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 sitting down with NYC-based designer Doreen Chambers. Throughout her distinguished career, she’s been a runway model, and an executive assistant for Estée Lauder, Donna Karan Home, and Peter Marino Architect. And, following her studies at the New York School of Interior Design, she founded her current design firm, Doreen Chambers Interiors. Doreen currently serves as Creative Director of Home Décor & Lifestyle for the Beverly Johnson Luxurious Lifestyle Brand, and will be a featured designer in the upcoming showhouse The Kaleidoscope Project, which will showcase the work of 21 talented BIPOC interior designers in various rooms of The Cornell Inn in Lenox Massachusetts.
Read on to find out how she discovered that design was a calling, and who she considers her top three style icons.
What inspired you to make the switch from the cosmetics industry to the interior design industry?
Looking back, I see it was more destiny than an intentional switch of industries. While at Donna Karan Home, I was offered the opportunity to work for Peter Marino. There, I became fascinated with the world of interior design on Day 1. Although there was a steep learning curve, I learned so much from Peter and consider myself very fortunate to have had the chance to work for such a world-renowned architect and interior designer.
What’s helping you get through quarantine? What are you excited to do once it ends?
During the early months of the pandemic, I became thoroughly absorbed in several wonderful interior design podcasts. I really enjoyed listening to designers around the world discussing how they were managing their businesses, finding inspiration and maintaining their sanity! I’m really looking forward to my first international trip and have set my sights on Lake Como in Italy. I recently discovered that some of my vendors have their factories in and around Como. I would enjoy some factory visits in between vacation sightseeing. Not sure when it will be, but I’m ready whenever the pandemic subsides enough to make it possible to travel freely.
Do you collect anything?
I collect African diaspora contemporary art focusing on emerging and mid-career artists. It’s something I’m passionate about, and I really enjoy interacting with the artists, learning about their process/what drives them, and seeing them thrive commercially.
What kind of design additions or changes have you made to your home since quarantine began?
My husband and I acquired a new artwork. After 10 long years we finally found the perfect chandelier from Studio Bel Vetro, and it’s been installed over our dining table. Now that it’s up, I don’t know how we managed without it for so long. Our dining area was always a little dark, and candle-light – though romantic – just wasn’t enough.
What is the coolest vintage piece in your house?
I have a wonderful secretary that my husband inherited from his grandmother. Don’t know if it’s particularly cool, but it has certainly been really useful throughout the pandemic. Because it has a drop-down top, I’ve been using it as an alternative to break up the monotony of sitting at my regular desk every day.
Who is your ultimate style icon?
There are several style icons I find inspiring, but to name just 3:
- Diana Ross: The ultimate queen of glamour and sophistication, who can rock classic gowns and funky on-trend outfits, and look absolutely incredible in everything.
- Audrey Hepburn was a classic beauty, and the perfect muse for Hubert de Givenchy. I just watched her for probably the 10th time in How to Steal a Million, where she was timeless, sophisticated and beguiling, yet unaffected and natural. Plus, every outfit was exquisite!
- In terms of an extraordinary lifestyle, I would have to say Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Berge. I loved Saint Laurent’s fashions, and also appreciate the connoisseurship of their museum-quality art collections and sumptuous homes. While in Marrakech, I visited Villa Oasis, which Bill Willis designed for Saint Laurent and Berge. The spectacular house and gardens have stood the test of time.
Headshot Image by Christopher James Delaney