A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo {yes, ABCD Design was inspired by her actual initials!} is an artist, designer and stylist based in New York City. Her blog is collection of images, sketches, formal design inspiration and casual ramblings of a diversified designer.

Today, she answers a few of our favorite questions – why the slow home movement is a favorite trend, best design suggestions, and how ‘transitionalism’ defines her style – while sharing a tour of her NYC apartment that might easily double as a spread from House Beautiful {and don’t forget to check in on the renovation project of her new Connecticut country home on her blog}.

Her design philosophy is simple: no matter what design medium you are working with – a painting or sculpture, design of an interior space, an arrangement of flowers, or when styling a beautiful plate of food – one must always follow the same elements of design. In order to create a beautiful product there must be unity, flow, texture, harmonizing color, balance and a focal point to please the eye.

Amy Beth’s education and training is as uniquely diverse as it is design-oriented. She first studied fine art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, then completed a six-month chef-training program in NYC at the Natural Gourmet Institute and finally earned a Certificate in Floral Design from Parsons School of Art and Design. She has worked in event planning, interior design, window display, and photo styling {whew!}.

But let’s jump right in…

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{PDB Interview with Amy Beth of ABCD Design}

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What inspires your design style?

My interior design aesthetic is rooted in transitionalism. Does that sound like an oxy-moron? Here’s what I mean: I don’t want to walk in a room and be able to pinpoint when it was decorated. I believe that the home should be an amalgamation of the items that the owner loves. Layering pieces from different eras that fit your taste will fuse to form a relaxing environment that reflects your personality. I am particularly drawn to pieces that are difficult to place in history. They are the perfect bridge between rustic and modern, traditional and today.

Amy Beth’s gorgeous living room

What do you love most about what you do?

What do I do again? LOL! Kidding. Seriously, I have lived about 5 lives since I attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I have worked for a knitwear designer, in interior design, window display and styling, floral design, and most recently, I have been creating bespoke wedding stationery designs.

I derive immense pleasure from creating things that are visually beautiful. Nothing is more gratifying than creating something that brings happiness and satisfies the visual pleasure of others. Whether it is preparing a colorful plate of food, or creating a space that feels like home sweet home the moment they walk through the door, or surprising someone with a gorgeous arrangement of flowers, the act of making something that brings peace of mind and contentment, even if it’s just visual pleasure is a pretty amazing thing.

An example from her unique line of stationary

What are your favorite design trends?

I don’t necessarily like the idea of trends. I’d much rather see someone live without until they find the best piece that reflects their own personal style. That being said, I totally understand updating a look with pillows, textiles and other soft furnishings to reflect colors and textures that are happening currently in the marketplace. These small items can be switched out easily and at a relatively small investment compared to case furniture and upholstered pieces.

I have recently seen a lot of articles written about obtaining a smaller life and the slow home movement. We’ve all heard of the the Slow Food Movement, right? Now apply it to all aspects of your personal lifestyle at home. I’d like to see the local Mom + Pop artisans get the job over mass manufacturers overseas. I want to see quality take place of quantity. It’s eco friendly, more budget friendly, and it generally feels better.

What are three design suggestions that you would like to offer our readers?

{1} Live with what you love. If you’re truly honest with yourself and you select items for your home that you believe are beautiful, your home will be a perfect reflection and representation of your personality.

{2} Don’t ‘save’ your ‘good’ things to use only on special occasions. My motto is simple: “Life is short. Eat off the good china!” I know, you received beautiful china for your wedding and it sits on the shelf collecting dust until you pull it out of the hutch for holidays and special occasions. So what if you break a dish once in a blue moon? You can replace chipped or broken pieces. In 50 years time when they’ve stopped making your pattern- THAT is when you can be dainty with it. Until then, use it! Bring it out of the cupboard everyday and enjoy it. There doesn’t have to be fancy food upon the plate to warrant a fine dining experience.

NYC apartment kitchen

{3} Display collections or groups of items in odd numbers. 3 or 5 of something always looks better than a grouping of 2 or 4 of the same item.

Her sketchbook-meets-blog style of sharing display tips

Thank you, Amy Beth!

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