I love that American interior designers decorate with confidence. They're not afraid to experiment, use colour or make a statement. The work of Betsy Burnham is a great example of this. Not only that - she's smart in other ways too. Betsy has a do-it-yourself design service called Instant/Space that offers prospective clients budget-savvy design solutions. If you're decorating it's worth checking out the moodboards she's posted online for some of her clients.
Which five words best describe you? Tan. Happy. Tasteful. Dependable. Driven.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since? I worked in the New York showroom of Echo Design selling scarves. Ironically, Echo now does fabric and carpet lines for Kravet and they have published some wonderful books on home decor. I saw my first ever boss at a design event here in Los Angeles recently. It was a fun reunion; he told me he’ll always think of me as a “college kid”. Imagine.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? First impressions are almost always right, so listen to your instincts. This is harder than it sounds.
What’s your proudest career achievement? The first time my work was published - it was my own home, for InStyle home magazine - was an amazing time for me, and a turning point in my career. I have Joe Nye and Char Hatch Langos to thank for that.
What’s been your best decision? To branch out and start my instant/space division. It’s broadened my client base, reinforced the importance of clean, tasteful, simple design, and kept us busy through the recession.
Who inspires you? Phoebe Philo, Ann Demeulemeester & Dries Van Noten. Albert Hadley. Tauba Auerbach. Jin Yong Kim, the new president of Dartmouth college.
What are you passionate about? My kids, my husband of 20 years, Mark Stern, & my dogs. Fashion. Pattern & colour. The beach. Books. Television.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Really, any designer whose rooms I’ve truly admired. And any writer or director who’s made me laugh.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would really love to do a book, a fabric line, a line of rugs. Want to run a full marathon, did a half marathon last summer. Lots of dreams still.
What are you reading? A question of attraction by David Nicholls. He’s an English novelist and his writing kills me. Subtle, but laugh-out-loud funny.
images courtesy of betsy burnham