A conversation with Patricia Gaye Tapp

P. Gaye Tapp Interior Design and little augury, , Raleigh, NC

1. What UECo light do you like to use the most and why?

Urban Smokebell. It's a perfect balance of modern and period design- a real design chameleon.

2. What is your design philosophy?

I like to find inspiration in the past and adapt it to today's needs and avoid trends like the plague!

3. What do you collect?

My collecting is erratic. I see something endearing and add it to the house-sometimes it fits into a collection, sometimes not. The collection is not as important as bringing things into the house that I love. I have collected textiles consistently for many years. Whether a scrap of some old silk rescued from an upholsterer's scrap heap or an 18th century French lampas; I gravitate to fabrics of every kind. One of my favorite finds is an Indian coat from Chessy Rayner's personal collection and my luckiest find was a stack of Chanel Italian wools from the 1950's.

4. What are your favorite paint colors to use?

Honestly-the project dictates the choices I make for paint. I vow to return to this one or that, but inevitably I don't. The paints of Farrow and Ball are lovely-but for me impractical, I can't order again and again for trying paint color possibilities. I want them accessible and easily tweaked. My personal favorites are smoky, 'undefinable' colors. I used a color from Duron called Drifting Spirits for a room in my house. I could have it in every room and it would evoke something unique to each space. It is completely enigmatic.

5. What is your favorite part of a home to design and why?

The places where family gather. Some call it the den or the family room, others, the living room, but whatever one calls it, it is a place where the family could huddle together when the power goes out. This room was such an important part of my home growing up. We spent family time in the den, but the formal living room was used for very informal family gatherings as well.

6. What are your favorite design books?

It's impossible to be objective about my books! There are so many favorites, but a few I will mention: Billy Baldwin Decorates, Rooms by Carl Skoggard and Derry Moore, Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler both by Martin Wood and Roomscapes The Decorative Architecture of Renzo Mongiardino. For the most sound advice on interior design I've read Edith Wharton & Ogden Codman's The Decoration of Houses. This fall I've added The Invention of the Past: Interior Design and Architecture of Studio Peregalli to the list.

7. Three design resources you can't live without?

I really could not work without a good showroom and its representatives. Living in a small town, I continue to rely on showrooms like Ainsworth Noah, Grizzel and Mann and others in Atlanta to find what I need instantly. I find blogs full of resources and inspiration and many times the inspiration is the more valuable! Charlotte Moss's website is full of inspiration and the design firm of Nicky Haslam writes a blog that is an endless source of inspiration. Lastly, I am always considering important rooms from the past that relate to current projects. Historic Rooms and houses hold a wealth of inspiration.

8. What is something people many not know about your firm?

People are likely to be introduced to my firm for the first time with this interview! The firm is ME. After leaving a design firm many years ago, I have been my longest, best and most loyal employee. Other than a terrific assistant for several years, I've stayed small with "intention."

9. Best design tips you have learned from experience?

For me creating a vocabulary for each project is essential. Some to add to every project's list are: Timeless and Individual.

10. Your six picks of favorite UECo lights?


• Obviously Urban Smokebell is one.
• The Campion Hanging light is a close second as my favorite. Again, it's a wonderful balance of modern and period design.
Shaw is ideal for hanging in a nearby room to Campion.
Morris Ribbon- I instantly want to start singing "I'm putting on my white tie- brushing off my tails."
The Balfour sconce is so sleek in all white.
• Finally I must add Punch in my six picks; it makes me smile!