Following his studies at the prestigious FIT in New York City, Danny Taylor returned to his home in Raleigh, North Carolina where he launched DT & Company. His work ranges from Realtor, Interior Designer, Antiques Collector and now, Entrepreneur. It is the relationship between his clients and the objects that most interests him, “I feel each project is different and reflects the personality of my client. In terms of my aesthetic, that is a continuous and evolving ‘project’ of it’s own. I prefer to refer to it as a journey, as a creative individual is always looking and learning, searching for the connection between the old and the new. Very few recreate the wheel, often times they just redesign the spokes,” states Taylor. He emphasizes that the most satisfying part of any project is when you step back to take in the entire atmosphere of the space and you know that you aced it. When the client says to you, “I love it!” whether it is a powder room for a college professor, or a 10,000 square foot home for a young family, each time it is gratifying in it’s own unique way.
We sat down with Danny recently to learn more about his creative process, his expanding business and his new venture with @Home with DT. Danny shared that like most industries, some clients and some projects can be more taxing than others. “I find commercial projects to be extremely taxing due to working by ‘committee,’” he explains. “Which I detest! I have worked from Trump Tower to Port Royal in Naples, Florida and everywhere in between on the East Coast. Having been picked up in Lear jets, driving down country roads to gated estates that you never would have known to exist, each experience has expanded my range as a designer. Every project has had it’s share of challenges, offering me a ton of creative expression. Almost all of which are a pleasure, each in a different way, which has allowed me to grow as a designer over the years. Each client and their respective projects has moments of delight, and that specific ‘lightbulb’ moment when the ideas come and you just KNOW what to do with the space for that client.”
Danny elaborated on his prized collections, his passions that include chinoiserie, Imari porcelain, antique bouillotte lamps and silver boxes. He is also known in the industry for his love and use of color. When asked which color he simply can not live without, he proclaimed, “There is not a single color that I cannot live without. I could not imagine a world without my favorite print in the world… Le Lac!”
You went to college in one of the most famous cities in the world, in a very influential time. Where did you frequent during your years at FIT?
Oh my! In the late 70’s and early 80’s I was what is now known as a “club kid”. Friday night was Studio 54 or 54 as we called it followed by Crisco Disco. Saturday night downtown… Mudd Clubs… Maxx’s or we might go extreme uptown to Regines or The Carlyle. Sunday was Tea Dance and that meant the Ice Palace or the Cock Ring…depending on your taste?!?!?! It was a wild and dangerous and exciting time to be young in Manhattan!
I like to think that as we grow older, we tend to keep a bit of our youthful experiences and memories with us in our adult lives. Did those experiences and the interiors of those New York venues influence your style today?
Absolutely! To have danced with Oscar and Francoise, being served a drink by Debbie Harry between sets, hearing Bobby Short at the height of his career, seeing Andy, Halston, Bianca, Calvin, Diana, Michael to the top models of the day; riding in limos, Olympic Tower when it was NEW for parties, being able to experience all of these amazing people all because you were young and “pretty” or “hot.” Those experiences shape your vision of the world and the way in which people live. At the end of the day, we are all the same, we need comfort, we crave as much luxury as we can afford, want to be loved for who we are, not just what we have or where we live. Most people want to appear to have “good taste,” which they can have . . . IF they hire the right designer! Someone who can recognize their personality and their goals.
Do you ever incorporate aspects of those amazing New York interiors and/or memories into your design projects?
Not at all. My interiors now would be quite foreign to those days and times. Perhaps the old school buildings on Park Avenue, or Upper Fifth Avenue would come close. It was another time and another world. My work now is very classic, old school, perhaps a bit too proper at times, which is where my best friend and colleague, Ms. Betsy Burton Hinerman gives me a good kick in the shins and says, “it’s starting to look a little Granny in here, doll!” She keeps me current while staying grounded. We all need a sounding board, and she is mine!
At the moment, we are working on a “Gentleman’s Farmhouse,” three large houses in Raleigh, starting a complete gut and redo of a mid-century ranch about an hour away, reworking several smaller homes in town that were built in the mid 30’s in the Colonial Revival Style, and helping several renovations for investors. My most exciting venture at the moment however, is a fabric and trim line for @Home with DT. We are in the process of talking to several companies at the moment regarding this line, which we plan to evolve into a finished goods line of couture bedding and drapery. It will consist of six distinct groups that I feel will fill a gap in the luxury market.
We have been following Danny Taylor for quite some time now and I know we are all anxious to see the debut of this @Home with DT line. We couldn’t agree more with Mr. Taylor and we are looking forward to the launch!