Text by Yeong Sassall, Vogue Living
She boasts celebrity clients, her own Rizzoli book (Homefront: Design for Modern Living) and a bevy of homewares collaborations with brands like Boyd Lighting, Arteriors and Kravet, which makes Windsor Smith the go-to when you’re seeking for a refined aesthetic. Yet even with A-list clients like Gwyneth Paltrow on speed dial, the US-based interior designer has a refreshingly sensible attitude towards interiors. Far from taking an extravagant celebrity-level kind of approach, Smith favours a wholly practical tactic, favouring smart design over trends and investment pieces over impulse buys.
Read on to discover all of her tips for a stylish home and what it’s really like working with Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow.
It’s spring! What are your top five tips for freshening up your home for spring/summer?
· Recover at least three things in a soft earthy pastel.
· Bring on texture like raffias and baskets. My Padma Sconce with Arteriors is an affordable and delightful change of season piece!
· Pipe in music all round the house! Subscribe to Hotel Costes on Spotify. It gets you in the spirit of floating on a path in Ibiza.
· Purge your home of anything that feels heavy - even clothing. Box it up and put it away out of sight. I like to feel the change of seasons. It's an opportunity to have a change of attitude and a fresh take on everything.
· Plant a garden or sunflowers. You will be rewarded in the middle of the summer.
What are some of the biggest interior trends you've noticed this year?
Anything custom - people are looking for things that are more unique - one of a kind, limited series. The trend is art taking more of a front seat. It’s a good time to educate yourself on up and coming artists.
How do you work with clients to define their aesthetic – what advice would you give for unearthing one’s interior style?
Pinterest, Instagram. Follow people who you feel have an aesthetic you relate to. Explore the aesthetic of other cultures, countries - widen the lens of what you take in as inspiration. It will only refine your design eye.
You've famously worked with Gwyneth Paltrow - What is she like to work with?
A dream. She has a beautiful aesthetic and knows precisely what she likes.
Describe her interior style?
Refined, delicately provocative, tactile and intellectual.
What's one decorating trend you'd like to see retired and why?
King and Queen faux castle chairs with velvet tufting. It was a never a good idea to begin with!
Which home items should one splurge on and which ones can you afford to spend less?
Anything that improves the quality of your real estate is where you should spend. Doorways that connect rooms and allow light to pass through - it always pays back in dividends for years to come (obviously use an engineer). Or a kitchen remodel with beautiful hardware. Spend less on trends. Spend on things that transform the way you live and spend less on things you think you need to have because it's of the moment.
You live in relaxed and sunny LA; do you think that way of life has affected the way you decorate?
Definitely. It affects my colour palette, it keeps it light and airy, and it affects material choices - I love natural fabrics and a little bit of reflective mirroring. I like mirrors because they reflect the outdoors. I like to blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors. Materials that have an earthly quality but always mixed with a glamorous element that we always equestrian with Los Angeles and Hollywood.
Images: Windsorsmithome.com; Instagram @Winsorsmithhome, @GwynethPaltrow; Pexels