We first featured the work of San Francisco-based interior designer and Ralph Lauren alumnus Scot Meacham Wood in the early days of the blog (you know, about three weeks ago).
Well on Wednesday Wood announced that this fall he will unveil a home collection. Masculine Interiors fired off some questions to find out more about the venture whose tagline is “Tartan is the new black.”
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MI: So you’re becoming a brand. Tell us what you plan to offer.
SMW: We’re planning a fully realized lifestyle brand, including textiles and decorative trimmings, a selection of upholstered furniture, and also a collection of antiques and home accessories (cashmere throws, 19th-century tartanware boxes, decorative pillows and more).
We’re excited that our textiles are imported from Scotland from a mill that dates to the late 1700s. Our furniture collection is being produced here in the San Francisco Bay Area, which gives me the opportunity to keep a very close eye on all of our furniture products.
MI: Furniture is a pretty wide-open category. What will yours be like?
SMW: We’re going to focus on upholstered seating — sofas, dining chairs, reading chairs — inspired by Edwardian aesthetics. I’m planning a great deal of lush leather tufting, hand-carved details, nailhead edges, and bullion trim. As well as our seating collection, we will be offering a variety of upholstered headboards. We’re working to keep our proportions luxurious, but still very usable in both smaller and larger homes.
MI: How will the collection differ in style and price from, say, your former place of employment, Ralph Lauren?
SMW: Ralph is always the master of creating a completely enveloping environment with each of his collections, whether inspired by an English manor or a French seaside cottage. We’re really going to keep a much tighter focus on our design. My strength as a designer has always been our classic masculine interiors, so I really want SMW Home to be your first thought when you need to create a men’s study and library. Pricing is still an ongoing discussion, as we are still approving textile samples and furniture prototypes for the collection. I want the line to be competitive, but we’re not looking to be the least-expensive option. More like we’re looking to be the best.
MI: Your style seems to embrace things that are preppy and traditional with things that are chic and sexy. How do you make that work?
SMW: I often describe the spaces we design as a combination of the gracious and traditional “expected” mixed with some whimsical element of surprise. Too often a traditional space begins to feel dated, but adding a few modern accessories, lighting or artwork keeps a room existing in the present. The juxtaposition of old and new will also give a space a certain amount of energy and drama. It’s a delicate balance, but I feel our rooms highlight this philosophy.
MI: The easiest way to improve things like a wardrobe or a piece of writing is to make cuts. What are the simplest edits a guy can go home and do tonight to make his place more stylish without spending a dime?
SMW: I was just talking to one of our clients about this the other day. To put it in wardrobe terms, whenever you need to clean out your closet, you’re best served by removing everything and then accessing each item as it goes back into the closet — or doesn’t. That way every single part of your wardrobe receives either your blessing or gets donated.
The same thing can easily be done with our homes. Items come into your house and get set down and they often tend to just stay where you put them. I will often strip one of our rooms at a house — clear off the tables, remove any accessories, even take the art off the walls — and then thoughtfully start restyling the room.
If your goal is to make things more stylish, you might need to get ruthless with your editing. Hanging onto college mementos can give your place too much of a dorm feeling. I often use this quote from English textile designer William Morris as a guide: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
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