“As a resident of the world of design since birth, I’d like to take some time to celebrate some of the people and things in that world that I admire. I hope you come along for the ride. And, as my name has really taken a beating these last couple of years, -thank you Mr. Bezos, - feel free to think of me here by my nickname: Lex. And, please also enjoy this completely un-recognizable and years old headshot.” - Alexa Hampton

Nick Olsen

Nick Olsen

photo by Maura McEvoy

photo by Maura McEvoy

If you could have a second home anywhere, where would you live? I’m lucky enough to have a second home in upstate New York! It’s a farm house from the late 1700s that I’ve slowly been renovating and decorating—beautiful in all four seasons but my boyfriend and I are more beach bums than country squires. My next house will be on or near the water.

Tell us about your childhood bedroom? My family moved when I was eight or nine, not far—really just up the street. I wanted my new bedroom to be sea foam green, but my mother insisted on colonial blue and white speckled wallpaper with matching blue trim AND blue pile carpet. I was a frustrated decorator since birth.

What’s the first investment piece you ever bought for your house? For my apartment in New York, I bought an early 19th Century Italian settee at Christie’s, with these beautiful scrolling legs and carved swags, and reupholstered it in bright yellow cowhide- which is so slippery that my guests sort of slide right off. But, it’s still worth the investment because she’s so darn pretty!

In the history of design, if you could hire any designer other than yourself, who would it be?  Albert Hadley

No room is complete without soft lighting from multiple sources!

People think of me as a maximalist, but I am really aspiring baroque minimalist.

Things you omit from:

  • A flower arrangement I omit nearly everything except flowers in the same color family.

  • An hors d’oeuvre platter Stinky cheese or anything with garlic or onion. Halitosis is not on the invite list!

  • A bar cabinet Middle-shelf flavored alcohol

A song for: 

  • Dinner at home “Glamorous” by Fergie 

  • Working at your desk “What Have I Done To Deserve This” by Pet Shop Boys featuring Dusty Springfield

  • Going for a run  “Age of Consent” by New Order

Biggest Vice? Terrible, brain-rotting reality television.

If you were on an Ambien high and internet shopping, what would you buy?  This George II cabinet for which I have no space or specific need.

Do your clothes reflect your design sensibility, if so, how?  My therapist-life coach says they do NOT! I favor a uniform of black denim, blue chambray and sneakers. Or a simple navy jacket and loafer combo. I had a ‘peacock’ moment in my twenties and wish I could scrub the internet of those photos.

 Who is your star crush? Jennifer Lopez

What is the thing you would never do on a project, but don’t detest when you see others do it?  This is a tough one! I’m not a big fan of exposed pipes or HVAC in ceilings, but I’ve seen other designers’ lofts where they really work.

If there were a fire, and you could only keep one design book, what would it be?  Miles Redd’s The Big Book of Chic because it’s gorgeous and brings back many happy memories of working for him.

For posterity, what would you like your work to be known for? I want my work to be remembered for having a sense of humor and inclusivity, without sacrificing quality or originality.

photo by reid rolls

photo by reid rolls

A Few Favorites: 

  • Movie: Waiting for Guffman

  • Book: Currently, The Art of Rivalry

  • Scent: Personal: Italian Citrus by D.S. & Durga. General: Lavender

  • The fabric you always come back to: Lee Jofa’s hand-blocked “Althea” print

  • Dream project: A Paul Rudolph beach house in Sarasota, Florida

  • Meal: Steak frites at Lucien

  • Drink: A “Lauren,” which is a gin or vodka gimlet served up with a splash of club soda instead of syrup

  • Hotel: The Parker in Palm Springs or the Greenwich Hotel in NYC

  • Travel Destination: Morocco

  • Artist: Édouard Vuillard 

  • Thing to collect obsessively: Chairs

  • Era in the history of design: I can’t pick just one. Louis XVI (late 18th Century), the English Regency (early 1800s) and France in the 1930s.

  • Museum: The Altes Museum in Berlin, designed by Schinkel

  • Paint Color that always look great: Pale blue with a bit of gray

  • Favorite person to follow on Instagram: My friend Nicki Clendening (@nickiclendening), who actually lives the chic vagabond lifestyle that so many Instagrammers try to imitate.

  • Dogs, Cats, or No Pets? Other people’s pets: I am the proud stepdad of a terrier named Dexter.

Lee Ledbetter

Lee Ledbetter

Jeffrey Bilhuber

Jeffrey Bilhuber