Designer Miles Redd brings rooms to life
Miles combines high and low styles with bold, exuberant colors to create his signature brand of cozy glamour. His new tabletop collection will feature an eclectic mix of barware, china, picture frames and other great gifts with whimsical flair.
photographs by Paul Costello (portrait and interior); Oscar de la Renta (water jug)
You grew up in Atlanta and studied at Parsons and NYU. Then you were hired by John Rosselli. Why do you say that was a wonderful “all-hands-on-deck” experience? The great thing about John is that no one is too grand to do anything. I showed up the first day in a suit, and he handed me andirons and Easy-Off and asked me to clean them. It’s the best inspiration for decorating—a very hands-on approach to making things look prettier—turning sows’ ears into silk purses. Why is “all colors go together” one of your mottoes? If you have a sure hand, you know how to mix, and you know when clashing is going to be interesting. I think you can see this in nature. If you look at the wings of a Monarch butterfly, you can find some shades that don’t appear to work together, but they do. Where do you draw the line? I wouldn’t paint my house purple. That’s fine in a tropical location where everything around you is colorful. But outside, it’s best to go with the variety of tones found in nature—gray, black, green, white. What attracts you to juxtapositions of high and low styles? I always find the tension of opposites creates an exciting environment. I guess it’s a matter of having my cake and eating it too. You focused on film at NYU. How has that influenced your design? I like a certain cinematic quality I first learned about as a young boy watching movies—such as the Chinese and chinchilla boathouse in Rebecca. What is the appeal of your favorite period—the late 1950s to early ’60s? There’s a combination of elegance and refinement, also found in the Edwardian era—reserved manners but a forward-thinking sensibility, elegance mixed with exuberance. You’re at a kind of crossroads where those worlds collide, and I find it very appealing. There was an approachable aristocracy or jet set—where anyone could write their own ticket and doors didn’t close because of where you were born. Your book is full of gorgeous photos sprinkled with quotations you’ve collected. Why didn’t you write more commentary? It’s a book about fantasy and inspiration. Too many nuts and bolts would take away from the experience. I want the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks. Is your favorite color red? In fact, I love blue. I’m a water type, so I love all shades of blue—blue and white, blue with pale gray. To me, it’s always a great clarifier.