The design world is once again smitten with maximalist decor, but today’s more is more is more approach can take many forms. In their showstopping interiors, the duo behind the design firm SKIN, Lauren Lozano Ziol and Michelle Jolas, use an edited number of pieces and instead ensure each element really brings the noise. It’s a pattern meets color meets texture play, and the SKIN ladies are on the front lines of the fun. This Chicago-based pair takes us inside their unique approach, sharing tips for how to push color and pattern to the max.  

Office with pink chaise, gold drapes, and matching zigzag stools
Photo by Andrew Miller

To find your ideal mix, source samples

The secret behind SKIN’s signature color and pattern mashups is to prioritize play. “When we have a new project, we start with a hunt in our sample room, and then we lay out all kinds of fabrics and wallpapers in different color schemes and patterns,” they share. “We love to mix different types of patterns and textures from animal prints, to florals, graphics, solids and more, and we just keep playing and playing until it feels perfect.” Try corralling samples of the fabrics, colors, and materials you’re considering for your maximalist room in a large tray so you can easily add or take away until you’re happy with the mix.  

A room is not completely designed until it is full of life, character and has a WOW factor. 

Bedroom with blue accent wall, lacquer side table, and green throw pillows
Photo by Andrew Miller

Be tempted by the hue of another

This is one design team that follows where their color crushes take them. “We have gone through phases lately where we are obsessed with certain colors,” they confess. “We were very into deep navy and turquoise palettes, then our favorite was using many shades of pink and purple, and now we’re loving reds.” The zeitgeist however is their ultimate color muse. “Our biggest influence really has been the latest trends in fabrics and wallpapers and being inspired by colors that are in those textiles.” With textiles experts like Schumacher obsessing over each and every color combination, taking color cues from them is pure genius.

Eclectic office with butterfly wallpaper, ornate desk, ghost chair, and layered rugs
Photo by Andrew Miller

Max out the possibilities of a single palette

“There should always be a flow from room to room and the whole design should have a common thread,” advise Lauren and Michelle. For them, that thread amounts to a color palette that is employed differently room to room. “We love to use bold colors in special rooms to create depth, warmth and amazing ambience. We are working on a house right now where the entry is this beautiful shade of pink and then the living room has gorgeous white walls and is loaded with amazing, colorful fabrics, but then in the study that is right off of the living room, there are these deep shades of greens and purples. In this design, the thread is pinks, purples, greens and blues.”

There has never been a better time to use color. Designers are creating so many new and fresh wallpapers and fabrics that really stand out.

skin interior design
Living room with emerald velvet sofa, large painting, and twin aqua armchairs
Photo by Andrew Miller

Don’t forget about the power of texture

The idea of infusing drama into a maximalist space might immediately call to mind color and pattern, but for these designers it’s something else entirely. “Texture creates drama in a space,” they share. “Texture is key when designing for our clients. We love to have a lot of different textures to create warmth and coziness.” These could include mixing velvets and linens, mohairs and cottons, with a splash of silks, wools, and even the fuzziness of fur.

Purple and orange bench under an ornate mirror and butterfly wallpaper
Photo by Andrew Miller

One-of-a-kind is where it’s at

These pros achieve their edited version of maximalism through careful sourcing and incorporating surprising choices into each space. “The elements of surprise comes into play in our designs through beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces that we painstakingly search for to source them for our clients,” say the designers. “We want each client to have beautiful and unique pieces that we have sourced from around the world.” Why spend the time (and money) trying to jazz up a so-so piece when something one-of-a-kind can stand alone and, oftentimes, steal the show?

Lead photo by Andrew Miller; All photos courtesy of SKIN Interior Design


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October 24, 2019

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