Summer Vacation Style: How Travel Influences Design Projects

Summer vacations are all about escaping everyday life and discovering new places, but for designers, traveling can be a lot of work, too — even when that work is enjoyable. From the painted, architectural ceilings of Italian cities to colorful, crowed souks in Morocco, designers scour lauded design destinations for creative ideas to bring back to their clients. Each immersive experience in an unknown locale can bring a wealth of regenerative inspiration, refreshing their perspective on a particular project, and offer encounters with new techniques, makers, and markets. Here, Dering Hall designers reveal how travel has inspired some of their favorite projects.

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Location: Los Angeles
Inspired By: Mexico


“In our Los Angeles home, Jeremiah and I were heavily influenced by our many travels to Mexico. We wanted things to feel timeworn, and evoke a sense of history, which is something you feel wherever you are in Mexico, as well the beauty of the craftmanship, the textiles, and the livability.”

– Nate Berkus, Nate Berkus Associates

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Location: Florida
Inspired By: Italy


“This project is in Florida and the inspiration was the stenciled and articulated ceilings I see all over Italy. This technique creates drama and adds to the three dimensional quality of the groin vaults.”

— Ellie Cullman, Cullman & Kravis

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Location: Washington, D.C.
Inspired by: Kinross House, Scotland


“After a weekend stay at this stunning estate, I was blown away by its stunning collection of antiques and history.”

— Jordan Carlyle, Carlyle Collective

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Location: London
Inspired By: The Carlyle Hotel, New York City


“When I was working for Nicky Haslam on a project in New York, we ended up visiting the Carlyle Hotel near Central Park. The walls of the hotel bar are decorated with a beautiful mural by Ludwig Bemelmans, illustrator and author of the famous Madeline books, which instantly captivated me. This became the source of inspiration for the mural on the walls of my daughters’ bedroom. The children love to stare at the characters – some of them are depicted drinking martinis and smoking cigars – it’s quite grown up and cheeky, but my husband and I love it. The girls will see their parents doing the same!”

– Beata Heuman, Beata Heuman Ltd.

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Location: Miami
Inspired By: Hazlitt’s Hotel, London


“Travel is always such a significant source of inspiration for me. Not only am I constantly traveling sourcing for projects, but since my sensibility is all about an eclectic mix of old and new, I always keep an eye on not only products, items, fabrics, etc, but always on styles, trends, and approaches in design while traveling. It’s always so thrilling to see how someone across the globe approaches design for a similar space.”

— Alex Alonso, mr Alex TATE

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Location: Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic


“I can’t say one specific location served as my inspiration. I took inspiration from all my travels. Every place I visit I always notice the architecture and design details. For example, I’ll notice a beautiful wrought iron screen and use the pattern for wall mural.”

— Juan Montoya, Juan Montoya Design

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Location: Gloucestershire, England
Inspired By: Belgium


“I love the understated, natural, and elegant aesthetic in Belgium, which is characterised by weathered timber floors, heavy linen, and cool lighting. During my travels, I found a company who makes beautiful Moroccan tiles, and this gave me inspiration to restore some existing floor tiles within this project.”

— Emma Sims Hilditch, Sims Hilditch

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Location: Scarsdale, New York
Inspired By: Japan


“Japanese Bamboo and other natural, textural materials made both the outdoor living area and master bathroom into zen retreats. The outdoor space’s color palette and materials make it one with nature.”

– Eve Robinson, Eve Robinson Associates

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9 / 10

Location: West Village, New York City
Inspired By: Morocco


“I had spent a week in Morocco and definitely wanted to have that vibe for one of my more adventurous clients. We used bright colors, the tented ceiling and architectural inspired headboard all working together to make the fantasy come to life.”

— Fawn Galli, Fawn Galli Interiors

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Location: Chicago
Inspired By: France


“I’ve been on buying trips in the South of France with my parents, who are antique dealers, since I was 16. What you see on the shelves and surfaces in this room is a collection from over two decades of travel, a passion I share with my mom, who is also an avid collector.”

— Lauren Buxbaum Gordon, design director, Nate Berkus Associates

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