Lonny Loves: Amanda Reynal
From a New England upbringing to living in the midwest, the neo-traditional designer talks Palm Beach, decorating icons, and the one forbidden design word.
Name: Amanda Reynal
Occupation: Owner and Principal designer at Amanda Reynal Interiors
Resides in: Des Moines, Iowa
1. Antique or modern?
Both are needed to create visual interest. By mixing old and new styles and different aged pieces, one creates layers of forms and movement in a room. A sofa with clean crisp lines becomes sculptural when it sits next to a Regency inlaid end table.
2. City or country?
I live in Iowa and love driving a few miles from downtown to the vistas of undulating fields as far as the eye can see. However, I grew up with New York City and crave visits when I can feast on museums, galleries and shops for unending inspiration.
3. Which colors do you use most?
I tend towards blues and greens, the colors of the the sky and earth. Working with that palette opens up a wide spectrum of color scheme choices. There is nothing more serene than an icy blue and white bedroom. Navy and white used in a neo-traditional way evokes the classic Palm Beach and Long Island photos of Slim Aarons.
4. What are your favorite materials or textures?
I go for big and bold floral and geometric prints. They are the main event of my schemes and introduce the color palette for the room.
5. What is your favorite interior design-related word or phrase?
'Timeless' in regards to a room, a piece of furniture or a fabric. Good design lasts forever and I strive to create long lasting interiors for my clients.
6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
I grew up in Connecticut surrounded by polished chintz and English antiques. My mom, a decorator, schooled me on the classic prints of Brunschwig & Fils and Clarence House. My current house has similar bones to the house we grew up in. I like to have fun with color and materials. At home I get to try colors and pieces that might not fit into my clients’ schemes as easily. Our contemporary art collection keeps it edgy and fresh.
7. Does a room need a view?
A room needs a focal point, something that creates interest and a destination for the eye. That could be a fireplace, a big piece of art, or architectural elements such as a doorframe leading the eye to a larger space. Work with the space you have and if the view is lacking, provide lovely areas to look at within the room.
8. Who are your favorite designers or architects?
For interiors, I look to iconic designs of Billy Baldwin, David Hicks, Albert Hadley, and Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler for inspiration. When It comes to architecture, I adore the Hollywood Regency architecture of John Wolf and the English architecture of Nash and Pugin.
9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without? I am Instagram obsessed like most designers. I check my feed constantly. I wind down my day by getting in bed with Pinterest, and I follow blogs such as La Dolce Vita, The English Room, and my sister’s blog, Stylebeat for market updates and relevant products. Lately I have been excited to see Veranda, as they really understand elegance and are not afraid to show pretty interiors.
10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
I admire rooms that have a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere with a sense of playfulness. Plenty of natural light, an inviting feeling, and lots of comfortable places to sit are all traits I strive for.
11. What are some forbidden design words in your house?
The term 'eclectic' when referring to a design style. It creates an idea of a space being cobbled together instead of thoughtfully coordinated and curated.
12. Which design rule do you love to break?
I thrive on following design rules. Knowing how high to hang a chandelier over a dining table or where to mount a curtain rod are examples of rules that only improve the end result. Our interiors design world has expanded over the past several years with the onslaught of do-it-yourself TV shows and social media. I see so many images of rooms created by people who never learned the rules. I feel empowered by knowing and applying them.
13. What is your favorite room in the house?
I just renovated our powder room using a glam palm printed wallpaper by British fashion designer Matthew Williamson. Its dramatic and fresh for a tiny room.
14. What is your most treasured possession?
I wear a classic gold signet ring from Tiffany’s with my family crest on it every day. It was a gift from my grandmother 30 years ago, and it's engraved on the inside with the date, my initials, and the words “Love Gram.”
16. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
I would love to live in Olana, Frederick Church’s historic house overlooking the Hudson river. The vistas are breathtaking. I have visited many times for inspiration as I spend time nearby in the summers.
17. On what movie sets would you like to live and why?
I have always adored the beautiful Georgian house where the 1954 version of Audrey Hepburn’s Sabrina was set. It is a grand American house with gracious gardens and an indoor tennis court. This would make playing tennis all year round a snap!
18. To which city or country would you move for the design?
Palm Beach is in my soul. I grew up going there and the and the polished design style and colorful living rubbed off on me. There is a joie de vivre there that comes through in the vibrant interiors and well-curated shops. The town has looked the same all of my life: palms lining the manicured streets, pastel-stuccoed architecture, and bougainvillea everywhere. It is like a dream.
19. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
I would be reincarnated as an Elsie de Wolfe slipper chair. There is nothing more charming than one of these petite shaped back chairs tucked next to a bed or nestled into a seating area.
20. What is an interiors trend you’d be happy to not see ever again?
I see thick rustic wood tables with industrial metal bases everywhere lately. They are not pretty—just clunky and overscaled.
21. What is an interiors trend you’re excited about?
Patterned floors are having a moment and they can transform a room. The tile market exploded over the last few years and the choices are now endless. There are wonderful water jet mosaics in colored stones and interesting patterns that look like exotic jewels.
22. What is the last piece of furniture you purchased?
I recently ordered an orange lacquer and gold fretwork desk. It will be the curveball in a sophisticated dark blue-and-gray library scheme and I cannot wait to install it.