I was lucky enough to get some time to speak with the very busy designer Young Huh, recently named one of Vogue’s Young Interior Designers on the Rise in 2015, about the design process, seeing decor through the eyes of her clients and her dream of a getaway cabin in the woods.
Gary Komarin: What got you interested in design? Was it always in your blood?
Young Huh: I suppose the love was always there. When I was a small child, all play involved house and home whether it was building little dioramas in shoeboxes or building “log cabins” with sticks in the woods. It wasn’t until after I had completed law school that I realized that I needed to have a creative career and then changed direction.
Gary Komarin: If you had a perfect client, how would you describe that client?
Young Huh: The perfect client knows what she wants and then lets me do it.
Gary Komarin: As you do design projects on television, as well as books, how would you compare the two experiences? Does one feed or ‘speak’ to the other, or is it in apples and grapes comparison?
Young Huh: On television, you see space and you move through space whereas in print, you only see the two dimensional image. This affects how you style something to look good on television versus print. For print, you really have to move everything for particular camera angles, whereas I think you can relax more for TV because you aren’t confined to one shot.
Gary Komarin: What do you do with a client who likes your ideas initially, but shows resistance over time? Do you bend to that…or attempt to keep the ship going in the direction you panned?
Young Huh: The client’s vision is always the right vision, unless she has poor vision. In the latter case, I would hope the client would trust a designer enough to let go. Otherwise, a design plan is always about a client so if her design vision shifts, I shift with her. One of my clients said, “I have learned so much about myself while decorating my home. I thought I was one thing, and I discovered I’m something else.” I love being a part of that journey. Creating a home and creating beauty is a journey and its always exciting to see where the road goes.
Gary Komarin: What surprised you most in terms of how people see design?
Young Huh: That wall color is the most important and first decision that you make, when actually it is the last decision and one of the easier ones to make. I think that paint companies have really succeeded in making people think its all about paint! Good design is about creating an entire program- a harmonious universe with paint color being a part of the complex color, shape and texture scheme.
Gary Komarin: Mies van der Rohe said ‘less is more’, do you agree with that, or do you think that sometimes less is less?
Young Huh: I think that Mies was right when you think about design philosophically. Don’t add just to add. The simplest solutions are often the best. Excessive showy accessorizing can be silly. Having said that it doesn’t mean that minimalism and austerity, lack of print and color is better design than a floral English country house packed to the bones with books. Those books are being read, the collections have history. If items have meaning and purpose and they should stay. Layering, history and personality should never be discarded.
Gary Komarin: If you had to design a teeny getaway cabin in the woods, many fancy such an escape, what might yours look like?
Young Huh: Oh I have been dreaming about this get away cabin for years and years. It would have rustic pine planked walls we whitewashed white; a fireplace with a beautifully carved mantel with a roaring fire; a perfectly comfortable chintz sofa and a tea table with exquisite china and two James Mont chairs. The stove has an enamel kettle steaming away. There is a basket full of flowers and produce from the garden on a perfectly burnished old wood table surrounded by chairs we miraculously rescued from Le Petite Trianon. The curtains we rescued from Pauline de Rothschild’s Paris apartment perfectly intact. There are Gary Komarin paintings everywhere along with the scent of peonies and tea. Heaven.
Young Huh Interiors has been honored with Connecticut Cottages & Gardens “Innovation in Design Award for Interior Design” in 2011, Lonny’s “Next Big Names” in 2014, and Vogue’s 5 Young Interior Designers on the Rise in 2015. Young was selected to participate in The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island Project Design 2013, RMH’s Phase II 2014, and the prestigious 2014 Kips Bay Decorators Show House. Young’s work has been featured on CBS This Morning, LXTV, House Beautiful, Domino, NYC&G, The Wall Street Journal as well as online in Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Interior Design.