Design veteran Bruce Benning knows that to create a smart and livable space, you need a well-organized and creative design team willing to work with your vision.
Thanks for joining us, Bruce. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.
You are asking me to travel way into the past. Actually, my parents were in the furniture business when I was a kid and I caught the bug early.
California is a wonderful place to work with design. Which classic Cali features do you try and incorporate into your designs? How do you try and limit it?
With California being so broad and diverse, we have a large aesthetic range to work within. San Francisco is much different than say, Palm Desert or Lake Tahoe. If there is a common thread present in our work and that is consistent with our sense of style, I would like to think it represents a relaxed and comfortable attitude and lifestyle, punctuated with a bit of drama.
Describe some of your more challenging spaces? Does a unique layout benefit the designer by expanding their ability to be creative? Or does it limit options?
The former most definitely. We approach every design with the question, what can we bring to the table that another firm cannot. Otherwise why engage us. I suspect every designer is in the business to be creative. Challenging projects and spaces allow us to do just that. Parameters are welcomed because definition enables us to be specific. As far as challenging spaces go, we are working on a challenging project right now in Hawaii. Challenging because of the scope and size but mostly because we not only want it right, we want perfection.
Open floor plans are more popular than ever and many clients are consumed with the idea of flow. How do you ensure against clutter, and that the occupant always feels stress-free in that space?
Well, we are back to parameters again. In office design (or any for that matter), organizations is key. We typically allow for personalization within a given amount of space. We dedicate that space to a uniform and specific size to ensure consistency.
Area rugs are versatile. California homes and businesses use lots of hardwood floors. Explain how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.
Hardwood yes, but every other hard surface flooring as well. Stone, tile, etc. Area rugs allow for the creation of a focalized area. Often to create a sense of intimacy, and congeniality. In addition it usually helps us to interject the relaxed attitude we subscribe to.
Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?
Case by case. We are across the board. Leather, hand knotted, shag, and when we get the opportunity, a custom designed and colored, piece de resistance.
Are there price limits when it comes to rugs?
Not when you view them as an art investment. On a unit price basis they are most often, exceedingly inexpensive.
Do you have any final words of design advice?
For the client, the process can and should be, introspective. That is not always easy but the design should simply be a reflection of the occupants. Done well, it will not only be an aesthetic success but contribute and enhance one’s enjoyment of life.
Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?