Company: Libby Interiors, Inc.
About Libby Langdon: As the creative mind behind Libby Interiors, Inc., a New York City-based design firm, Libby Langdon is a celebrated interior designer, product designer, author, and makeover TV personality. Known for her “easy, elegant, everyday style,” Libby is heralded as a creative force with extensive industry acclaim across interior design, lighting, designer rugs, accent furniture and more. Her collections boast fresh and sleek silhouettes for modern lifestyles, making elegant and thoughtful designs more attainable. With her signature updated twist, the Libby Langdon Lighting Collection for Crystorama showcases transitional chandeliers and lighting fixtures with the power to instantly elevate the design of any home. We recently spoke with Libby to learn more about her aesthetic, vision, and life as a trendsetter and all around design industry creative muse.
Q – As the mind behind New York City-based design firm, Libby Interiors, Inc., how did your career guide you to working with Crystorama and Kas Rugs?
A – I started working as an interior designer on makeover TV on a FOX show called Design Invasion where I would have 12 hours and $6,000 to makeover a room I’d never actually seen in person before. Working in makeover TV got me traveling into real peoples’ homes across America, and I started to notice a common thread of similar design dilemma’s they were facing. I knew at some point I would want to design and create product collections that were looks I thought they would want to live with. I was very clear that when I created my product lines, I wanted the consumer to be able to buy them directly. Rather than designing product that is only sold through designer trade showrooms at a much higher price, I wanted to offer designer styles, but directly to the consumer. I wanted to partner with companies that had great retail partners where my products could be seen and experienced in person in a store, as well as offered on an online setting that would be super accessible, even if the product isn’t available in a nearby store.
I understand that there are buyers that want to “kick the tires” and see something in person before they buy it, as well as folks that prefer to just discover it online and have it arrive on their doorstep. I’m so happy that both KAS and Crystorama have wonderful retail and e-commerce partners; it fulfills my vision of being able to share great products with everyone! I think another aspect of what I do that’s different is the way I share interior design inspiration and information with people. Whether in my book about Small Space Solutions, or doling out design tips and tactics on makeover TV, I like to arm people with as much home style advice as possible. This accessible approach has served me well when it comes to promoting the pieces I design and “telling the story.” When I’m able to share my design perspective, that allows me to seek new partnerships and find what’s a good fit for me. I don’t want to partner with a company that’s already producing looks that I would want to design – that doesn’t seem to help them or me. It cannibalizes their existing business rather than bringing them new design options and introducing a new audience.
Q – Your designs are sometimes characterized as “easy, elegant, [and] everyday” where classic lines combine with a modern twist. If you had to choose three exemplary products, what would they be and why?
A – My “Madison” Outdoor Rug in Ocean Blue from my Hampton’s Collection for KAS – This speaks to the “everyday” aspect of my interior design philosophy. It’s an outdoor rug but the construction, quality and feel of it make it a great choice for an indoor space as well. I think that outdoor rugs are a fabulous and functional solution for my clients “real” life – filled with kids, pets and entertaining friends (think red wine).
– My new Sylvan Large Globe Chandelier in Polished Nickel – This speaks to the “elegant” element in my design style. I love that the overall size of the fixture is 40” in diameter; it’s dramatic and large in scale but because of the open lantern-like globe style, it feels open and airy and not clunky. It’s a statement making fixture but still transitional enough in design style to work well with many other lighting fixtures.
– My “Brick by Brick” Wool Rug in Pumice and Spa Aqua from My Soho Collection for KAS – This rug speaks to the “easy” way I create designs. I want to offer people looks that are accessible and chic but will be pieces they want to live with for a long time. I think the two-tone pale aqua/spa colors mixed with a nice, neutral tan are very livable looks that can work with many different design styles. The quality and construction of this rug is incredible and the value and style quota make it seem like it’s far pricier piece than it is. I also like the graphic pattern as it can be modern and geometric but it can also look like a classic brick/trellis, which would work with so many different fabric patterns and colorways.
Q – As a leading designer, what’s your take on the finishes that are “in” and “out” in 2018 for lighting and textiles?
A – Pleasing Primary’s – A core palette we will be seeing in 2018 is a return to primary colors like bright red, intense summer sky blue and sunshine yellow and these can be combined with black accents for a dramatic sleek look or used with neutrals like tans and gray for a more transitional look. They may not all be shown together as primaries but I’m sure we will see some fabrics with patterns that incorporate the colors all together. This color trend is influenced by the revival of the Mid-Century modern movement and how it has made its way into the mainstream design world. It’s appealing to all levels of consumers – a nod to artwork like Mondrian.
– Miami Art Deco – This palette is the next incarnation of the Cuban color influences we are seeing right now. It’s inspired by the muted tones of the Floridian Art Deco looks in pale blues, soft aqua, mint green, and sun kissed coral. They are soothing colorations and I think the application of them to home décor will be isolated to choosing just one pretty, pale color and mixing it with neutrals like gray, tan or cream for balance and an elegant look. This color palette is inspired by vacation style and the feeling we get when we travel to a warm weather place as well as a culture snapshot from the Miami Design and Art District.
– Bright Bohemian – We’re currently seeing Jewel tones (reds, deep teals, rich blues, and dark golds) right now and many of them are in ethnic, eclectic patterns. But in 2018, we will start to see bright purples, brilliant blues, light teals, and soft citrine in vague “powder” like patterns, almost a mix between an ikat and tie dye look. It’s a misty twist and an updated pattern look that can almost look like abstract art. This color trend is influenced by the incredible popularity of music festivals and the hip, fashion-forward audiences that attend them.
– Desert Sunset – This palette is based on natures colors found in the desert at dusk; a slate blue sky with coral clouds, a brilliant yellow sun, a muted green cactus, and soft tan sand – it’s a very livable and transitional color combination. This is a mix that creates a very relaxing mood and while you may not use all the colors together at the same time, you can isolate one or two colors using the slate blue as a base while creating a design that both “he” and “she” will agree on. I think this color trend is inspired by the fact that coastal looks have been on trend for so long and this is a fresh take on using the great outdoors as inspiration and a departure from a beachy color palette.
– For me “Traditional with an updated twist” is a current design style and trend that’s rooted in classic elements. I like to use all the one-on-one time I spend with clients to help inform my designs. They are my ultimate research and development group and I find that their styles are mostly transitional with a little something special thrown in. I find with lighting, both people want to weigh in on the style – the man and the woman – and my collection incorporates a combination of masculine and feminine lines. With the Sylvan there’s an angular outer frame that’s softened by the sloping arms of the inner chandelier. The combination of bright polished nickel finish, the scale of the fixture and the soft linen shades make it a dynamic stand-alone piece. The Masefield collection has contemporary shapes but a softer looking silver bamboo frame and linen inner shade. The bamboo is an appealing shape and style for the fashion forward. The Jennings collection mixes my bold graphic pattern with a soft round shape and the inner linen shade. I like the silver finishes and find that’s the look that people are wanting to live with for a long time!
Q – In Daykeover with Libby Langdon, you transform a client’s home from “drab to fab” in less than 12 hours. If any of our readers wanted to transform their home overnight, what three to four things would get them started?
A – Perk up your place with paint: A quick fix that you can do is paint an accent wall in your room. It’s so easy and inexpensive to paint just one wall and it can add a big bright color hit that will make your room feel completely different! Walls that are good candidates for an accent color are a wall that your bed is on, a fireplace wall or the wall that your sofa is on. And be bold, have some fun! When you get tired of it, it will take you no time flat to go over it with another color!
– Tall Lamp (vs. Small lamp): I never understand when I walk into someone’s small space and they have small lamps (and sometimes only one or two of them). Somehow they think in a small space everything needs to be small scale but actually accessories such as lamps and artwork should be large. Not only will tall lamps add scale and height to a room but they also give off more light and if you have dark areas that are not lit well, it’s as if that square footage is not there, thus making your space look and feel smaller! Think in terms of lighting all four corners of your room, it will feel warm and inviting and look so much bigger!
– Add a New Large Area Rug: Visually a large rug can totally transform the look of a room as well as the existing furnishings that will be placed on top of it. It can add a color pop if there’s a design to it or a simple, solid rug can add a cozy feel. A large rug gives an expansive feel and makes any room look and feel much larger.
– Bring in a Big Mirror to Reflect Light: A big mirror is a great way to instantly transform a space. When hung on a wall opposite a window it can act like another window, practically doubling the amount of natural light it receives as well as reflecting lamplight at night.
Q – Outdoor living is clearly a rising trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Amid your outdoor designs, you have placed yourself in the center of this new way of living. In your view, is it consumer or designers driving this trend?
A – It’s such an exciting time in outdoor living right now, people in all different climates are seeing that living outside happens a lot longer than just from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Like many city dwellers, I live in New York City part of the week and then in the Hamptons the rest of the week, and we love our home in Sag Harbor even more September through May than in the height of the summer. I work on many projects for clients on Long Island and I find the overwhelming design look and feel that clients request the most, mixes sophistication, comfort, and a dash family fun. There’s a certain ease that we all look for when we escape the urban madness, we want to walk by the ocean, breathe in greenery, relax with family and friends, and of course enjoy spending time outdoors. I’m a big believer that our outdoor spaces should be as dynamic as our indoor spaces and it’s about creating the same comfortable, intimate, and livable feel in our exteriors.
Q – As we glide into the summer months, our readers are in all states of reimagining their outdoor spaces. Where are some places to start without breaking the bank? And if an outdoor space is well established and in need of finishing touches, what would those be in your view?
A – A Rug Foundation: Outdoor rugs are the best way to delineate and establish an outdoor living space; they immediately soften the feel of deck or tile flooring and create parameters on the best placement for furniture seating areas.
– Create Enough Seating: Outdoor furniture is smaller in scale than indoor upholstery, so even on a smaller porch, you should take the same approach that you would for an inside living room. Combine a sofa, chairs, an ottoman and side tables to make it feel like a real room and not just a pass through space. Outdoor furniture is lighter in weight so it can be easily moved if your guest list grows.
– Eye Popping Pattern Mix: Avoid having your outdoor furniture all covered in the same fabric. On a sofa, use a solid fabric and then combine different patterns in the same colorways on chairs and smaller pieces to make it look more dynamic and designed. Throw pillows are also important to break up a solid sofa fabric.
– Don’t Skimp on Lighting: We use outdoor spaces at night as much as during the day and soft lighting from an outdoor chandelier is an unexpected way to create the same ambiance as indoors. If you don’t have a covered porch for a chandelier, outdoor lamps are weighted to withstand wind, they have a special wiring/bulb system meant to be outside as well as lampshades made from Sunbrella fabric. They’ve thought of everything!
– Add Drama with Drapes: Outdoor drapery fabric and hardware are designed to withstand all weather elements and on a small porch by mounting drapes up to the ceiling, they visually draw your eye upward, making the ceiling seem higher and the space seem larger. You want to make sure that the drapes don’t block a great view, but they can be a fantastic tool to block things you do not want to look at, like a side wall or AC unit.
Q – What’s the inspiration behind your Crystorama outdoor lighting line and your Kas Hampton’s collection?
A – As a designer, it has been such a challenge for me to find outdoor lighting fixtures that are as stylish and as dynamic as the indoor fixtures I offer clients. This was my inspiration to create my outdoor Crystorama Lighting! I’m thrilled to be able to offer fabulous and functional collections for Crystorama that blur the lines between indoor and outdoor décor! It’s an exciting time in the outdoor furniture and home décor industry. People are realizing that they can create complete, cozy and comfortable outdoor rooms the same way they would their indoor rooms. One of the most important elements in any space is lighting and I was super focused on designing outdoor fixtures for my Crystorama lighting collections that would illuminate and also look great!
For my Hampton’s outdoor rug collections for KAS, I used outdoor spaces I design for my real clients as my inspiration for the collections and color palettes. I see people wanting to have fun with color and cushion pattern fabrics outdoor and take design risks that they may not take inside their homes. The exterior spaces are a license to have fun! Rugs that have borders or simple block borders allow you to use a fun patterned fabric on furniture and not make it too overwhelming, as it would feel if you had a patterned rug and patterned fabrics. I want them to be user-friendly and I also know how great it is to use an outdoor rug in an interior space. It’s chic, comfortable, stylish and oh so functional!
Q – What’s your take on eclectic pairings of unique lighting fixtures versus matching lighting elements in either indoor or outdoor spaces? Is there a comfortable mix or is it a personal preference in your view?
A – I’m seeing the outdoor living sector as one of the fastest growing in the home furnishings industry today. I encourage folks to think of their outdoor spaces as an extension of their indoor spaces and to treat it as if they’ve built an addition and gained valuable square footage. I also like the idea of blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor décor, with my collection of outdoor furniture for NorthCape so many people comment that the furniture looks like indoor furniture and that’s by design. The best way I’ve created dynamic exteriors is to approach the design the same way I would an interior living space. I mix fabrics, patterns, materials, and collections to add visual interest to the overall design. I would never use all the same furniture collection and all the same cushion fabric on the inside of someone’s home, so why would I do that in an outside space? Avoiding ‘matchy-matchy’ and creating an eclectic mix adds depth and dimension to any outdoor space and helps to achieve a fashion-forward look. The fabulous introduction of fire/heating elements for a consumer use – not just commercial use – has extended the useable time of outdoor rooms and exterior spaces.
We’ve done so well with my Jennings indoor collection in the polished nickel and aged brass finish I wanted to re-imagine it as an outdoor collection in a rich dark bronze finish. It’s a whole new take on my timeless trellis pattern and although it’s rated for outdoor use, it can certainly be used indoors as well. It brings big style inside or outside!
So often people want to use simple neutral fabrics on their outdoor furniture cushions so why not spice up the space with a super stylish chandelier and outdoor fixtures? A statement fixture with a pattern like the Jennings can add a big design look and also add a good amount of light to an outdoor space! I prefer a diffused outdoor lighting fixture rather than seeing a fixture with an exposed bulb. This is one of the reasons I love my Jennings collection so much, there’s still a great amount of light given off but it’s a warm and inviting look. With My Sylvan outdoor collection for Crystorama, I worked to create a fresh, updated look on the typical outdoor lantern in the rich black finish, and I like the open outer frame which feels open and airy. I’m excited because I think my Sylvan outdoor lighting collection answers the call for beautiful outdoor lighting that isn’t cookie cutter. It offers an unexpected design punch to your outdoor spaces but can also be used indoors!
Q – What’s the future of outdoor living in your view? Is there a “next level” on the horizon or is the phenomenon going to reach a plateau at some point?
A – I think the next level of outdoor décor is just arriving to the mainstream consumer – it’s outdoor ceiling to floor. People are realizing they can now create and design a total outdoor space just as chic as any indoor space and the home furnishings industry is answering the call with all sorts of products to make outdoor living as dynamic as possible. The same creature comforts that make our interior spaces warm and inviting are now available for exterior spaces; everything from outdoor rugs, lamps, drapes, chandeliers, wall hangings, throw pillows and accessories are allowing us to design complete rooms outside. I think it’s only going to continue to grow because people are seeing their outside spaces as an extension of their indoor square footage. Why not create another entire space you can use five to six months out of the year, even in cool weather climates? I see this new outdoor lifestyle movement just continuing to grow – lounging with coffee outside, alfresco evening dining, cocktails by the grill, late night fireside chats – why would we want to do anything else?
Q – With so many interior lighting options, how much was light layering a part of your process while designing the line (if at all)? In other words, was it created as a cohesive whole or is each piece a stand alone item?
A – As an interior designer, a good lighting scheme is one of my most important tools in transforming a room. It’s the best way to create a warm and inviting feel to every space. I love the way the light is diffused in my Crystorama collection. I designed the fixtures to be beautiful and a wonderful design addition, but it was important to me that it was also super functional and provides the level of light we need to live in our spaces. Relying solely on recessed lights can add a cold feeling to a space while incorporating a hanging fixture can add a completely other level of light as well as anchor the design of the room.
A chandelier or pendant fixture can visually help delineate a space and add a chic focal point. It becomes a place for the eye to rest while glancing through a room. Light changes the entire atmosphere of your home and makes it warm and inviting. By using various sources and levels of light at different heights like chandeliers, wall sconces, lamps, picture lights and dimmed recessed lights, you create layers in a room, resulting in a richer ambience.
Q – How much do spatial concerns and utility drive design? Meaning, do you design for specific spaces or do you design for the sake of designing and market it for a fitting use once it’s conceived (i.e. linear chandeliers and pendants are common over kitchen islands, etc.)?
A – As an interior designer, there have been some lighting fixtures that are super challenging to find for client projects, and it’s those needs and holes I see in the marketplace that can inspire some of my new designs. I have trouble finding chic flush mount fixtures that don’t look like they belong in a bathroom, but there may be a challenge with available height space so I’ve designed some flush mounts that look more stylish and decorative; like my Jennings, Masefield and Graham Collections. I also have trouble finding beautiful semi-flush fixtures that don’t feel utilitarian, so many clients have hallways where they want to incorporate a beautiful fixture, but it can’t be that tall, so my Sylvan, Westwood and Grayson collections offer chic style at the right proportion and height so they don’t drop down too far into the space.
We are also seeing kitchen islands that are large and oversized. Linear pendants are super popular, so I’ve designed my Masefield, Westwood and Sylvan linear pendants to be nice and long but to also accommodate a good amount of lighting wattage. The kitchen island is an entertaining space, but it also requires nice, bright, task lighting from time to time. When I look for specific items at particular sizes and can’t find them, that often times becomes the inspiration for my own lighting collections that I design. I want to help fill in those holes in the marketplace.