Q&A with Allison Hennessy
Name: Allison Hennessy
Resides in: New York City
Occupation: Interior Designer
Best known for: One of Traditional Home's Top Ten New Trad Designers in 2012
1. Antique or modern?
2. City or country?
Is the beach considered country?
3. Which colors do you use most?
Clear shades of blue, green, and coral—cheerful colors!
4. Favorite materials or textures?
Grass cloths and textural blends of silks and linens.
5. What is your favorite interior design–related word?
6. Does your home look like the one you grew up in?
No, although both are wonderful. I grew up in a traditional beach cottage in Florida: shingled siding, wood floors, plenty of space. It's a totally different charm than my West Village apartment. But they do have one thing in common: both offer a prime location.
7. Does a room need a view?
Who doesn't love a great view? But I wouldn’t say that it's essential to have one. Sometimes it’s about a cozy fire or a great space for gathering and not about what is outside the room.
8. Favorite designer or architect?
9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
Good architecture. Bad architecture can cause problems that decorating can’t fix.
11. What is a dirty word in your house?
Recliners—especially faux-leather recliners.
12. Design rule you like to break?
Are there rules anymore? Decorating is instinctive, so I never limit myself to a prescribed method. Design should adapt more to the clients’ needs and lifestyle rather than a universal set of rules.
13. What’s your favorite room in the house?
14. What is your most treasured possession?
My engagement ring.
15. What do you wish you could do without?
Schlepping. I think every New Yorker can relate to that.
16. What are you afraid to DIY?
17. Have you ever had a change of heart about an object or a style?
I used to strongly dislike sectionals, but I recently discovered some chic ones and new ways of using them. So I’m considering re-evaluating my stance.
18. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
Marie Antoinette's Le Petit Trianon. Everything about it is perfect.
19. On what movie set would you like to live?
Downton Abbey. I know it’s not a movie, but it’s such a fabulous estate, and storyline to boot.
20. What is your favorite design errand or journey?
Going to Christopher Spitzmiller’s studio. It is amazing to watch him throw the lamp bases. With the endless options for color, shape, and style, you really are working directly with the artist to create a unique, timeless piece.
21. To which country would you move for the design?
England. I love everything English; they know how to create the perfect blend of refinement and eccentricity.
22. What's your favorite hotel?
Huka Lodge on the North Island of New Zealand. I love the sleek-meets-rustic feeling of the decor and the beautiful natural surroundings.
23. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
A mirror, because the beauty of the room is augmented in a great mirror.
24. What does "accessible home design" mean to you?
To me, the word “accessible” means being able to enjoy your space while still incorporating great style. I try never to compromise comfort and functionality for aesthetics. Successful design is about creating a marriage of the two, because interiors are meant to be lived in and enjoyed, not just seen.