Chat about cozy glamour with Miles Redd | Home Front

Oct 11, 2012

New York designer Miles Redd is known for bringing glamour to small spaces. He opened his own firm In 1998 and has been the creative director of Oscar de la Renta Home since 2003. His new book, The Big Book of Chic, gives a glimpse into his inspiration. He'll be chatting with Jura Koncius about how to glam up your own home. Send in your questions now and join us live on Thursday at 11 a.m.!

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

Follow @jurakoncius on Twitter.

Home Front Live Q&A archive Older Home Front Live Q&As

New York designer Miles Redd is known for his elegant mix of cozy glamour. After working for Bunny Williams, Redd opened his own design firm in 1998 in Noho. His new book "The Big Book of Chic" published by Assouline comes out next month. Miles is the creative director for Oscar de la Renta Home. Thanks for joining us Miles!

Let's get going.

I just installed dark hardwood floors, and, they look gorgeous, but are so hard to keep from having the dust show. Is there anything that I can do, short of vacuuming every day or covering them completely with carpeting?

Ahh you poor thing, I think everyone who has a dark floor feels this way at some point. I certainly did. You sadly already know the answer- it is cleaning or a rug. I will say if you go more brown/ black the next ime, it is slightly more forgiving- becase the dust gets lost in the grain. My advice: learn to love your swiffer.

Hi Miles! Thanks for joining us. I'm a Southern girl, and I always feel like your rooms have a bit of Southern flair to them. Do you agree? Have your Atlanta roots influenced your style?

The South has a lot of taste, ( but so does the the North)- but yes, it has always influenced my taste- mainly it is the warmth of the South that I am trying to get into my rooms- and a sense of a " lived in" feeling...which the South champions.

Welcome Miles! I'm so excited about your new book! I've noticed that many of your rooms use really bold colors, often in unusual combinations. That can be tough to pull off though, and I'm wondering if you have some advice about choosing color combinations that are daring, but not clashing. Thanks!

People always say that, but really, my color choices are not so bold- all you have to do is look in nature. The most interesing combinations already exists - acid green lichen on grey/brown bark, a monarch butterfly wing- and all the flora and fauna of the ocean....It is all there!

Are you coming to DC to do a book signing for your new book?? If not, please come on down and do one! DC would love to have you!

Maybe in the Spring...fingers crossed!

Use FlyLady dry mop head - it's brilliant.

Who knew?

It's not a sexy space, but I really need help with our front hall closet please. It's very narrow (20 inches wide) and quite deep (30 inches); with a ceiling height of about 7 feet. The door is a mere 16 inches wide. Though there is plenty of area space, we can't figure out how to hang coats on more than one bar hanger across its width. With coats, etc., for a family of four, it begins to turn into a floor mountain of clothing before winter is into full swing. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. To add to the puzzle, to get to the closet, you have to squeeze through the 13 inch space between the wall and the bannister to the upstairs. Thank you.

Call an expert: California closet is great for figuring out tricky spaces....I paint them a pop color like red or emerald green...

How do you acheive the brillance and sheen of your lacquered walls?

You need a great painter, who will sand the walls to be as smooth as glass, and then agood quality high gloss oil paint. It has to be oil, to get the sheen!

Our apartment is helplessly dark. We have done everything -- lightened our furniture, added lighting, basically everything one can do short of knocking down more walls (we rent, so not an option). Is there ANYTHING we've missed? It's so depressingly dark that I'll try anything once.

I guess you can't cut down the trees outside blocking your light or make the windows larger! Adding even more lighting is about all I can think of! You can buy spot lights that wash the ceiling with light or put in standing lamps or table lamps. At night, though, you can really make it cozy by adding candles.

For the person asking in last week's chat about marble finishing in the bathroom. A&A Marble in Baltimore might be able to help. We found them through a moving company several years ago when we had some issues.

Oh terrific. Thanks.

Can't really go into the details, but we need to have an oil on canvas portrait repaired. A hole/tear was put in it. Can you possibly recommend any reputable people/companies that do this. We want to make sure the repair is done properly. Thank you.

Cranmer Art Conservation is the best- but expensive.

Good Morning! I'm looking for ideas on appropriately hanging artwork/pictures on the staircase wall of our "cozy" 1930's center hall colonial. I'd love to hang my grandparent's high school diplomas (recently framed in black) along with several black and white family photos (also framed in black). The diplomas are large ~30 x 24, and I have no idea where to place them in relation to the other photos. Any thoughts/ideas would be very much appreciated!

You have more impact when you group things somewhat tightly, about 2" apart. Put them on the floor in front of the wall you want to hang them, and spread them out on the floor as if you are laying them on the wall- You can get a feel- and then as you hang them, do it with two people- one holding the picture, and the other eyeballing it: so the can say higher/lower...etc. Hope that helps!

I just returned from a vacation in Morocco and fell in love with the vivid colors there--teals, oranges, hot pinks. I bought a teal-colored pouf (hassock) and now have to find a place to have it stuffed. Any suggestions?

You should probably stuff it yourself! It sounds really cool. You can fill it with pieces of foam or old clothes or fabrics wadded up.

The front door of our house opens into the dining room. The floor plan is very open and there is a wall on one side of the dining room that measures 82.5" wide and is 105" high. It is the FIRST THING anyone sees when they walk into the house. A 72" console table will help define the space with either buffet lamps or sconces. All of that helps, but the wall needs some art! It could accommodate a piece as large as 48" wide and 60" tall. Where do you go to look for a piece that large? It could be a painting or photograph but I'm not opposed to something more sculptural (large coat of arms?). Can you suggest sources to consider? The space is approachable, yet refined (crystal chandelier from Murano, refinished dining table from the 1920s, mix-and-match chairs refinished to look more similar). I'm open to any and all ideas.

Natural Curiosities is great for big scale things- Go as big as possible- the scale will have great impact. Also, you could commision an artists to do something special...

We are redoing our kitchen with dark wood floors and BM Navajo White cabinets, topical brown granite countertops and stone backsplash that has creams, grays and some accent tiles of the granite and a soft mocha tile. I love BM 1039 stone house -- have it in the living room and dining room, which are separated from the kitchen by a wall. Now I'm thinking of extending it in the kitchen/family room, which open up to each other. Currently the kitchen is SW Silver Strand, which looks too baby blue, and the family room is a gold tan. I'm at a loss -- I could put pretty much any color in these rooms because our furniture is pretty neutral. The stone house feels safe and it's tried and true. But I'm open to ANY suggestions! We live in a ranch and if I used the stone house, our entire first floor would be that color, excluding bathroom and bedrooms. You guys are great, great, great!

It sounds like you have an open house- so best to keep color consistent- I would go with the stone house!

I read a blurb about Oscar de la Renta Home in this month's Vogue. Looks beautiful! What is the process like? Are you behind most of the designs or is he? Do you collaborate? I have ordered your book but have not received it, but I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Oscar is the MAN, and he teaches me so much. We have a lot of back and forth- he showing me things, and me showing him things- it is symbiotiC. The new collection is for island, but really can work anywhere... We are very proud of it and hope you like it to.

Question to Mr. Redd: I think people sometimes think of glamorous spaces as being super frilly and feminine with crystal baubles dripping everywhere. Do you have a personal definition of glamour that guides your work? i.e., In your mind, what makes a room glamorous? A simple question but I'd love to read your thoughts!

A very good question, becase glamour is ephemeral thing that is hard to translate. I think it is disciplin, and a combination of restraint and abandon- it is the tension that opposites create, and mostly the person living in the room that creates the real glamour.

Loved the Home secton's story today about oxblood and dark red. Then I popped over to Miles' Web site and saw that it, too, is rich with reds. Is this a coincidence? Or is red really going to be this big? Must say, after reading the oxblood piece I'm tempted to grab a paint brush....

Great piece my Megan Buerger today on oxblood. Here it is. Check out Megan Buerger's Pinterest Board on Oxblood. It's full of fun inspirations in her new favorite color. Miles clearly loves red and I hope he answers this question somewhere in the chat as well.  I think its a classic.

Apprenticing her must have been wild. You have quite an interesting background in interiors. So I'm curious, what trends do you think are next? Would love to know the top three design trends you're anticipating for 2013. :) Sally, in Ashburn.

I don't really think in terms of trends, I just go to what I love...and lately that is a lot of black and white, and very good quality. (i would rather have one good thing, than a room of middle of the road) - also the curiosity of unusal art.

Hello, we've accidentally painted our bedroom teal. Well, it's actually some variation of Behr Bon Voyage. It's a bit too toddler-like for our tastes, but I'm struggling with a replacement color. We have a teeny, tiny house and a teeny, tiny bedroom with pitched ceilings and little light. Therefore, we've painted the house a golden color, the study coral, and the other bedroom navy. These rooms look great; they pop. I can't choose a neutral color (tan, grey, cream, etc.) for the master bedroom because it just wouldn't work. But, then again, neither does the teal. Any suggestions?

Maybe a glaze on top of the teal to deepen the color...

We have an authentic Tartan kilt, that is worn on occasion. Also the jackets to complete. They need cleaning, but I'm loath to go to our local cleaners for something so valuable (both in cost and sentiment). Where to go? DC area, willing to travel and to pay for good cleaning that will not damage the fasteners or the wool.

I love this question! Never had one about kilts before. Good for you for having the real thing. I have used Parkway Custom Dry Cleaners in Chevy Chase, Md for special cleaning projects. They have been around since 1926 and have a very good reputation. Do you all have any other cleaners to suggest?

Try student art sales.

Thanks great idea.

Miles: What are the elements of "cozy glamour" as your look is often called?

I think for myself it is a large assemblage of curious objects in a comfortable room, but the deatils are:

comfortable upholstery

the glitter of mirrors

polished parquet

Always books

flickering fire, and rosy light

a well stocked bar

What other areas of home design will you be expanding into in the line for Oscar?

we have furniture, rugs and fabrics- but table top is coming-

great china, fantastic gifts, barware, picture frames...

Hi Miles! Thanks for joining our chat. Have you done any homes in DC? Or perhaps the DC/metropolitan area (including Maryland shore and horse country VA)?

not yet....

Hi there - I love these chats! They're so informative and fun! We have oak cabinets with a fairly heavy grain in our rental unit kitchen. We were thinking to upgrade the linoleum floor to laminate. I'm worried that the laminate will clash with the oak cabinets so I was thinking about painting them. We have a bisque dishwasher and a bisque and black stove and cream-colored laminate countertops; the fridge is currently bisque but I think we are going to buy a new one that is black. We're not yet ready to buy a new stove or dishwasher. What color would you paint the cabinets? Black? An olive green? Cream? Navy blue? A bluish-green? As you can see, I'm all over the place and would love your thoughts on what would look good - if you think the oak cabinets won't clash too badly with the laminate (we're hoping for a warm cherry type color), please let me know that as well. I'm open to other ideas! Thanks so much!

I think a deep navy kitchen sounds very chic. Go oil high gloss, and get ready for a lot of labor- but it will be worth it.

What is the chicest accessory every home should have?

A butler

Mirror - a lovely mirror with sconces on either side.


Shredded newpapers used to be the norm for filling poufs. Do you have a shredder at home - you could use its outpot.

Ahhh. Yes.

Trend question! Miles or Jura, I'm hoping you can advise. I'm finding that as I dig through design magazines and blogs, I rarely see those all-neutral rooms anymore. What I do see, practically everywhere in great measure, is white white white. White brick, white subway tiles, white countertops, and so on. Is white the new neutral?

Isn't white the definition of neutral? do you mean beige...? It is out there- look at the work of Bobby McAlpine, he does beautiful beige rooms

Miles - do you have a favorite oxblood red paint to recommend?

II like an exterior paint form Benjamin Moore called classic Burgundy- very deep oxblood- and do love it shiny

In the October 25 issue I'm doing the story of Skyla Freeman, a very cool young decorating blogger in DC. She's given me a great list of blogs she follows. So stay tuned. Meanwhile, check out her blog  sanity fair.

I like this idea and have always tried to achieve it, but my preschooler makes it hard. Train tracks and fire engines sort of wreak the ambiance.

But the firetrucks are oxblood! SOOOOOO chic!

Help, I'm bored and exhausted with my go-to design blogs. I'm in need of some new inspiration? Jura and Miles, what are you guys reading these days? There must be some more good stuff out there!

Tino Zervudachi's book looks great. Do you have a subsrciption to the World of Interiors? If not, treat yourself- each month is a delight!

My husband and I bought our 4-bedroom, Colonial-style house in the late '80s, and at that time worked with a decorator to choose swags and jabots, window coverings, some wallpaper, furniture, etc. We loved it, then and up until now. However, suddenly I realize it does have a bit of that "lost in the '80s" sort of look. We'd like to update, but we are also thinking of perhaps moving to an over-55 community sometime in the next few years, so we don't want to be too "taste-specific" in any upgrades. Where would you start? New lighting fixtures? Window coverings? I don't want to spend a fortune but realize something needs to be done - I'm just not sure what, exactly.

I think you should hire a decorator, as you did last time- and just say let's update and refresh. A good decorator is a good editor and can push things around and make them feel new. It will be worth the investment, even if only for 1 year

We currently have carpeting in the house and are looking to replace with hardwood floors. We have beautiful open riser stairs in the house. Should we use hardwood or carpet on the steps?


I would say - it depends on the shade ... . Subway tile shade of white is a statement - and we're seeing a lot of these 'look at me' whites. In a provocative way, I would say, neutral is fade into the background. White often doesn't do that - beige (which is a shade of brown) does fade into the background.

Very thoughtful.

I love the idea of "Southern coziness." Redecorating a guest room, which has queen bed and small chest. Closet on one wall, and east facing window takes up part of the opposite wall. Furniture is 18th c. repro, cherry. I like soft colors, magnolias. Any suggestions for color, windows, smallish chair?

really decorting is not a suggestion. It is a vision. You have to know what you want and like, and then put it together.

We redid our kitchen nearly three years ago and never got around to the backsplash. Cabinets are light maple, floor is cork that is the same shade as the red oak floors in the rest of the house, countertop is black pearl granite (reads mostly black with a very quiet brownish pattern if you look closely). Walls are BM Linen White. I've just found a 2x5 subway tile that has a crackle finish and is the same color as the walls. I'm wondering if we should go with that or something like it, or just leave the backsplash area alone and repaint when needed. The backsplash has a lot of interruptions (outlets, switches, exhaust fan, top of stove) and I worry that tile will just draw attention to those. Also even though subway tile is classic, it is such a trendy classic that I fear it will end up looking dated. Suggestions appreciated!

do the tile

Yes, put them near each other and think of it as a puzzle - how do these pieces fit togetther so look harmonioius and add to each other? This can be done just by trial and error on the floor. Spend some time placing the different pieces in differnt places - move the different photos/diplomas around. Leave them a bit, come back, see how it feels and perhaps move something. You could even take several days over this proceess.

More good advice. Thank you.

Hello, We are considering removing our old outdated stained beige carpet that covers the stairs and 2nd floor (all bedrooms and hall) with hardwood floors. There are so many options - it is all rather confusing. We would like a dark wood (not espresso or a cherry color) but are not clear on what to look for. We have fake wood floors on the first floor that look fine and hold up great to all manner of beating from our kids, but they are not real hardwood (not sure the term). Do you have any recommendations as to what to look for?

look for a wool sisal- I like a color called oatmeal

Thanks for answering! Should I put the stone house on the ceiling too or keep it white? (Either way it needs to be repainted.) There will be crown molding separating the ceiling from the walls. Thanks!

paint everything stone house

First time trying to remodel... new vanity, mirror, tub, lights, etc. Does anyone have suggestions of mistakes to avoid?

get a picture of something you love and try to copy it

I recently inherited my grandmother's bedroom set which she bought in 1935. The problem is the 1920 building in which I live has slightly slanted floors. As a result, the furniture, one dresser particularly, is quite wobbly. Are there any tricks I can use to stablize the furniture. My bedroom has hardwood floors and I do have an area rug; however, the rug does not cover the whole area of the floor. None of the furniture touches the rug. I love these chats and always learn something new from them. Thanks!

You need to shim your furniture- get some small pieces of wood to put under the leg

Miles: Where do you go to pick up extra accessories -do you like CB2 or West Elm or any of the chains that are accessible to all of us?

I like autions and flea markets

I agree that the white we're seeing these days is not a neutral, per say, but very much a statement. Especially the white brick. I recently went to a friend's house who had painted her fireplace white (painting brick is so controversial in these chats, I know!) but it looked so.... chic.

I like that and I like black fireplaces.

i have white walls in my apartment and typically pick out black frames for art and phtoos. then I looked around the other day and the entire apartment looks like a dalmation. Shoud I start picking out colorful frames? wood frames? I don't want it too look inconsistent, but it's starting to look really, well, BORING.

Black and white is the chicest. Stick to it, which takes real discipline. My advice: take anything that is not black or white out of you apartment. Google Geoffrey Beene

This chat is a keeper. I'm going to print it out. Miles, thanks so much for being on the chat and for sharing your ideas. We are all looking forward to seeing your book. And please come to DC soon.

In a small bedroom with sloped ceilings, should the ceilings be painted the same color as the walls? Or should the ceilings be white? Thanks.

walls and ceiling are should be same color

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

Home Q&A archive
Miles Redd
Miles Redd began his design career after graduating from NYU and honed his skills with antiques dealer John Rosselli and decorator Bunny Williams. In 1998, he opened his own design firm in New York City and he has been the creative director of Oscar de la Renta Home since 2003. The Big Book of Chic gives a glimpse into the inspiration that fuels Redd, and focuses on the pleasures of living life in a beautiful way. It includes a wide range of projects, from Redd'ss own townhouse and beach house to projects in Houston, Atlanta, Millbrook and Locust Valley.
Recent Chats
  • Next: