10.16.19

Clever Curation: A Conversation with Designer Diana Byrne

Fashion world alum Diana Byrne spent the early part of her career working at Vogue, Allure, Seventeen and YM. She honed her eye for style covering fashion shows and working alongside editors, photographers and designers. After taking some time away to raise her three children, the work she began on her own home sparked a creative epiphany that led to her eventually starting her own design firm. This serendipitous discovery of her talent for interior design would lead her to blossom into a highly skilled designer with a range that spans from a bold use of color, art and proportion to subtle, minimalist spaces. Here she shares a bit about her creative process, the importance of negative space and offers tips for incorporating art into the home.

As with any relationship, when Diana works with clients to set a tone for the style of the design work, she explains that: “communication is vital” but that is not the only important element of the relationship.

“There is always lots of talk before any project begins. There has to be chemistry. The home is obviously so personal, especially the primary residence and I end spend a lot of time with my clients! I’m always working with families and, as a mom myself, I’m realistic about what it’s like to have babies/ kids / teenagers in the house!”

 

Realizing that design does not take place in a bubble, and that a fresh set of eyes is always useful, when she offers suggestions for adding art to a room, one of her suggestions is to seek the advice of others. “Get help. Hire a designer, an art consultant or ask your family or friends to view your space with a second set of eyes. Sometimes just switching up placement or layering pieces can refresh a space completely…I have found searching for art to be more collaborative than any other area of the house. I’ve also had the privilege of working with Pettit Art partners who are art consultants, educators and independent curators who scour the galleries around the world.”

Other suggestions she offers:

– Don’t rush it or your space may end up feeling contrived

– Buy what you love

– Do your research to feel secure with your investment

– Create tension between the art and the room, matchy-matchy doesn’t always work (unless it’s clearly intentional)

 

Even if you already have art that you love, making some changes in your space can add new life to a piece. “Some clients have their own collection and others have a few pieces they love and are looking to invest in more. Either way, we often rearrange where the homeowner’s art is installed and this alone can jump start a room. Sometimes we’ve completed a space and it becomes clear that we need a certain something to make it come alive. Negative space is just as important though so the art (or furniture or layout or whatever is special about the room) can shine!”

Once major decisions have been made about layout and style, its time to address other elements of the design. Browsing though Diana’s work, its clear that nothing is a left unplanned. From unexpected hardware (such as customized refrigerator door handles, cabinet door pulls or faucets) to eye catching tile work, her designs are thoughtful down to the last detail. “Usually once an overall style is nailed down I think about how each space is used. Comfort and function is key and around that, I try to cultivate a cleverly-curated but not too serious room. Process is a constant overlapping and layering process – dreaming up a plan and then executing it. Timing is everything with new builds. The more I can have planed out ahead of the game, the better. Overall layouts, windows, kitchens and bathrooms, millwork and tile, slabs and lighting are first on the agenda. These are always selected while I keep in mind what will compliment them – floor and wall finishes, furniture, carpets, wall treatments etc. Hardware, faucets and cabinetry decisions usually flow along organically with the style of the room. Tiles and slabs perhaps too unless they are the statement. There is a rhythm to all of it and it’s amazing to be in that flow with a wonderful team of clients, architects, builders and vendors.”

 

Thanks Diana!

 

Text by Liana Hayles Newton / Interior Photos by Jane Beiles Photograhy / Headshot by Alix Martinez

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TLV is about sharing, supporting and discovering all that's great about the community we live in. We strive to inspire, enlighten and sometimes entertain. Our team of tastemakers are mothers, wives, sisters and friends, and together we share our musings about love, life and home.
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