How does living in Hollywood influence your designs?
I grew up here in Los Angeles, and certainly been influenced by the huge legacy of California designers that came before me . . . Francis Elkins, Michael Taylor, etc. People think of the California look as big overstuffed upholstery and lots of beige. Part of that is true, but it's for a reason.
So much of California design has to do with the light. We have amazing light here. Very warm, sort of golden yellowish. This is why many designers turn to neutrals when working out here, because they absorb this beautiful light.
As for Los Angeles, we're a very casual city. Jeans, jeans, jeans everywhere. When scheming a room, I always look at fabrics and think, "Could you wear jeans in this room?" It keeps even the fanciest room grounded.
Is there a palette you are particularly drawn to, and if so, why?
I obsess about color! Even when I'm working with a "neutral" palette I'm breaking things apart to determine the nuances of straw vs. camel vs. tan. Lately I've been using a lot of strong, clear color in my work, and often cool tones . . . blues, greens, lavender. I think cool colors are very easy to live with.
There's a Pratt & Lambert paint I like to use on ceilings. It's called snow goose. It's the faintest shade of pale blue. Almost like a very cool white. It subconsciously reminds us of sky and because cool tones recede, it makes the ceiling look taller.
My own home is filled with gutsy, unusual colors. The dining room is bright peacock blue. My study is sort of olive meets Kelly green that I mixed myself. The living room is painted in the most marvelous shade by Donald Kauffman . . . sort of a lavender/gray color. It's warm and cheerful during the day, and at night it's sort of moody and very elegant.
Did you decorate your childhood room?
I grew up in a midcentury modern house in Hollywood Hills. It was very light and bright, mostly glass with wonderful views. My parents were very tolerant, almost indulgent with my decorating whims, as a kid. I would get up in the middle of the night to rearrange the furniture in our living room. My childhood bedroom changed constantly, and often not for the better. I remember one incarnation, where my father helped me lacquer all the furniture shiny black, and I painted the walls dark graphite gray. There was gray carpet, and silver mini-blinds, and black sheets on my bed (ughhh!). The room was dark and cozy and very textural .and rather glamorous (especially for a 13 year old!)
What three things make a room fabulous?
Laughter, candlelight, music.
Oliver M. Furth Design and Decoration