(almost) ALMOST FAMOUS: Designers Working Under the Radar / Iantha Carley



At this time of the year, we are treated to the ' Best of 2011's _______' and ' 100 Best Designers/Actors/Actresses/Movies/Albums/TV Shows/Books/Corporate Logos, ' and so forth.  I guilty admit to eagerly searching for my faves, and being disappointed or miffed if they fail to appear as noteworthy in their respective category or field.  Yes, there is nothing more thrilling than being included in the celebratory lofts of whatever profession in which one daily labors.  Especially the little perks like event passes, 'free' samples, and hottie interns waiting outside your doors; or the bigger perks such as more projects (with larger budgets).  Earlier this year,  I visited the Washington DC Design Showhouse 2011 and was quite surprised by the tremendous local talent who live and work within the Beltway.  Sadly, many of these talented individuals are ignored by the national shelter magazines who prefer to focus on the excesses of Malibu, Park Avenue penthouses, or ultra-modern masterpieces overlooking Miami Bay.  One of my favorite FB friends, namely LA designer Judson Rothschild, faulted AD in its annual 100 Best for recycling the same old names (yet again!!), and I wholeheartedly agree.  Love to see some fresh talent(s) included in this venerable roster of industry luminaries.  Of the many rooms beautifully decorated for the DC Showhouse, I especially loved a bedroom and sitting room designed by Iantha Carley of Iantha Carley Interiors.  Her use of color and pattern was bold and confident, she displayed a sound understanding of the nuances of design and aesthetics, as well as seamlessly incorporated varied cultures and periods.  I was fortunate to meet her in person, and after chatting, I left quite thrilled at meeting the talented and gracious Ms Carley.  As part of this week's Peep-show entitled ' (almost) ALMOST FAMOUS,' I asked her to write an article for us, to which she kindly agreed.

Please enjoy,

I’ve always been an avid doodler. For me, it isn’t an issue of idleness. It is more of a fascination of the complexities and combinations of shapes and textures and how they play off one another. I have a lot of artists in my family and I view this ability as my art form. 
I always bring this fascination to all of my design projects. It’s important to bring something unexpected to the space. Mixing patterns, textures and color, which, on their own, may seem a bit off. But once everything is pulled together, it makes brilliant sense. I like to call it sophisticated whimsy. It takes the serious edge off, but is comfortable and elegant in a non-traditional way. 

David Hicks has been a great influence in my design aesthetic. I remember the first time I saw an ad he appeared in for JP Stevens sheets (they weren’t called “linens” in the 70’s). I was immediately drawn to his skillful mix of patterns and color in one room. His rooms were never boring and are timeless. The key is always to make the design look effortless with no contrivances.  Contrivance is one of my pet peeves. It comes from over thinking a design or creating spaces that aren’t really “real”. When clients say their inspiration for a space is a hotel room or a spa, I cringe. I can’t think of anything more depressing than living in a hotel room for the next ten years! Also, how impersonal are those types of spaces. I know what my clients really want is a grown up space that doesn’t look like their parent’s homes. They are also looking for an escape from the chaos of their lives. I achieve this by embracing their lives and creating rooms they really use and are approachable. Rooms that are beautiful and soothing, but have an ease that you can put your feet on an ottoman, or bring a soda into the room appeal to my design sensibilities.

The easiest thing in design is to prepare a floor plan and back up a truckload of furniture to a house. The hard part is creating the sense of home. This past Thanksgiving, one of my clients called me to say they had had family over and I got a huge compliment. It was from their 18 year-old nephew, who was amazed at the transformation of their home. If an 18-year old “Lax Bro” tells you your house really looks nice, I know I’ve done my clients well. That’s a story that makes me smile.

Iantha Carley
Principal, Iantha Carley Interiors


Chris Olson Olson said…
Nicely stated, Iantha!