I recently had the chance to sit down over coffee with the lovely and talented interior designer, Renee Antezana to discuss her approach to modern design. Her company, Pineapple ID, is a full-service interior design studio that creates stunning environments throughout Seattle for homeowners and builders, alike.
Thanks for taking a break from your busy schedule to sit down with us, Renee. Please tell us a little bit about how you got into Interior Design.
I think my exposure to the idea of ‘good design,’ and the awareness of applied design came during my first job out of college at The Museum of Modern Art. I’d graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History, and I believed I was going to end up in galleries focusing on Fine Arts. At the Museum, I had amazing access to all of the collections, but it was the Architecture and Design department that turned my head to how good design changes the way we live. I really believe in that.
I spent a couple of years on the product side of design before I realized that I needed to be creating the content and not merchandising it. I jumped into the world of interiors full speed and chose an accelerated program at Parsons School of Design so that I’d be armed with tools to get right to work.
Tell us about the background of your company.
The earliest version of Pineapple Interior Design began back in New York City in 2004 or so. At the time, it was just an idea, something I named for myself while I was employed full time with other studios. I made Pineapple-ID a legit business when we moved back to Seattle in 2006, and I went out on my own.
In New York, I had the idea of building out a storefront and running the studio in the back of the shop. The shop would be called “Pineapple” and carry modern products for the home… The idea was to reference the history of the pineapple as a symbol of welcome and hospitality (and a little bit of showing off). Over ten years later, my focus is the design studio only, no shop, and the product I create is the home itself. I wanted the company name to be about the product and the work, not about me, so I kept my brand free of my own name. Pineapple Interior Design – the best presentation of your home.
What types of services does Pineapple ID offer?
The work I do is about 2/3 new construction with developers and 1/3 remodels and custom homes. I love the combination of challenges each focus brings: The developers I work with give me amazing freedom with all details of the project, and they bring certain efficiencies to the process; the homeowners always have specific problems to solve whether spatial, budgetary or functional. It’s my job to use my expertise and design point of view to conjure up the best solutions for both.
Describe your design aesthetic.
Unfussy. I like a concise material palette. In my construction projects, there isn’t a lot of color. The finishes are the background for the furniture and décor that layer in color and pattern later.
Unpretentious. Using humble materials is so satisfying. My job is to make the whole project sing, whether the budget is big or small.
Sophisticated. I like to try to straddle the line between trend and tradition. I’m not interested in using what’s hot right now for the sake of what’s hot.
Playful. When it comes to decorating, my personal weaknesses are bold colors and graphic elements. Your home should make you happy, so why not have fun with it?
Do you have any specific projects that you are most proud of?
Truly, there are always pieces of each project that make me happy, but more recently I was really satisfied with how my North Admiral project turned out. There was a real disconnect between the modern boxy architecture of the new home and the older early 20th century homes on the block and in the neighborhood as a whole. The goal was to solve how to stay true to the modern architecture but with a softer approach. I wanted the future homeowner to feel like they belonged in the neighborhood, not like they stepped into a style warp.
One of my earliest projects was a room-by-room remodel of a San Francisco Victorian in the Mission District. We brought that home into the 21st century while maintaining a reference to its past. We trucked in plaster cove crown molding from the northeast, custom-milled ten inch high baseboards and raised all the door openings to eight feet high. We then did modern finishing touches like a tiled leather wall behind the bed and wall-mounted bedside nightstands. The custom roman shades were even hard-wired into the nightstands. The furnishings include everything from a very traditional family heirloom dining table, to Droog and David Weeks lighting, to Tommy Parzinger club chairs. It’s never been professionally photographed, but maybe it’s time!
Explain the design process and your approach to creating cohesive built environments.
As much as a client hires me to do the job for my skills, my job is to make it about them. They are looking to me for practical expertise and style direction, but I flex to meet the needs of my clients. To create a successful project, I think that you really must take your ego out of a job.
The spaces I design for developers are always concise in material choices. They have to have just the right balance between interest and neutrality, so that the buyer is drawn to the finished space but also feels like they can make it their own.
In either type of project, you shouldn’t walk from one room to the next and feel like you’ve stepped into a different house. You can make subtle changes or even grand changes that give each space within a home definition, but there needs to be a connection in the language of the materials and treatment. You don’t have to pull out all of your tricks in every space. I’m not just walking in and applying surfaces, I am thinking of dynamics of space. I’m uncovering the best ways to take advantage of an opportunity and solve special problems. I figure out how to make four walls become something much more.
When I work with furniture and finishes, I like to mix high and low, old and new. You always want something in your space that has some history. There is no way today we can predict what will be timeless, other than to reproduce movements from historical periods, but when you are true to who you are, and the things you choose represent you, the homeowner, your space becomes timeless. My job is to help people identify what that is going to be.
What is the best way to approach Interior Design for the Modern Home?
The word “modern” means different things to different people. To me, the tried and true adage of “Less is More” definitely applies to my approach to modern interiors, but at the same time, modern interiors can and should be warm and comfortable. I think when many people hear ‘modern,’ they often think cold and unwelcoming, with minimal and uncomfortable furniture. Minimalist modern spaces make beautiful images, but I like real spaces that want to be lived in. I love to layer in color and texture, but I’ll always keep the space clean.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Renee. To learn more about Pineapple ID please visit the website!