Drew University student and Charlotte Moss intern Maximilian Sinsteden made waves this week when his preppy, eclectic, and decorated-to-the-nines dorm room was featured in New York magazine. As it turns out, the 21-year-old senior, who has no formal design training, has already officially started his own interior-design company. He's had a knack for the art since before he was 12. So, where did he acquire his skills? It's “inherent and experience," he says. Do you think this is possible? Do you think interior design talent can be inherent? Or is it just picked up from experience? Do you think designers need formal training to succeed?
"Always start with the private rooms [when decorating your house] — this way you'll learn to decorate for how you live, rather than how you'd like others to see you. Home is where the family is. Forget about the formal living and dining rooms and see how you live in the kitchen, in the family room — this will help you understand who you are and what your style is. Then, let that style inform how you decorate public rooms."
Interior design veteran and legendary New York City hostess Charlotte Moss hasn't even let the ink dry from the launch of her book, A Flair for Living. But she's already creating buzz about her new and first fragrance called Left Bank. The inspiration for the Egyptian cypress, pink peppercorn blossom, incense, crushed pepper tree leaves and lemongrass scent came from her love of shopping in the Left Bank of Paris.
In fact, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch she said,
"I love the hunt. I love walking down the Left Bank after dinner, looking in windows at night. I can't wait to get back the next day because that chandelier might be gone if I wait. I enjoy the whole process."
Left Bank is due out in stores this August along with scented travel candles and a perfume lid candle ($55 – $105). Charlotte has always reminded me a little bit of a luxe Martha Stewart — and just look how well her enterprise has done. Do you think you'd be interested in trying anything from the Left Bank product range?
Designer Spotlight Charlotte Moss's sixth book, A Flair for Living will be published by Assouline this May. The full color, large format volume shares her ideas on gracious style, exuberant entertaining, refined glamor, and home couture. Chock full of images of her elegant interiors, it is likely to inspire traditionalists. While my sneak peek at the book did open my eyes to several overlooked truths of decorating, such as, "A good mirror is a great investment. Every room can handle one," I was admittedly disappointed by the mass of editorial "fluff" (and uninspired graphic design).
Speaking of centerpieces, Moss writes, "Decorating a table is one of life's basic pleasures. Three meals a day means a lot of decorating practice. Begin with a beautiful set of white china, . . ." I find it hard to believe that a woman who runs a successful interior design company, a home boutique, and designs her own furnishings has the time to decorate her dining table everyday. But, much like the interiors she designs, Moss's new book is evidence that she places importance in the simple details of life and home, a skill we should all attempt to cultivate.
Although Charlotte Moss's “couture living” design philosophy resonates more with my mother’s décor routine than my own, she really has an appreciation for the small details, which I admire. Moss is an interior designer with a knack for making even the most displeasing, mundane objects seem elegant to the eye. She’s “good to the last drop,” you might say. A Virginia native who now resides in Manhattan, East Hampton, and Aspen, Moss demonstrates a distinct, Old World, Southern charm in her décor, which, as a person who lived for years in the South, I welcome.
In 1985, Moss left an executive post on Wall Street to found her interior design firm, Charlotte Moss & Company. She has designed residential installations throughout the US, written five books, and become a sought-after lecturer. She recently opened the Townhouse, a five-floor home-furnishings store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Whether or not you can afford her home furnishings, if you can make it to 63rd and Madison, you’ll find her shop to be a great source of inspiration for novice homemakers like many of us, as it is merchandised as if it were her own home. To see some of my favorites from Moss's shop, click the images below.