Coffee With: Monet Masters of Forbes + Masters

We chatted with her about small spaces, accent walls, and Lenny Kravitz.

As a child, Monet Masters had an obsession with organizing and staging her teddy bears and books. That obsession blossomed into wildly successful interior design firm Forbes + Masters.

Q&A With Monet Masters

Casaza: How did you get your start?
Monet Masters: I landed my first salaried job after graduating SCAD at a hospitality design firm. It was absolutely horrid, to say the least. The office was unorganized and my creativity was being suffocated. I decided after a year and five months that I would explore working for myself. By that time I was already taking small freelance projects and building online profiles. While in the middle of a side project and the midst of chaos in the office, I left.

C: How would you describe your style?
MM: My personal style is very eclectic. I love bold patterns that still complement and don’t override the space. I love pops of random character pieces, often times, in my personal décor, that ends up being color. I love heavy texture and rooms that look like they’ve been built over time and feels well traveled. I also like to incorporate touches of black.

Forbes and Masters designed a blue karaoke room
Karaoke lounge designed by Forbes + Masters

C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
MM: I am inspired by everything around me. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Whenever I walk into an unfamiliar place, I’m inspired. I like to review a finished product and imagine its origin. The story leading up to is inspiring in it itself because any artist will tell you, mistakes are made but sometimes they make for a successful alternative.

C: Favorite room in the house? Why?
MM: My favorite room in the house would be the study. As an introvert, I cherish quiet and personal time. The study is a place of focus and relaxation. It’s where I would read, journal, review inspirational content, write a letter, and invite a friend in to have a deep conversation. I also love to design these types of rooms.

C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
MM: I wholeheartedly am against the iconic accent wall. I don’t care if it’s painted, wallpapered, stenciled, clad with wood or whatever. My question is always, “Why just one wall?” It’s too simple and lacks creativity.

C: Recent project that inspired you?
MM: We recently took a dingy, dirty, unfinished basement and turned it into an organic, rejuvenating, tranquil Airbnb. It’s so bright and airy. As soon as it was done I wanted to book a few nights for myself. It was only about 600 square feet but I have a thing for small spaces. They’re so intimate and thirst for creativity. You have to be strategic in space planning and maximize on every square foot. It stretched us and is deemed a successful project, by the client and us.

C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
MM: My favorite color is orange but currently located nowhere in my personal space. I currently LOVE patterns that look free handcrafted; not too perfect in lines. I love all texture (that don’t make you itch).

Forbes and Master designed a dark lounge for Georgian home
Lounge designed by Forbes + Masters

C: What is “good design” to you?
MM: Good design has a story. Good design is detail oriented. Good design is when your home reflects your style, lifestyle, and character.

C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
MM: Pack your bags, Lenny Kravitz, I’m moving in. Lenny Kravitz is an amazing artist, has crazy style and fancies interior design. It’s bound to be memorable.

C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
MM: I don’t entertain! Whenever I have a guest, my focus is to make them as comfortable as possible. I want my guests to feel at home but often times because my home reflects my interior design passion; they’re taken back and don’t want to sit anywhere out of fear of ruining something.

C: Best advice for DIY’ers?
MM: Put a little twist on it. While in school, when working on a project or idea, at presentation time, my studio 1 professor’s response was habitually, “How can you make it better?” That would be the “advice.”

C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
MM: For homeowners hiring designers to help with your home, start thinking about what you want your budget to be, do a little research on your design style, take inventory and gather pictures and ornaments that mean a great deal to you, and communicate your likes and dislikes.

C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
MM: This question always interests me. I don’t know. I am not as interested in what the vast majority deems as “the new it thing.”

C: How do you take your coffee?
MM: I actually prefer tea… Mint to be specific!☺

Urban tropical dining room designed by Forbes + Masters
Urban tropical dining room designed by Forbes + Masters

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