When Miles Redd first moved to New York City to be a student at the Parsons School of Design, his accommodations left much to be desired. In fact, Redd says that when his mother saw his housing—a room in a YMCA on Manhattan’s far West Side—she burst into tears.
Today Redd, an accomplished interior designer with an international clientele and the creative director of Oscar de la Renta home, lives in a NoLIta apartment, a far cry from his humble early digs. Now we can all get a peek at some of those rooms in Assouline’s new The Big Book of Chic, a coffee-table book of his glamorous interiors as well as examples of some images that have inspired him.
The Atlanta native didn’t find his calling right away. “I was all over the place in my youth. I was interested in fashion, I went to Parsons, I graduated from NYU as a film major,” Redd explains. “But nothing clicked as much as when I went to work for an interior designer.”
After NYU, Redd was working for a movie producer and, he says, “not really enjoying life.” When a decorator friend asked him to help part time, he jumped at the chance. That helped Redd land a two-year stint working with renowned antiques dealer John Rosselli, which led to a position with Rosselli’s wife, interior designer Bunny Williams. “That was the best training I could possibly get,” says Redd.
He says he never consciously set out to develop the luxurious, light-hearted style he’s become known for. “I just had an internal voice that guided me toward certain things I like. I always liked a strong color and certain graphic sensibility.” Redd has designed homes for an international roster of high-profile clients—although he declines to name any of them—but he says his own home is where he’s had the occasion to take the most chances.
“Your own apartment is a laboratory that allows you to try things that clients might not be comfortable with,” he says. And if your own place is already designed to the hilt, there’s always your family.
“My parents let me help them design and decorate a house in the mountains of North Carolina, and I felt that was very instrumental as a springboard for me,” Redd says when pressed to discuss a favorite among his projects. “Houses always have certain moments and you just try to maximize them. There’s always something about a project that I love.”
Asked to share some words of wisdom for would-be designers, Redd has a simple piece of advice: “Always trust your instincts. I’m a big believer in listening to your gut.”
All images, courtesy of Assouline