MEET THE DESIGNER
MOVIES MAKE FOR MAGICAL DESIGN INSPIRATION FOR STEPHEN SAINT-ONGE
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What is a question you ask every homeowner before delving into design? I start by asking what movies they've seen that has a home they loved. They may not know what they want to create at the start of a project, but using film as a visual tool helps give them a better sense of what they are drawn to. What does every room need? Good lighting! Whether it's natural light or layered lighting, it creates a mood. A room can be beautiful but not truly come to life until it is lit.
What are some simple but effective ways homeowners can spice up their living room décor? Move the furniture around. That way you can embellish by adding new throw pillows, lamps, a wall of art or photography to create a new focal point.You're a film aficionado. What's your favorite? I love Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, starring Myrna Loy and Cary Grant, about a NYC couple building their dream house in the Connecticut countryside. The black and white allows me to use my imagination when thinking of color.
What's an egregious yet common design error? Color on the walls is something that can go terribly wrong. I have seen many dining rooms painted in a red that's too bright or the wrong shade, which can make a room look small and uninviting. What's your favorite color to use when working on a project? I tend to like sand tones with white trim. It's classic and simple, yet it provides a great backdrop to any room.What's your favorite room to relax in while at home? I like being in the kitchen with my family; it's the heart of the home.
What type of music do you listen to when you're designing? Right now, the music of Madeline Peyroux, Sarah MacLachlan, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Keith Urban. What are some ways that personality and design aesthetic can converge? Art! It represents what you love and what is important to you, and that's what makes your home your own. What is something you've accomplished, something that you're most proud of? My wife and I set up an art program for an orphanage in Africa that we visited. We were blown away by the talent of the young people we met—their imaginations, sense of hope and deep-seeded joy.