Q&A: Interior Designer Billy Cotton

Name: Billy Cotton 
Resides in: New York City
Occupation
: Interior and industrial designer
Best known for: Designing modern-leaning bohemian interiors for the likes of artist Cindy Sherman (whose East Hampton Cotton-designed house is featured in this month's Architectural Digest) and elegant furniture, lighting, and tableware with instant contemporary classic appeal. Visit Cotton's E-Shop here

1. Antique or modern?

Antiques, because you don’t have to worry about damaging them.

2. City or country and why?
Why do you have to choose? A balance of the two.

3. Which color do you use most?
   
Blue.  

4. Favorite materials or textures?
Cashmere, of course.

5. What is your favorite interior design-related word?
Zhuzh. Because everything needs to be screwed with.

6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
Yes, it does. It's '70s-inspired with some dotting of early American antiques.


7. Does a room need a view?

No, the room is the view.

8. Favorite designer or architect?
Piero Castellini Baldissera, for his breadth of work.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
World of Interiors, because of their respect for History.

10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
Mistakes, texture, and cleanliness: because it’s real, yet shows effort.

Flower District Residence designed by Billy Cotton
11. What is a forbidden word in your house?
McMansion.

12. Design rule you love to break?
That the ceilings have to be white, because if the architecture isn’t interesting I don’t like the eye to be broken by a change in color.

13. What is your favorite room in the house?
The dining room, because it’s the center of conversation. Let's please not give up on the formal dining room.

Flower District Residence designed by Billy Cotton14. What is your most treasured possession?
A letter from my mother. I would be nothing without her.

15. What do you wish you could do without and why?
My phone. I wish there was a little more quiet these days.

16. How does West Coast design differ from East Coast design? Does it?
It does at times, but primarily because the spaces are different, dictated by geography, history, and influences.

17. What is your favorite thing about the East Coast—design-related or otherwise?
The oysters are better.

18. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be? 
Dr. Müller’s house, Villa Müller in Prague [an early modernist landmark designed by architect Adolf Loos]. Because I believe it to be the epitome of good design.

19. On what movie set would you like to live and why?
I Am Love by Luca Guadagnino. It's simplicity and opulence combined.

20. To which country would you move for the design and why?
Italy for their fearlessness and its history.

21. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
A1964 black Ford Mustang. Is there a more powerful design object?
Melissa Goldstein is a Lonny and StyleBistro contributing writer whose work has also appeared in ELLE, Wall Street Journal, GQ, The Observer, Spin, and Lucky Magazine.
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