Comfort and beauty top our must-haves when it comes to home design. When these two basic elements collide, we find inspiration and tranquility within personal space. Tilton Fenwick’s designs exude class, well-being and a sense of sophistication, which is we are particularly excited about today’s post. We recently got the chance to speak with Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham and pick their brains on everything from working with a best friend to what is exciting them most in the industry right now.
How would you describe the differences in your personal styles?
We actually have eerily similar styles and if we ever have a differing point of view, it just makes the scheme/layout stronger…as they say, “Two heads are better than one!”
When did you each know that interior design was for you?
We both worked in advertising before we realized that our passion was design and made the switch to work as assistants at top firms (Suysel at Markham Roberts and Anne at Ashley Whittaker Design and Brockschmidt & Coleman).
Describe how you decided that two were better than one when it came to design.
The moment we decided to start our own firm, we knew we would only do it together. We doubly enjoy the rewards and when something goes wrong (which is inevitable in decorating!) we console each other. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is the biggest challenge in working together? The greatest reward?
Our partnership has proven to strengthen our end product, as well as our friendship as we grow closer together as our business flourishes.
What is a day in the life of Anne and Suysel?
There’s no typical day for us, but we usually start off with a juice from City Bakery to start our day and then we go over our status with our superstar assistant Danielle. We like to keep a spreadsheet of everything from clients, press, social media to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. We spend a lot of time at 1stdibs in the New York Design Center—such a great space to see a variety of amazing vendors under one roof. There’s always a fire to put out in this business, which keeps us on our toes every day.
What’s your favorite space to design?
Sometimes a small space like a powder room can be the most fun, especially because we can usually convince our clients to be bold and take risks!
Who plays it safe and who is the risk taker?
We both really push one another all the time, which is part of the reason we love having a partnership, especially in design. We challenge each other.
You were inspired to name your business after your respective college dorms. How did that concept rise to the surface? And, what would your dorm rooms look like today?
When we first met, we bonded over our shared love for our Boston-based alma maters, so when it came to naming the company, we wanted to incorporate that commonality. Our dorm rooms today would be quite different than they were back then. How much do you think we’d be fined at the end of second semester for wallpapering?!
What is exciting you in interior design today?
We were so thrilled when the new wallpaper line by Celerie Kemble debuted at Schumacher. We’re already using some of the papers for two different projects. The scale, colors and patterns are so spot-on!
Fill In The Blank…
You can’t travel without your…Sound machine iPhone app! We are so accustomed to the 24/7 sounds of the city and need a little piece of home when we travel overnight.
We’d like to get our hands on…The new book by Ronda Carman of “All the Best Blog.” We’ve seen a couple sneak peeks and can’t wait to fully indulge.
The best advice we have ever received is…Do what you love and the money will follow!
If money were no object…We’d have a Los Angeles office, too!
We are huge believers in…You get what you pay for, which we always are trying to teach our clients. As Miles Redd said, “If you pay for the best, you only cry once!”
We are constant students of…Everything; we are always asking questions of our vendors and happy to learn from their expertise.