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November 2006


MEET THE DESIGNER

Brian del Toro
by Alexa Stevenson

HARMONIOUS COLORS AND COMFORT DEFINE THIS INTERIOR DESIGNER'S STYLE

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What's your design philosophy? Get the bones of the room correct. Then carefully choose furniture that is the proper scale and proportion. I like to arrange in a practical and comfortable way, using interesting and harmonious color palettes. This all makes for a great room! You live in New York. What drew you to work in Connecticut? I started working with Connie [Beale of Connie Beale, Inc.] six years ago because she has such a great reputation. I felt we could have a symbiotic relationship. The country here is lovely and so close to NYC that one has all the benefits of big city living without all the hectic aspects. Do you have a favorite place here? I love the shoreline towns and am especially fond of the Old Lyme area. Who has had a profound impact on your work? Albert Hadley and David Kleinberg, both of whom I worked with for many years. I often think, "What would they do?" Name a source of inspiration: I have many: David Adler, Francis Elkins and John Soane, to name a few. Do you have a style icon? I love Diana Vreeland's attitude toward style and taste. I always cringe when I see: Reproduction Oriental rugs. What are your favorite materials? Glazed leathers, jute, burlap and silks. What is your favorite color? All greens. Your favorite flower? Peonies make me say "ahhh." What is your greatest extravagance? Great trips. The best bargain you've ever found? I found a Regency chair at a flea market that was worth four times what I paid for it. I strongly believe: One should buy the best quality that one can afford, and stay away from reproductions. There are great, stylish new furniture pieces and rugs. That is where one should invest. What word do you most overuse? Chic. What is one thing you can't live without? My books. What book is on your bedside table? The Ambassadors by Henry James. What is something you think your clients shouldn't live without? Comfortable, well-made upholstery. Describe your clients: We are lucky. I think most of our clients would have hired a high-end NYC firm to create a stylish, eclectic interior, but they like the fact that we are local and can provide the same quality as our big city counterparts. Who is your dream client? Thomas Jefferson—stylish, smart, and he loved to build!

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