It is difficult to believe that Chloe Redmond Warner, the impeccably turned-out interior designer of the eclectic-modern South Wine+Food Bar, was raised in Montana by "hippie" parents. Turns out Chloe spent her childhood "obsessed" with her East Coast grandparents, whose Maine house was her summer base. "They were so stylish," she says. Warner's education also kept her on the East Coast, where after graduation from Mount Holyoke, a stint in San Francisco was followed by a move back east to attend Harvard's Architecture program, which Chloe found "too theoretical." She didn't exactly thrive, she recalls, knowing all the while she wanted to do interior design. Fortunately her thesis project of ten unique elevator concepts was "all about creating mini-worlds." Finally she was able to implement her ideas about surface and decoration.
Chloe's signature look: "I would say it's 'granny,' but people tell me not to use that word!" That's probably because no one can imagine a granny as chic as Chloe's must have been. "Ok, how about post-preppy glam? I like to think about what a rich Republican in the seventies would have done, and then push it further with weird colors and too much pattern."
For the South project, the Australian Kiwi owners told her, "the weirder the better." So Chloe invented a new imaginary client. "A handsome, rugged uncle, not very PC, who hunts, drinks, and collects things. He's straight, but not afraid to love unexpected stuff." What this translates to are ostrich skin banquettes, antique bird prints, drapes with a dramatically large flower print, modern plywood lights by David Trubridge below an inky ceiling, and a mosaic bar topped with an amazing slab of California Walnut.
Chloe is thrilled about the direction her career is headed. She and her business partner, Tyler Dawson, who sometimes collaborate, sometimes not, tend to "amplify rather than compliment" each other. They currently have their hands full with several residential projects that run the gamut from urban to elegant. But Chloe can't help being especially thrilled with her increasingly audacious clientele. One of the firm's current clients has requested a "Slim Keith meets Elvira Hancock," decor. Elvira Hancock? Chloe breaks into a smile, "Yes, Michelle Pfeiffer's character in Scarface! Love that!"
We asked Chloe to free associate on several hot topics in decorating: Symmetry? Oh, yes, I'm a Virgo. I love symmetry! Lights? Everything on dimmer, that's non-negotiable. And you need multiple sources. 3 levels if possible, starting below eye level and working up. Books? My collection is organized by color, and I love the Vitamin P and Vitamin D books. Collections? Taxidermy and bird prints. I have a ram's head from my grandfather's 1940 shooting trip to Alaska. Holiday decorations? Lights, fresh flowers, wreaths. I love to get my craft on, the smell of hot glue!