We’re back with a new guest tastemaker for some quick-fire questions and a mini-curation of some fab Chairish finds!
This week we are thrilled to be joined by Amie Mays of The Amaysing Co. Known for incorporating handcrafted and bespoke pieces into her work, Amie’s philosophy is to not only deliver on her client’s wants, but also create a space that will move them on a spiritual level. This past fall, her design philosophy was thoroughly showcased in the bright, bold, and highly personal Hillman Grad Productions office space for Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani.
Join us as she dishes on the element her favorite style icons all have in common, which changes she’d love to see made in the design industry, and her process is for making her clientele’s spaces… well, amazing.
What’s helping you get through quarantine?
I’m not going to lie: Quarantine has definitely been challenging. But I’ve been finding joy in dessert, books, movies, and tackling some unfinished projects in my own space. The pandemic has reminded me to express more gratitude for my home and appreciate all the refuge that it provides.
I’m grateful that I get to enjoy my morning coffee or tea in a mug that has a great hand feel, while watching the sunset from my couch. I use my walks as a time to meditate, and try to discover something new everyday. I’ve tried to create more rituals for myself. When you spend this much time at home, it also reinforces the importance of curating your space in a way that brings joy. I’ve also been cooking up some home goods and lifestyle products that spark joy, deliver a bit of everyday luxe, and help to amplify one’s gratitude at home.
What is the coolest vintage piece in your house?
I have a love affair with vintage that I don’t feel guilty about due to sustainability. About 60 – 70% of my furniture is vintage, and some of the pieces are like my children. So it’s hard to elevate one above the other and choose a coolest piece.
My dining table is a former conference table from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It’s a Chinoiserie piece that I stripped down to its raw wood finish so it would feel more modern and minimalistic. I love that it still has so much soul. It took a lot of work to remove the original finish. It was the first piece of furniture that I had a vision for, and that I worked with until I achieved it, so by default that makes it the coolest piece for me.
Who is your ultimate style icon, and why?
It’s very hard to say who my ultimate style icon is, but I admire people who deliver on the mix in a way that’s bold and unexpected. Designing requires a certain amount of gutsiness. A mix of high and low, masculinity and femininity, that hit just right. People in the public sphere who deliver on that mix include Betty Cattroux, Lenny Kravitz, and Rihanna.
Growing up in New York City, I have encountered my style icons on the streets and on the subways during my commute to school and work. But I also learned so much about aesthetics from my mother, who worked in the textile industry and sewed a lot of my clothing. She and her girlfriends were all so stylish, reinventing what it meant to be a woman. It taught me that our aesthetic choices are a tool to tell the world who we are. And as a designer, it’s all about telling stories. I look at each project as a way to tell the story my client wants to present to the world. I too am mediating that very important mixture of public and private self, masculinity and femininity, and past and future.
What’s something you wish would change in the interior design industry?
COVID has reinforced the importance of community, connections, and kindness. So I would love to see more community building and kindness in the interior design industry. Designers tend to be siloed working on individual projects. There has sometimes been a current of elitism in the industry, which I think can only exacerbate isolation.
Also, there are so many talented, forward-thinking architects and designers who are tackling big issues around sustainability, the environment, and urban planning. They are on the front lines of the changes we all need to make to execute great design. The design industry needs to amplify these diverse voices, and we all need to listen to them more.
What has been the most unique bespoke piece you’ve ever incorporated into a space?
I try to create something bespoke in every project. Often it’s because the furniture piece that fits my client’s wants isn’t accessible or doesn’t exist. I love the process of working with craftsmen to create something from scratch that’s also the one-of-a-kind. It allows me to address the client’s unique needs.
For example, when working on the Hillman Grad Productions office, in addition to creating custom tables, seating, and storage, I was able to collaborate with two amazing artists on murals that were central to the space. One of the artists – Penda Diakite – utilized collage, which meant her mural included resin-coated pieces that had to be attached to the walls. Working with artists to create something special for a client is always amazing.
You’ve mentioned that aesthetics have always been important to you, and that representing your client’s personal aesthetic can make for a liberating experience. What is your process in figuring out your client’s unique style, and representing it fully in their space?
My job is to be a great listener. Before presenting a design plan, I like to spend time with a client, so I can understand their values, how they live, and what they want to say about who they are. I think that when we have a home or office that feels like an extension of ourselves, it creates both security and freedom. When you have both security and freedom it’s a lot easier to be your best self.
I take input from so many cues when trying to figure out how to translate my client’s unique personal style into their home. These include their wardrobe, jewelry, art, the colors that they gravitate to, their career choices… For me, the tension between these things translates to great design. I am a storyteller at my core, so I’m always trying to tell a cohesive story about who my clients are. We all want permission to have fun and fully express ourselves, and I’m lucky to have a job where I can help people do just that.
Headshot Image by Tabi Bonney