With a precocious eye for design — a 12-year-old who knows how to hang draperies, anyone? — Landy Gardner blends the comfort of familiarity with elements that are fresh by using techniques that are proven and untried.
What inspired this career path for you?
Landy: Design has been in my DNA since I was born. I thought every 12-year-old in the world knew how to hang draperies! My father was extraordinarily creative, and even though interior design was not his primary vocation, he was always working on our home, helping friends with their homes. He also dressed the windows of the major department store in the town where I grew up, and I would help him. My uncle owned a drapery workroom and retail store, and I worked for him during the summers. I’ve had a passion and a love for design since I was a child. I didn’t know how the path would take shape, but it was just a natural path to pursue.
Dionne: As a little girl, I had a lot of exposure to the interior design world, and I loved seeing firsthand the projects my father worked on. His passion for his work and his endless creativity inspired in me a love of design and its process. I literally grew up playing in the design library in his office, and now that has transferred to my life’s work.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
We find inspiration everywhere, but traveling is important to us, both for work and on a personal level. We always find inspiration in trade shows and design showrooms, where fabrics and furniture are beautifully displayed, and we can touch and see items in person. Sometimes one of us will just Google a concept and pour through all the images.
As of late, a surprising but great source of inspiration has been Instagram. It is extremely convenient and readily available, and we have discovered and connected to some amazing designers and artists.
Tell us about your creative process.
Landy: This process never gets approached the same way. Sometimes a client will show me a piece of art or a piece of furniture they love, and the entire room is built around that one item. Sometimes it starts with a beautiful piece of fabric, or even just a color. Since we are a team, we rely on one another to ensure that we are bringing our best creative decisions forward. We bounce things off of each other. Something we enjoy doing together is spending hours looking over design magazines and tearing out pages for future inspiration and archiving them in a filing cabinet. That way, when we are about to head into a new project, we can go back to those resources; it helps strengthen our collaborative nature.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
“Traditional, Transitional, Contemporary. Make it timeless.”
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
We both have a tape measure at all times. There are multiple sizes of tape measures in every work bag, in every purse, in the glove compartments of our cars. And Old English furniture polish (Landy).
Who do you look up to in the design world?
Landy & Dionne: Jacques Garcia, Alberto Pinto, Juan Pablo Molyneux, Albert Hadley and Sister Parish, Bunny Williams, Nicholas Haslam
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
Landy: I’m already designing for that person, but due to a confidentiality agreement, I can’t share! I would love to do an apartment in Paris.
Dionne: You can design my Paris apartment someday. Haha!
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
Dionne: The Tennessean (local newspaper) did a lifestyle feature on my dad years ago, called, “Designing Dramatic Spaces”, and there is a quote he gave for that article that I think about a lot because it’s so smart and it challenges me to keep sharpening: “I just like the unexpected. If you want to create excitement, don’t do what everybody else does.”
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Instagram has become a quick addiction and staple for quick access to ideas. We love magazines such as Elle Décor, Gallery Magazine, Veranda, Traditional Home, Milieu, House Beautiful
What do you love about Viyet?
We love the range of products, no matter the style or budget. We are drawn to the beautiful and rare furniture pieces on Viyet, and are impressed by the many different varieties you can find on the site – the choices are endless!