It’s no wonder clients are clamoring to work with Liliane Hart, who’s built an impressive portfolio up the East Coast since opening her firm in 2007. The Manhattan-based designer, who grew up restoring old houses with her parents and went on to work for Jeffrey Bilhuber, mixes antiques and everyday furnishings with delightful ease. The result: relaxed, informal spaces with a classic backbone and sense of authenticity that’s right at home in New England.
What inspired this career path for you?
I grew up in the Northeast with parents who loved historic houses and antiques. I started my career in design when I purchased my own dilapidated Victorian house after college. The meticulous renovation went on for many years, but inspired me to continue my studies in design at the New York School of Interior Design.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
The Design and Decoration building is one of my favorite places to go for inspiration. I love textiles and 17 floors of fabric houses can be very inspiring. I also love looking at wallpaper and frequent the rug showrooms in the D&D. After spending a day in this building, I have a renewed joy of decoration.
Tell us about your creative process.
We start with a list of questions and have clients show us some inspiration images. I like to visit the space immediately, as the space reveals itself in person rather than on floor plans. We also develop our own image gallery to show the client. Sometimes we start with a fabric, or a rug. I am starting a new project where the client showed me a detail on her china pattern as the inspiration for the project. I love that way of working.
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
My iPhone. I use it for sourcing products, gathering inspiration and photographing a client’s home, a shopping trip, or my travels.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
I worked for Jeffrey Bilhuber for many years and I absolutely love his work. He is masterful at creating sophisticated, effortless interiors that strike the right balance of traditional and modern.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
I love designing beach houses. They are usually a second project with a client, and by then we have learned their tastes. Clients have more fun designing beach houses; there aren’t as many requirements as their primary residence. I love creating comfortable, casual rooms that inspire people to relax. I also love white!!
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
Fresh, fresh, fresh… All my clients like to use the word “fresh” to describe their updated interiors.
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
I love Stylebeat Blog by Marisa Marcantonio, Viyet, and Decorative Collective for antiques. World of Interiors is a great magazine for inspiration as it features beautiful homes which are artfully decorated. And I’m also a fan of Traditional Home, as I appreciate their emphasis on the mix of great design, incorporating antique and modern furniture.
What do you love about Viyet?
Everything! The site is easy to navigate, the condition notes are very helpful, and I appreciate the detailed images of the pieces. We love using antiques in our projects and enjoy Viyet’s curated collection.