Interior designer and author, Danielle Rollins, blends gypset style with a classic, Southern sensibility, and her guest suite at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Palm Beach was no exception. Dressed head to toe in sweet coral, pink and apricot tones, the lavish room is cozy glamour at its best. Shop her pieces now on Sotheby’s Home.
You recently designed a beautiful, rose-toned bedroom for the Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House. Can you walk us through the design inspiration for this room?
I wanted this room to feel like a luxuriously appointed guest suite. My color tones were inspired from one of my favorite Hermès scarves, which was creatively framed and hung in the space, surrounded by pieces from my new line with Wendover Art. Other color inspirations came from the majestic Florida sunset displays and from the seashells collected on long leisurely beach walks. The long and narrow room lacked architectural details and symmetry, and I wanted a sense of privacy and coziness to make the room feel like a little jewel box. By draping the room and bed in Fabricut/Stroheim’s luscious cotton sateen and linen fabrics, it created an enveloping feeling of tranquility. The Roman shades hung to the ceiling disguised the low window height and tied into the wicker grasscloth ceiling.
Some of the pieces from your room at the Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House will now be available on Sotheby’s Home. Can you share details about a few of these pieces?
The framed Hermès scarf piece, which I think is so special because it’s a vintage scarf and framed in a gorgeous statement-making way. The pair of our custom Clarence Slipper Chairs is a great plushy addition to a room, and the shell-pink color mixes with everything. My other favorite is the smaller scaled tight back love seat in a luscious cotton velvet with beautiful fringe trim. I also really love the vintage Russell Woodard outdoor pieces, with custom cushions, just to name a few!
You recently designed a line of art for Wendover that will debut at High Point Market this spring. Do you have any tips for buying art for a home?
I think if you buy what you really, really, really love, you’ll always find a place for it. I work with a lot of men, and I think they tend to focus on a perceived value over a piece they love. I will cover up price tags and ask a client to tell me why they love it. If it stirs unabashed joy in your heart, that’s when it’s a good buy, because when you buy with passion you’ll choose better pieces than thinking purely about value. Framing makes a huge difference, too. The wrong frame can make the best piece look dull, and a good frame can make a nothing piece look incredible. I mix the precious with the sentimental, balance colors in compositions so contemporary pieces mix with other periods, and I just hang! Overthinking is the key to killing beautiful spaces.
Your designs master the art of layering. What are some of your tips for incorporating various design styles in a space, mixing old with new?
I think the most beautiful rooms have a collected and curated feeling rather than looking like they’re decorated. I want a space to tell me about the person occupying it, what they value, who they are, where they’ve been. Something new looks better paired with something old, because there’s a patina that offsets the shine of a new piece and vice versa. I strive to create a visually appealing space by layering colors, pattern, textures, and varying the heights of pieces, so your eye travels the room and can always find something new to see.
Do you find that it’s easiest to use the vintage piece as a jumping-off point for the room, or vintage shop to fill specific holes in the space?
It depends on the space. I look to the exterior of the home and the surrounding area to give me the clues for what the interior should feel like. Once I establish a floor and color plan, then I set out to create the spaces, usually starting with the carpets and rugs being the first purchases. I like a mix of things, particularly a balance of older pieces with a patina to them, paired with new upholstery. I really want things to feel like they’ve always been there.
What is the most common design mistake you see?
I think people start buying accessories and the finishing pieces before they get the backgrounds and building blocks in. It’s tempting to buy the fun pieces and those that are easily accessible, seen when you’re out shopping, found online, and in catalogs, but unless the backgrounds have a good structure, it starts looking cluttered and incohesive very quickly. I know that a lot of people think they don’t need a decorator or that they can’t afford one, however, this is really where a decorator comes in and can help you get the structure correct — then turn you loose to buy those pieces. In the long run, the money that you spend with someone who does this day in, day out and in their sleep, can save you so much more!
You have a masterful way of layering art and wallpaper (or walls in rich colors). What is your advice for art lovers who feel intimidated by the prospect of buying art?
Layering is not difficult, but it’s something that people seem to be afraid of. Once you get enough of a cohesive pattern or color in the background, it starts to become a neutral, and by that I mean neutral in the sense that it goes away. Look at those beautiful, really tall women in fashion spreads that can layer the daylights out of clothing and accessories, and it looks so good—think of your room the same way! I think art looks best when it’s displayed against color, because you really see the colors in the pieces more.
In addition to interior design, you’ve also designed a capsule clothing collection. How was this process different from designing a home? How was it similar?
I never set out to do fashion, but I had an opportunity through a friend who pushed me to take a giant leap of faith, and I just did it. I saw what was lacking in women’s clothing in terms of fit and quality, and there were pieces I wanted to wear but couldn’t find, so I created them. I am a tinkerer and always looking for a way to make things better and more beautiful. I wanted clothing that was as beautiful, made with quality, and felt as comfortable as the rooms I designed to do the things I love to do, like work, lounge, and entertain in those spaces!
Your book, Soiree: Entertaining With Style, is a how-to guide to throwing and celebrating the perfect party from start to finish. What are three of your top hosting tips?
People use the term “throw a party” but it’s a misnomer. Good parties with good planning, doing things ahead of time, will ensure you have a non-stressful and enjoyable time. Walk through your home as if you are someone who has never been there before, and you’ll see the things you need to do. A party dry run is a perfect opportunity to address the could- and would-be disasters. And finally, relax! It’s a party, and if you have fun, your guests will too.
Sofa or sectional?
What is your most prized possession?
I don’t really have anything—there are always more things, and things are replaceable.
Most creative way to use neutrals is…?
As accent pieces and in transitional spaces.
Best advice you were ever given?
Buy the best and you only cry once.
What is your favorite room?
Always the one I am creating!
What makes a room cozy?
Fabrics, rugs, and upholstery.
What is the best flower/plant to have as part of décor?
Orchids never seem to fail, but overall it really depends on the style of the space and where the place is—in Florida I love palms and orchids, in Atlanta I love ferns and flowering branches.
On your bucket list:
One place to visit for inspiration is Lisbon, and I am finally going in May!
The last place you visited for inspiration:
Does High Point, NC furniture market count?
Last design splurge:
A stamped Warhol silkscreen for my Florida place.
Last purchase for yourself?
An evil eye ring from Amedeo.
When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
I really did not set out to do this, but the career sort of found me! In hindsight, I have been doing this my entire life! I could not be happier doing what I do, and the fact that people pay me is the icing on the cake.
What is your favorite season of the year?
Who is your design hero?
What type of accessory can “make” the room?