‘The New Guard’

Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs

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“For today’s interior designers, antiques in Europe are as easy to access as those in New Jersey.  As this ‘global access’ trend continues to evolve, interior designers are going to have to adjust their business models and skill sets in response.”

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While attending last months press preview for Holiday House (Iris Danker’s annual fundraising gala benefiting breast cancer research) I had the pleasure of meeting Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs.  He was given a challenging space to decorate, and did a masterful job creating restrained glamour and architectural reference on a staircase landing with J Pocker frames.  This week he was named to House Beautiful’s list of 10 up-and-coming designers to watch, so I invited him to coffee – to learn about his background, his aesthetic, and his thoughts for the future of interior design.  Here’s what I learned.

 

Mr. Call Designs for Holiday House

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Tell me about yourself, and your background in design.

I grew up outside of Seattle, Washington during it’s renaissance.  Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks had all recently launched.  Grunge music was all the rage on the radios and grunge fashions walked the runways in Paris.  Overnight, Seattle had gone from a sleepy town into a new global economy.  It was during this time that a new class of wealth emerged, and with it new ideas on luxury.  While attending Cornish College of the Arts, I worked as a private chef for the Nordstrom’s family.   It was there that I saw a new way to live that was informed by a casual Seattle lifestyle balanced with a high level of sophistication.  To this day, the homes I am drawn too have this attitude of relaxed elegance where you always know where to put your feet up.

How did you come up with the name of your company?

When I worked for Bill Diamond at Diamond Barratta Design, he always liked to be known as “Mr Diamond”.  It was the classic way Interior Designers were always addressed in New York, and I loved the way he commanded attention from this simple gesture.  Early in my employment there, I remember saying to myself, “One day I am going to be a Mr!”. (Laughing).  When I opened my business in 2010, the name Mr Call Designs seemed like a natural fit.  Its kinda snooty, a bit funny…and pays homage to the Interior Designers that inspired me.

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Who are your clients?

My clients tend to be a downtown crowd, between the age 30 and 40.  It’s a younger audience than most of my peers, and I think the attitude of the interiors reflects that.  This market has a new attitude when it comes to creating their home: they want to co-author it, not have it completely created for them.  They tend to be savvy with design, and want to invest money in pieces that they will carry with them for a lifetime.  Men make up a significant component of our business.  I realized recently that there are not a lot of firms that are specializing in creating homes for educated, downtown guys – so we have found a niche with many of the gents – in art, media and business that need assistance putting together a home, either for themselves or their families.  It’s nice to know that MCD has created a look, or a “vibe” really, that people identify with.

What’s your design philosophy?

Design is about balance. That’s it.

What makes your business model unique?

The most typical way we work is hourly.  We do not resell furniture, and there is no markup.  Any designer discounts we receive are passed on directly to the client.  It’s simple business model that opens us up to a broad client base.  By removing commission incentives, MCD is able to shop at multiple price points for our projects.

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Who are the 10 vendors & products that are ‘go-to’s’ for MCD?

  1. Alpha Workshops, ‘Scattered Showers’ Handmade Wallpaper
  2. Jayson Home and Garden, ‘The Morgan Sofa’
  3. Mecox Gardens, ‘Four Panel Black & White Abstract’
  4. Soane Britain, ‘The Crillon Chair’
  5. Ruby Beets, ‘Serge Mouille Wall Lamp’
  6. Restoration Hardware, ‘The Sorensen Leather Sofa’
  7. Ochre, The ‘Vellum Screen’
  8. Zak + Fox fabrics, ‘Postage’ Linen Print
  9. Olde Good Things, ‘The Industrial Steel Top Table’
  10. Anthropologie, ‘Gilded Glow Floor Lamp’

What do you see as the future of interior design in the digital world?

The digital world is bringing design to everyone’s doorstep.  For today’s interior designers, antiques in Europe are as easy to access as those in New Jersey.  As this ‘global access’ trend continues to evolve, interior designers are going to have to adjust their business models and skill sets in response.

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419 Lafayette Street  2nd Floor  New York City  10002     646-652-6601

www.mrcalldesigns.com

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(Photography courtesy Philip Ficks)

 

10 thoughts on “‘The New Guard’”

  1. I agree completely with this view. Clients are too often left out of the mix. I have re done several projects in which a designer had “done their job”, but the client felt it was forced upon them, and unhappy.

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