Jun. 16, 2021
Designer Q & A with MA Allen of MA Allen Interiors
Designer Q & A with MA Allen of MA Allen Interiors
Q. Hi MA! We loved your stunning tricolor choice of Citron, Wine n’ Roses and Regal Blue Ultrasuede® HP upholstery fabric to cover your vintage Saporiti colorblock dining chairs. What inspired you to make this bold selection from our 97 available shades?
A. My main focus when looking for fabrics to upholster my 1980’s Saporiti armchairs was to mix the old with the new, connecting traditional architecture to post modern design. I decided on the tricolor contrast because I am drawn to the unconventional pairings of vibrant colors that are brought together as one piece. Our traditional Georgian house has the perfect classic family room adjacent to the breakfast room, which allows for the juxtaposition of edgy and colorful fabrics against my antique pieces. I specifically chose Citron, Wine n’ Roses, and Regal Blue out of the large selection of Ultrasuede fabrics because it was just enough of a statement to stand out as a thoughtful design within a traditional space. The three colors perfectly complement the chair’s individual components and emphasize the structural shape and oversized backs, allowing for an effortless finish.
Q. This project was for your own home, where you are raising young children. Did you have any hesitation about using a luxury fabric like Ultrasuede® HP?
A. Having three young children is always a factor to keep in mind when choosing specific fabrics, furniture pieces, or design materials. A juice spill or food stain is an everyday occurrence in our household with kids under the age of 7 — it’s inevitable! Of course when selecting luxury fabric for delicate pieces, such as these vintage chairs, it’s smart to consider the what-ifs. Luckily, the stain resistant and high-performance fabric that Ultrasuede offers is an authentic solution tailored to our family. It allowed me to invest in these fragile antique pieces and no longer compromise for kid-friendly choices! If it passes the blueberry test, it’s an instant yes for me.
Q. You seem to enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and have a true gift for finding amazing antique and vintage pieces for your home and clients. What are your best tips for reupholstering vintage furnishings?
A. Incorporating unique vintage items and pieces to tell a story that is central to my design style. A well-curated and balanced upholstered piece adds unexpected character as well as an element of mystery -- something people want but cannot always find!
My biggest goal when creating a one-of-a-kind piece is to visually give it the center stage. My advice is to not be afraid to splurge and select unusual colors that you’re not typically accustomed to! I like to incorporate traditional elements with a post-modern style, which is made possible through color blocking vibrant and contrasting colors!
Q. Maintaining a second home at the beach, you know firsthand the challenges that come with increased exposure to the elements, like sun and salt water, which Ultrasuede® HP is resilient to. Generally, how does performance fabric play a role in your upholstery selections for coastal properties?
A. On coastal projects I am always zoomed in on abrasion resistance of fabrics, cleanability and color fastness. From sandy bottoms right off the beach to wet swim trunks or south-facing window exposure where direct light beams in on upholstery, all anticipated challenges that require innovative design solutions.
Q. Tell us about your current Ultrasuede® HP color crush and how you would envision incorporating it into a dream design project?
A. I love the new Ultrasuede® HP color called Nectarine. This soft blushy orange feels so soft and sweet but paired with a black trim would move from feminine to edgy. I imagine this would be a beautiful custom upholstered headboard in a scalloped shell shape with rattan wood trim, black grosgrain piping cord, and then the Nectarine fabric.
Q. What are your top three favorite accounts to follow on Instagram for design inspiration?
A. Of course, our @maalleninteriors Instagram is a source of inspiration that we use every day to explain various concepts to our own clients and industry partners. We only post photos of our own work and often highlight functional design decisions that aren’t always the types of photos that land in publications. It’s also a place that I can reflect on so many ways design influences my life, including fashion, entertaining and travel.
I also love @beataheuman https://www.instagram.com/beataheuman/?hl=en for her fun use of color and pattern as well as the overall quirky and eclectic rooms she creates.
@Mieketenhave https://www.instagram.com/mieketenhave/?hl=en is another favorite. A stylist and writer/editor who offers endless inspiration for our own pre-shoot styling by blending gorgeous casual and natural floral arrangements with eclectic tabletops that speak to my soul.
Learn more about MA Allen at MA Allen Interiors http://www.maalleninteriors.com/
and follow @maalleninteriors https://www.instagram.com/maalleninteriors/?hl=en on Instagram.
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