An Exclusive Showcase of New York’s Finest Designers
Veteran award-winning interior designer William R. Eubanks has been a presence in New York design for more than two decades, since the company found itself working increasingly on the upper East Coast, with other locations of his interior design business and antiques business in Palm Beach and Memphis. Bill Eubanks is known for his unerring eye for remarkable 17th- and 18th-century antiques, rooms imbued with an unmistakable continental grace and use of rich, textured fabrics and tapestries. Bill and long-time design associate D. Mitchell Brown - now the vice president of design and showrooms - are masters of creating a collector’s look. Mitch enjoys putting into practice what he learned long ago at the feet of his mentor, Dallas-based designer Vivian Young: “Put like things together.” Gathering different examples of like objects of varying ages into a cohesive group is a way of creating collections for the clients of William R. Eubanks. “We like a room to look timeless, as if it’s always been there,” Bill says. “We love to have a look that is easy to settle into and looks just as good 20 years from now as the day we installed it.”
That does not mean, however, that Bill Eubanks works exclusively on traditionally inspired spaces - most people do not know that in the 1970s, his showroom was highly contemporary. “This is what time has done,” quips Bills about the antiques he currently carries and the Old World look that he does so well. “It is a passion and I love it, but I like all aspects of design,” he says, “and we still love contemporary design ... it’s nice to be able to have variety in what we do. All of our clients are individual, and when that front door opens, we should feel the energy of our clients, not William R. Eubanks.”
The owner of the Manhattan apartment featured here approached William R. Eubanks, Inc. to design a feminine, sophisticated space high aloft Central Park. The firm’s design philosophy of creating interiors through collaboration with the client is beautifully illustrated on this project. The client’s personal colors and style were influenced by her decision to have the space reviewed by a practitioner of feng shui, who advised the client that certain colors would have beneficial bearing on her spiritual and personal life, including financial and romantic aspects. Bill and his team were already armed with extensive knowledge of the client’s preferences and lifestyle, and now with her desire to include new information from the feng shui expert, the designers went to work transforming design concepts into reality. Fortunately, Bill and Mitch were already in Europe on a buying trip for the firm, so they had at their fingertips endless resources from which to select the intense colors the client preferred. For centuries, Europeans have lived by candlelight, so Europe is a treasure trove of fabrics of bright, sun-drenched colors. Voila! Bill and Mitch returned to the States to show the client fabric selections to fulfill her every requirement. The client is delighted with the finished product, because the design incorporates both the personality of the client and the recommendations of the feng shui practitioner. Bill and Mitch describe the apartment as a feminine, sophisticated space that adheres to the principles of feng shui - exactly as the client wants.
With a worldwide reach when it comes to projects, the firm excels in taking exceptional care of those clients, too. William R. Eubanks has a 3,500-square-foot, sunlit showroom in the heart of Palm Beach, along with a separate design center, which boasts a full-service staff of designers, project coordinators and architectural personnel, as well as an extensive library of fabric, finishes and floor coverings. All design services are orchestrated by Bill and Mitch. Not only is Mitch involved on both the design side and styling the showrooms, he also works with Bill on antique-buying trips in Europe, where they scour the countryside for the best finds at the best prices.
The antiques side of William R. Eubanks is a thriving business in its own right. Bill remembers sage advice he received from fellow antiquarian and friend Kenneth Neame, a London-based designer, who urged him to have an antiques business alongside his interior design business. “Once you develop a passion for antiques, it’s like gambling,” says Bill, who enjoys searching for unique pieces across England, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France, just to name a few places. He is always looking for new and different ideas, as travel is a critical, constant education for designers. Since falling in love with the English countryside years ago, Bill continues to be a regular visitor and has been profoundly influenced by the way the English live with gorgeous objects from all eras.
Regardless of the destination, however, Bill believes that the more we travel, the more we pursue, and says, “Travel takes us to worlds we would never go otherwise.” With numerous different projects ongoing at any given time, he is deeply satisfied in the quest for fantastic finds. An added benefit to Bill’s procurement travels is the broad exposure he has to different cultures and their respective color palettes, forms, ideals and ways of life. His clientele is comprised of well-traveled professionals and aesthetes who often desire to be surrounded by things that inspire them, things they have seen or experienced in their own travels. In the rare instance that the designer has not personally experienced the requested style or cultural flavor, he gladly arranges to visit the source of inspiration to ensure that he can exceed patrons’ expectations.
Every day brings something new, and to Bill that is the beauty of the design business. At the end of the day, it is the connection with the client that truly matters. When one client finally saw her apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue, she declared that she had never been so happy. “She said ‘You’ve been inside my head,’” recalls Bill. “When a client feels that way, we know we’ve been successful with what we do. My greatest happiness is experiencing the joy of a pleased client at the end of a project.”
The joy is achieved through a philosophy of Billy Baldwin that the entire William R. Eubanks team has taken to heart - knowing the client first. Though in eras past, some designers had the luxury of being able to live literally with clients to glean an intimate understanding of their needs and stylistic preferences prior to designing for them, today’s busy lifestyles simply do not afford that depth of research. Bill and Mitch, however, make a point of getting to know their clients just the same. By visiting clients at their places of residence, they are able to pick up on cues that may not come to light in ordinary conversation. They seek to understand every facet of their clients’ lives - how they eat, sleep, entertain, relax, travel and more. Acting as “spatial psychologists,” they observe the sum of decorative objects the client has selected over the years and look for common themes that may elucidate the person’s true tastes, which can then be translated into fresh new interiors. Bill and Mitch’s ultimate goal is to bring forward their clients’ finest tastes; devoting their lives to this mission and achieving thoughtful designs on a daily basis has resulted in a host of lifelong friends who have truly spectacular homes.
More About William ...
What is the best part of being an interior designer?
While I’m driven to create beautiful interiors and love finding gorgeous objects, the aspect of my work I prize most is sharing time with my clients, who, as a group, have an almost unlimited array of life experiences - they often become close friends.
Describe your style or design preferences.
I have a preference for 17th- and 18th-century continental and English design, but I enjoy working in all periods.
What color best describes you and why?
Red. It gives vitality and zing to one’s surroundings, and it makes any space more exciting. Every room needs a touch of red.