Introducing: My Maximalist Design Resident Expert, Steven Favreau
Hello my Fabulistas!
Our homes are windows into our personalities. For those of us with big and bold personalities, I often like to take the maximalist approach. This means layering your space with textures, colors, and patterns—tidbits of your personality in every corner! It’s a fun way to make a space tell a story that’s vibrant and upbeat.
Steven Favreau is a leading force in interior design, and he’s just the guy to guide us through the language of Maximalism. Steven’s work at home in the US and abroad has transformed spaces into dynamic, chic, and imaginative habitats, and his Boston headquarters, the Favreaulous Factory, is a true reflection of his fabulous point of view. I’m inspired by Steven because he motivates us to take risks and think big! Check out my interview with Steven to find out all about him, and what makes him the very best at big, bold, maximalist design.
Center Stage Beginnings
Robin: Hi Steven!
Steven: Hi Robin. Thanks for chatting with me.
Robin: My pleasure. I’m a big fan of your work so I want to start at the beginning. What inspired your interest in Interior design?
Steven: When I was around twelve I noticed for the first time that you could beautify a room, and transform it into a noticeable space. My friend’s sister, she was seventeen, had decorated her room so beautifully... I was so impressed by it, that I went back home and did the same to my room. I didn’t realize at the time that what I was doing was interior design. I just knew it was important to make a room beautiful. Later in my twenties I began studying Commercial Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology to study. One day on campus I happened to notice some of my peers creating fabulous storyboards. It turns out they were all interior design majors. It was kind of a no-brainer. I changed my major the very same day!
Robin: I know you had some earlier experiences before your career in interior design. What was your first career? Did it relate to how you consider interior design?
Steven: I was a Broadway dancer. Musical theater! I think Broadway musicals are especially maximalist—they’re layered, jewel toned, bold, full of texture, extremely extravagant. I was a dancer in Moulin Rouge in Paris, and all of their sets were very vibrant. So I’ve always been inspired by the stage. I think my design leans towards maximalism with lots of color and texture and maybe that was directly related to my career in the theater.
The New Maximalist
Robin: That might be one of my favorite things about design, how it relates to almost every aspect of life. What is your definition of "maximalist design”?
Steven: I like to call what I do New Maximalism. I am not a traditionalist by any means. Maximalism in the past leaned very much towards a traditional design aesthetic. Lots of layers, fringe, and fabric. My approach is about taking aspects from traditional ideas of maximalism and giving it my own twist...bold, surprising, highly original. I try to custom design all my pieces so that there is a uniqueness about them that leans towards maximalism, but still is very fresh and current.
Robin: Has your definition of maximalist design evolved over time?
Steven: When I first started out I didn’t really showcase my own voice through my design in the fullest volume. As I established myself in the field, I started to sing louder. For anyone just starting out in the field: don’t be afraid to showcase yourself fully through your spaces! For designers who are trying to do that while still keeping the homeowner’s desires in mind, I guarantee that there are ways of showing them things that they never imagined by using your own aesthetic. That’s why clients work with specific designers! As my own design voice has become more nuanced and especially me, I have been able to refine the meaning of New Maximalism. It is not quite as jam packed as traditional maximalism used to be. It is a little bit more curated, while retaining lots of layers and textures. I also keep in mind the words of Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” I have found that to be a good designer, you should have the ability to edit.
Inspirations and Reflections
Robin: Where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
Steven: This answer has many components to it. I say that my greatest inspiration is me. My second inspiration is certainly my clients. I also get inspired by the world around me—how the light hits the trees, how a shadow is cast on the ground. That might work its way onto a wallpaper,or fabric design that I’m designing. I am very visually oriented, and I tend to observe position and scale every time I drive down a street. I observe how vanishing points occur on a highway and how the light changes as it goes into the designs.
For specific inspiration for projects, I travel as much as I can. I love museums of any kind, anywhere in the world. They always inspire me. I have an enormous love and respect for fashion. I believe that fashion in many ways is one of the first inspirations for designers in the world. It often sets the tone, and other design professions tend to follow suit. I also draw inspiration from my fellow designers. We are in constant conversation about the work we do. It can often be a collaborative effort. For instance, I have an Accountability Trio with you Robin, and Toma Clark Haines, the Antiques Diva. We inspire each other!
Style in Every Corner
Robin: Fashion was definitely one of my routes into interiors, so that point really hits home. Does your design aesthetic reflect or define your own personality in some way?
Steven: I try not to define a particular style for myself and stick with it. I’m always evolving, and I’m a bit of a chameleon that way. Partly because I like fashion, and because I love expressing myself visually, I have been known to wear some maximalist outfits. But lately, I’ve been editing down and trying to incorporate a bit more utility into my attire. Maybe it is also a part of getting older and comfortable in my own skin. I am finding less of a need to prove myself. Time has helped me think back on my own personality.
Steven has one of those aesthetics and personalities that immediately transports us into his world. I love and admire the confidence he exudes in life, and his work is a direct reflection of his world view. This interview is just the beginning. There is so much more for you to find about Steven Favreau’s work, experience, and exuberant design perspective—The New Maximalism. Keep a lookout for my next conversation with this extraordinary designer. We’ll talk more about his work and influences, and how his experience in the industry has gotten him to where he is. In the meantime, be big, be bold, be confidently you!