Classic Meets Modern: A Conversation with Designer Young Huh

Photo by John Bessler

Interior designer Young Huh knows how to create an ambiance of warmth and elegance with elements of the unexpected that are sheer delight. Her work, which blends classic and modern elements to create fresh and yet timeless designs, is regularly celebrated in the pages of Vogue, Architectural Digest and the New York Times and her name can often be found on Elle Decor’s prestigious A-List. Truly able to see each project from a unique perspective, her creative mind is a force to be reckoned with.

Photo by John Bessler

As a young child, Young was always creative and drawn to design. Growing up she was inspired by her mother’s sense of style and the pride in which she cared for her own home, though when it was time to choose a career path to study for, her parents encouraged her to pursue law or medicine. It wasn’t until a chance meeting had a profound impact on her that the course of her life changed in the direction of her original love: design. “I always felt the pull to do something creative, but my parents encouraged me to pursue a career in law or medicine. I ended up getting my law degree—which has helped me as a designer—but it wasn’t until I met an interior designer at a cocktail party that I knew what I really wanted to do. He told me the ins and outs of his business, and it just clicked!”

Photo by Jacob Snavely

While her design influences may have started out close to home, today she notes a wide range of sources that help keep her creative energy flowing. “I’m fortunate to have so many friends and colleagues who constantly inspire me. Some of the past greats that have influenced me are Lorenzo Mongiardino, Mario Buatta, Sister Parish, Josef Hoffman, the list just goes on and on and on.”

Photo by Francesco Lagnese

This constant creative energy is critical to her work as a designer, particularly as someone who looks at each project as a completely unique endeavor. “All of our projects are different, it’s our goal to interpret what our clients really want and deliver something that fits but that goes a step beyond what they could have imagined. Sometimes our clients can’t describe what they want, but figuring this out is key. We want our interiors to be striking, but balanced, to function well and to delight.”

Photo by Brittany Ambridge

To achieve this goal, she begins each project, not with a specific look in mind, but rather a mood. “I always try to meld classic and modern design principles and incorporate color when possible. I always try to determine a mood with clients; what emotions or feeling do we want evoke when they walk into a space? Then, we build the design with that as our “north star.””

Photo by Brittany Ambridge

To create the desired mood, the designer often looks to vintage and antiques. “Antiques and vintage items are incorporated into everything we do; they add a layer of warmth and charm. I feel strongly that the most successful interiors mix periods and styles.” Years of shopping for the perfect pieces has made her a wealth of information. Her biggest tip? “Purchase from trusted resources! Study up on characteristics and attributes of different periods, it will pay off in dividends when sourcing or shopping.”’

Photo by Brittany Ambridge

In her own home, decorated in a style that she describes as “elevated, layered, and warm,” she applies much of the same ethos as in her work to create a personalized and welcoming space which she notes is “all about the edit.” A special piece that makes the cut is kept in her workspace and holds special significance to the designer. “I have a grouping of ancient Persian mounted figures that sit on my desk at work—they’re a tiny reminder of how vast and filled with beauty or world is.” A lover of travel, she finds a particular joy in pieces she has picked up while on trips. One of her favorites can be found in her foyer at home. “A carved Piedmontese mirror on a trip to Italy. It has mounted cameos and is painted in blue, pink and white—it makes me smile every time I see it!”

Photo by Jacob Snavely


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5 Questions with Designer Young Huh

TLV: Do you have a go to color combination? Or most beloved pattern?

YH: I love black, white and green! But so many color combinations bring me joy. I’m also drawn to, among others, mathematical patterns—like the patterns in my tile collection with ADKO!


TLV: What era or design style are you inspired by?

YH: I love Gustavian design, Wiener Werkstadt, contemporary Milanese design, and so many more.


TLV: What is your favorite place to travel (for design inspiration, pleasure or both)?

YH: Sweden and Italy, both for design inspiration and pleasure. Ett Hem in Stockholm is one of my favorite hotels – you feel like a guest in one’s home, such perfect design.


TLV: What are the must-have items in your carry on?

YH: My iPad, Lays Potato Chips, Eau De Jasmine Rouge by Tom Ford, a good book, and my favorite moisturizer of the moment.


TLV: What is next for you as a designer?

YH: We have so many special things on the horizon but I’m most excited about launching a line of hardware with Modern Matters, as well as adding a few new collections to my tile line with AKDO. Our client projects are also very special to us and we have a few wrapping up in the near future that were years in the making—seeing the culmination of the hard (and fun) work is always so thrilling!


Photos Courtesy of Young Huh / Profile Photo by Michael Schwartz / Text by Liana Hayles Newton

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