He predicts that peach will make a comeback, and admits that luxury is expensive. Tommy Smythe is well known for his witty antics and design skills on HGTV. He’ll be appearing on the State Farm Main Stage presented by HGTV at the Calgary Home and Garden Show. We had a chance to ask him our burning design questions.
If you had to paint your entire home’s interior one colour, what would it be?
That’s a great question with a fairly boring answer: white.
First of all, I wouldn’t ever paint a whole home one colour, so it’s a tricky question for me to answer. I think most design professionals would answer as I have, though, and here’s why: white is versatile. It is both modern and/or traditional. Everything looks great with it. It’s bright during the day and soft at night.
Now, if you want to get technical on me, you could argue that I haven’t really answered the question as white isn’t a colour at all. It’s the absence of colour, so I will give you a bonus answer, because I don’t wish to be disqualified based on a technicality.
Green is likely the most pleasing and universal colour to use when restricted to only one. If you really think about it, you’ll realize that green is a neutral colour. Every other colour in the spectrum pairs nicely with it. It’s natural and changeable in different light and exposures.
If I have to only use one colour – and I choose green – I will certainly use it in many, many shades and levels of intensity from deep bottle-green in a dining room or library to soft pale celadon in a principal bedroom or bathroom.
I’m now noticing that the answer I’ve given isn’t really all that boring …
What emerging home-decor trend do you think will be the next big thing?
The fashion runways are usually a pretty good gauge for what will soon arrive on the decor scene.
If Spring 2014 was any indication of what’s on the home-decor horizon, we had all better prepare for a revival of neon. As for my take on that, all I will say is this: it’s a family of colours that are probably best left to the pros. I’d call neon a bit of an advanced manoeuvre.
Peach is making a comeback, too. See above.
Where are some places you draw inspiration from?
How much space do you have? I am certainly a product of the times I live in.
In other words, as a person who lived in the world before cell phones and diet soda and has also seen the birth of the Internet and social media in his lifetime, I feel fortunate to have the skills to draw inspiration from everywhere.
My scales do tip, however, to the old-school methods of seeking inspiration.
Books, travel, museums and galleries visited in person are at the top of the list.
I buy many fashion, art and decor magazines every month.
I watch lots of movies in every genre. I watch television a lot and am not ashamed to say it publicly.
I eat out at least four times a week and try to choose restaurants with interesting art and decor as well as great food.
Inspiration is not something you seek, it’s something you open up to because it’s everywhere. It’s a sate of open mindedness. I try to live full time in that state. See my Instagram feed [@tommysmythe] and you’ll understand.
Is there anything such as timeless design?
The more deeply personal your home or work environment is, the more timeless it will be.
We are, each of us, unique, with preferences and opinions on everything from colour to art to food to scent. The trick is to do the hard work of self-examination so that you really understand your own mind in terms of what appeals to your senses – all of them. Once you understand this about yourself you’ll have style.
Style is the one ingredient I can’t help you get. My most fruitful client projects and relationships have been with individuals and families who really know their own mind and can decide quickly and with authority in all matters of taste.
If you look within before you call me up, you’ll get a better house. Simple as that.
What is your idea of luxury?
Freedom is luxury to me.
I mean that in every sense, including the financial context. The ability to travel anywhere and experience the innumerable locations, accommodations, museums, foods and landscapes the world has to offer and never worry about the bill? Sign me up! That is luxury to me.
I’m so bored with reading answers to this question that speak of lazy Sunday afternoons at home or an ice cream sundae that’s calorie free … luxury is expensive. Work hard and then indulge in the freedom your hard work buys. See you in Paris, darling!
Tommy Smythe will be appearing on the State Farm Main Stage presented by HGTV on Friday, February 28 at 7pm and Saturday, March 1 at 2pm. Find out more at calgaryhgs.com.
This story was part of Avenue’s free weekly Style Newsletter. Sign up now and get home decor and fashion information and advice in your inbox every week.