AT Interviews: Housing Works' Designer Sills Huniford

AT Interviews: Housing Works' Designer Sills Huniford

Jill Slater
Jun 4, 2007

Stephen Sills and James Huniford formed their interior design company in 1984. Finding inspiration in 17th and 18th Century furniture, they enjoy working with rare materials such as parchment, shagreen, honed stones, limed oak, and tooled leather. Most recently, they applied their talents to the Housing Works' Design-on-a-Dime Benefit.

Sils and Huniford agreed to answer some questions for us about their vignette for the event...

Where (and how) do you start shopping for an event like this?
We first start by finding a great piece to use as the center inspiration for our vignette. This year, we started at Dwellings and chose a tufted back sofa in a raisin colored, natural raffia-looking fabric. Our custom Dwellings line also includes a number of vintage items, culled from our travels around the world, which we also like to incorporate into our projects.

Is the design process for this kind of event much different from how you work on a client project?
We are very fortunate to take on clients at SHA who want us to use our own creative vision in their spaces, and not just reproduce a signature "look." So in this way, our vignette for the Design on a Dime event followed the same open, responsive and exciting process all of SHA's projects take.

What advice do you have for people looking to "design on a dime?"
Get creative! The price tag or label attached to an item isn't what's important, your response to the piece in your home is. Recycle, reinvent, re-arrange what you have – find new life for the things you love. Add new items to the mix by visiting one of the many wonderful consignment, thrift or vintage stores in New York, such as Housing Works for an amazing variety of furnishings at great prices. Do a furniture swap with a friend. Try out new wall finishes or make your own window treatments. It's your home – make it the one you want!

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