Q&A With Lee Robinson: When Design Is A Way of Life

Chaddock and special guest Mary McDonald recently journeyed to Louisville, KY, for a weekend of Wine and Design with Lee Robinson. It was an exceptional 3-day event (stay tuned for full coverage coming soon in Editor at Large). We snagged Lee for a one-on-one to learn more about his way of seeing, designing and living. Read on, and you’ll understand why Lee Robinson is Louisville’s favorite designer.

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CHADDOCK: It looks like the creative world of Lee Robinson is expressed in four glorious lifestyles. Can you tell us, is there a common thread that runs throughout?

LR:  Indeed. The common denominator is quality. Simply put, all things of quality work together, regardless of whether a space is modern, traditional or anything in between.

CHADDOCK: Let’s get personal. What does your home say about you?

LR:  Well, you must understand the context, as in all things. My family and I live in a 6th generation home built by the architect Ogden Codman. The house is about family, provenance and legacy with strong traditional English and French influences, all respectfully updated for this new Millennia. I love living with history in the modern world.

CHADDOCK: What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

LR: I am the only son born to a family of bankers, and I too, was a successful banker for 14 years. I stepped away as the financial world began to change and consolidate, and to discover the world of design, formally, with training in New York. Most people would say that’s risky!

CHADDOCK: Second career time. You’re starting fresh and saying goodbye to interior design. “I would like to….”

LR: It may surprise you, but I might return to the world of finance – investment banking this time. My higher calling is to help people see and realize their dreams. This involves both finance and design. I am keenly interested in new ideas, and a better way. I love to create.

CHADDOCK: If you were a CHAIR, what would you look like?

LR: Clearly, something Directoire or Campaign, so I could be easily folded up and taken off on new adventures. I would be dressed in a chameleon-like fabric, something that morphs with different people and environments. At the end of the day, I’m a people pleaser. In my incarnation as a chair, I want to be transportable, properly dressed for every occasion, and comfortable – of course!

CHADDOCK: There are so many choices for interior designers today. What attracts you to Chaddock?

LR: It goes back to quality. Doesn’t it always? Chaddock’s design aesthetic is impressive, demonstrating a respect and understanding of scale, proportion, balance and classic forms. This is quality design. Chaddock furniture is also beautifully made. My name is my brand. I can’t have things coming in wrong or defective.

CHADDOCK: Do you have a favorite piece of Chaddock? An item you covet?

LR: I love so many pieces, but I do lean toward Mary McDonaldhttps://editoratlarge.com/. Her Antoinette canopy bed is dynamite: Old glamour paired with modern finishes. The Alix side chair is a piece of sculpture, and the Bridgette chair is also a favorite. It’s low slung and clubby, but set on brass stiletto-like heels. Mary likes a bit of drama and surprise. So do I.

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CHADDOCK: What’s your personal motto, mantra or credo?

LR: What’s perfect is imperfect, and what’s imperfect is perfect. It may sound like a bit of a puzzle, but the point is that design should never feel contrived. Surprises and little oddities breathe life into a room.

LEE’S ONE-LINERS

CHADDOCK: Is there a rule that should always be broken?

LR: What rules? Aren’t we all here to make our own?

CHADDOCK: What single trait do you most admire in a person?

LR: Self-possession. This is the fruit of self-understanding, and gives an individual confidence to be true to himself.

CHADDOCK: What is your guilty pleasure?

LR: Cufflinks. I have many. It’s the one way a man can express himself with jewelry.

CHADDOCK: What color do you never tire of?

LR: I always say every room needs a bit of black, but today, I’ll choose red. It’s a fabulous accent color.

CHADDOCK: “I can never have too many….”

LR: Well, cufflinks, of course, but I’ll add silver to the mix. I love an historical piece of silver repurposed in some surprising way. Like my wallet – formerly a Deco cigarette case.

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