Designer Crush: Emma Jane Pilkington
Emma Jane Pilkington is one of my favorite designers to watch. I often say that having a good fashion eye typically translates in to having a refined design eye. Most talented interior designers are often fabulous dressers- we need look no further than Miles Redd. Such is the case with Melbourne-born interior designer, Emma Jane Pilkington. Pilkington emigrated to Greenwich, Connecticut with her family when she was only 14. She began her career as a fashion stylist for Esquire Magazine, and transitioned to interiors in her early thirties.
Emma described her transition from fashion to interiors as very instinctual- it all began when a friend asked her to design her home. A chance meeting at a dinner party in 2003 catapulted her career- Ivanka Trump asked Pilkington to design her 2.54 million dollar Park Avenue apartment:
I love the bright colors and sense of vibrance infused in the apartment. I don't think it's the aesthetic most people would expect for the daughter of Donald Trump, which Pilkington recognizes and comments on:
"It was nothing particularly fancy and in no way was it an 'endless budget' type of thing," insists Pilkington, who won't talk about her clients or their homes in too much detail. "It was a fortunate young girl who wanted to have her own place and wanted to have it nice. Did it look like Trump Tower? No, that's definitely not her style. It's not who she is at all. She's young, very lovely, very intelligent and very grounded." (Interior Designer.com). Emma's own NYC apartment, which she shares with husband Todd Goergen, is a lesson in fine design. The foyer features a Louise Nevelson sculpture and a fabulous faux marquetry on the floor, which opens up to a dining room furnished with Regency spoon-back chairs and French candelabras:
Their bedroom includes a wall of closet space (very much needed in NYC) with chic inset mirrors and brass hinges, and an Empire-style bed and matching mirror:
My favorite space in her home is her office. From the Directoire daybed, to the George-II style mirror, to the leopard Arne Jacobson egg chair, the mix is fabulously eccentric and yet somehow makes sense- which, to me, is the very characteristic that sets her apart as a designer:
Her client list is drool-worthy, but Emma is humble. I relate to her lifelong interest in design. Just as I remember habitually rearranging my room from the age of 5, she remembers having a flair for fabrics from childhood, and once threw a temper tantrum at the age of 10 over her mother's choice of living room wallpaper. Nowadays, she works alongside her mom, who serves as her artistic and creative consultant, and together they approach all projects intentionally and wholeheartedly.
"I would rather be able to focus on the jobs and enjoy them," Pilkington says. "You put your heart and soul into it so it has to be the right fit for me and, more importantly, for the client; otherwise it's not going to be a success."