"Show your personality, include some of your belongings and possessions regardless of their value, and always use colours you love. "
we looked to interior designer Chuck Chewning on his inspirations and decorating advice.
What determined your passion for design?
As a child I was always sketching and drawing floor plans. I loved anything to do with architecture and interiors. Both of my parents were interested in houses and my favourite aunt loved interior design. My Mother had excellent taste and a very good eye for design. We would visit historic houses, new subdivisions and any structure I could get in to! As I got older I started rearranging the furniture in our home and trying out different decorating techniques I had seen in magazines and books.
What inspires you?
My travels, which take me to many fascinating and inspiring places around the globe. The ultimate place for me is being home with my family, extensive library, cooking and living in one of the most inspiring cities in the world – Savannah.
Can you remember your first design project?
My first serious design project was the restoration and conversion of the 1929 Medinah Athletic Club on Michigan Avenue in Chicago into the Intercontinental Hotel. The skyscraper was filled with all the decadent neo-revival architectural details of the 1920s including an Olympic sized swimming pool on one of the upper floors. This was the first opportunity where I combined my degrees in historic preservation of architecture and interior design.
What is the best decorating advice you can offer someone?
Show your personality, include some of your belongings and possessions regardless of their value, and always use colours you love. A well designed room should reflect the person that lives there.
What is your favorite book, magazine, or site on design?
Architectural Digest – when I was 12 years old I asked my father for a subscription. In the 1970s it was $30.00 and he wanted me to confirm that I was serious about reading this magazine. I practically slept with each issue under my pillow. Today I have a complete collectiomn back to the late 1960s and still use them as an important design reference.
What are the most important elements when designing a bedroom / room?
First of all a room should be comfortable regardless of how formal or informal it is. The layout and furnishings should make sense to how the person is going to live in a room. There should be a focal point and intimate vignettes in a room. Interior design should not only be about how a room will look in a photograph.
What does it feel like to wrap yourself in Frette sheets or Frette bath?
For me it is the same feeling I get when I put on a fine Italian dress shirt. It is a very personal sensual blissful feeling that imbues you with confidence.
Do you prefer your sheets to be linen, sateen, percale, or poplin?
I prefer percale because I love the crisp sound and structure of the fabric and the smooth seamless hand. It reminds me of that fine dress shirt.
What is on your bedside table?
I have a vintage Donghia table with a 1960s Grosfeld House lamp, a 1950s photograph of my father, a glass paper weight from Marina and Susanna Sent in Venice, an Hermes tray with a copy of SCAD President Paula Wallace’s new memoir “The Bee and the Acorn”.