La Dolce Vita The Style Files: Timothy Corrigan

Source: La Dolce Vita

Author: Paloma Contreras

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I first met Timothy Corrigan in November of 2011 at the opening gala for the Maison de Luxe showhouse at the storied Greystone Estate in Beverly Hills. I was immediately struck by Timothy’s warm demeanor and obvious talent as evidenced in the room he’d designed for the showhouse. Over the years, he has become a major inspiration. Not only has Timothy’s work been featured in some of the design world’s most important publications including Architectural Digest, ELLE DECOR, House Beautiful, Town & Country, but his clients include Hollywood celebrities and international royalty alike. Timothy has been hailed as “Today’s Tastemaker” by Architectural Digest, has been part of the AD Top 100 for the past nine years, and has been heralded as one of the World’s Top 40 Interior Designers by The Robb Report. All of these accolades and a super-exclusive roster of clients may sound a bit intimidating, but Timothy also happens to be one of the most down-to-earth and personable designers I have the pleasure of knowing.


Prior to founding his eponymous design firm in 1998, Timothy had an accomplished career in advertising living in both New York and Paris. His life-long love of design was evident in his Parisian apartment when it was published and his career as a designer took off soon after. Timothy and I have spoken at a couple of the same design conferences and I find him to be one of the most engaging and inspiring speakers for designers and design lovers alike. His past career in advertising gives him such a unique perspective. His insight about marketing, branding, and business is nothing short of brilliant. I have learned a tremendous amount from Timothy all while admiring the beautiful spaces he designs. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, you absolutely should! In fact, he will be delivering the morning keynote at the Houston Decorative Center’s Spring Market this Thursday, May 1st at 10:30 am. Recently, Timothy and I discussed the restoration of his beautiful chateau in France which is the topic of his first tome, An Invitation to Chateau du Grand Luce, his new line of fabrics and furniture with Schumacher along with rugs for Patterson Flynn Martin, as well as the source of his inspiration and some of his favorite things. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Timothy Corrigan as much as I have!


Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?
Timothy Corrigan: A magazine once described my style as “European elegance infused with California casual” and I really think that it is a great summation of what I try to achieve. I spend half of my time in Europe and the other half in California, so it really does fit my life as well as my design style. While I love so much of the European design aesthetic, there is something very special about the ease of life in California—so if you can have a blend of the tow, you have the best of both worlds!

{Neoclassical Elegance}

PC: Has splitting your time between your home in Los Angeles and your chateau in France influenced the way you decorate?

TC: I first moved to Paris more than 25 years ago and have pretty much kept a place in France ever since. While I feel so blessed to be an American and Californian, I often feel more at home in France. I love the way that in America you can make just about anything happen, but there is something about the French respect for culture, history, and tradition that really resonates with me. For me, California is all about comfort, casual living, and open self-expression and I try to bring those elements to all of our design projects, whether they are in New York City, London, or the Middle East.

{An Aerial View of Timothy’s Stunning Chateau du Grand-Luce}

PC: What do you love most about being an interior designer?

TC: Whether we are working on a hotel lobby, a restaurant, a small beach house, or a 35-room villa, the most enjoyable part of my job is figuring out how that space can be designed for maximum livability and use. I hate walking into a space in which people look as if they are stiff and uncomfortable. You have to get so many aspects right: the flow, lighting, furniture, colors, details… all of those elements combine to create a space that people WANT to spend time in!

{A Chic and Masculine Bedroom}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

TC: The most important thing is to keep exposing yourself to new ideas, new styles, new places. One of the things that I particularly value about being in other cultures is that you start to realize that there is no “right” or “wrong” way of doing most everything. There are just different ways of seeing things. It is so easy to let yourself get into an “auto-pilot” way of living, and when you do that, you stagnate. It’s good to put yourself in situations where you feel a bit unfamiliar, because, in doing so, you stretch as a person. I constantly keep pushing myself to grow, experience, and learn new things.

{A Lovely Vignette of Blue, White, and Green}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

TC: Taking a Saturday or Sunday without working!

{An Inviting Los Angeles Backyard Designed by Timothy Corrigan}

PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

TC: Never get so big or busy with your career that you don’t stay directly involved on every project that you or your firm is handling. As a designer, your “fingerprint” should be everywhere on the project. Too many designers get big and busy and they don’t have time to have that kind of involvement on each project. When you lose touch with that, both you and the job suffer!

PC: Finish this sentence. Before I die, I’d like to…

TC: … help people understand the direct correlation between one’s surrounding and their well-being. Our homes and places of work should be designed to allow us to be our very best selves.

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

TC: Jean-Charles Moreux who lived in Paris from 1889 to 1956 did it all. He was an architect, he designed interiors, he created furniture and he did landscape design. In short, he was a true renaissance man. He believed, as I do, in the importance of creating a fully integrated environment. Moreux’s furniture took classical forms as their basis and then shifted them to make them feel more contemporary, provocative, fresh, and alive. He mixed wood finishes and materials in unexpected ways. I have tried to do the same thing with my new furniture collection for Schumacher: the Saltworks chair is directly inspired by the 18th century Royal Saltworks buildings in Arc-et-Senans, France. While it has a distinctly contemporary feeling, the design of the chair is based on the columns from these iconic buildings. I was recently in a Schumacher showroom and people were looking at the chair as if it were a beautiful piece of sculpture. How wonderful that a piece of furniture can be beautiful, comfortable, and practical—all at the same time    

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

TC: Without a doubt, the time I spend at my home in the French countryside, the Chateau du Grand-Luce, is when I feel that I am truly living “la dolce vita;” for me, things don’t get any sweeter than that! Surrounded by family and friends, we take long walks in the woods, playing card and board games, taking naps, and sitting for hours in front of the fire—having the kinds of conversations that people don’t make time for anymore. It’s almost like going back in time to when life was all much slower and people really had the time to be with each other. This is the place where I find the true sweetness of life. When I am there, I continually give thanks that I have been so lucky in my life.

{One of the Many Beautiful Bedrooms at the Chateau du Grand-Luce}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

TC: The first introduction of my china collection for Royal Limoges is debuting this spring, and next I will be designing a collection of bathroom fixtures for the amazing French plumbing company, THG. My head is brimming with ideas because it will be the first time that I am designing detailed metalworks. They are truly the Rolls-Royce of plumbing and their products are like jewelry for the home. Developing collections for Schumacher, Patterson Flynn Martin, Royal Limoges, and now THG has been one of the true highlights of my career: how lucky to get to work with the best in their respective fields of product.

{Furniture and Fabrics from Timothy Corrigan’s Line for Schumacher Comingle with a Stylish Rug from his Line for Patterson Flynn Martin}



Flower: Anemone, Star of Bethlehem, and Hyacinth

Color I Never Tire Of: Blue

Indispensible Design Element: Practical Fabrics and Finishes

Fabric/Textile: “Cap Ferrat” from my Collection for Schumacher

Hostess Gift: Timothy Corrigam Home candle—my personal favorite is “Maison en Ville”.

Favorite Meal: Dessert

3 Things I Love About My Cities: Los Angeles: The light, the mountains, and the sense that anything is possible. Paris: The museums, the culture, and the passion for quality

Hotel: Four Seasons in Florence



Museum: The Nissim-Camondo in Paris—a recreation of 18th century life in France

Artist: Walter Gay, John Singer Sargent, Jacques-Louis David, Carolus-Duran, Veronese

Actress: Meryl Streep

Risk Worth Taking: Following your passion… life is too precious to spend a moment doing anything less!

Greatest Extravagance: My house in the Loire Valley in France

{Images Courtesy of Timothy Corrigan}

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