Designer Q&AApril 15, 2019

Designer Q&A: Tilton Fenwick

(I’m always inspired by their bold combinations of pattern and color)

Anne and Suysel from are some of my FAVORITE people in this industry.  I met them LONG ago, and we’ve been friends ever since.  I remember going to see their work at the Hampton’s Showhouse  and thinking it was beyond genius.  I’ve been huge fans of their work ever since. We’ve used in our own projects and LOVE their wallpapers for ! So here is a great Q&A with them that shares with us their fave project, places to shop and paint colors!

(Hampton Showhouse)

How did you get started in the Interior Design business?

Both of us started our careers in a similar fashion: in advertising though separately in different cities and before we had met. In the same way, we both quickly decided it was not for us.  Taking a leap of faith, knowing we had passion for design, we worked for prestigious firms (Suysel at Markham Roberts, Anne at Brockschmidt & Coleman and Ashley Whittaker Design).  We learned on the job how to scheme a room and run an office by watching and taking notes at some of the industry’s greatest design firms.

(I’m pretty sure this is the first example of their work I fell madly in love with)

Any advice for those who are looking to start their own Interior Design business?

  1. Work for a firm: If possible one which you admire their aesthetic.  Both of us started as office assistants doing everything from shopping for fabrics, handling project management, attending client meetings down to placing the Staples orders.  It’s the best route to learn the ins and outs of how an interior design office is run.
  2. Actively network on social media and attend in-person events: We made so many of our professional s and industry friends through connections on social media. In 2010 we were super active with Twitter chats and Facebook.  We made an effort to attend events and solidify “online relationships” with face-to-face interactions and conversation.  In fact, meeting Erin IRL the first time was akin to an A-list Hollywood celeb encounter!  We were so thrilled and told her so! Our active social media presence opened doors to great industry connections and networking with other designers, bloggers and important people at magazines.
  3. Solidify your design point of view: Part of being a successful designer is having a strong point of view.  Clients are looking for guidance and advice.  Expressing your style and design aesthetic especially on platforms like Instagram is the best way for a client to get to know your style.  Many of our referral clients get our name and immediately check Instagram.  It’s important your account reflects strongly your point of view.  Keep it professional, design-focused and reflective of your taste.  We feel Instagram account for an interior designer has become even more important than an website!

What would your dream project be?

Boutique Hotel anywhere though bonus points for a warm weather location!

Tell us about your favorite project to date – this could be about a project that went wrong throughout but turned out perfect, a particularly fun/trusting client, a personal project, etc.

We just can’t pick one favorite but one at the very top of our list is for an amazingly wonderful couple who at the time were expecting their first grandchild.  The husband is a builder on Long Beach Island in New Jersey with decades of experience.  It was a dream to work with a client who, uniquely, was also the builder-contractor.  All of our design ideas could be easily explained and executed.  As a couple they are extremely decisive (a 10 on the 1-10 scale of decisiveness!) and made the project run seamlessly and on-time…in before Memorial Day actually happened!

Here are pictures of that home by Max Kim Bee:

Favorite fabric patterns?

Can we say some of our own?! is a favorite of our currently collection!

(Which I actually used for my tablecoth in my tablescape for Heading Home to Dinner last year!)

Wallpaper patterns?

We are completely wallpaper obsessed.  Again, can we share one of our own?! is top of the list.

Paint colors?

While we use color so often, l is our go-to white.  We are also in love with the colors from paint company by Nicole Gibbons, .

What do you think are the most important pieces/things to invest in when decorating your home?

Investing first in a quality sofa is always our top tip for high-low / splurge-save questions. The sofa is most used and a cheap one is easy to spot and will not last very long.  It’s a good place to make the first investment piece.

What are your favorite places to shop for the home? Vintage/ antiques? Retail? Trade showrooms?

Some favorite shops are ,, , . We love everything from CB2 lately (the Goop dining table is so good). by Nicki Clendening is such an amazing source for curated vintage – everything is chic and exotic.

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