Monday, February 28, 2011


"Tailored, crisp and contemporary yet steeped in tradition" is how Rod Winterrowd describes his design style. His work is sophisticated yet warm, serene and subtle with a big dose of traditional elegance. Projects take him from tropical resorts like Lyford Cay to city escapes on Long Island. Through his use of gorgeous fabrics, finishes and well edited antiques, he achieves a particularly beautiful balance. He does not go overboard with prints and pattern, and lets the furniture form, textile and rug textures and artwork do their thing. I really got to know his work at this year's Kips Bay Showhouse, seen here. It made me want to instantly enter Rod's world and learn more about his design ethos. A visit to his office recently provided me with a clear sense of his talent (major). Meet Rod, and prepare to be wowed.

Rod's 5th Avenue office on the Upper East Side is a stunning space with high ceilings and gorgeous moldings. As any good designer working in city spaces know, storage is key and creating beautiful options makes urban living that much better. He seems to have perfected this.

A charming and bright arrangement keeps spirits up in the dreary NYC winter.

A center island hold plans and serves as a workspace. Desks flank the perimeter of the room, and fabric samples have a home baskets.

Small arrangements of flowers, urns and artwork don a beautiful mantel original to the space.

His penchant for organization comes across here, where every area maximizes storage and every box and drawer is tagged and labeled.

A sophisticated yet warm setting is enhanced with flower arrangements and artwork. Clients get a great sense for what their homes will be like since the office experience is very cozy.

Even the office powder room is a jewel box setting complete with interesting photographs, fresh flowers and endless supply of fresh tip towels.

Organization and order can be stylish-- by adding a patterned rug and more functional storage, the kitchen is a workspace too.

I wish my desk looked this organized. Rod, help!

Someone is NEAT.

Who did you work for and where did you learn the trade?

Parsons, but self-taught.

What is your signature look? How would you define it?

Classical architecture principles as a backdrop for beautiful, comfortable, tranquil rooms that tell a story with fun, yet elegant statements, such as mixing harmoniously furniture from different periods. Crisp, tailored, yet steeped in tradition; studied and rigid adherence to the discipline of classicism, order, balance, and symmetry…with always a surprise, a little twist….a bit of whimsy

When did you know this was your calling in life?

When I redecorated the house every night after my parents went out….my little brother and babysitter served me well as junior designers…I learned to “point” at the tender age of six!

What other designer and or architect do you most admire (living or not) and why?

I’m not a typical devotee or fan per se. I see something in everything, always taking mental snapshots. I suppose anything that resonates; or speaks to me I appreciate.

What is your favorite go to fabric house/collection or singular fabric?

The hunt for a great antique Fortuny, and I love Rose Tarlow’s textile line.

What material do you love?

Crushed linen velvets in rich jeweled tones, interesting antique textiles in silk, beautiful embroideries and authentic ethnic prints. From antique batiks to the rare African kuba cloth.

What is a favorite antique of yours?

An Andre Arbus parchment desk with limed oak legs, French c.1940.

What is your favorite project?

One's that inspire me. Usually because the clients are simply nice and champion the design process. My jobs are long and the relationships protracted. I have to work through this collaboration being happy or it’s simply not worth my time….happiness trumps money, and I will not tolerate bullies, particularly when it comes to my loyal, talented, amazing team.

What trade or retail store inspires you most?

Great decorative artisans.

What is your favorite new and old interior book?

Shockingly, I find the the best books to be on history’s best fashion designers – M.’s Mainboucher, Givenchy, Dior, Balenciaga, and of course le Grande Mdme. Chanel. I glean great inspiration for my work from these legends of fashion.

What country house do you most love?

My Southampton cottage and it’s gardens.

If you were not doing this what would you do?

Give 100% of my time to the humanitarian causes dear to my heart and the ASPCA (Although I consider animals on an equal level with humans as far their rights against harm).

What city besides NYC do you visit to inspire you?

Paris, Rome, Buenos Aires, Istanbul.

What are some trade secrets you want to share?

Organization can transform your home and your life. A fresh coat of paint - it’s like a tonic, then redo your bookcases….refold and color coordinate your sweaters….clean your house; then call me.

Tell us your tips for entertaining well

Make it appear effortless. Your guests should feel like you’re beyond delighted to see and welcome them, and each is the most important person in the room. Effective preparation takes care of all the rest; so the night allows the host to give all attention to his or her guests in a seemingly effortless fashion – most people are too uptight….and that reads.

What is the easiest most stress free floral arrangement you suggest?

Any orchid in a patina’d terra cotta pot, freshly mossed up. A double stem is best, easy to maintain. Water once a week, drain and replace in a reasonably well lit spot.

What is the singular most important ingredient to a great party?

Great wine and proper planning, so the host can truly enjoy the evening without distractions….unconsciously allowing one’s guests to follow suit….be gracious, warm, light…and have fun!

Time to escape into some beautiful spaces:

Photos courtesy of Rod Winterrowd, Inc.
A back lit built in bookcase is brought to life with artwork and accessories. Striped window treatments flank the space, adding height

Traditional interiors are made even more beautiful with a heady mix of modern color field paintings and small tables with clean lines

Rod has fun with surface areas- a painted geometric pattern on the floor balances out the teal Venetian plaster walls

In a New York sitting room, dark stained herringbone floors and a mix of furniture in a variety of finishes are welcoming

Knowing storage is the key to success in a city apartment, he has compartmentalized bookshelf spaces with artwork, the TV and family photos.

A master at seating layout, a tailored banquette and French arm chair surround a petite cocktail table.

Artwork hung symmetrically, low lighting, and cozy Bridgewater chairs make this library a rich and inviting spot.

A jewel tone palette, monochromatic flowers and well placed light sources make everyone feel good.

Rod loves a painted door. These beauties are painted a deep blue, not a bad way to make an entrance. The chocolate and cream bedroom beckons.

A manicured Palm Beach home with clipped hedges and classical architecture

In this Florida foyer he used an alabaster lantern, mirrors to enlarge the space, and neutral sophisticated palette to provide a tropical retreat.

Mixing dark woods and cream upholstery, the space reads cool and comfortable.

Several seating areas provide for easy conversation.

A very New England dark pool is surrounded by modern chaises and a vine covered pergola that says tropical, but clean tropical not overgrown desert island tropical.


Edward @ Turn This House Into A Home said...

His work is beautiful, and it's all the better as I've never heard of him. Thank you for sharing his work, I'm definitely going to be adding some of his work to my design files.

kayce hughes said...

Wow. I really want to run clean out my closets!

Anonymous said...

Like the previous poster stated, I also have not heard of him. His offices are amazing. I'll be watching for more of his work. Thanks for sharing.

Karen T.

The Buzz Blog @ Diane James Home said...

What a great interview and Rod's offices are a feast for the eyes - I wish our could look 1% as good! Can't wait to see what he does at Kip's Bay.

Playhouse said...

It looks like Todd Romano's old apartment... did he redo it for the new buyer?

The Devine Life said...

Love his work. Such great style.

Anonymous said...

He's SUCH a talent!!! What an amazing eye. FABULOUS!!

Stylebeat said...

Edward, I am so glad to bring attention to his work- he has enormous style.
Michael, I am sure he has used your fabrics!
Playhouse, it is not Todd's old apartment but it sure is amazing. You should see Rod's closets- I held back from sharing them, but they are organized to a T

Linda Hunt IFDA, WFCP,AVA said...

His style is one I strive to attain for my clients. I just kept staring at his photos in order to see all the great details. Thanks for bringing them to us.