You are known for a specific - and very luxurious - look. Tell us about your aesthetic. "I've been doing this for 35 years and have always had a classic or traditional bent. We have to evolve into the 21st century, so I try to make my work evolve as well. I want to come back in five or 10 years to something I've done and still like it. And the key to that is to not make something too trendy or of-the-moment."
Is that hard to do when there is so much demand for hi-tech amenities in the home? "Yes - because the latest technology is outdated in minutes. So, as designers, we have to give ourselves room to grow. I've been in that situation myself: I had a 42-inch television for which I built a beautiful frame. But now I want a larger screen TV so I literally have to reinvent the wall. I probably should have known better."
What are your tips for merging the classical with the modern? "It involves a certain amount of skill to blend the old and the new. We can all have the latest in technological advances, but we also want comfort. Nothing should be cold or austere. There should be some warmth, something fuzzy that you can wrap yourself around. At the end of the day, your home is your respite from the world. That's why I'm always striving to make things a little bit softer and more luxurious looking."
Tell us about your projects in Asia. "We are doing a Toy Story Hotel at Shanghai Disneyland, and another hotel at Hong Kong Disneyland. Previously, we completed The Park Residence, in Taichung [in Taiwan], which was interesting because the client was looking for a Western experience but it had to be anchored in Taiwanese culture. That meant keeping parts of the home private - reception spaces to receive guests - but then most other parts of the home are off-limits to anyone who is not family."
Who has been your design inspiration? "My first employer, Stan Topol, in Atlanta, Georgia, is an exceptionally talented man. He was, and still is, a master of interiors. He has a trained eye to lay out any room to make it function practically yet still evoke excitement. He was a big proponent of keeping design classic and avoiding anything overtly trendy, so the room would last for many years to come."