Monday, April 7

Profile: Palmer Weiss

Named one of the domino 10 for 2008, San Francisco-based interior designer Palmer Weiss knows a thing or two about mixing traditional elegance with contemporary, playful details. Pretty interiors with bursts of color and a touch of Southern eccentricity are Palmer's hallmark and a nod to her Charleston, South Carolina upbringing.

Palmer credits her Southern roots as a major influence on her design aesthetic; however, 14 years of living in Northern California has allowed her to develop a unique style that reflects both cultures.

Palmer may not have any interior design degree but she certainly has an impressive résumé and a well-trained eye. Weiss attended Choate Rosemary Hall boarding school, Brown University with a BA in History of Art and received her MBA at J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Not to mention her mother is an accomplished interior designer. Palmer spent much of her childhood in her own version of on-the-job-training plugging away in her mom's sample closets and dissecting design magazines for inspiration.

Seeing as how the classics never go out of style Palmer Weiss is a name we are certain to see for years to come.

How would you describe your personal style?
I guess I am pretty classic, but with a pop or a twist. I like clean lines, but with very pretty or unexpected details – zebra runners, custom trims or using bright, patterned fabric on an antique bergere chair.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Outside of the obvious (my family), it would be SUN!

What books are currently on your bedside table?
The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan – just finished this very touching and witty recount of a young mother’s (successful) struggle with breast cancer.

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person by AJ Jacobs – just about to start. The author read the entire encyclopedia A to Z in attempts to “fill in the gaps of his Ivy League education”. It is supposed to be hilarious and educational.

And then there are the magazines. There are always too many to fit ON my bedside table and they are instead piled mile-high to the side – they include Domino, House Beautiful, Bazaar, Vogue, Elle Décor, Travel and Leisure etc, etc. I create books of clippings that I reference constantly.

What inspires your designs and creativity?
I find a great deal of inspiration in nature and the colors found there. Living in the Bay Area, we are fortunately surrounded by so much natural beauty and can take advantage of it 365 days a year. Sometimes you think that colors could not possibly go together and then you see them occurring naturally in a flower, a bird’s feathers, etc and you think, actually, they can and they do beautifully!

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day
I am sure I should say the usual like Abraham Lincoln or Jesus, but I have to admit I would most like to meet Sean Hayes (the actor who played Jack on the Will and Grace series). He is the single funniest human being I have ever witnessed on television and I watched the show (and now TiVo’d versions) religiously.

To me, laughing and maintaining a sense of humor are the keys to life and he has provided lots of help in that aspect. As to what we’d do, ideally, I’d like to turn back the clocks so that I could be on the set while filming, but otherwise, I don’t really care – just hanging out would be fine!

What is your favorite luxury in life?
I am a working mother with 2 small kids. It is sleep. Hands down.

What is your most prized possession
The Temple St Clair necklace that my mom gave me with two little cherub pendants – each inscribed with one of my daughters’ names.

Also, my very cool mid-century Lucite/brass lamp with ram’s heads on it. It was a great bargain find and also I am an Aries so I love the zodiac nod!

Who are your style icons?
You know I was asked this question in an interview before and I have to say, I am not really a big “icony” kind of person. This is not to say that I have not been influenced by others…I have! There are so many incredibly talented and stylish people that have definitely shaped my aesthetic both consciously and subconsciously – Oscar de la Renta, Jackie O, to name a few.

I was also fortunate to grow up with a very stylish and beautiful mother who probably had more influence on my sense of taste that anyone else. She is an interior designer (30 years) and even though our decorating styles are not exactly the same, I learned so much about creating warmth and beauty from her.

What is your idea of earthly happiness
Doing what you love for a living (preferably, well!), having your health and spending as much relaxed time with your family and friends as possible.

Profile by Ronda Carman
Photos Matthew Millman


pve design said...

Oh, I really like her. A girl after my own interiors.
I think she has a certain American "tom-boy" ish charm. A Katherine Hepburn vibe.
Love her color sense.

blah said...

Rhonda - gorgeous bedroom and lovely post - thank you for doing this for u s:-)

Anonymous said...

I love her and I love that she would like to meet Sean Hayes...very cool!

annechovie said...

Love her style ~ especially the room in the last photo. Very cheery and elegant. Great interview, Ronda - thank you!

The Peak of Chic said...

She is definitely one to watch! Thanks for the great profile!

Suburban prep said...

Her style is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Love the bath with the gold wallpaper! Especially with the sunburst mirror...what a statement.
Great interview!

Julia said...

Oh my God, I want to meet her! This is going to sound like a weird thing to say but I feel like we would be best friends if we met!!! Great interview, did you talk to her in person or email? Thanks Ronda!

Pink Wallpaper said...

i would love to know how her mother is since i live in charleston, sc!! i fell in love w/ her design after seeing it in domino.

Anonymous said...

Any chance you (or ANYONE, please!!) knows who's fabric is on the chairs (lime floral) and the bedroom canopy/curtains (pink floral)?
Wow, its lovely.
Would appreciate it very much.

girl meets glamour said...

I am just so glad you interviewed her!! and great pictures to go with!


ALL THE BEST said...

Anonymous I will email Palmer and ask.

Anonymous said...

I just love Charleston and you can really see it come through in these photos. The combination with California is perfect. Classically laid back.


Anonymous said...

Thank you to everyone for such nice comments! I was so honored to be chosen by Domino and then by ATB for an interview.

Here are answers to questions:
1) My mom is Kathleen Rivers - a little old school for a website, but she has been published and you might have seen her work.

2) Fabrics:
Green Floral - China Seas Macao
II; Color, Jungle Green Multi
on Linen
Girls' Room - Kravet - Genuine

Thanks again!!

katiedid said...

What a great profile! I am always interested in how designers get to where they are and how they think and are inspired. Thanks Ronda!:)

Anna Spiro said...

So gracious! A lovely interview - so interesting!