Alison Damonte is one of six interior designers charged with creating a room inspired by, and incorporating, a craft piece or pieces for the American Craft Council Show next month. She shared how the piece she chose became the room she designed.
Based in San Francisco, Alison Damonte focuses on creating interiors that are playful and unexpected while also helping clients realize their own aesthetic. Drawn to simple geometries and bold colors, the Minimal Art of the 1960s and 1970s and Swiss-style graphic design inspire much of her work.
So why did you chose the craft pieces that you selected for this year's American Craft Council event?
I was immediately drawn to both Ealish Wilson's and Lilith Rockett's work in the context of my own aesthetic and projects. While they have very different style — Ealish's work is layered with materials, texture and pattern; Lilith's is more simple in form and material — they are both graphic and modern, qualities that I'm always drawn to. I thought that these differences complemented each other well, so of course I wanted to be paired with both of them!
Tell us a little bit about your deign and how the pieces you chose inspired it.
Lately I am really loving wallpaper and I wanted to push the concept further for this project. I found Ealish's piece "De Young Dots" the perfect inspiration for translating her three dimensional work into something typically two dimensional; the confetti-like effect is perfect for a party! The pattern we chose for the wallpaper is derived from a photograph of a cactus, so I'm using Lilith's vessels to hold cacti rather than traditional flowers. I love the juxtaposition of the smooth, simple porcelain vessels with the spiny barrel cactus.
Can you share with us a story about a DIY or craft that you created?
In high school I was into painting old wooden furniture with wild colors and patterns. One day I rescued an old portrait frame from the dumpster, painted it in fuchsia, purple, orange and aqua, embellished it with rhinestones and gave it to a friend. Last year my friend's mother contacted me via Facebook and told me she still has the mirror! My taste has definitely evolved since then, but I still love mixing bold colors and patterns and will always have a soft spot for anything sparkly.
Excluding fresh flowers in abundance or candles, what is your favorite styling trick to create an instant party atmosphere in your home?
I love presenting my guests with a cocktail that pairs well with the dinner or party theme. A friend recently turned me on to Gin&Juice. I never considered it before because I always associated it with gangsta rap and not an actual cocktail but it is perfect for summer entertaining: fresh, not too sweet, and oh-so-pretty when made with pink grapefruit juice.
Music is also essential. We have a turntable my husband built proudly displayed in our living room. I love how it looks and I swear music always sounds better on vinyl, though most audiophiles would disagree with me.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you serve?
My husband and I eloped so we never had a traditional wedding with all of our friends and family. Our tiny wedding (just the two of us in Palm Springs) was something I'll always treasure, but I would love ot host a party with all of our friends and family in our own house if we ever get the renovation underway! I would serve Mexican fare as it is generally a crowd-pleaser, festive and easy to enjoy in a casual, comfortable setting — preferably sitting outside on a rare, warm day in San Francisco!
Sometimes even the clients with the biggest budgets fall in love with an affordable item from a popular catalog or online store — what is one of your best affordable finds?
Mixing high and low sources is something I love to do, not just because it helps keep budgets under control but because it allows me to introduce pieces otherwise outside a client's comfort zone or color palette without too much of a financial commitment. I love CB2's Peekaboo acrylic tables — so much so that I am using one of the consoles in this project.