Connecticut designer Robin Henry approaches her work with the exuberance and imagination of an artist. Her interiors follow suit, with happy color palettes, playful details, and a thoughtful blend of traditional and contemporary touches for a vibe that’s charming and carefree.
What inspired this career path for you?
As a child, I used to draw furniture plans for imaginary houses and pick fabrics and furniture shapes for every room. I also got to witness the design process close up because my mother hired an interior designer to do up our house in Fort Worth. I remember being a particularly difficult client. Poor Brad showed me scheme after scheme, and I finally settled on sort of a pastel color explosion featuring pink carpet, yellow walls, and, yes, chintz balloon shades (what can I say, it was the ’80s)!
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Old books are a huge inspiration to me, surfing Instagram can be revelatory, and when I can, nothing beats traveling and looking. I believe in boots on the ground.
Tell us about your creative process.
My ideas for how to treat a space evolve directly, and sometimes immediately, from meeting the clients and walking through the rooms, either in person, or virtually, through plans and pictures. I do a furniture plan first, and in the process of drawing it, I work out solutions to problems I have been asked to address or needs that must be met. Once that is approved, it is amazing to say, the whole picture comes into focus: this room should have lacquered walls; it should flow into a tented room; the entry should be grass cloth; magnificent curtains are called for to frame this view; modern furniture is appropriate for this project, etc.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Artistic, engaging, amusing, orderly, layered, and appropriate.
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
I love to create custom-made, custom-designed furniture, lighting, decorative painting, or other special flourishes that fascinate and draw you into a room. To that end, I employ fabulous artists and artisans to create specially commissioned finishes, objects, and artwork for my projects.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
So many people, and it changes, but I recently ordered every John Stefanidis book that Amazon carries, and I am so inspired by his approach. His resources and his vision are truly inspiring.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
My entire family comes from New Orleans, and to decorate a mansion uptown for some doyenne of the city would make me cry with joy!
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
By Skill and Valor (Arte et Labore in Latin), one needs both in equal measure to make great work!
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
For design blogs, I rely on Marisa Marcantonio’s Stylebeat blog to show me all her new finds at market when I can’t get out to every single show. I may have a slight addiction to online auctions; there are tons of them and I use them all. I shop Instagram—like, shop it. And as far as TV goes, I could re-watch the entirety of Mad Men or Downton Abbey just for the interiors. The number of times I have paused a frame and snapped a pic? I don’t even know!
What do you love about Viyet?
Everyone consigns on Viyet, so sometimes I will see a name pop up in a Viyet email alert—Bunny Williams, JF Chen—and I will say to myself, oh yes, I need to see what is on there! There is enough product, new and old, in enough different styles, that you really will run into something worth showing a client. And I love that I can make an offer on something as well as get a designer discount, because that brings such value to my clients!
new york, ny