Q&A with Gretchen Kubiak, Design Director
West Cape May, NJ
Temple University, Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Art History
Morris Adjmi Architect
Development of client style
Researching new products
Custom furniture design
What is your favorite thing about being a designer?
The insane creativity of all of the people I get to collaborate with on a daily basis; colleagues, vendors, contractors, architects and engineers all encourage an ever-increasing appetite for excellence and innovation.
How would you describe your style of design?
I’d say my style is really grounded in comfort and generous proportion. Is that a style? Whether working on something very tradition or something very contemporary, these two things are important for me when seeing something as stylish. I like a lot of different “styles” and love mixing them up as well. But really, it’s about comfort and proportion for me.
Who inspires your design work the most?
I’m inspired by storytellers. Authors, directors, poets. All of these people are creating rich narrative with words and it inspires me to think beyond Pinterest or Google. As an example, reading how F Scott Fitzgerald describes Gatsby’s house as perhaps an ironic expression of what someone thinks of as being British is so American, to me. All the white, the summer wools, the bobbles, antiques. It’s a stretch, but I love these musings because it’s not a photo, it’s a feeling.
What is the best way to get to know a new client and project?
Look and listen. Listening to clients is easy advice, but really hearing them and observing how they respond to imagery, looking at how they dress and allowing them to tell you how they really live is what I try to do with each client. This is their home. Their life. I want the project to feel like them.
What designer/makers are using sustainable products/processes that still fit the luxe niche?
I’m in love with Dirk van der Kooij. He recycles used refrigerators, 3D prints chairs, and makes dreamy swirly tables from recycled plastics.
Which is more important: functionality or aesthetics?
Both?! Maybe that’s a cop-out or maybe it’s to say that our job as designers and decorators is to make functional spaces and furniture pieces look aesthetically amazing. It’s kind of the whole job really.
How do you know when a project is finished?
Projects are rarely “finished.” We are amazing at our jobs, and I work with the most talented team, but sometimes a client needs to live in a “finished” space for a month or two, or even a year or more before they know those last details that will make their project feel complete. So, it’s more of an open-door policy as we approach completion.