Q&A With Rachel Moriarty
Casaza: How did you get your start?
Rachel Moriarty: I took the organic path to interior design. I worked in the fashion industry for 15 years as a visual merchandiser both in the U.S. as well as in Dubai, UAE and as a photo stylist on fashion shoots for a variety of brands. I opened a boutique where I created a line of vintage-inspired children’s clothing and nursery decor. My clients would come back after I designed their child’s nursery and ask if I could do other spaces in their home.
That was my start! I then got a certification in Interior Redesign and Home Staging and also worked in the furniture industry for Ethan Allen and Bassett. In 2005, I launched my design firm.
C: How would you describe your style?
RM: My personal style can best be described as a blend of global, bohemian, vintage, eclectic and maximalist. I love bold saturated colors and pattern on pattern mixing.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
RM: As a world traveler, I am inspired by places that I’ve lived in and traveled to, as well as places that I have yet to go, like Morocco. I have been a treasure huntress since the age of twelve and I’m always scouring local Flea Markets. I use those same hunting skills when attending large home furnishing trade shows like Las Vegas Market and High Point Market.
C: Favorite room in the house?
RM: My living room is my favorite room in my house. I have a huge gallery wall that features our collection of retro, psychedelic (and current) rock posters. My husband and I are huge music lovers and travel as far as the Yucatan Peninsula to attend music festivals. We always pick up a new piece of art so that our gallery is a constant curation of our latest and greatest treasures. It’s the story of us.
C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
RM: Any rule that applies to minimalism.
C: Recent project that inspired you?
RM: I recently designed the home of an abstract artist. Her art is modern, layered and colorful. Her home is a living gallery where she will host events and invite her clients to her home art studio. It was the best creative collaboration. I have no problem tackling a blank room but a blank canvas has always intimidated me. This project has inspired me to explore the artist side of me.
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
RM: I haven’t met a color that I haven’t loved but blue is probably my favorite. I haven’t done a design project yet where I haven’t used it. It’s such an iconic color. I use it like a neutral. When I come across a client that is afraid of color, I can always talk them into adding blue
C: What is “good design” to you?
RM: To me, a good design is like a mirror. It should reflect the people that live in the space and tell the story of what they love, who they love, who they’ve lost, where they’ve been as well as where they’re going as they approach the next season of their life.
C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
RM: I’ve been drooling over Iris Apfel’s home for decades! To me, it’s the epitome of maximalism executed in an elegant way.
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
RM: We’re casual entertainers but I still have a few rules. Everything must be plated prettily, I always use the real stuff no plastic or paper products, fresh flowers, candles, and good music are a must. Relax and enjoy!
C: Best advice for DIYers?
RM: If you’re tackling a large home project on your own, try to book a consultation or block of time with a design professional to help you with your design plan. There is a process to design projects and we can help guide you aesthetically and prioritize what needs to be done.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
RM: It’s important to do your due diligence. Go through the designer’s website, read testimonials, awards, recognition, project photos, read a couple of blog posts and go through their social media accounts. You’ll get a good sense of who they are and if they’re a good fit. Design projects take at least 90 days and can go as long as a couple of years if you’re remodeling. You want to make sure that you jive both aesthetically and personally.
C: What is one design trend you are most excited about this season?
RM: The buzz this year has been color in kitchens. Earlier this year I spoke on a panel at KBIS (the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) all about color. Elegant Mosaics launched their Color Lab where you can specify any Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams color for any of the glass tiles. Laticrete Grout has a similar program and you can specify any color for your grout! We are seeing color on cabinets especially a two-toned looked with white upper cabinets and colored lower cabinets. The appliance market has definitely leaned into the color trend and you can specify modern appliances in practically any color ranging from retro orange to bright blue. This isn’t a flash in the pan trend; it’s been a gap in the market for a long time. Stainless steel is great but I love that we have much more variety now.
C: How do you take your coffee?
RM: I take my coffee with a splash of almond milk.