Modern design can often mean the intrusion of unnecessary add-ons, but as Eric Haydel has figured out the best designs incorporate the traditional and beautiful woodworking of centuries past to create comfortable and functional spaces.
Thanks for joining us, Eric. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.
My career in interior design began by chance when I was offered an opportunity to work under a designer in South Louisiana, where I grew up. She was an amazing inspiration, but I never thought that I could make a career out of something that was so fun. After completing an undergraduate degree in public relations, I went on to work for a U.S. Senator doing fundraising and event planning. This early start at a challenging career forced me to discover both passion and profession. After a failed attempt at a new fundraising career in New England, I started in a continuing education course for interior decoration. The overwhelming support I received from my instructors propelled me to work on my master’s degree and soon open an interior design business.
New England is a wonderful place to work with design. Which classic New England features do you try to incorporate into your designs? How do you try and limit it?
New England is indeed a wonderful place to design. For all practical purposes, it is the home of all things American. History is alive in almost every building you enter here and parts of our past are uncovered in the most unsuspecting places. Some periods are revered in what we’re doing today, while others are important because they inform our design past. There is a real sensibility and practicality here in New England that should be embraced. When looking at historic homes in the region, many were built with beautiful craftsmanship and great attention to detail, both of which are a value to the design industry. Later we see the homes being ripped apart to add modern amenities. As a designer, I try to limit the intrusive characteristics of today’s modern world. I try to look at how we can incorporate things into a space rather than just place them there because we need them.
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 most challenging spaces are often the really small ones. In today’s marketplace, and in publications, we see these large spaces with beautiful pieces of furniture and lots of accessories. The challenge is to take that same ideas and put them into a smaller apartment or townhouse in the city. I say challenge because that’s what I love as an interior designer, a good challenge. Americans are downsizing but that does not mean giving up the characteristics of great design. No matter the size of space, a conversational layout is key and all the other components will fall into place. Never focus a space layout around a TV or some other form of entertainment. Instead focus that space on individuals and the people that you want to welcome into that space.
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?
It is important to remember that open spaces do not mean big space, as in “over-sizes” or “over- stuffed.” Spaces must be divided into groupings that make sense for the user. Several smaller seating areas to read comfortably or visit with guest are a better way to keep spaces stress-free and manage the space. If nothing else, smaller spaces are easier to clean than larger ones.
Area rugs are versatile. New England homes and businesses use lots of hardwood floors. Explain how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.
Area rugs have the ability to transform any old space into a new one and a new space into an older-feeling one; here in New England we embrace this idea to the fullest. With four seasons, it’s key to select the rug that can accomplish this transformation all year round. When working with clients, I look for a rug that offers texture and depth over color and pattern. These two traits work closely to ensure we give our space a complete feel of luxury and comfort.
Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?
As a designer, it is important to remember that each space is different and each should be approached as such. However, I must admit that I do have a love for a wool and silk rug. In the market today, these two textures are the most beautiful combinations offered to the consumer. No matter the season, you can find a reason to take off your shoes and walk, or even lay down on the floor, and experience the beauty in these organic fabrics.
Are there price limits when it comes to rugs?
Many rugs are made to last a lifetime and be passed from generation to generation. When it comes to a rug, it is extremely important to consider the price, but never let that price be a deterring factor in the purchase. Rugs are simply artwork for your floor, truly one of best investment you can make for your home.
Do you have any final words of design advice?
Many clients make the mistake so often by buying things they like, or just think they like. It is important to select a rug or any piece for your home that you love. Often I walk into client’s homes and I see many items that they have collected they just like, and they are only clutter and dust collectors. Purchase what you love and leave what you like.
Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?
Readers can visit our website, www.emhdesigninc.com or contact us directly at 617-562-6027 for a one on one consultation.