March 31, 2020

20 Designers & Architects Talk About Their Own Homes

When Interior Design interviews architects and designers for its weekly 10 Questions With… feature, we often ask about the homes they themselves live in and the furnishings and possessions they prize most. Here’s how 20 top industry talents answered our inquiry.

Kim Dolva’s kitchen at his apartment in Copenhagen by KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri. Photography courtesy of KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri.

Kim Dolva: “My wife is as mad about aesthetics and interiors as I am, so our home—an apartment with high ceilings and original moldings in Copenhagen’s Vesterbro district—is kind of an experimental thing. We have two kids, a daughter who is 15 and son who is nine, so it’s full of young people all the time. We’ve lived in three different places and have now figured out the best way to live is easy living. The first thing we did was install a heavily oiled chevron wood floor, so people can just keep their shoes on. We have a white kitchen with a very chunky countertop and sink, all made from one piece of marble. Because there’s such a high ceiling, I also made these floor-to-ceiling cabinets.” Read the entire interview

Thomas Bentzen: “I am a very big fan of Achille Castiglioni and the lamps he designed for Flos—and I try to collect them all. He made such strong designs, filled with character and history, with his playful approach to ready-made industrial objects. The Toio floor lamp by Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni is one of my favorites—basically a car headlamp and fishing rod on top of a transformer. It’s an insane idea with an amazing result and it stands in our living room…. I have also always enjoyed the work of London-based Industrial Facility and its co-founder Sam Hecht. It’s very precise and refined—as you can see in their Bell clock, which is in my bedroom.” Read the entire interview

Furniture designer/maker Kate Duncan. Photography by Brittney Kwasney.

Kate Duncan: “Sometimes it looks awesome. It’s been featured in magazines before. Sometimes it can look super dope and then sometimes not so much…. I sell something and then there’s this big gaping hole, like ‘oh the mattress is now on the floor—whoops.’ All the prototypes go to my house and eventually I sample sale them off.” Read the entire interview

OPENUU’s Caroline Chou and Kevin Lim: “We live with our one-year-old daughter and two dogs in a walk-up apartment building in Hong Kong’s Happy Valley…. We have a Tom Dixon High-back Scoop chair. This piece is significant to us because we always propose designer chairs for our clients and we saved up for a designer chair of our own, which we always fight to sit in. Another piece we can mention we initially designed as a bed for our dogs. As they prefer sleeping on the floor, we took the doggie bed and gave it to our daughter Coco, who has since been calling it the ‘Coco chair.’” Read the entire interview

The living room of Joel Villalon’s home in Guanajuato, Mexico, features a brick vaulted ceiling. Photography by Paul Dyer.

Joel Villalon: “The house [in Guanajuato] had great bones. But ceilings were low; the front yard, driveway, and entry gate were decrepit; the family room was dark. Existing walls were [made] of concrete and bricks, so they could support additional walls and structures. We added another five feet to the perimeter walls of the living room, added clerestory windows, and constructed a boveda (brick-vaulted) ceiling. We added a 1,000-square-foot master bedroom addition on the roof, accessed by a new stairway through the family room—now much brighter…. I designed the fireplace and integrated tiles collected from our world travels. We now have three walls of tiles and will add another this year from tiles we collected on our recent trip to Morocco.” Read the entire interview

Andreas Engesvik: “Our home is not super fancy, and because we have so many kids—three—it’s always a big mess. My wife and I live in an apartment on the west side of Oslo, close to a big public sculpture park. There’s a tennis court, an outdoor swimming pool, and, in the winter, ice skating. For furnishings, I have some of my own things like the Tiki sofa, but I mostly have the same things other designers have, I’m sorry to say—like the Eames Lounge chair by Charles and Ray Eames that I bought new 10 years ago. In the living room is a vintage Børge Mogensen table my wife inherited from her father. We have some lamps by Achille Castiglioni and Poul Henningsen. I designed the kitchen myself, and it was handmade here in Norway.” Read the entire interview

Jason Wu: “There is definitely a minimal aspect to my style that applies to my home. I particularly love collecting mid-century furniture. I work a lot with my friend, architect Andre Mellone, who actually designed my first fragrance bottle.” Read the entire interview

Jasper Morrison: “I live in a few different homes, but mostly on the south coast of England with my wife and three children. These places are all furnished either with my own designs (for testing purposes) or with other designs I admire. I have a lot of Danish furniture, especially Børge Mogensen and Mogens Koch, but also pieces by Enzo Mari and Achille Castiglioni. There’s a Charlotte Perriand armchair which I got recently which I love. Right now, my Alfi chairs for Emeco are around my dining table. It’s an important learning process to live with things and assess how successful they are or not!” Read the entire interview

Paul Cocksedge: “I just bought a Victorian house, which is about 100 years old, and moved in a few weeks ago. This was the first one that I saw—and I went around for ages—that looked, somehow, architecturally right. There is something about that period of properties which is so much more charming in comparison to some of the new builds in London. The size and proportions of the windows, the brickwork, the consideration of the volumes of the rooms are just perfect. It has a garden, which is a luxury as well, and beautiful light coming in. We are now in the process of filling it up with designs that we love, and that is something I’ve really never done before. So I am going through a journey of choosing pieces—which is tricky because I need to like the people personally. It would feel weird to be surrounded by them if not.” Read the entire interview

The room in his house that Gert Wingårdh calls the loggia. The wood plank dining table is designed by Wingårdh’s wife, Karin. Photography by André Pihl, courtesy of Wingårdhs.

Gert Wingardh: “I live in an old red cottage on the west coast of Sweden with my wife Karin. Every inch of this place is holy and truly valuable to me. My favorite place in our house is the room that we call the loggia. It’s a room that is partly connected to the main building, with two glazed walls and one open. In the center of the room there is a 23-foot-long wood plank dining table that Karin designed. This table will last for hundreds of years and is the center of our everyday life.” Read the entire interview

Marc Ange: “My fiancé and I have only in the last few months moved into a rather old house with old-fashioned charm, surrounded by a tropical romanticism that I particularly like. The interior is quite spartan—we have little, because we always have the feeling of being there only in passing. However, there is one piece I can mention, a Brutalist desk, which I designed. It’s made of three concrete blocks, and then on the top there’s a piece of very precious marble from Tuscany. The marble contrasts with the concrete, which is very raw and rough. It’s a piece only for me, not something I would want to present or sell.” Read the entire interview

Juli Capella:  “I live in a typical apartment from the 19th century in Barcelona’s Eixample district, with a small patio with lemon trees, near Antoni Gaudí’s La Pedrera, my favorite building. I have no design, books of mine, or work at home. I keep it as a design-free oasis to disconnect.” Read the entire interview

Sebastian Herkner: “My home is not a white cube. It’s always growing and changing and may, at times, be too colorful…. I always buy something during my travels—from a nice vase, to a bowl, rug, piece of art, or a stool. Souvenirs remind you about an experience—and mine are useful. If we have a dinner party, all the dishes are all different. The metal salad bowls are from Zimbabwe, the black ceramic soup bowls are from Colombia, and the ceramic dessert plates are from Thailand. With new people at the table, these pieces are great conversation-starters, as I like to tell the story behind the object.” Read the entire interview

Emily Forgot: “I’ve recently moved with my partner into a 1960s home with quite a lot of original features. It’s near the sea, about an hour outside London, and is a huge ongoing project. My partner, Von, is an illustrator and artist as well, and we have a studio in the house that we share. Although some people just think that’s crazy, it works well for us. I don’t have any of my own furniture in the house at the moment, but I have plans to make quite a lot, such as a headboard for the bedroom. It will come together over a long period of time.” Read the entire interview

Camille Jobe and Ada Corral, Jobe Corral Architects: “We actually live on the same street about five houses down from each other in the same style of post-World War II residence. There was a shortage of wood at that time, so the houses were built out of concrete blocks instead of wood framing. As such, they are both very simple mid-century concrete block houses. After we started our partnership, we brought the houses into the office and designed additions for both of them at the same time.” Read the entire interview

  1. The Ranchelow by Casework. Photography by by Casey Keasler.

Casey Keasler: “I live in a 1966 bungalow-ranch style home in Portland that I call “The Ranchalow”. It has some characteristics of a bungalow, but is a ranch-style home. The rooms themselves are not architecturally interesting, but the windows are huge and the floors are great. It is a work in progress. I’m finished with my dining room, bathroom, dressing room, and guest room. This winter, I am planning on finishing the master bedroom, and then finishing up my living room. In the summer, I will do the kitchen, studio and the mudroom area and then be done with the project except for exterior painting.” Read the entire interview

Stephan Hertzog & Flemming Busk of Busk + Hertzog: “I split my time between central Lisbon and Tenerife in the Canary Islands,” says Hertzog (pictured at left). “I have a mixture of my own pieces in homes in both places, as well as those of other designers, and bits and pieces from my travels and my family. For my roof terrace in Tenerife, Nienkämper made a special version of a round Gateway table fitted with a maple top, which looks stunning. In my library, I have our upholstered Havana chair and I just love sitting in it because it is so comfortable and from there I have a wonderful view to my terrace, the mountains, and the sunset.”

“I live in central Lisbon in a building on the two top floors with a roof terrace,” says Busk (pictured at right).  “’m surrounded by a big mixture of prototypes, finished designs, and furniture I just love from other designers. I have always admired Tom Dixon’s Pylon chair so for my 50th birthday I gave myself two for my bedroom. Outdoors, I have our own True Love seating. I also have our Didi and Hannah chair in my living room combined with Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chair and our sofa system Noa. The shape of Hannah just makes me happy every day and is very true to how we design.” Read the entire interview

Ini Archibong: “My home and studio are one and the same, and I live in a former minted metal factory—now renovated into apartments—in Neuchatel, Switzerland. The factory made trophies, coins, and even Olympic medals, and there are really high ceilings and a wall of windows facing Lake Neuchâtel. It is important to me to have a lot of natural light in my workspace…My turntable and my Akai MPC1000 drum machine have been with me for 10 years, moving from San Francisco to New York, Singapore, and Switzerland. I also keep concert posters, and have a framed vinyl of Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” which reminds me of home and growing up in LA.” Read the entire interview

Charles Zana: “I live in an apartment that I designed in the heart of Paris with my family. In my living room I have a yellow and black Odalisca totem by Italaian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass. This is an important totem from his original collection created when he was ill in Palo Alto, California—he was sent there because it’s a very dry area in the desert. Sottsass was taking a lot of medicines and as a result having nightmares. During one, he had a vision that doctors and nurses were giving him pills from the ground to the sky that would help him. When he returned to Italy, he started to create columns with this vision of colored pills, one atop another, as his imagination of the medicine given to him during that period. This was the first time that he created a vase or a totem that wasn’t a single piece but with additions. I just love the piece, there’s a lot of emotion and current inside of it.” Read the entire interview

Read more: 15 Designers Share What Inspired Them as Children

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