A Q&A with Kapito Muller
The women behind the New York-based interiors firm talk faux bois, the beauty of tone-on-tone and their forbidden design word.
Names: Alyssa Kapito and Vivian Muller
Occupation: Founding partners of Kapito Muller Interiors, a design firm in New York City
Resides in: Upper East Side, New York City
Best known for: Tailored-chic rooms with a fresh take on the classics
1. Antique or modern?
Can we say both? A room is definitely the most interesting when you mix pieces from different periods and places.
2. City or country?
We’re city girls so we’d have to say city! There’s something about decorating apartments that really gets us excited. Maybe it’s that every space needs to count, or maybe it’s just the energy of New York City. Whatever it is, we’re hooked.
3. Which colors do you use most?
We tend to gravitate toward neutrals to set a palette. We love creating rooms that are tone on tone, like gray on gray, beige on beige, etc. And then we like to bring in complementing colors to add depth and interest.
4. What are your favorite materials or textures?
Grasscloth. It’s like a little black dress that works every time and is a great base on which to accessorize. Also plaster. You can truly do fabulous things in design with plaster.
5. What is your favorite interior design-related word or phrase?
Faux Bois! It’s super fun to say, and we are actually kind of obsessed it. We are currently doing a whole playroom in a fabulous faux bois wallpaper and can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.
6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
Not really. We both grew up in the ‘90s so there was a healthy amount of sponge painted walls and chintz.
7. Does a room need a view?
Definitely not, but it never hurts to have a one. We often find that light and height can be more useful than a view.
8. Who is your favorite designer or architect?
Don't make us choose just one! We are constantly adding to the list, but our favorites at the moment are Mark Cunningham, Stephen Sills, Thomas O’Brien, Steven Gambrel, and Jacques Grange.
9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Instagram and Pinterest—we’re addicted. It’s so fun to see what other people in the design community are working on in real time. We find it inspiring.
10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
Scale and proportion. If you can master those you’re halfway there.
11. What is a forbidden word in your house?
Capri Curtains. You know, the ones that are a tad too short for the room and don’t touch the floor. Those just kill us.
12. What’s one design rule you love to break?
Hopefully every one. If you're in this field you're probably creative, and we think creative people work the best when they break the rules.
13. What is your favorite room in the house?
We love designing bedrooms. Nice ironed sheets are our guilty pleasure.
14. What is your most treasured possession?
The first magazine we were printed in! We framed it.
15. What do you wish you could do without?
Chapstick and our phone chargers.
16. How does West Coast design differ from East Coast design? Does it?
They are definitely different but they are both fabulous in their own way. The West Coast has a great informal vibe that’s immediately relaxing and a bit more organic, while the East Coast is more cosmopolitan.
17. What is your favorite thing about the West Coast—design-related or otherwise?
How organic it feels. Because of the gorgeous weather, designing spaces on the west coast opens up a whole host of opportunities to meld nature with interiors. You just don’t get that as much on the East Coast.
18. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
Gertrude Stein’s apartment in Paris at the turn of the century. She had the most insane gallery walls ever with works by Cezanne, Matisse and Renoir piling up in her living room!
19. On what movie set would you like to live and why?
Pretty much any Nancy Meyers movie set. We’re still not over that Hampton’s House in Something’s Gotta Give. Her interiors are wonderful. We’re excited to see what she has in store for us in her new movie The Intern.
20. To which city or country would you move for the design?
We love the minimalism and airiness of Scandinavian design. The style is functional but never harsh. It really considers negative space and there is a lot to be learned from it. London also has a fantastic design scene.
21. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
A desk by Jean Michel Frank. Simple and timeless. He was a genius.