Photo: Tara Striano @tstriano
How would you describe your style?
Colorful and a bit bohemian. I love mixing patterns and colors. Denim is a staple. I live in Nike's and Birkenstocks.
Do you remember the first thing you made?
I used to make fashion dolls out of clothespins and tissue paper when I was about 7 years old. I loved the bold color combinations and made big oversized skirts on the tiny little doll figures.
Before I started making I...
was design director of accessories for Express. I worked very closely with the textile mills in Como to create prints and woven fabrics for our designs. I learned so much about design and it is fundamental to what I am doing today.
If I weren’t a maker, I’d be...
a stand-up comic. I love making people laugh.
Favorite quote or words to live by:
"Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting." Sister Parish
If you could collaborate with one person dead or alive who would it be?
Dolce and Gabbana - their use of color and pattern is so over the top. The Sicilian villa, their home on the Mediterranean, is the perfect marriage of old-world humility and unexpected color palettes. The way they combine antiques with colorful patterns is inspiring to me.
If I could run away, I’d go...
to Sardinia. I was there when I was 18 and I have memories of wild horses on the beach and riding a Vespa around until 5:00am and then eating fresh bread in the bakeries.
What are you most thankful for?
The ability to go on a long run. Running is a big release for me. I'm also thankful for the fact that my two kids still want to snuggle in the morning.
What would be on your “maker’s soundtrack?
Steely Dan gets me in the groove. The Grateful Dead is my choice for background music.
If you could learn a new skill what would it be?
How to play piano
What’s your favorite movie?
The last movie I really enjoyed in the theater was Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
What is your perfect day?
Breakfast with the windows open. A family picnic outside in Prospect Park and drinks with friends.
Last book you read?
Elena Ferrante, Days of Abandonment.
What would your last meal be?
Fegato alla Veneziana and kugel
Jo Malone - Cardamom and Mimosa
Favorite Flower or Tree?
Dogwoods and Magnolias
Anni Albers is one of them. I also loved the Sophie Tauber exhibit at the Moma I saw a couple of months ago.
What is the most challenging project you have worked on? Why?
Banquettes are always challenging. The construction isn't complicated but the measurements have to be 100% on point. I had a project in Chicago and nearly all the measurements given to us were incorrect, luckily we caught it!
What do you see outside your bedroom window?
A streetlight looking over Brooklyn brownstones
What do you hear right now?
The Podcast, "Dolly Parton's America" - Episode 1 as we drive to Dollywood.
Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?
Lena Dunham. She was eating in the same restaurant and told me she liked my jacket!
What was the last gift you gave someone?
A gorgeous scented candle
If money was not a factor how would you live your life?
Very similarly but I suppose we could take more family vacations and all those projects I envision inside my house could come to fruition.
How I Built This
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
My Jewish grandma told me to believe in myself. My Italian grandma told me not to give up.
Any hidden talents?
I am Jewish and Italian and used to live in Italy so I know my way around both Passover seder and making a mean bolognese.
Where did you grow up?
Elyria, Ohio (a small town west of Cleveland.
Favorite time of day?
Can't choose - Thanksgiving and Passover
What is your most treasured possession?
Garments from my Grandma Barbara's wardrobe. Some of my favorite pieces are her one-piece FILA snowsuit, a delicate lavender crochet dress, and a hand-beaded poncho.
What is your favorite family tradition?
Breaking the Yom Kippur fast in Prospect Park
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I'd love to be able to close my eyes and then appear at the destination I'm thinking about.
What song best describes your work ethic?
Lizzo, Good as Hell
Most interesting thing in your liquor cabinet?
A bottle of Japanese Whiskey
Favorite thing to cook?
Chicken Milanese and bolognese
What are you currently watching?
My Brilliant Friend on HBO