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I recently had a chance to sit down with San Francisco based designer and founder of Quarry Hill Design, Hilary Sessions, to chat about what drives her passion for design, what is most inspiring to her and naturally, her latest obsession.
LAMPS PLUS: What is the best design advice you ever received?
HILARY: Less is more!
LAMPS PLUS: Where do you splurge?
HILARY: On good quality upholstered pieces. They will look better, be more comfortable and can be recovered to last a lifetime.
LAMPS PLUS: OK, it’s time to offer up your favorite four. Color?
HILARY: Blue – It is so versatile. I love classic navy and white for a nautical feel. I also adore the variety of watery blues. You can pair them with cream and chocolate or pop them with a punch of orange.
LAMPS PLUS: Furniture piece?
HILARY: Julian Chichester Dakota pedestal table.
LAMPS PLUS: Lighting?
HILARY: I love a lot of the pieces by Robert Abbey like the Robert Abbey Wavy Collection Mercury Glass Table Lamp.
LAMPS PLUS: Accessory?
HILARY: Pillows! I’m obsessed with throw pillows. They are simply the easiest way to dress up a room. I love them so much I started my own line called Quarry Hill Pillows. It’s an excuse to play with my favorite fabrics.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your most recent obsession?
HILARY: Right now, I am obsessed with: Mohair – I love the rich, subtle texture. It is so luxurious. I’m doing a large Serpentine sofa for a client, inspired by Vladimir Kagan’s classic design. It is going to be amazing!
LAMPS PLUS: What is one “trick of the trade” that you implement in your designs?
HILARY: I like to play with texture to add dimension to a space. Even if we are working with a very limited palette we can achieve incredible depth by adding texture to each element of the design. I’ve done grasscloth on the walls, Belgian linen on the upholstery, seagrass floor covering and industrial metal accent pieces. It draws you into the space and makes you want to touch everything.
LAMPS PLUS: How important is lighting to your design?
HILARY: Extremely. It can take a room to a whole new level. Giving each room a variety of lighting options changes the mood and tone of the space. You need options.
LAMPS PLUS: What are your top lighting items from Lamps Plus?
Jumbo Architect Floor Lamp
Silver Medal-Shaded Two-Light Wall Sconce
Jonathan Adler High Lantern Wall Sconce
Alita Collection Champagne Hanging Pendant Chandelier
LAMPS PLUS: When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
HILARY: An artist – I loved to paint. Mixing and playing with colors has always been one of my favorite things to do.
LAMPS PLUS: Your home is?
HILARY: It is a bit East Coast Cottage. I have a lot of family heirlooms and carpets that I’ve pulled together with an updated palette of oranges, pinks and creams. It is timeless look and it feels like home to me.
LAMPS PLUS: What do you see as the next design trend?
HILARY: Pastels. They are so big on the Spring Runway Collections. I think we’ll start seeing more washed out pastels for the home. They are elegant and soothing.
LAMPS PLUS: What’s the most asked question by fans?
HILARY: How did you develop such a great eye for color?
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite guilty pleasure that might surprise people?
HILARY: I’m addicted to Pinterest!
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite thing at home that you didn’t design?
HILARY: An oil painting may parents gave me – an abstract of a woman seated in a chair wearing a large hat. It reminds me of summers as a child.
LAMPS PLUS: What would be your dream project?
HILARY: A classic shingled oceanfront beach house in the Hamptons. I love doing nautical, coastal chic.
LAMPS PLUS: What designers do you most admire?
HILARY: I love Mark Hampton’s classic style. It is timeless. I went to school with his daughter Alexa. She has done an amazing job of carrying on his vision and infusing it with her own personal style.
LAMPS PLUS: What or who has most influenced your own design aesthetic?
HILARY: Traveling. I studied in Paris when I was quite young and it had a big influence on my personal design aesthetic. I was very impressed by the history, architecture and art as well as the casual elegance of French style. I love the idea of mixing old and new – a vintage Mid-Century piece of furniture in a classic Parisian apartment with floor to ceiling windows, an ornate marble fireplace and worn parquet floors.
LAMPS PLUS: Who are your style icons?
HILARY: Coco Chanel, Diana Vreeland and Sister Parish – they are the grand dames of style!
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite luxury in life?
HILARY: Traveling. My husband’s dream is to sail around the world one day. As long as we can stop in all my favorite destinations along the way – I’m game: St Barts, Corsica, Capri, and Bali.
LAMPS PLUS: What do you consider your must-have classic design books?
HILARY: Terence Conran On Design & Victoria Hagan Interior Portraits
Photos courtesy of Hilary Sessions-Quarry Hill Design
Rob is a Los Angeles-based designer who has a background in art history and was an expert at Sotheby's auction house. Formerly the host of "Inside The Auction" for the Fine Living Network, speaker for The Learning Annex and contributing editor for Valley Magazine and LA Bride Magazine, he has spent years bridging the gap between the world of design and the general public.
His design sensibilities are varied and can work in both traditional and contemporary styles. His interiors have most recently been published in Renovation Style Magazine.
Hilary is such a great person to work with who also just happens to be a very talented designer! What a fun interview to read!
LOVE the Julien Chichester table with the Hickory Chair dining chairs...
Couldn't agree more...thanks
Very fun to read and lots of good pointers on design ideas. I like the jumbo architect floorlamp too!
Hilary will love hearing this! Thanks.