Designer Spotlight: Janine Carendi MacMurray

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Linley Taber

On the hunt for some fresh design inspo?  Look no further than our friend Janine Carendi MacMurray's stunning, soothing and sophisticated interiors. The principal designer for Area Interior Design, Janine brings her discerning eye to both elegant uptown abodes and minimalist downtown apartments –and the occasional designer showhouse (just check out her drop-dead-gorg foyer for the Sotheby's Designer Showhouse). We caught up with the New York City talent, below. 

How would you describe your design ethos?

I think one of the most important aspects of my job is to listen to our clients and truly understand their perspectives, to discover their individual needs and aspirations for their home.  Interior design, to me, is not about selecting the right chair or fabric, but creating an interior that is beautiful, functional and elegant, and is also to true to the architectural context and the person who will live there. The home is the backdrop to our client’s life moments and a haven to escape or help tackle their daily stresses.   In the end, the goal is to create a unique space that is tailored to the individuality of each of our clients, each family. All of our projects feel highly original and very personal.

What inspires your work?

What I love especially about my job is that we tackle, where required, all aspects of a job the architectural, decorative and product design.  From managing the construction, to selecting the trim used on a vintage chair that we sourced from a favorite vendor in London, the broad range of our daily responsibilities is exciting.  The architectural space itself is another aspect of a project that I always use as inspiration— a successful project will need to be a fluid, complementary relationship between the decorative and the architectural.  Looking back at history is also another major source of inspiration.  No project is approached as a reflection of trends we look back at the history, proportions and elements from various periods to create a unique and timeless space.  Knowledge of the history of the decorative arts and architecture is elemental and highly inspirational.  If I am every stuck, I love looking through works by architects and designers of the past. Often, a true master will have created spaces that still feel fresh and exciting, and truly timeless.

What's your dream project?

One of the historic carriage houses downtown on Washington Mews.  Every time I walk by I daydream about doing a full restoration on one of the charming structures.  Or rescuing a forlorn Federal home upstate. I often drive by many lovely structures that have been left to dire disrepair on my way to our country home.  Our experience restoring old houses and apartments is one of my favorite things we do for our clients. Bringing back the lost architectural details and retaining the original proportions while creating a functional, modern home is one of our specialties.  Our favorite projects are those where we work with the client before they even purchase their new home, down to the last detail after their move.  It feels great to work alongside all the various trades, design specific furniture pieces, source lovely, one-of-a-kind finds, and put it all together to reflect the lifestyle and vision of our clients.

What are your must-have design/home items for summer?

We love to re-accessorize for each season.   Sometimes it is as simple as moving existing accessories around to give new energy to a room or to rediscover pieces that you stopped noticing.  Often, it is seasonal throw pillows in brighter, lighter fabrics and patterns. On a sofa, where we have two pairs of throw pillows, we will change out the back pillows that might be a warm velvet for the winter to a light linen in the summer. Without redoing a whole room, that adds a seasonal feel to the entire house.   Or, it might be using silver bowl from Cristofle to hold the fresh fruits of the summer— an unexpected luxury in the kitchen.  

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