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Chatting with Dave Dawson from The Urban Electric Co.

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A few weeks ago I had Dave Dawson, founder and president of The Urban Electric Co. on my radio show. This year, The Urban Electric Co. celebrated their 10 year anniversary. In that time, their beautifully crafted lighting fixtures have become staple for designers, and consumers looking for distinctive traditional designs. All of the company's products are bench-made and hand-finished. In our interview, Dave and I talked about the value and importance of American made products, the growth his business has experienced over the past 10 years, and The Urban Electric Co.'s inspiring collaborations with leading designers. Listen to some clips from the show below.

Adger's Wharf

Adger’s Wharf designed by John Gantt

Maresca Standing Seam Wall by Mark Maresca

Maresca Standing Seam Wall designed by Mark Maresca for The Urban Electric Co.

Dave talks about the market for American made products.

The Urban Electric Co. - Baxter Hanging

The Urban Electric Co. - Baxter Hanging

Dave and I discuss how he built his business.

The Urban Electric Co. - Bezel_catalog

The Urban Electric Co. - Bezel

How the Urban Electric team choose the designers they collaborate with.

On the Radio: Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper

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I love hosting the radio show for so many reasons, but getting to interview fascinating design professionals about their work and inspiration almost every week might be my favorite thing about it. This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper, an innovative and impressive design team who have worked with a long list  of high profile clients and have been featured in House & Garden and Architectural Digest, among other design publications. A fellow RISD graduate, Ingrao opened his studio over 25 years ago, and Kemper now serves as the Creative Director. They are such an interesting team, and I had a great time chatting with them about choosing color schemes, designing on a budget, and their favorite designers. You can listen to some of my favorite segments of the show by clicking the links below, or, if you subscribe to sirius xm, you can listen to the entire show on their site.

In this clip, I talk to Randy and Tony about their newest projects, their feelings about commercial vs. residential work, and their backgrounds.

I loved chatting to the designers about topics other than their work, like the things they think about day to day.  They're currently trying to figure out how to combat a virus that's attacking the copper beech trees in their Hamptons property.

After chatting about our favorite gardens in Europe, I admitted to giving up my dreams of landscape architecture while working at an arboretum during college.

On the Radio: Erin Swift

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I was so enamored by Erin Swift's book French accents, which I blogged about a few weeks ago, that I just had to have her on radio show. As a prop stylist and set designer, Erin knows all about the search for the crucial piece that "makes" a room. Check out some highlights from our chat:

Tell me about your new book "French Accents:"

It's really out to answer the age old question of how to get French style. I wanted to take French style and make it accessible to America. We really wanted to show how the French pull from all the different periods of their history and tweak it for today. This book is a bit more young, fresh, and timeless. French style is really about being daring a willing to take a risk. Even in their simplest moments, they bring things from the past and they layer on top of them.

What would be your dream decorating project? 

I would want to do something in mid-century style, but always I would update it. I would throw in lots of dark grays – make it more masculine and modern. I get to play pretend every day and that's what I love about my job.


One of Erin's beautifully styled sets.

How do you find and source props for your shoots? 

For me it's kind of the gut feeling. It's an innate "do I love it or do I hate it?" I'll know it when I see and that is the bottom line. Sometimes you could be in the most beautiful, amazing store, but if it's not giving you that feeling, it's not for you. You can finds things anywhere, it doesn't have to be in a store or a fancy place. There are plenty of times I've found beautiful things in the garbage.

What is your go-to work uniform?

100% black. When I wear color people think it's funny. They ask if something's wrong. Sometimes white, but it's usually some kind of t-shirt, black jeans, and heels, even when I'm working.

Where do you find inspiration?

I look for inspiration everywhere. I'm looking in this room right now. It's extra-special when you get to go to a beautiful far away place, but I don't think there's a time or place, something specific that I would say. You can find it anywhere.