House and Life

House and Life

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Designer Series: Palmer Weiss

Palmer Weiss is as chic as her name. She seems to effortlessly create beautiful rooms that exude both refinement and spontinatity at the same time. She is an interior designer from San Francisco and first caught my attention when she made Domino Magazine's coveted 10 to Watch. She runs a successful interior design business and a life full of getting two beautiful children off to school and juggling life with designs. She was kind enough to give H&L an interview. So without further ado,our interview with Palmer Weiss!

House & Life:
I first fell in love with your designs (and your name!) when I spotted you in the Domino 10 emerging designers. I still adore that red skirted table in that photo. Do you miss Domino as much as the rest of us and has anything filled the void for you?
Palmer Weiss:
Thank you for the kind words. As for Domino, honestly not a month goes by that I don’t reach for my mail and think nostalgically about the days when that yummy dose of eye candy arrived! Not only did I love the magazine as a reader, I also had the opportunity to get to know the staff as a part of the Domino 10 happenings. They are all so talented and definitely changed the game in the world of shelter editorial– I still keep in touch with a few of them. Nothing truly fills the void, but I do love the online mag Lonny by Domino alum Michelle Adams. If you have not checked it out, you should – I think it will remind you of the old fave!

Can you tell us what you've been working on?
Sure! A few of the projects that are keeping me busy these days are:
A great family home in Presidio Heights . This is the rare perfect storm of easy going clients with the vision and desire to create a phenomenal home. We have bought a lot of classic and period pieces but also kept it very child-friendly. We have not held anything back on color (can’t wait to show off the red glazed ceiling in the dining room) and it has been a ton of fun!

- I am just finishing my first commercial project – although it still feels more like a residential design. The owner of a national maternity product line hired me to decorate their new headquarters which has a very feminine color palette but with mid-century and modern furnishings. Every time I go there, I wish that my offices were ½ as cool!

- An exciting new project I am beginning is a children’s addition to an incredible property in Woodside. The main house was done by a famous designer so I am honored that the clients have chosen me for this portion of their house. The wing has 3 children’s rooms and a common area. I always enjoy doing kids spaces and think my aesthetic is pretty suited for their lairs (not sure what that says about me?!).


What color combinations have you been drawn to lately? Any that you avoid or find to be too trendy?
That is a tricky question, because every day I fall in love with a new color combo! Probably the only colors I tend to avoid are white, black and beige. For the past year, I have been on a huge lilac kick. Lilac and yellow, lilac and robin’s egg blue, lilac and pale green, lilac and grey…it still hasn’t gotten old for me. Even though I always like to use high contrast, bright colors, I continue to enjoy working in groups of colors that are closer together on the color wheel. The play of tone on tones can add a lot of depth in a more subtle way to a room. For example, I just did a bedroom with pale sea blue walls, Prussian blue lamps and moss green upholstery that I felt turned out nicely.

I love your approach to lighting! Always a bit mischievous I would say! Can you reveal how you hunt for some of your fixtures?
Thank you! I think lighting is a great place to infuse modernity into a classic room and a nice opportunity to work in a vintage object without an enormous amount of money (ie reupholstering, refinishing furniture gets very expensive.) I find a great deal on 1st Dibs – especially in the 20th Century Dealers. For new lighting, I love Urban Electric (out of hometown Charleston ), Christopher Spitzmiller (even though his designs are everywhere, his glaze colors are too special not to be included in a project) and the modern classics from Design Within Reach.

What is a typical day like for you?
6:30 – awakened by two little blondies crawling into my bed. Lots of coffee and craziness ensues as we try to get fed, dressed and out the door for school!

9:00 – in the office, where Arwen, my assistant/office manager and I set out the day’s agenda and priorities. She is incredibly competent and organized and we joke that she is my boss and tells me what I am going to do for the rest of the day! I don’t think people realize the underbelly of design which is the incredible logistics and paperwork that go along with the creative. We are constantly troubleshooting shipping damages, dye lot variations and delays in production in addition to just following up on every last detail of orders. It consumes a good part of any day.

9 – 4:30 –Outside of the office work, anything could happen. I am almost always on site at one clients for some part of the day – whether I am checking, paint colors, meeting with them to review potential schemes, or working with a vendor on site. I also do a great deal of shopping – either online or out and about. My favorite days are those when I am immersed in design and surrounded by fabrics and furniture catalogs. I can lose myself for hours. I also spend a chunk of my time on client financials and budgets as these are very important aspects of any project. And then there is the business of running a business – I often need to meet with lawyers, bookkeepers, accountants, etc to keep things moving in the right direction! I also get to work on the PR side which is fun – meeting editors, doing interviews like this or out on photo shoots.

I would love to say that I also workout, meditate and eat a healthy salad at some point each day, but I would be lying. I usually scarf down something that resembles lunch (do milkshakes count?) either at my desk or driving down 101 at 85 mph. Then, before I know it, is time to pick up kids and head home for play, dinner, bath and books. At some point, a glass (or two) of Chardonnay gets consumed and then I relax with my husband and fall into bed by 11 to rest up to do it all over again the next day!

Thank you Palmer for the insightful interview. It's so terrific to get an inside glimpse into a designer's world, especially when it involves creating career and a fufilling life. I can't wait to see what emerges from Palmer's World. It sure is beautiful.

Palmer Weiss Interior Design, Inc.
1808 Wedemeyer Street, Suite 180
San Francisco, CA 94129

phone: 415.386.2037