Mar. 10, 2021
Designer Q & A with Diane Rath of The Rath Project

Diane Rath

Diane Rath

Q. Diane, you chose to reupholster your family room sofa in the color Lake, one of the newest shades in Ultrasuede® HP. The fresh blue really looks great in that room. But you’ve got young kids, and light colors for upholstery don’t always mix! What was your thought process behind this color selection?

A. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things! (Which is why the pillow on our newly upholstered sofa humors us; I like anything that’s tongue in cheek.) We didn’t hesitate with the Lake colorway because we trusted in the fabric! Knowing that Ultrasuede is easily cleanable made the color a no-brainer. What you can’t see in our living room is the fireplace directly across from the sofa. It’s painted in a similar vibrant blue, and I wanted both to feel harmonious, especially since we have so many other rich colors in our rug, accent furniture and art.

Q. It’s clear you know that living spaces need to be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Given your experience with our high-performance fabric, what are the top high-use furniture items you would recommend to interior design clients with families, for covering in Ultrasuede® HP?

A. I’d specify Ultrasuede for anything you sit or put your feet on. If it’s a high use item that you hope to have in your home long term, you should be always thinking of covering it in a quality performance fabric. I would absolutely recommend using it on playroom sofas, dining chairs and cocktail ottomans. Basically, anything you can picture food falling onto, craft supplies spilling over on, or little toes walking across —and that applies to pet feet, too!

Performance and Luxury

Performance and Luxury

Q. What are the guiding principles you follow when it comes to combining beauty and function for interior environments?

A. Our firm thrives on creating spaces that are at once beautiful AND functional. We love clients with pets, kids and busy lifestyles because that’s when the creativity in design really comes out. When transforming any interior, we of course have layout and aesthetics in mind, but who cares if something is beautiful if you can’t touch it, sit on it, or kick your feet up and lounge. We don’t live in museums after all! So it’s important to be mindful of HOW the space is used. In high traffic areas, paint in a more durable finish always wins; floor coverings that stay in place (invest in a good rug pad!) made in a material that can endure dirt and friction tracked in by shoes is chosen; wallpaper in a cleanable material in kitchens (vinyl is your best friend) is a functional and attractive addition; and furniture that is multi functional (think dressers in a family room that can double as storage for toys, as well as a surface for lamps and décor, or storage ottomans covered in a performance fabric to tuck things away while holding juice packs atop). These are just some of the things we consider in our designs.

Q. With your husband Niles, you flip real estate properties, but unlike the typical flips that we see filled with “safe colors” and other “sellable features”, you opt for lively hues and special finishing touches. Why take the path less traveled when designing for these properties, and how do prospective buyers respond?

A. This may sound completely mad, but we don’t flip houses with the general market in mind. I have a vision of how I would want the home to look if WE were living in it, or if one of our design clients were the homeowners. This allows me to really go for it with color and pattern, something I encourage everyone to play with in order to make home more enjoyable. These particular homebuyers are people that would want to hire our firm to design their spaces. We think of it as a built-in service, and one less thing they have to do after moving in. The pops of color in tile, art and light fixtures, removable wallpaper, and staged rooms with a unique mix of furniture, patterned rugs and exciting art actually help our houses stand apart from what can feel like very generic, and dare I say boring, real estate listings.

You can have it all!

You can have it all!

Q. Given your affinity for vibrancy, which of the 97 Ultrasuede® HP shades would you select as your bold color crush?

A. Do I have to pick just one? That’s so hard for someone who loves color as much as I do! Well…I have a serious crush on all things green and yellow these days so Citron is a happy medium. I could see this used in a banquette of a mostly white kitchen—what a fun splash that would be!

Q. Will you please share your three favorite Instagram accounts to follow for interior design inspiration?

A. My three favorite accounts may come as no surprise as each of these women and men who love color and pattern just as much as we do! Natalie Papier @home_ec_op is an incredibly talented, eclectic mix master, and a sweetheart to boot; Jewel Marlow @jewelmarlowe is a color promoting DIY queen; and Patrick Mele @patrickmele not only promotes pattern and color through interior design, but he also has a shop located fortunately close to us where he sells one of a kind colorful treasures! Let’s just say if the three of them gathered around a table with us, it would be one EPIC dinner party!

Learn more about Diane Rath at The Rath Project and follow @therathproject on Instagram.

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