For 20 years, Pennsylvania-based Elizabeth Reynolds has designed residential and retail spaces for a variety of clients along the East Coast. She works closely on the architectural development of her projects, before collaborating with clients to develop spaces that are an expression of their aesthetic style, favorite finds and practical needs. Her work is classic, colorful, and a creative reflection of her clients living their best lives.
What made you passionate about interior design? How’d you get your start in the industry?
Inspired by a since forgotten building when I was about 8, I started drawing floor plans to express my visions. I still have my binder of hundreds of houses, and sometimes I look back to see what may spark a new idea in the present. I took a circuitous route to the profession of design though. After earning a biology degree from Cornell (I was pre-med), I took a breather and thought back to my 8-year-old self. What did she love? She loved buildings, especially houses. Time spent in studio while working towards my MFA in interior architecture cemented the fact that I love conceptualizing, drafting, and space planning.
What do you find most compelling about Chairish?
I’ve been a “picker” for a very long time. Remember when yard sales were advertised in the local paper? I highlighted which ones I wanted to hit based on neighborhood (the expensive neighborhoods never had the best sales!). I was one of those eager folks, driving around at 7am on a Saturday, searching for the unique and unusual, sometimes even the misunderstood. Chairish is the best combination of yard sale, flea market, antique store, and Bunny Mellon’s attic. I love the sense of community that has rallied around a shared love of craft, beauty, and finding new homes for wonderful items.
How does sustainability factor into your design choices and love of vintage?
Sustainability is a compelling reason to buy vintage. Keeping furniture, lighting and knick-knacks out of the landfill, and instead being creative and optimistic about their continuing appeal, motivates me to specify vintage elements for projects. From a business perspective, it is more time consuming to buy vintage because I can’t just reference a catalog and order something pristine. I’ve come to terms with that trade-off because it feels good to reuse, and a room without vintage is a room without soul!
What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?
This is hard!
- Form, function and fun feet, what more could anyone want? Cover this in a velvet and it will last for decades.
- Three-dimensional art, perfect for a mantle.
- I have kept an eye out for paintings by this artist Botti, aka Barrell, for years. His paintings have a charisma that I love.
Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room?
Textiles provide flexible and attainable statement-making in a room. Think beyond accent pillows! A patterned curtain on windows highlights the architecture, while a tape trim on a chair skirt shows you thought about details and prize the sublime.
Do you have any go-to color palettes and color combos?
Palettes for projects are usually generated by the setting or environment of the home, or by the energy and personalities of my clients. I never repeat a scheme or design; where is the fun in that?
What advice do you have for first-time clients about making their spaces truly personal?
First, I encourage clients to buy the best, once. Buy American made, buy vintage or antique, buy something that was made by a person in your town or region. Second, I advise clients to select and buy what they love, not to worry if their kids, neighbors, or mother-in-law will approve. It is important that I give as much trust to my clients as they give to me. I trust that they will be true to themselves as they make decisions about their home, and they trust me to deliver the very best iteration of their wishes.
Lead image: photo by Brie Williams