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Designer Impressions

the INTERVIEW


Brad Ford

We sat down with New York City-based interior designer, Brad Ford, to find out what inspires his passion for interior design and get his take on important style elements.

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What inspired your passion for interior design?

Believe it or not, it started in my bedroom when I was around 9 or 10. My mother had decided it was time to freshen up my room and asked if I had any ideas. Needless to say, I had many and she was generous enough to hand the reins over to me. It was such a fun process selecting everything from the furniture to the wallpaper, to the bedding. And when it was all said and done, I was officially hooked.

Who are your (design) mentors?

After graduating from FIT, I had the pleasure of working for two great interior designers. The first was the late Jed Johnson who was a true gentleman and had impeccable taste. The second was Thad Hayes, who also has a great eye and a very distinct point of view. Both had a very understated aesthetic and from them I learned the importance of balance, scale and proportion. They definitely had a significant influence on me and my career along with another of my favorite designers Joe D’urso. I remember a quote of his about the difference between decorating and design in which he said “.... decoration is all about addition, while design is more about subtraction.” I love that idea and I believe that Jed and Thad both subscribed to a similar theory.

What are the most important decorative elements in your home?

Practically everything I own has a unique backstory, whether it was something I found in my travels, an unexpected win on eBay or a lost treasure discovered at an antique store or flea market. And collectively they make up a big part of my own narrative.


"There must always be a balance between the architecture, the furnishings and the art."

What are your three most important elements when designing a bedroom/room?

A beautiful bed is the centerpiece of any bedroom, so it's important to have one that makes a bit of statement. A good night's rest is also essential so I think a good, comfortable mattress is key. Last but certainly not least, high-quality bedding is a must. It's what swaddles you at the end of a long day and unwraps you at the start of each morning.

From your experience, what is the best decorating advice you can offer someone?

I've always liked a well-edited room. And for me, there must always be a balance between the architecture, the furnishings and the art. It should never be a competition. At the same time, you want to be careful not to create a boring space so some of the elements that make up a room should be a bit nuanced. Whether it's the materials being used, the lighting, the furnishings, etc., everything has to be carefully considered.

"I've always liked a well-edited room."

What are two exciting projects that you recently worked on?

There are two projects that I worked on recently that I’m particularly excited about. The Penthouse at One Hundred Barclay Tribeca has the largest living room in the city, 96' long with 21' ceiling heights, which is a whole new level of scale and proportion. The history and architecture of the building is really special and I wanted to respect that by doing something that felt a bit more contemporary but with a timelessness that reflects the building’s beautiful Art Deco history. I really enjoyed working with some iconic design pieces in such a grand space.

The second is the Cast Iron House, also in Tribeca. It was built in 1881 by James White and is one of the best examples of 19th Century cast iron architecture. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban reimagined the building as condominium residences and I was asked to design a model apartment; it's been a lot of fun, the interiors of both buildings are really stunning.

Why is the spring a great time to refresh one's home?

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I've always been inspired by nature and to this day I'm fascinated when trees "wake up" and leaf out. It's the sign of a fresh start and a great time to reawaken your own spirit and take on new projects both at work and home.


"[Spring]'s the sign of a fresh start and a great time to reawaken your own spirit and take on new projects."

What are your "Frette favorites"?

I'm a big fan of the Anais Blanket. Who wouldn't be attracted to a thick cashmere knit? I also think the braided border is a perfect detail to give it just the right amount of added interest.

Where do you go for design inspiration in the New York?

There's inspiration at every turn here in the city from restaurants to museums to Central Park. I'm also incredibly inspired by music and there's no better place to hear live music than NYC. I especially like seeing shows at Joe's Pub because the room is so intimate and has fantastic acoustics.

What is your favorite book, magazine, or site related to design?

I'm always inspired by photographer Leslie Williamson books and my favorite shelter magazine is German AD .

What is on your nightstand?

A rotating stack of magazines and books along with some of my favorite pottery pieces.

To discover more of Brad Ford's projects, visit  www.bradfordid.com

Photography credit: Scott Frances