Three dazzling American design duos

Ali Topan

“I’m unsure I might go as far as to say that one-name designers are over, however two heads are at all times higher than one,” says Alexandra Pappas, one half (the dangerous cop half) of Pappas Miron, the New York design studio that she based in 2003 along with her finest good friend Tatyana Miron. Practically 20 years into their journey as enterprise companions (friendship intact, thanks very a lot), the 2 don’t simply complement each other in entrance of the drafting board and at their on-site installations. After greater than 50 residential initiatives, they know learn how to fuse their particular person strengths and play off their inner tensions. 

The front hall of Tatyana Miron’s Manhattan home includes Cowtan and Tout cork wallcovering, Chaman Rugs rug and vintage Swedish chandelier
The entrance corridor of Tatyana Miron’s Manhattan house consists of Cowtan and Tout cork wallcovering, Chaman Rugs rug and classic Swedish chandelier © Stephen Kent Johnson

The pair is only one instance of a surge of American design duos whose closeness transcends workplace hours. Friendship can muddy the waters in enterprise, however within the proper artistic circumstances an earned intimacy and shared historical past go a protracted, stunning means. Working aspect by aspect with their most trusted companions, the brand new guard of creatives are tapping into the powers of mutual affection, snag-free communication and a wholesome dose of radical honesty to take a challenge to the subsequent stage. Because the American author and thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Higher to be a nettle within the aspect of your good friend, than his echo.”

Tatyana Miron’s dining room, with B&B Italia table, chairs from Avery and Dash and RW Guild Oscar pendant
Tatyana Miron’s eating room, with B&B Italia desk, chairs from Avery and Sprint and RW Guild Oscar pendant © Stephen Kent Johnson

Whereas we’ve a deep-ingrained spirit of individualism to thank for iconoclastic designers equivalent to Dorothy Draper and Bunny Williams, there’s a lesser-known custom of two companions, tiny groups that run on the magical alchemy of a pairing gone proper. Society decorator Sister Parish spent greater than 30 years of her profession collaborating on interiors along with her expensive good friend Albert Hadley (their agency was known as Parish-Hadley). The names of ’80s design darlings Mario Buatta and Mark Hampton may each be synonymous with solitary genius, however when the White Home was seeking to spruce up the president’s visitor home in the course of the Reagan administration, the pair linked as much as drape the house in luxurious materials, handpainted wallpaper and wowie-zowie window therapies. Extra is extra, in additional methods than one.

Give it some thought. In case you had been entrusting your house to anyone who wasn’t going to must stay in it, would you wish to rent a artistic who may be used to listening to “sure” from all quarters or a duo who may operate as one another’s sounding boards? “Anybody can deliver you thrilling concepts,” says Louisa Pierce, one half of Hollywood’s Pierce & Ward, “however no person can push you want your accomplice can.” 


Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe: Nickey Kehoe, Los Angeles
“We’re hunters and gatherers,” says Todd Nickey of the primal bond he shares with Amy Kehoe, his good friend and enterprise accomplice who he first met at a Rosh Hashanah dinner in New York Metropolis. “We hit it off and spent the evening speaking about design,” remembers Nickey, who had been working in artistic companies at Ralph Lauren. “While you meet your unicorn, you don’t query it,” says Kehoe, who was engaged on design at Starwood Motels and Resorts.

Nickey Kehoe founders Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe
Nickey Kehoe founders Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe © Amy Neunsinger

Quickly the pair had been assembly up at weekends to trawl the Chelsea Flea market. Enterprise speak didn’t enter the image for just a few years whereas they had been each working in LA. However in 2004 Nickey had one other thought. “I determined Amy and I ought to do one thing collectively,” he remembers. Nickey Kehoe was based on bringing their rustic but clear sensibility to residential and hospitality initiatives. However within the 20 years since, the model has expanded to incorporate a showroom in Hancock Park, LA, filled with finds they decide up on their travels, in addition to customized items designed and constructed by companions in LA.

A dining room in Ojai, California, by Nickey Kehoe
A eating room in Ojai, California, by Nickey Kehoe © Amy Neunsinger

A bathroom by Nickey Kehoe in a home in the Hollywood Hills
A toilet by Nickey Kehoe in a house within the Hollywood Hills © Amy Neunsinger

“It’s our little laboratory,” says Nickey. “So we are able to take a look at issues and produce the objects we like to the initiatives that we’re engaged on.” It cuts each methods: customized furnishings and lighting that they design for initiatives typically discover their method to the showroom. Customers will additionally discover a line of candles named after Nickey’s grandfather Bernard, and the fruits of a candle collaboration with Parisian glassblowing studio La Soufflerie. And now subsequent door to the furnishings store is Family, a family and ironmongery shop. A lot of their clientele work in leisure, together with the chef Suzanne Goin and actors Casey Wilson and Mark Ruffalo. “We work with administrators, managers, producers and actors,” says Kehoe. “You get to see contained in the trade in a brand new means.” As their empire has expanded, they’ve needed to develop into real looking about divvying up the roles. Whereas they each have their fingers in each side of the enterprise, their division of labour is such that of the pair Nickey spends extra time overseeing the retail whereas Kehoe principally retains busy doing the inside design work. It’s on resourcing journeys – current ones took them to France, Italy and India – that the chums get to regroup. “We’re speaking about our enterprise, certain,” says Kehoe, “nevertheless it’s additionally an excuse to catch up.


Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward: Pierce & Ward, Los Angeles and Birmingham, Alabama
In case you comply with the world of celeb interiors, you’re most likely aware of the work of Pierce & Ward, the duo behind the houses of Dakota Johnson, Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio. However whereas Emily Ward and Louisa Pierce have develop into fixtures of the Hollywood design scene, “neither of us grew up in that world”, says Ward. She grew up in Laguna Seashore, California, along with her father, a roofer, and her mom, who was a fan of DIY. Pierce is a local of Alabama (and the daughter of a mom who cherished to knock down partitions or paint the home as just a little shock for the household). The pair met as twentysomethings in New York Metropolis. Pierce’s then-boyfriend (now husband), Austin Scaggs, was writing a Rolling Stone profile of Ward’s then-boyfriend (now ex-husband) Patrick Carney, a member of The Black Keys. On double dates, the ladies bonded over their shared “dream house” design scrapbooks. Each {couples} relocated to Nashville and Pierce ended up designing Ward and Carney’s house. It featured a black-and-white striped hallway that appeared in magazines, led to a surge of requests – and impressed the pair to affix forces. Their first consumer was mannequin and musician Karen Elson, who can also be good friend.

A quiet corner of the Pierce and Ward store in Los Angeles
A quiet nook of the Pierce and Ward retailer in Los Angeles © Olivia Pierce

Emily Ward and Louisa Pierce in their store in the Los Feliz neighbourhood of Los Angeles
Emily Ward and Louisa Pierce of their retailer within the Los Feliz neighbourhood of Los Angeles © Olivia Pierce

Their punchy, textured aesthetic – Bloomsbury Group for the Batsheva set – is the results of their specific leanings. “Louisa has at all times been extra assured and daring,” says Ward, who blames her clear, ethereal aesthetic on rising up within the ’90s surrounded by the all-white California look. “We’re continually pushing one another and evolving,” provides Pierce, whose tastes are likely to skew a bit extra “previous world meets whimsical glamour”. 

The 2 now stay on totally different coasts – Ward in Los Angeles along with her accomplice, the actor Giovanni Ribisi, and their youngsters; Pierce has returned to her native Birmingham. Zooming all day lengthy they divide and conquer from their respective corners of the nation. Pierce’s sturdy go well with is architectural duties whereas Ward spends extra time on the design store they lately opened in Los Angeles and takes a primary crack on the moodboards which can be the start line for his or her work. Each resolution is shared, from the selection of doorknobs to their new wallpaper collaboration with British label Home of Hackney. 

A Pierce & Ward master bedroom
A Pierce & Ward master suite © Olivia Pierce

The bathroom in a recent project in LA
The toilet in a current challenge in LA © Olivia Pierce

The pair try “to not be boring”. They veer away from seems they see on Instagram. “Our consumer base is creatives, so that they perceive what it means to provide us artistic freedom,” says Ward. As soon as the consumer has signed off on the funding items, the designers prefer to fill within the gaps and current the whole lot on the finish. “It’s like omakase,” says Pierce of the shock revelations. “You possibly can inform us if you happen to’re allergic to one thing, however then you definately go away the remainder to us.”


Alexandra Pappas and Tatyana Miron: Pappas Miron Design, New York
Alexandra Pappas and Tatyana Miron can’t bear in mind a time after they weren’t buddies. The principals of Pappas Miron Design have been dwelling à deux since they had been in utero, as their moms had been buddies. A second-generation friendship between their daughters was all however inevitable, and no person was all that stunned by the enterprise partnership they fashioned a pair of many years later. Miron’s mom designs ornamental pillows that she makes out of vintage textiles, and Pappas comes from a household in actual property growth, which meant an incredible many Sundays had been spent tagging alongside “ bizarre previous homes”, remembers Miron.

Alexandra Pappas (left) and Tatyana Miron
Alexandra Pappas (left) and Tatyana Miron © Tim Lenz

The bar in a family apartment by Pappas Miron on New York’s Upper East Side
The bar in a household condominium by Pappas Miron on New York’s Higher East Aspect © Tim Lenz

After incomes artwork historical past levels the pair settled in New York, the place Miron went on to get an inside design diploma and located work on the workplace of the uptown inside designer Tori Golub, whereas Pappas labored for Verdura jewelry. Their style was already in style amongst their buddies, all of whom anointed them their unofficial inside designers to fill their residences with treasures they discovered at Salvation Military and classic outlets. 

The living room of the Upper East Side apartment
The lounge of the Higher East Aspect condominium © Tim Lenz

That heirloom-meets-outrageous-’80s aesthetic nonetheless informs the initiatives they’ve been engaged on in a extra official capability since 2003, after they filed as a restricted firm. At the moment, they work out of a Union Sq. workplace with the assist of two staff (quickly there can be three), the place they’ve established themselves because the go-to designers for open-minded people, typically households, desperate to stay in a house that feels one-of-a-kind. “We’re fairly lo-fi round right here,” says Pappas. “You see another designers on Instagram, and they’re like: ‘Right here’s our board for the library within the Palm Seashore mansion,’ and it’s all very organised, with cut-out pictures and little material items pinned superbly to poster board.”

Their strategy is a bit looser and the sorts of thrives they favour, equivalent to curved sofas and pulpy tangerine partitions, can take just a little warming up. “There’s at all times just a little little bit of hand-holding when a consumer sees one thing we’re suggesting and says, ‘Wait, my grandmother had one thing like that,’” says Miron, whose tastes are extra dramatic than these of her accomplice. “Our job is to take these previous world issues and current them in a means that’s recent,” she says.

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