Tom Faulkner Interviews Phillip Keller

Here at Tom Faulkner, we work in close partnership with interior designers every day to ensure our clients get the perfect pieces for their space. And so, for the first in our series of interviews, we could think of no-one better than Philip Keller of RFR Interior Architecture & Design to offer his invaluable interior advice. As RFR’s Design Director, Philip brings over twenty years’ experience designing private residences throughout Europe and the United States. We met up to learn more about Philip’s path into interior design, the best design advice he has received, and his tips for picking the ideal dining table.

What is your signature design style? At RFR we are more interested in helping a client find their own style, not defining a house signature. We work really hard to understand what inspires our clients, how they live and how they want their home to make them feel. Then we work to translate this into their interiors scheme. In this way, we aspire for our designs to be unique, characterful but authentic.

How did you get into interior design? I was trained and practised as a residential architect for many years, but was drawn to the interior design side after collaborating on projects with inspirational designers like John Stefanidis in London and Michael Smith in New York.

What’s the best design advice you’ve received? A designer and a client need to work together to create a space that reflects the client’s life. It may be an idealised interpretation of that life, but it can’t be another person’s version.

What inspires you and why? The juxtaposition of masterful, classical architecture and contemporary furniture and furnishings. We also have a little house in Penzance and however many times I take in the views, I am always in awe of the rich and dramatic Cornish topography.

What advice would you give to someone trying to pick the ideal dining table for their space? Choose wisely. People change wall colours, buy new lamps, order new curtains and replace soft furnishings, but usually end up with the same dining table, even after three or four moves. Also think about how you like to communicate with people–a long refectory table can look great but if you want intimate, collaborative conversation over dinner then a sleek oval or an inclusive circle will bring you closer to your guests. We recently placed a circular TF Ava table with a beautiful Arabescato top into an apartment in Chelsea where our client’s favourite gathering was an intimate Sunday brunch with all her children.

What’s your favourite Tom Faulkner piece and why? The Siena Coffee Table in Florentine Gold with a beautiful piece of Calacatta Oro as a top. Why? Because I would like it in my Sitting Room! We are also obsessed with the fan-backed Havana chair which we covered in midnight velvet this year to seriously beautiful effect.

Tell us about your previous projects working with Tom Faulkner We have used TF pieces across multiple projects this year. The genius lies in the flexibility of the bespoke finishes and materials and the overall dexterity of the designs–we are just as comfortable using pieces in sleek contemporary spaces as we are in our more traditional schemes and we find that the pieces seem to transcend gender and generation. As a result, we find that we rarely complete a project without having worked with Tom and his team!

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