Thursday, March 11, 2010

Designer Profile... Annie May

I've been lucky this past year to meet some very talented, fellow interior designers. Blogging is a great way to share and compare ideas with people in diverse areas of the design field.

My first interview is with fun and talented Annie May...I found Annie when I discovered her ultra-cool feature post "The Beat Boxed" on Design Milk (Lucky!). I started commenting on her posts because I am a huge fan of music, and I think her combination of design and music is a wonderful idea, and reflects where I find my inspiration. And I must confess she has introduced me to some great new music. Annie also has a great design inspiration blog, called Yolksy where she downloads her favorite things. I was so excited to do this interview so I could learn more about who she is and what inspires her...Enjoy!

That’s me (Annie) and some funky lights.

What did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I studied interior design at Iowa State University. When I was in high school I attended a live screening of local television show and fell in love with the set and set design. I was also very aware of how much I was personally affected by an interior and realized a career in interior design would be perfect for me.

Throughout my college experience I never lost focus of a career in set design. I had no idea how to go about finding work in this field, but through determination and a lot of searching on the internet I came across the website of a production designer living in Venice, CA by the name of Elizabeth Burhop of Art Dept TV, and absolutely fell in love with her work.

I contacted her my junior year of college and just told her, “I love your work and I want to do exactly what you’re doing, but I have absolutely no idea how to go about getting there.” She was so kind to respond and answer any questions I had. She was not able to offer me work, but was very supportive. Anyway at the end of our junior year we had to do an internship, and I decided I need to get to LA so I can at least meet Elizabeth.

I was so excited when I landed an internship at an interior design firm in Beverly Hills, but as soon as I arrived I contacted Elizabeth. I told her I was in Los Angeles, she invited me to a BBQ, and the rest was history. I spent my summer working with her on 3 amazing commercials and learned so incredibly much. I received a lot of grief from my teachers about not working for a “design firm” per se and they almost didn’t allow me credit for my internship. After this great internship, I reluctantly returned for my senior year, only because I was going to be studying in Rome. I was so happy when I picked up the September issue of Interior Design magazine and to see Elizabeth’s amazing interior design work featured on the cover. I took this straight to my professors and was like…”there :-P”

Soon after graduation I returned California to work with Elizabeth Burhop Production Design. This only lasted for a short time, but she truly was such an inspiration. I have since had many other amazing opportunities, but if it wasn’t for this one I do not think I would be where I am today.

What are some of your recent projects?
I am working on a couple condo renovations in Santa Monica which should break ground in a couple months. One of my favorite projects right now is for a Swedish couple who own a production company. They have such amazing taste and they are such a joy to work with...almost dream clients! We are renovating their kitchen, guest bath, laundry, and guest bedroom. I am really excited about this project! Last year, while working for the fabulous design firm Curated, I was the creative lead on the lobby and restaurant design of a boutique hotel project on the Oregon Coast called Surftides which is part of the Farmers Daughter Hotel Group. I also had the pleasure of working with the owner of Farmers Daughter Hotel Group on her personal home and I loved every minute of it. She continuously challenged my creativity.

A glimpse into the inspiration for my Swedish clients.

How would you describe your style? And how as this style developed over time?
My style is very eclectic. I have great appreciation for all types of design and I think the mixture of styles is what makes my designs unique. I love modern design, but I grew up in Iowa, so I have a great appreciation for antiques and very natural and organic elements. I studied in Rome and have a great appreciation for Italian products and the simplicity and details of their designs. Also I live in Venice, so I really love the crazy skate culture, arts scene, and eclectic beauty of my community. So really what it comes down to is interpreting the story of each client into design rather than focusing on my particular style. This philosophy comes from my love for set design, so I feel like I am creating the scene for each client and bringing out a part of them they may not have been able to communicate with words.

Guest Bedroom Project

Which designers, artists or creative people do you look up to or are inspired by?
First let me tell you I am very inspired by all of my creative friends. They are so talented and I am very lucky to have them in my life! My Top 5 Creatives 1) StudioIlse 2) Suzy Hoodless 3) i29 Architects 4) Ministry of the Interior 5) Production Designer Sarah Greenwood. And really there are about 1000 more that I look up to. Bloggers like you Kristin are a true inspiration. I know how much work it is and I really look to so many different blogs daily for inspiration. Love you all!

Grand Hotel Stockholm + Aesop by StudioIlse

What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Each day is so different. I start each week by asking, “Week, will you please be kind to me?” Often times they are not and I never know what the week is going to bring. I am juggling about 7 different projects right now, in all different stages, so I am wearing many hats. I spend about 50% of my day is liaising with clients, subcontractors, and vendors. About 25% of the day is spent on AutoCad and the other 25% is spent sourcing materials.

Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! I can look at a product advertisement in a magazine and trace the shapes of it and get inspiration for a floorplan. I can look out my window at the sky and the colorful people and come up with a color palette on a rainy day. Living in Los Angeles, CA, Venice in particular, and being exposed to such an eclectic culture brings me a ton of inspiration…anything from the beach, the graffiti, and the skate park to the architecture, the music scene, and the arts. It’s almost an overload, but it’s because of this overload that I started my blog Yolksy. Through the blog I have really been able to clear the clutter in my head and refine my aesthetic. I am also very inspired by all the blogs out there and am very thankful for such an inspiring community.

Photos via Pipergirls

What's the best /worst thing about your job?
I am not fond of paperwork and there sure is a lot of it. Also projects get in my head and I have a hard time separating work from my regular life, but I love what I do so I guess it could be worse! The best thing about my job is working with my clients. I love working with people and if I wasn’t an interior designer I would be a therapist. I truly think these to fields are very related. You must really be able to understand and empathize with your client when designing.

Another great thing is that I am about 95% sure I’m heading to Milan for the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in April! Yay!

What would be your dream project?
It would have to be to design an interior for one of my favorite musicians and bring one of my “The Beat Boxed” inspirations to life! As to which musician…that’s a tough one!

What is your most cherished item?
A needlepoint pheasant piece that my grandmother made. I have it framed on my wall and I think it is absolutely beautiful. I miss her dearly and she is such an inspiration to me. I also love my finger puppet collection and cannot wait until I have a little one who can play with them. For now they are just hanging out looking adorable!

What is your favorite color scheme at the moment?
Black, White, Gray, and Gold
Cobalt, Gray, Tealish Emerald, Gold (and a splash of hot purple or hot pink)

What is your favorite song?
Running Up That Hill” by Placebo. I saw Placebo perform this song live the day I met my fiancé so it always brings back special memories.

What are your plans on a typical Saturday morning?
Saturdays I work, so let’s do Sundays. I get up in the morning grab some coffee and walk along the beach and head to my favorite cycling class. My instructor ends each class by saying “Out with anger, in with love”. This is my favorite moment! I then walk home with an open heart and open mind, ready to take on the day. I’ll shower and grab my fiancé to head out on a little photo excursion with me in Venice. We’ll often times head to the Santa Monica Farmers Market, grab breakfast, peek my head into some shops, and then stroll leisurely home. I’ll clean for a bit and later I’ll probably meet up with a girlfriend at a local cafe and just chat about life. If the night ends perfectly my fiancé and I will end up grabbing dinner at Chaya, our favorite neighborhood sushi restaurant. I try as hard as possible not to get in my car on weekends.

Image 1...I am so inspired by the colors of the fruits and vegetables at the Farmers Market.

Image 2...My fiancé decided to scare the birds right when I was about to take a picture of them sitting peacefully. I love how it captured the detail in their feathers, so I wasn’t too mad at him! I may have actually thanked him!

What is your city's best kept secret?
I’m going to go with the Paseo Miramar Hike in Pacific Palisades. A gorgeous hike with stellar views.

Thanks so much Kristin! I really appreciate you asking me to be part of this! Thanks so much for your support! I always look forward to your Saturday Songs when I’m spending my Saturday working!

You're welcome Annie!! Thank you for sharing your inspiration, and for inspiring us all.

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