the interior design industry.

By that, I mean killing traditional interior design processes with their unique startup concepts.

And some are just killing the interior design game (that's a millennial way of saying they're really talented).

Nicole Gibbons Clare Paint


Nicole Gibbons

Retired interior designer (and former Victoria's Secret head of PR), Nicole Gibbons has released a really interesting paint concept that I somehow just heard about this morning (well, "this morning" was in August, but clearly I have procrastinated publishing).

If paint doesn't sound like it could possibly be interesting, I'm really curious to hear what you think after checking out the Clare paint website!

Clare (or Nicole, probably) has narrowed down about a million paint color/sheen combos to 55 colors and two sheen choices.

Annnd the sample sheets are really stickers (that you can safely remove from your walls) so you can see easily what a color looks like in your space. It's all eco-friendly (zero VOC- which means it doesn't emit chemicals dangerous to breathe, so also "healthy") and there's even a color quiz to find your perfect color.

I promise I'm not getting sponsored to share this (because I'm still old school and get paid to pick paint colors for people), but it definitely sounds like an interesting option if you're overwhelmed by our friend Benjy Moore.

Clare Paint


If you couldn't tell by their branding style, Clare is also backed by the same investors that funded Warby Parker, Harry's razors, and Casper, you know- the companies trying to kill their own respective industries by innovating traditional shopping models- millennial stuff. (Some of these same venture capitalists are also funding another design startup, Block Renovation, but I'm not sold on it yet. That's a whole 'nother post).

One Kings Lane William McLure House Tour


William McLure

Guys. William McLure is a Southern design genius. The photo above is from the One Kings Lane tour of his Birmingham apartment, which itself is incredible. I "discovered" him thanks to Laurel Bern's post about laminate countertops, because he actually has gorgeous ones in his own kitchen. Never thought I'd admit laminate could be gorgeous; it's come a long way for sure.

Laminate Loft Kitchen

via Laurel Bern

(Oops- did a little more digging before I published and this is the post that shows off William McLure's former (?) kitchen, but I'm leaving what I wrote about laminate originally, because it's still true).

Anyway, William's no longer an interior designer! But before you get too upset, he's now a full-time artist. Which is amazing. Most of his commissions, like any true millennial's would, come from Instagram!

William McClure Living Room

William McLure

His own homes have always reflected his artistic side- he's a little more DIY-friendly than most well-known designers. He thrift shops, dumpster-dives, and refinishes his own floors behind his landlords' back. (And uses laminate!)

Basically a millennial icon- he's able to continually create high-end looks on what I assume to be a smaller budget than what the finished product would appear to have necessitated. However, there's a lot of creativity there (and probably still a higher budget than what we'd like to admit); apparently William constantly pours through books for inspiration.

William McClure Coastal Living Room

William McLure

See? Lots of books. Obviously, the guy's a bit of a collector.

I love allowing interiors to take shape organically. A vision is still hugely important, but some of my favorite spaces have allowed the finishing touches to be curated over time as well-loved pieces are discovered.

I'm also not a huge believer in over-planning the styling of a space anyway. That's the part where you play! Try different pieces in different places; see what looks and feels best. None of those found accessories need to be static; as you add more pieces to your collection, the existing stuff can be edited to accommodate.

William McLure Serge Mouille Art

William McLure

(Notice how he's repurposed the living room from a couple photos ago to a different home? Resourceful, and shows how collections can always be re-curated!).

Alyssa Kapito Headshot by Patrick Cline

Patrick Cline

Alyssa Kapito

A former Bunny Williams (remember Bunny from Parish-Hadley and the Kips Bay Showhouse?) intern, Alyssa Kapito has a background in Rennaisance Art and an amazing eye.

After gaining more industry experience, she reconnected with fellow talented BWI intern Vivian Muller, and the pair founded Kapito Muller Interiors in 2012, with no client base lined up. I love their guts! But the ladies admit their timing was lucky; they relied on Instagram, which was fairly new at the time, to reach potential clients.

While Vivian has since decided to step back from design, Alyssa continues designing in the fresh-traditional style the firm has become known for.

Alyssa Kapito New York Living Room

Alyssa Kapito Interiors

I love the warmth and serenity in her portfolio; Alyssa rarely relies on, or even uses, color (the Carolina Irving shade below a beautiful exception), and typically specifies ivories over whites. I tend to prefer ivory as well; it's usually more sophisticated-looking, and doesn't feel sterile, as some blue-undertoned whites tend to.

The small hints of black she regularly uses also add a touch of masculine balance and give weight to her rooms. I like that most of the darker finishes are concentrated toward the bottom of the room- keeping your eye in the human-scale part of the room, where the living is done. The simple architectural detailing, airy plaster chandelier, and neutral ceiling-height drapery appropriately dress the tall room without giving you a crick in your neck from staring up all the time!

Kitchen, Visual Comfort, Carolina Irving

Alyssa Kapito Interiors

You might notice the stone and pendants in this kitchen don't exactly follow Alyssa's ivory "rule", but what can I say? Could also be the lighting- see how the ceiling on the left of the photo is warmer than the right? That's why it's important to always sample paint colors in your space; lighting does tricky things to color!

The hood area is really interesting here too. All I can do is speculate about it, but the cabinets on either side don't have hardware. Are they faux cabinets? Touch-latch? The second is most likely! I actually like it; it keeps the hood area very simple and clean, continuing the theme of all her work. I also like the solution to the wall stopping short of where we'd expect it- the suspended cabinet to the left of the hood. It allows for symmetry, important in kitchen design, especially at a focal point like the range/hood!

PS- Alyssa also places William McLure's art pieces fairly regularly; here's another angle of the living room above, from his portfolio.

William McClure & Alyssa Kapito Living Room Art

William McLure

Taylor Dieterich & Yashlie Negron

If you're an interior designer, you might be especially interested in Taylor & Yashlie's concept: they're virtual design assistants! (If you're in the New York City area, they can also help out with installs IRL).

Do Not Let Us Design, their firm, was started for the ladies to be able to continue their professional relationship with a designer who was relocating cross-country.

Taylor & Yashlie handle all sorts of backend project management- elevations, FF&E, procurement, you name it. All the stuff designers don't talk about in client meetings, and probably don't like doing as much as the creative and pretty parts of the process!

Quite a few other designers offer virtual services, but DNLUD was the first business I'd heard of- through Luann Nigara's excellent podcast (something else I highly, highly recommend to those in the design industry).

I'm sure there are a lot more millennial designers out there doing amazing things, but this is already getting lengthy!

TL;DR (millennial for too long; didn't read) there are quite a few young folks making some small changes in the interior design industry, and encouragingly, quite a few others that are re-interpreting classical interiors to keep their designs fresh without discarding a history of taste. The interior design industry itself is changing quickly, but we'll save that discussion for later!



#white #traditional #classic #inspiration #interiors #decorativearts #kitchens #design #millennials

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