20 questions with Margot Austin
It's too hard to pick just one! The very best I can do is narrow to a dozen: Elsie de Wolfe, John Fowler, Sister Parish, David Hicks, Billy Baldwin, Gil Schafer, Thomas O’Brien, Barbara Barry, Suzanne Kasler, Darryl Carter, Ray Staples, Tommy Smythe.
2 Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?
Every time I pass Marshmallow Fluff at the grocery store I think, “Wow, I’d love to design a room inspired by that packaging.”
3 Favourite restaurant
Le Reminet, Paris. It’s tiny, decorated with antique gilt framed mirrors, crystal chandeliers and deep purple velvet banquets. The food and wine are exquisite and there’s a view of the Seine and Notre Dame. Need I say more?
4 What’s your favourite room to decorate?
The bedroom. It's a personal space and it plays such an important role in one’s state of mind. I love decorating bedrooms because they’re filled with fabric elements -- fabric is my weakness!
5 What’s your current paint colour obsession?
My current obsession is not a colour but a finish. I’m planning to paint a room in my house in a deep dark high gloss finish – very Billy Baldwin. I'm still deciding between chocolate, navy and charcoal grey.
A bedroom that Margot designed using only IKEA products.
6 If one song could be the soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
Well, it’s not a song but, Handel’s Messiah. It has rejoicing and sorrow, birth, death and faith – all the stuff of life! And for fun: Doris Day’s Que Sera Sera.
7 What’s the one store you could spend hours browsing?
Muji. The name is short for Mujiroshi Ryohin, which translates from the Japanese as "no brand quality goods". They sell everything from toothbrushes to clothing, to luggage, bedding and dishes; I always use their notebooks and pens.
8 London, Paris or New York?
All, please, and in that order (sorry NYC).
9 If money were no object, what one thing would you buy?
A vintage Austin Mini (in British racing green).
10 What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?
IKEA’s Billy bookcase.
11 Favourite movie
Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
12 What’s your favourite movie interior?
A mantel-top vignette in Margot's home reveals her talents of mixing trad and rad.
13 What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?
14 Best coffee table book
Balenciaga by Marie-Anderee Jouve (Les Editions du Regard, 1988). A stunning chronicle of the work of the fashion industry’s most extraordinarily talented designers.
15 What’s your fave way to spend a lazy Sunday?
Daybed + blanket + Diet Coke + books, mags and laptop + French bulldog curled up and snoring.
16 Do you like to be the entertainer or be entertained?
17 What do you think is the best renovation you can do to your home?
The kitchen. When it’s right, you can live with anything else that’s not quite right in your home. When it’s wrong, nothing in your home – or life – is quite on target.
18 What is your fave space that you’ve designed?
My kitchen. I’m quite fickle, so its remarkable that I still like it 3 years later (though I am considering painting the floor!).
19 What’s the biggest design faux pas?
Inertia – having no design at all.
20 Marilyn, Audrey or Jackie?
Margot's knack for decorating and her love of fabric is evident is this living space she designed -- the bench is a secondhand piece that she got reupholstered in a llght paisley printed textile.