trade tales | May 22, 2020 |
How are you staying inspired right now?

In the midst of an unpredictable and challenging time, we asked 11 designers—Keith Baltimore, Lindsay Anyon Brier, Alizee Brion, Lauren Cuneo, Ashley B. Hanley, Valerie Legras, Chalice K. Lister, Christine Markatos Lowe, Donna Mondi, Marc Thee and Diana Viera —how they’re staying inspired.

Diana Viera
Diana VieraCourtesy of Diana Viera

Listen and learn
“I’ve tried to use this time to tap into my creativity and maintain a sense of routine. I’ve been sticking to my morning coffee and journaling to start my day, and I am still working, designing and creating. I sketch designs for my clients and put together mood boards for their projects. With the new wave of Instagram Live videos, I’ve really liked tuning in to various talks with different designers, learning what they’re working on and what trends are out there. I am very grateful for that. In my free time, I’ve started listening to more podcasts and audiobooks to keep my mind engaged and think of the bigger picture.” —Diana Viera, Italkraft, Miami

Donna Mondi
Donna MondiCourtesy of Donna Mondi

Zoom, zoom
“I would typically have attended a few international trade events this year, so it is a struggle! The industry has responded so quickly in offering Zoom product presentations, interesting webinars and showroom tours. I recently ‘toured’ a New York penthouse furnished in partnership with Gabriel & Guillaume and there was such great inspiration in that space. Our local architectural center has been offering remote tours of Chicago’s iconic building facades. So far, they’ve featured buildings in the beaux arts and art deco styles. It gets my creative juices flowing—I typically end up sketching deta​ils to incorporate into my next furniture designs!” —Donna Mondi, Donna Mondi Interior Design, Chicago

Lauren Cuneo
Lauren CuneoCourtesy of Lauren Cuneo

New normal
“I quickly figured out that staying motivated during a quarantine while home-schooling three kids wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. There isn’t a lot of time for me, much less for reorganizing my samples or making inspiring mood boards. It’s important to recognize productivity in the midst of a pandemic is a luxury, not a necessity. While we all mourn our old lives, I am not sure I want to race back to running from client meetings to wallpaper installs and eating lunch in my car. These past 10 weeks have taught me a lot of simple ways I can get inspired. Every day, I make sure I get outside and enjoy my beautiful coastal surroundings. I have discovered so many talented designers and vendors on Pinterest and Instagram, and I have gotten into some good podcasts. I have been reading books and remembering why I love my job—I am a people person and [enjoy] finding small, inexpensive ways to enhance my clients’ homes and lives. Design is important, and post-COVID, it will only be more important.” —Lauren Cuneo, LC Home Interiors, Greenwich, Connecticut

Christine Markatos Lowe
Christine Markatos LoweCourtesy of Christine Markatos Lowe

All around
“I have long believed that one’s environment directly impacts their ability to go out and succeed in the world. Never before have our home environments been more important, with so many of us working from home. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by my family in a charming vintage home with fragrant gardens and spaces filled with meaningful objects that keep me inspired so I can in turn continue creating beautiful and inspiring spaces for our clients.” —Christine Markatos Lowe, Christine Markatos Design, Santa Monica, California

Keith Baltimore
Keith BaltimoreCourtesy of Keith Baltimore

Gardens grow

“I’m spending a lot of time in the garden. It feels like my personal way of trying to cure the Earth. Seeding and planting feels like a way of petting the planet. I’m also speaking to people more than I ever have. Staying connected, no matter what that means for you, is so important.” —Keith Baltimore, Baltimore Design Group, Port Washington, New York

Chalice K. Lister
Chalice K. ListerCourtesy of Chalice K. Lister

Magazine dreams
“My inspiration has come from browsing through my pile of catalogs and magazines. The extra time at home has allowed me to flip through each and every page, reduce my screen time and see all the different products that are available to me. Typically, sourcing is so fast-paced in order to meet each project’s deadline and I search with tunnel vision to find specific items. So, it has been a nice change to leisurely browse from home instead and see what products speak to me.” —Chalice K. Lister, Kristell Interiors, Bear, Delaware

Valerie Legras
Valerie LegrasCourtesy of Valerie Legras

Fresh eyes
“Spending more time at home is a gift. It gives me a fresh look at my own home and, as a result, myself. We designers spend all day working on our projects and sometimes forget to take the time to come back to our roots to reinvigorate our space. I revisited lots of classic French literature and enjoyed the beauty that Mother Nature provides with spring flowers blooming everywhere in New Orleans. Opening all my senses has been very rewarding when looking for inspiration!” —Valerie Legras, Valerie Legras Atelier, New Orleans

Alizee Brion
Alizee BrionCourtesy of Alizee Brion

Look back
“I'm turning to our collection of design and art books that I have at home but have never had the time to properly appreciate, from classic minimalists like John Pawson and Vincent Van Duysen to more recent releases like Athena Calderone’s Live Beautiful. It’s especially interesting to find some less well-known images of their work, as I sometimes get tired of seeing the same images circulating on social media. There is so much to gain from exploring the work of other architects, designers and artists. I’ve also been flicking through my mother’s old issues of Architectural Digest. She has kept (hoarded) her favorite issues dating back to the 1980s. It’s so fun to see what designers were doing 40 years ago and notice what has and, more importantly, what hasn’t stood the test of time.” —Alizee Brion, Light on White Design Studio, Miami

Ashley B. Hanley
Ashley B. HanleyCourtesy of Ashley B. Hanley

Book learning
“To no surprise, I find myself on my phone looking at Instagram more often, and have found it to be an unexpected source of inspiration. It has become my new Pinterest board, filled with inspiring images that I love. In addition, I am old-school and still love to flip through shelter and fashion magazines, as well as design books, both old and new. There is just a different level of satisfaction and engagement while flipping through the glossy pages of print accompanied by a story. We have also been enjoying multiple walks every day to get our two little ones out of the house, and have been so lucky to have a beautiful spring. I was so inspired by all of the fresh blooms and gardens from nearby that I created a ‘through the garden gate’–inspired guest bedroom for a client that feels like a breath of fresh air during this hectic time.” —Ashley B. Hanley, Ashley B. Hanley Interior Design, Richmond, Virginia

Lindsay Anyon Brier
Lindsay Anyon BrierCourtesy of Lindsay Anyon Brier

Me time
“While normally I am running from home to office to job sites to meetings, I am now spending far less time in the car, which has freed up a lot of time. I’m finding working from home to be incredibly grounding. The quiet of my home office really allows me to be more creative. I’m hand-sketching more. I’m poring over design books, catching up on shelter magazines and articles that can sometimes be difficult to keep up with during normal times. I’m also starting on a few new collaborations with manufacturers that I am super excited about. Additionally, I am studying my own home and changing things a bit, which has been fun and rewarding (and might get expensive!?). I’m finding clients are doing the same and calling us with new projects. Never has home been more important.” —Lindsay Anyon Brier, Anyon Design, San Francisco

Marc Thee
Marc TheeCourtesy of Marc Thee

A New Appreciation
“My inspiration is coming from the fact that a home has never before been so valued by its owners. Our homes are so appreciated for how they comfort us and perhaps their shortcomings have never been more obvious. There’s a whole new awareness of what’s relevant and how you can improve each element to make home time even more comfortable and entertaining, and how to function more seamlessly.” —Marc Thee, Marc-Michaels Interior Design, Winter Park, Florida

Homepage photo: A breakfast room by Lindsay Anyon Brier | Paul Dyer

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.