Designing for News Anchors - Design Bureau

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Above: Stephens’East 79th Street Residence in New York incorporates the designer’s signature details that help make homeowners’ lives a bit more sane. Below: Anderson Cooper’s loft in New York City

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Designing for News Anchors

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

By Delia Cai

Interior designer Bradley Stephens knows a little something about the pressures of designing for high-profile people; past clients of his include news personalities Anderson Cooper, Soledad O’Brien, and Elizabeth Vargas. These in-demand clients mean Stephens needs to keep things flexible, and he needs to maintain a sense of humor while perfecting their pads. Here, Stephens discusses what it’s like working for news anchors with style.

On meeting client and CNN newsman Anderson Cooper for the first time:
“I bumped into Anderson on a flight from Los Angeles, and we immediately hit it off. I have to be honest, I didn’t know who he was. Then I was out working on a project, and I ran into him at a carpet showroom. There he was with two samples of carpet, looking unsure of what he was doing. He asked what I was doing there, and I told him I was a designer, and he asked, “Can you help me do my loft? I totally don’t know what to do...” 

On designing a child-proof place for CNN morning reporter Soledad O’Brien:
“When I first met Soledad, we had been meeting for 10 minutes when the door opened to the apartment, and in came her four children, returning back from a birthday party. They were in their party dresses and were covered in chocolate ice cream—they had it in their hair. It was such a mess, and she was like,‘This is what I need. I need an apartment to withstand this.’”

On communicating with Cooper:
“The funny thing with Anderson was digital communication. There were times when I knew he was on television, and I’d be emailing him questions about the draperies, and I was thinking, ‘You’re sitting there talking to Sarah Jessica Parker, and in between, you’re texting me what fabric you want.’”

On the challenges of working with high-profile clients:
“These people are so hard to track down. I end up carrying half my office around so I can throw everything on the table at Starbucks. You have no idea how many meetings I’ve had in cars between wherever they need to be.”

 

Bradley Stephens likes to finish his projects with rich touches, and Italian textiles add the perfect amount of plush. Their fine detailing comes from centuries of experience mixed with an unexpected design resource. “The water from the Alps, that is the main ingredient in the finishing of fabrics,” says Fabrizio Biasiolo, owner of Casa del Biasiolo. Biasiolo, an authority on fine Italian fabrics, swears that crystal Alpine spring water creates the silky texture found in superior textiles. “To use an analogy, you can tell about high quality fabrics what you can tell about whiskey,” he says. “The reason you must brew it in Scotland is not the malt, but the water.”

Fabric, metal, glass, stones, even rope—for each Bradley Stephens project, Bone Simple Design dreams up a lighting fixture that’s a little bit different. “For me lighting is all about texture,” says Chad Jacobs, owner of Bone Simple. “That may sound strange, but all my fixtures have light passing through some sort of material. Therefore, the light will have its own unique quality and characteristics.” Sounds just like Stephens’ designs.

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