- Interview with the award-winning Interior Designer Andrea Farr
We asked her some questions so our readers can get to know her better.
Why and when did you decide to become an interior designer?
I have always had a passion for art. I graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and I completed my graduate studies in design at Harvard University.
My interior design career began in 1995, designing the interiors of oceanfront vacation homes in North Carolina with local architects. I moved back to Milwaukee in 2000 where I started my own interior design business, initially working for a company that specialised in bank and credit union buildings. I worked on interiors there for 8 years with architects and engineers and I flew all over the USA to be on location for my projects. My desire to have more influence on my work necessitated a change, of course, so I transitioned to a well-established residential furnishings showroom, then I decided to venture out on my own as an independent interior designer. I opened my own company, Farr Interiors, offering design from concept to architectural renderings, to build-out to a fully furnished living space.
What is your design approach? Are you inspired more by the space or by input from your clients?
My background trained me to think about the preparation of the space. Some of the key elements of my design work are function, practicality of materials, creating the impression of a higher value and always a surprise or something unexpected.
Of course, some of my clients inspire me and I listen and learn about their desires and habits; depending on their level of interest they can play a very big role in the outcome of their interior. For example, my award-winning project for Downtown Dream was highly influenced by the client's love for design and bold modern accents.
Can you share some thoughts about this award-winning project (link article), Downtown Dream, where you combined three apartments into a single luxury unit?
Downtown Dream was a complete demolition of three adjoining high rise apartments. The project began with many meetings with the client, who wanted the right space to incorporate and showcase her personal collection of fine artworks and design accessories, including original Tiffany lamps. It was evident that the interior was going to be modern and bold but the new must tie in with the old and the eclectic synchronicity was born from that premise.
What can you tell us about the Iris Ceramic Group porcelain slabs that you used for Downtown Dream and that you call "eye candy"?
The porcelain slabs caught my eye one day at the stone yard and my first thought was “That is some gorgeous Calacatta marble” and then I was told it was actually porcelain! I was amazed at its beauty and as I learned more about its properties I realised it immediately fit my criteria need of functional practicality and then I discovered I could use it on my countertops, my walls, and my showers?! And when my fabricator told me I could even use those slabs to cover my cooktop vent hood in the kitchen, the use of the slabs instantly became my force of attention. I realised that the use of slabs would raise the end value, creating a continual solid stone flow throughout the space. I zeroed in on using a play of neutrals with strong bold blacks. The ability to connect the veining just added the beauty and richness of endless stone.
I was able to break the rules, creating surprises and energy throughout the space. There were no longer predictable grout joints where you would typically see them. We could flow from the floors up the walls into a shower without skipping a beat. We can play between polished and honed finishes and jump thickness if we need strength.
My Downtown Dream project was recognised because of the large slabs by Iris Ceramica Group and how they controlled the overall end result. It excites me to talk about it!
Project: Andrea Farr, Farr Interiors
Location: Milwaukee, WI, USA
Images: courtesy of Farr Interioris by N. Cass