Go Design Go
Looking to give your New York home a spruce-up? If so, you should enlist the talents of
Ann Baumgartner and Tamela Greene.
After more than two decades of friendship and numerous collaborative design projects, Ann and Tamela decided to come together and launch their own interior design firm, AT Studio. Fifteen years ago, while still managing her eponymous firm, Ann joined the Designer Referral Program at the DDB, and now AT Studio will continue working with the program in order to expand their client base.
GDG chatted with the pair about what led them to join forces, what their go-to stops are at the DDB and how their individual strengths elevate the projects they work on.
Go Design Go: How did you know you wanted to be an interior designer?
Ann Baumgartner: I thought architecture was my calling. However, while working as an architect, I found myself drawn more to the fabrics, carpets and finishes in the interiors department. I then received my master’s degree in the decorative arts, which opened many doors to high-end clients who wanted an interior designer who was knowledgeable about architecture and construction.
Tamela Greene: I came from the crazy and fabulous world of fashion, where I was the creative director for a cashmere company. I loved working with colors, new concepts, textures and materials. After taking time off to raise two children, I began renovating my residences and working with Ann as my interior designer. I found that there were many similarities between designing a sweater collection and designing a residential space, so it seemed like a natural fit to segue into interiors together.
GDG: How did your career begin?
AB: I was intrigued with the wonderful and magnificent 1920s houses in my childhood neighborhood and took drafting classes in high school. This led to an architectural degree in college, and I was off and running—working in the elite offices of Peter Marino, Thierry Despont, Robert A.M. Stern and Jed Johnson before starting my eponymous firm. I joined forces with Tamela in the summer of 2016, after working together on three projects for her family. We’ve been best friends for over 20 years and the process was seamless and, most importantly, fun. Fashion and interiors have always been fundamentally connected and we think AT Studio has mastered this mix.
GDG: Why did you decide to join the DDB’s Designer Referral Program?
AB: I have been a member of the program for over 15 years. Through the referral program, we have had exposure to a very diverse clientele—AT Studio would never have crossed paths with these clients if not for the program.
GDG: What are your favorite showrooms in the building?
We love Élitis because of their creative use of texture and materials. They do each paper in so many colorways that it is easy to find one that works. We love Fortuny because of the handcrafted quality of the fabrics as well as the incredible dyes, patterns and the historic relevance. We have also been using Nobilis because we are moved by how the French use interesting materials and color—we always find something at the showroom that elevates the project. Holly Hunt is a go-to because they offer great design that has a sleek and modern feel.
GDG: Describe your design style.
AB: Our tagline is “Great design with a true sense of style” and we believe that is what we provide for our clients. Tamela has an eye for current design trends, color, material and texture.
TG: And Ann has extensive knowledge of the decorative arts, so we enjoy using antiques in our projects. By combining our strengths, we achieve design results that are exciting, fresh and always sophisticated.
What are your favorite colors and accessories to design with?
We love color and we bring it into our projects in a way that works for each client. We have been using emerald green for the last two years and all of a sudden it’s everywhere! Some clients want strong color and some just want pops of it. Accessories are essential to our designs. We love sculpture, colored glass and crystal, and exquisite lighting.
Who are some of your biggest design influences?
Travel is the biggest inspiration for both of us. We travel internationally as much as possible, because seeing the world opens your eyes and sparks creativity. We recently returned from Maison&Objet and Paris Déco Off. Not only did we see the newest products on the market, but we also visited ateliers of craftsmen working on mind-blowing projects.
Where do you pull inspiration from when designing a space?
Our starting point is with the client, their lifestyle, their interests and the natural surroundings. Once we have a sense of this, we can start our design process. We are interested in creating an architectural context for our interiors.
Do you have an all-time favorite space that you’ve done?
On a recent trip to France, we found ourselves on a rainy May day in Monet’s gardens in Giverny. The beauty and serenity of the gardens compounded with the gray but ethereal day had a profound impact on us. We wanted to capture and transport this feeling into a tangible environment. We found wallpaper, fabric and furnishings that we worked into a living room design that transports us back to that day.
What do you hope to accomplish over the next year?
We are currently working on projects in the Hamptons, Miami, Denver, Westchester County and, of course, the city. We also see the need for social media and we are working on extending our outreach.