Interview with Stanley Hura
Stanley Hura Designs practicing residential design. Mr. Hura also is a shelter magazine designer and stylist.
Q. Tell us about your interior design work for magazines.
A. I work with magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, and the Woman’s Day special issues. These publications focus on how people are living today in all price ranges. We present what’s new in color, fabric, wallpaper and furniture working with everything from showcase houses to problematic houses.
Q. How do you suggest people find their design style?
A. I believe in living with what you like. The customer must look at what she has, then do some homework to decide what she likes. I ask my clients to use decorating magazines to create a scrap book or portfolio of likes and dislikes. This portfolio will reveal your tastes, whether you’re a stripe person or a flower person, for example. The portfolio will also evolve into a color palette.
Q. How do you work with color?
A. I like to work from a neutral point of view then add or subtract harmonious colors. In decorating in a small space, do a color flow through the entire house or apartment. If your preference is blue and white—which can be either masculine or feminine, then add yellow, red or green as you move from room to room. I recently worked on a house in Houston where everything was in the sage family, with black accents, terracottas and lot of whites. For Country Living, I did a kitchen in bright sunflower yellow, adding a shocking pink counter and black and white accents. And there’s nothing more beautiful that white-on-white. It’s a very rich look.
Q. You mentioned working within budgets. How do you do that?
A. . Often with wallpaper—I use a lot of Village wallpapers, which really give a big look for little money. I am very impressed with the new PaperIllusion product from Village. PaperIllusion™ gives the appearance of expensive faux finish treatments, but at a fraction of the cost, and best of all, you don’t have to hire a professional to install it. Again, when working with wallpapers, it’s important to know what you like. I’m a stripe freak. Other people love florals or geometrics. I love to use striped wallpapers on ceilings to create a tent effect. I also like borders on ceilings and around crown moldings. The effect is incredible.
Q. Where is design going these days?
A. The best of the past is coming back, being rethought and redesigned. Decorating is a complete integration of old and new—counterpoints. You can see this in the great variety of wallpapers and borders available. We have broken the old decorating codes and have the freedom to mix these looks to create something that is comfortable and easy to live in. Today the consumer has so many selections available. There’s heightened consumer awareness. People are freer to express themselves in a very broad spectrum. In this new millennium, we are mixing the best of previous decades and the interplay is wonderful. Catalog companies such as Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn, which have created an incredible taste level, are reviving very old shapes from the 1950s and 1960s. They offer simplicity and good design at affordable prices.
Q. What is your advice for people who are concerned about starting a decorating project?
A. If you are afraid of doing your own thing, lean on a professional—if just for an hour or so to get direction. Self-educate yourself, taking the time to do homework. Rely on your own instincts.