What would you ask a designer? Lately, the Previously Owned by a Gay Man team has been obsessing over design secrets – who has them, what are they, and why won’t someone tell us? It turns out, we only needed to ask – insider insights from Amanda Teal kick off our “Sitting With” series. Amanda creates beautiful interiors across the country, and shares her process, inspirations…and a few secrets!
What is your background? How did you get into design?
When I was in my early 20’s, I rode horses professionally. I met Rebecca Bradley, an SF based interior designer, at the barn and we bonded over our love of horses and design. A career in interior design seemed like an unattainable dream. I was always attracted to design and had an eye for it, but Rebecca showed me how to harness those inclinations and turn them into a career. She recommended that I take some design classes and start as an intern at her design office. I enrolled that week. Working for Rebecca was an incredible experience. She taught me all about the design business, the technical aspects of design, and the nuances of luxury. I started at the bottom and worked my way up over the course of a few years. It was fast paced, creative, and a lot of hard work. I loved it.
Your work is so clean, how do you achieve that without it seeming too precious?
Thank you! A good portion of my clients are families with children, so precious isn’t an option. I don’t believe in having pieces in your home that you can’t use and enjoy. I believe that comfort is the ultimate luxury, so I pay special attention to proportion and line when choosing furniture.
Do you tend to have tried and true favorites that find themselves into every project?
Natural materials make their way into all my projects. I tend to use a lot of linen, cotton, and wool fabrics. I also use woven sea grass and sisal floor coverings quite a bit.
What is your favorite resource for a splurge? For a steal?
I tend to splurge on lighting and antique rugs. Woven Accents is my go to rug vendor, and I love everything at Urban Electric in Charleston. When I need some art or accessories for a steal, I’ll pop by the Alameda Antiques Faire or browse Etsy.
What is your favorite recent project and what made it special?
I am currently working on my favorite project. It is 5000 SqFt new build modern Spanish home. The client has a terrific sense of humor, impeccable style, and completely trusts us. It’s a perfect situation. This home is going to be the definition of barefooted elegance.
Is there a project you fantasize about doing some day?
One of my passions is travel. As such, I would love to do some international work. A flat in London, a farm house in Provence, a canal house in Amsterdam.
Do you have a signature and does it find its way into every project?
Our signature is casual elegance. I like environments that feel laid back, not overly decorated but still pulled together. A major component in creating that feeling is really understanding the client, who they are, how they live, and how they aspire to live. When a house is a true reflection of someone’s personality, it innately feels like a home.
Is there a current trend that you love and think will endure?
We are using a lot of Moroccan and Italian plaster elements lately. Plaster can be soft and modern looking, but earthy at the same time.
What are your favorite pieces on Previously Owned by a Gay man and how would you use them in a project?
I found a few favorite pieces that I would use to create a cozy little breakfast nook. I would start with a simple pedestal table and then layer in the following…
would look great with this mix and matched pillow set
Next I would layer in this white wooden chandelier. I would add linen or paper shades to dress it up, or use a globe shaped bulb to give a more casual feeling.
Finally, I would add these chunky woven chairs
To see more of Amanda’s beautiful work visit amandatealdesign.com.