Years back, Genevieve Gorder swept into my showroom (and life). She looked deeply into my eyes and said “I am going to know you”. Of course, I submitted to her many charms and we became design pals. You may recognize Genevieve as an Interior Designer from one of her many shows including, but not limited to, Trading Spaces, Design Star, HGTV’s White House Christmas, and, most recently, Stay Here. She actually got her start on MTV, designed the bottle for Tanqueray No. 10 gin, has been in Swiffer commercials, and I am proud to say, has remained a longtime friend.
Genevieve in her design office. Photo by Lauren Crew.
How did you meet John?
John and I met several years ago when I was renovating my space in New York and shooting a show called Genevieve's Renovation. I had crushed on John's textiles for years, and when I asked to shoot a spot in his studio for the show, he obliged. While making the bed together for camera I said, "I'm going to know you for a long time". I don't know what provoked me to say that, it was a bit aggressive now that I think about it, but I was right! I remember he looked up and said "Ok!" We also look like brother and sister, and are complete design / art geeks who run bizarre design businesses in Manhattan. We seek each other's advice often and make fun of each other even more. Friends for life.
How did you get started in Design?
Design came to me without me even knowing. My young family renovated and restored Victorians and American 4 Squares throughout my childhood in Minneapolis... these were important early lessons without me even knowing. Design became inherent in my teen years, and I studied design at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan while working full time as a teenage designer at MTV. They were busy years... in my early 20's I was working in a studio 80+ hours a week when television called. I had won some design awards for my work with Tanqueray 10 (bottle design), this show called Trading Spaces saw the awards and cold called me. And here we are, 20 years later, 22 lifestyle shows later, still in NYC, making beautiful things for home.
Genevieve's Master Bedroom, featuring our Vivada Ink Quilt Set, Pamana Lapis Organic Sheets, and Mandan Throw. Pillows: Dukkara King Euro, Midda Euro, and Apakata Decorative Pillow.Photo by Genevieve Gorder.
Who has inspired you?
The list is never-ending... in a nutshell I would say my inspiration comes from a bowl of soup to Tibor Kalman, Ancient Moorish to Xavier Guardans, my Ancestry to Frida, Mama Nature to my Grandmother, 20 years of Classical music training to years with Prince and Hip Hop. This is a question with answers that evolve everyday. There is no shortage of inspiration, only one lifetime to do it all... not long enough.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
Favorite isn't fair as the bouquet of what I do becomes my favorite everything. I love working in the world of design hospitality...where the client is really fantasy, not one person per se. How can design take you into a dream and a favorite memory later. From cruise ships to hotels and my Netflix series Stay Here...oh! Airbnbs might just be the most fun! Travel is my true delight as a visual artist and a person. That being said, designing home is my most important work...the one environment were supposed to control right? From my own home to the thousands of others I've designed for, home is our center, and it is my honor to design these important spaces.
What's something very few people know about you?
I'm a classically trained violinist who spent her teenage hood in Paisley Park and can speak Spanish.
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
Think of yourself as an octopus....design not just for residential or commercial, design beyond those boxes to keep yourself diversified and nimble in our field. Think about additionally designing product, consulting, teaching, making, etc. to keep the choo choo going and for god sake, do it with grace.
Any projects that have gone awry?
Oh please! All of them, there is nothing perfect about renovation, construction or the design process...this is why we've created a multi billion dollar industry of television around our genre of design. There are thousands of ingredients, a million different ways to use them, a lot of human emotion, money and time on the line...every project has its moment of unravel and it's up to the designer to use these moments as an opportunity to see something harder differently, more beautifully or let the stress give you all a heart attack.
I know we're not able to travel much at the moment, but what are some of your favorite travel spots?
My sacred place is and has always been the Mediterranean...Milos, Mallorca, Dubrovnik, etc. it's my soul spot. However, I try to push 2/3 new countries a year, without constant visual variance...we just keep making the same things with the colors we know. It's my job to see harder, so I travel harder as well, it's my continuing education.
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🔊🔊 At 12, her tastes change like the wind, what’s cool now is not two months later... I wanted to work with as much as we had around the house for that primary reason. Repurposing, reusing, reinventing. It took more time but hey, we’re on the Covid clock! What it did, was create some pretty remarkable new favorites like this bed redo... 1 cheap pink kid headboard + a beautiful Moroccan wool blanket = Headboard that im jealous of. Add @johnrobshaw bedding and a dog? Holy... . . . 🎵Wallabout, Blue States #tweenbedroom #johnrobshaw @importsfrommarrakeshltd
Genevieve used our Lina Quilt in her Savannah, GA Airbnb, featured on The Rachel Ray Show. Photo by Round 1 Productions.
Favorite musician, book, and/or artists?
Prince, De La, Tribe, Miles, D'angelo, Snoh Alegra, Marvin, Jidenna, Solange, Lee Fields, Anderson Paak, Sam Cook, Chaka, Nightmares on Wax, Bakar, Leon Bridges, Vivaldi, Laura Nero, HNNY, Bent, James Blake....is that enough?