“Design is more than aesthetics”, explains Byron Risdon. “It’s about creating a feeling.” That’s something the designer always incorporates into his work, which spans a wide range of styles, from historic spaces to mid-century modern spaces—all with a thoughtful touch Look at the practicality.
Take, for example, an apartment he designed for a teacher in his hometown of Washington, DC: The small but mighty space created for teaching from home during the pandemic includes living, dining, and Workspaces in a modest footprint. And while it’s a rental, it’s packed with textures and even individual pieces – many of which can be boxed up and moved around when the time comes.
Risdon has carefully perfected this juxtaposition of functional practicality and individual design over time. After grad school, he started decorating friends’ houses in Atlanta for fun, and then really got into the industry when he moved to New York and got a job with designer Gary Crain. Now he’s paving his own way in the country’s capital, with projects there and beyond.
“My goal when designing a space is always to make my clients feel that their home is a place of comfort and harmony,” says Risdon. With his thoughtful approach and talented eye, it always is.
Meet Byron Risdon:
Which project are you particularly proud of and why?
A small DC apartment completed in Summer 2020. The apartment is really tiny and while I’m no stranger to small spaces, the client was downsizing and still wanted to be able to use the new smaller space just as much as the previous larger one. I had to use my experiences from living in NYC apartments to give him everything he wanted and still make him feel at home.
What characterizes your work?
I approach each project with a fresh perspective and understand that every space and client is different and needs to be treated accordingly. And always decorate without fear!
What or who was your first design crush?
Vern Yip from his Trading Spaces days.
Your current design crush?
Neal Becksteadt, I’m obsessed with his work
Where do you look for inspiration?
Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. I firmly believe that there is always more to learn and that we are all unique and talented in our own way. Why not take a lesson from someone else?
What would surprise us if we found out about you?
I’m really introverted, I don’t like attention or talk about myself. This whole questionnaire was very difficult!
For less than $100 – or even free! – which decoration trick has the greatest effect?
lampshades. Ditch the plain white hue and trade it in for a colored or patterned one. You don’t even have to replace the lamp.
What is the first thing someone should do when moving into a new apartment?
Measure! Stop guessing that things will work out and really take your time and create a plan.
What is overrated when it comes to decorating?
Styling…there’s this idea, it has to be “magazine ready”, but the key is to show things you love and love to see every day.
What is underestimated when decorating?
window decorations. I’m big on window treatments, whether custom or retail. They add texture and a layer of softness and depth to a room.
What’s your favorite and why?
Thing to collect:
I have a tall glass vase filled with concert, movie and travel tickets. It’s a simple vase filler and a lovely memento of some favorite destinations and events over the years.
Like chips, you can’t have just one. I like to mix pieces from different styles that complement each other.
Lately I’ve really been into deep, moody reds
Artist or artwork:
The works of William Artis, he had a remarkable way of truly capturing the beauty of black Americans
Local shopping destination:
Haute Fabrics, they have a huge selection
I’m a total auction junkie! I spend far too much time with live auctioneers.
Bali, Indonesia. I have never felt so comfortable on vacation. It was difficult to walk.
Decorative item you buy on Amazon:
pillow inserts. They are something I always need/use and who doesn’t love Prime shipping!
Keep following House Beautiful Instagram.
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