Interview with Brian Gluckstein On The Art of Home
There is so much complexity behind the making of a home. From the design to the inspiration to the conception, a designer is often part of the many levels of this process, which we were thrilled to see come alive in designer Brian Gluckstein's new book, The Art of Home. As the founder of Gluckstein Design, Brian is renowned for his luxurious, refined interiors as well as his work as a product designer under the brand GlucksteinHome, he created The Art of Home as a homage to design where you'll find 10 projects of his recent work. Read on to learn more about Brian and his stunning new book:
Tell us how you got into design.
You could say design runs in my family. My parents were involved in the furniture business; one of my clearest childhood memories is of being in a showroom at High Point. My parents hired interior designers, and my sister started working in design when I was still in school. I always had a creative streak—I’ve loved to sketch and build things since I can remember—and not surprisingly I ended up in design school. I went to work at a small firm, but it wasn’t long before I dreamed of opening my own firm so I could work on just a few projects at a time, and doing them my way. Things just kind of blossomed from there.
How would you describe your style?
I like the phrase “clean eclectic.” We take a curated, pared-back approach to our projects. Our projects tend to feel serene, but they celebrate contrast – I think that’s crucial to give a space personality and soulfulness. For example, we always mix periods in furnishings, selecting antiques for contemporary lofts and modern pieces for classic apartments.
Tell us more about how you work with clients.
We work very closely with our clients. Many of them have become friends, and the great majority go on to do other projects with us. We’ve been very lucky that way.
We start by defining how the space will be used, which is related to how the clients like to live. For example, will it be a vacation home? Or is it a main home that needs to accommodate a lot of entertaining?
After that the clients can be as involved as they like. We have some clients who just want to see photos and they make decisions quickly, often remotely. Others are more hands-on, and we will take them shopping—both at home and abroad—and spend a lot of time together defining a shared vision.
We loved The Art of Home! How did you decide what projects to feature?
It was hard! We really wanted to show the breadth of work our firm handles, but we also wanted to go into some depth on each project. In the end we decided to show fewer projects in more detail. We finally settled on these 10, but trust me there was a lot of debate to get to this point! Making this book was a LOT of work, but a very satisfying experience.
What do you hope readers will get from the book?
My biggest hope is that readers are inspired. We want to give them ideas to apply in their own homes, which is why I insisted we go into detail on some of the techniques we employed, and the thinking behind the design decisions we made. If the book inspires people to start collecting furniture and art—at any level—I’d be delighted. Our clients love their homes and that’s the ultimate reward for me—I’m hoping the book can help readers enjoy their homes a little more, too.
What are some key elements that you like to include in the homes you design?
Art is the most important thing—it doesn’t matter the value, but you have to have art in the house that’s an expression of its occupants; it’s like jewelry for the house. I also like to include personal collections. Most of my clients come to us with some kind of collection, whether they inherited it from a parent or cultivated it themselves, that we can help them edit for display or expand.
I love books, which is probably why I love libraries. If a client’s a reader, I’m going to give them a library—and if it can be a soaring, double-height library, all the better! Powder rooms should be jewel boxes: you can really have fun with a small space. But as a general rule, the most important elements to include in a project are things that the home owner connects with emotionally. That’s what will make it feel like home.