“I do not consider a room complete until it has the right balance of vintage and modern elements. Trends and whimsy are not a focus for me. I strive to create a feeling of timeless elegance and gracious living in soulful environments. Rooms should feel as though the furniture and art within them were collected over time and curated with a sense of personal history.”
Tommy’s contagious enthusiasm and fun loving approach to decor and renovating have made him an international design world favorite. A career spanning more than 15 years has left no stone unturned in getting the message of good, practical and beautiful design to his many followers through television, print media and popular speaking engagements. Known for his warm and personal mixture of fine art, vintage, antique and modern furnishings pulled together with a cutting edge color sense, Tommy never lets it all feel too serious. “If it's not fun, it's not worth doing!” And that's his final word on style!
Tommy's Design Equation:
What are your greatest accolades?
- Sarah 101
- Sarah’s House, Sarah’s Cottage
- Design Inc.
- Room Service (project manager)
- Guest expert appearances; The Marilyn Denis Show (CTV), Steven and Chris (CBC), CityLine (CityTV)
- Columnist: House and Home magazine
- Contributor: Style at Home magazine, Chatelaine, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, National Post
Books (featuring selected work)
- Black and White (and a little bit in between) by Celerie Kemble, Clarkson Potter, 2011.
- Be Your Own Decorator by Suzanna Salk, Rizzoli, 2012.
Best Design Bargain you bought for your home:
Everything I love at home is a bargain, no matter what the price paid.
Thing you would buy for your home if money were no object
A painting by Jean Michel Basquiat…and money would certainly have to be no object!
If you were a fabric, what would you be and why?
Plaid. It’s a bit traditional and a bit punk/ rebel. That’s my look.
First Design Memory:
Selecting fabric and furnishings for my own bedroom in my Grandmother Dorothea’s interior design studio when I was 8. I chose animal print fabric and herringbone wallpaper and a hanging ‘basket chair’ of tortoise bamboo.
Person (living or dead) who you regard as a creative genius?
I have a long list…but I will reveal that Oscar Wilde, Diana Vreeland and Bill Blass are on it.
Traditional/Contemporary Design Ratio (percentage)?:
Neutral/Colour Design Ratio (Percentage)?:
The most exciting part of any design project is...
Sourcing. The most interesting and exciting aspect of the job. It’s thrilling to discover an object or furniture that completely informs – and sometimes changes the direction of – a room. Crossing items off the list as they are found or created is the incredibly satisfying.
My style would be described by my colleagues as...
Modern and timeless at once with a focus on quality antique and vintage elements. A bit cheeky – sometimes they don’t get that part at first, but it always wins them over.
If I weren't a designer, I would be...
A fashion designer….and my work would likely look a lot like this; http://www.smythelesvestes.com
The trend I will never revisit is...
Grommet headers on curtains. Hate them. Hate. Have I made myself clear on this?
Green and Orange
Space you’ve designed:
The last space completed is always my favorite
Habitually Chic. Heather Clawson and I like all the same things.
My all time favorite was House and Garden. I’m still holding out hope for a revival.
Store or shop you’d love to get locked inside when it’s closed:
Aero Studios, Soho, N.Y.C. or Ralph Lauren Flagship, Madison Ave., N.Y.C.
Where are you most inspired:
London, New York, Palm Beach
Movie I could watch over and over and over:
Le Petit Prince
What’s your favourite room to decorate and why?
Hallways and entries – they have their own very specific challenges and are so important – we spend a lot of time in them, moving from room to room, but they are seldom given the attention other spaces in the home get.
What’s your favourite design book and why?
The Private House by Rose Tarlow – it’s a lovely hybrid of beautiful images and insightful writing. One of the few design books I have really enjoyed reading as well as looking at.
What is your comfort food?
What is your signature dish?
Can’t we just eat out?
What is your favourite restaurant?
What would be your next dream vacation destination?
London U.K. – autumn. Claridge’s http://www.claridges.co.uk
Lake, ocean or pool?
If SRD had a band, what instrument would you play?
I’d be the manager.
What would be your theme song?
Imagine, John Lennon