While there’s an undeniable thrill in finding something new, there is much to be said for having a few versatile resources in your arsenal that do the trick in almost any situation. Corey Damen Jenkins, Beth Dotolo and Stewart Manger pay tribute to their perennial favorites.
“As I’ve been working on my first book, I’ve been looking at my portfolio in a new way, with all of my projects laid out together, and I realized that I really love grasscloth. I’ve used it a lot! It’s perfectly imperfect, and the seams do show, so your client has to be OK with that, but that’s the beauty of the material. It’s not for everyone, but when applied appropriately, it can make for a versatile, understated backdrop for bold artwork—and even bookcases. There are so many options out there! I especially love classic tone-on-tone grasscloth, with its streaks of color and texture; now, there are also companies printing patterns on grasscloth, so you can get damasks, geometric prints and even murals on the material. It’s amazing to see what everyone is coming up with, and it inspires me to come up with innovative ways that I can use it in my own work.” —Corey Damen Jenkins, Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Detroit & New York
In the Loop
“I started my career working for the late architect and designer David Easton in the 1990s, and it was David who first introduced me to the Loop chair, which was designed by decorator Frances Elkins in 1930. Even though they were created 90 years ago, they have a contemporary-feeling design and work well in traditional and modern interiors alike. They’re also great in living rooms or entryways because they aren’t too heavy and can be moved around if you’re entertaining. The white colorway is the original, but I love it in black, too, because it becomes so graphic. I’ve also seen the frames painted navy or green, and I’ve always wanted to try a faux bois finish on a pair. You can also play with the seat upholstery to put your own spin on it. Elkins only made eight of the chairs originally, but I try to find vintage reproductions from antiques dealers rather than newly made versions. There’s something so great about bringing them back to life with some new fabric or a fresh coat of paint.” —Stewart Manger, Stewart Manger Interior Design, New York
“We use a swivel chair any chance we get, because it creates so much versatility in a space. If you have a living room with a great waterfront view out of one window, for example, you can turn to look at the sunset, then spin back to face the rest of the room if you’ve got people over and want to have a conversation. One of our favorites is the Turner swivel chair from Bernhardt, which we first discovered at High Point Market about five years ago. I’m nearly 6 feet tall and my Pulp Design Studios partner, Carolina V. Gentry, is just over 5 feet, so it’s rare for us to find a chair we both think is comfortable, but this one was perfect. We’ve used it many times and have had a lot of fun playing with different custom upholstery, from bold graphic prints to rich velvets. I even have them in my own home!” —Beth Dotolo, Pulp Design Studios, Seattle, Dallas & Los Angeles