Designer of the Month: John Willey

John Willey

John Willey

Zillow Digs Designer of the Month for March 2013, John Willey, is no stranger to the lime light. With past magazine features in House Beautiful, Veranda and this month’s issue of New York Spaces, the Manhattan design world has come to recognize Willey’s status as a contemporary influencer.

Zillow: Your work is currently featured in the February-March 2013 issue of New York Spaces magazine. How did you get started as an independent interior designer?

Willey: I’d worked for a few designers in Manhattan, and this couple called. They said they’d just been to a friend’s home party and heard I had a hand in the design. They asked if I could meet with them to talk about their new place in Manhattan.

Nantucket, MA Residence by John Willey

Nantucket, MA residence by John Willey

Zillow: Of course, you said yes.

Willey: The second we finished, I photographed the interior myself. Within two months, a magazine had snapped it up, and we were in print.

Sag Harbor, NY Residence by John Willey

Sag Harbor, NY residence by John Willey

Zillow: You often use color and geometric prints in your designs. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Willey: Recently, I had a fashion runway shot on my desk of a model with a huge Mongolian fur around her neck. I ran all around the Fur District looking for one to use in a chair design. My client was in heaven; my upholsterer thought I was crazy.

Mongolian fur lined chair by John Willey

Mongolian fur-lined chair by John Willey

Zillow: What a process! Only in New York, right?

Willey: Things are a little different here, but if I were to give homeowners one piece of advice, it would be to get the best sofa and bed you can afford. Those are the two pieces you spend the most amount of time in and can keep refreshing as needed.