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IN CONVERSATION WITH GRANT K. GIBSON



Grant K. Gibson


Grant K. Gibson doesn’t necessarily fit into a box when it comes to design style. But that is by no means a drawback! He masterfully executes designs that are traditional, modern, youthful, eclectic, or rustic – but they are always immaculately well done. And wouldn’t you know, he’s a witty blogger too?

Grant founded Grant K. Gibson Interior Design in 2002 and now works across the continent with offices in San Francisco and New York. The firm strives to create spaces that are direct representations of his clients, without any imposed nuances or elements that are not befitting of their personalities. ‘No project is too large or two small in our eyes” says the company profile, as well as a firm stance on attention to detail and customer service and satisfaction.

Our readers have most likely heard of Grant before, he has had numerous features in Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, and Better Homes & Gardens. He has also received prestigious positioning within these pages, including being names as one of “The 10 Designers to Watch” in Domino, and the “5 Designers to Watch” in Elle Décor.

His blog has also been well-received, Grant’s focus is typically design-related, but he certainly touches on other elements of his life including his love of fashion, food and travel.

He is a true design star and we are thrilled to get his input for our ‘In Conversation With’ series, read on to get in on the conversation…


Ivan Meade – What was your first experience by design?

Grant K. Gibson – I would have to say that my first design experience was designing my childhood bedroom. Even at a really young age, I was always changing things around and moving things, painting the walls and taking up carpet to show the hardwood floors hidden under.

My path to design really started when I was in college studying for a degree in psychology (which has totally come in very handy in interior design) I was on the path to become a psychologist when a good friend told me about an art history class that she thought that I should sit in on. Before the end of the lecture, I had already made up my mind that I was going to switch majors. That really started my love of art and architecture and design. In New York, I then interned and worked a few antique stores and then started to do my own apartment as well as friends who liked the way that I did my apartment.

I then thought, why not try to do my own thing and start my own company in interior design. The dream was then born and then I ended up moving to San Francisco, where I really started to get serious about my design company. New York always holds a spot in my heart, so I am happy that I can have the best of both words and work between both cities with offices in both New York and San Francisco.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – What is the most practical thing you own and what is the most rare?

Grant K. Gibson – I think that the most practical piece that I own is a custom table that I designed with a very tailored slipcover over it. I love that it can serve as a desk or table and I can make a mess with paperwork or books or fabrics, but then at the end of the day, I can put things in baskets and hide them away. Under the table, I also have a small file cabinet for important papers and a printer. I don’t like to look at those things, so it is wonderful to keep those things hidden.

As for the most rare piece that I own. It would be a Beidermeir secretary that I have in my dining room. I purchased it around 5 years ago as a birthday treat to myself. It was from a dealer in New York. I simply fell in love with it and just bought it on the spot. It was the most spontaneous purchase that I have ever made, but I look at it everyday and it makes me smile.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – What should every room have in it?

Grant K. Gibson – Every room should have good lighting. With this, I suggest having everything on dimmers. This is from the overhead lighting and table/floor lamps. Lamps that are on too bright are too harsh. I also think that it is key to have a layering of lighting, so that it is not all from one light source. The layering adds dimension and depth to a space. Bad lighting can really kill a room.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – What do you think the homes of today are missing?

Grant K. Gibson – Were do I start? Architectural details? History? creativity and originality? I don’t understand builders that construct new houses that have horrible construction or lack of architecture at all. These details really help to make a space. When I say creativity or originality- by this I mean I see lots of people with these cookie-cutter designs. They have what everyone else has. This is the problem that we face with so many big companies. I feel like creating custom, fine crafted pieces are like pieces of art and make a space feel unique and individual. I am not suggesting that a whole house has to be custom, but mixing styles and sources and making it your own is what I think is interesting about a space.

An interior is about the people that live in them. It should reflect their lifestyle- how they live and what they like.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – What do you look for in a furniture piece?

Grant K. Gibson – Like we just talked about with custom design, I tend to do a lot of custom pieces for my clients. When I look at pieces or am working with my vendors to create pieces, I am looking for quality and something that is timeless. I like pieces of furniture to be able to last for many years. If someone gets tired of the fabric, it can be re-covered.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – One of the elements that I really like about your design aesthetic is that you always use real art in your projects and elements with old world patina – Is this part of your design philosophy?

Grant K. Gibson – Thank you. I do like to mix in things with a touch of old world charm. Trust me, not all of my clients like that look at all. I like to think of myself a traditionalist- but a new traditionalist. I love and respect things that come from the past, but I like to mix them up and play with things and make them more current today. I like to keep things light and not to heavy handed. I think of this as being not the way that your parents or grandparents would have had. I work with a lot of young couples that want to keep it fresh and fun. I do like to add an element of humor and surprise if I can to every project. I would say overall that I have an eclectic style and have really enjoyed learning and pushing the limits with my clients over the past years.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – What is your approach to lifestyle and design?

Grant K. Gibson – I wake up everyday and I pinch myself. I have been very fortunate in life and I love what I do. So many people have jobs that they are not passionate about. My job keeps me on my toes (and can be a challenge for sure). It’s not like all I do is go shopping and pick out pretty things all day long. I think that overall, I have a pretty positive outlook and attitude on life. I am a pretty relaxed and funny person. This I feel like reflected in the designs that I work with in my client projects. I am pretty clear with my clients from the start that there will be delays and always some issues along the. I like to tell them that really there is no such thing as a “design emergency”. At the end of the day, we still have people without jobs, children starving in the world and so many other things to think about. It is not that I am a lazy designer and make excuses at all, I take each project very seriously. I just feel that we don’t leave this world with any of the things that we have collected or purchased. Buying things doesn’t solve problems or at the end of the day make people happy.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – You seem to really enjoy blogging, which is part of what makes your blog so much fun to read. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

Grant K. Gibson – For me, my blog is very one sided. It is pretty much about me and my life. I don’t really blog too much on other designers or use recycled photos of spaces. I love writing about my travels and my projects that I am working on. I have loved connecting with other designers and bloggers out there. That part has been wonderful to meet other people that are interested in the same things.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – It’s great that you share some of your personal life with your bloggers as well, such as your own personal and clients projects. What has that process been like?

Grant K. Gibson – When I started my blog, I started it so that I could share photos of a trip to Paris with friends back home. I thought that it was a way that I could put up photos and talk about my time. After returning home, I thought about it and I decided to just start writing more and keep it up. That was around 3 years ago. For me it has been an amazing tool to put myself out there and for people to get to know me more. I have actually found many clients because of it. They have told me that they felt like that were able to get to know me more by reading my blog. By my cooking or traveling or all of my adventures. I think that often a website is static and it doesn’t get updated very often. A blog is meant to get updated frequently (I try to blog once a week) and be up to date.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – What is the best advice (design related or otherwise) that you have ever received?

Grant K. Gibson – Years ago, a very wise and well known design in this industry told me to: Never forget that you are the designer and they are the client and not to live the same lifestyle that the client does. He meant that so many designers get caught up in the design world and end up trying to live the same lifestyle that the client does. This designer also told me to give the client what they want. That has been key for me. There are times that I might not like exactly what they have selected. I have to remember that they are the ones that will be living there at the end of the project- not me.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – What does it feel like to be announced as one of Top 5 Designers to watch in America by Elle Décor Magazine?

Grant K. Gibson – I am still on top of the world from this. I have been reading Elle Decor forever. I always had big dreams of being published in the pages of Elle Decor one day. When Margaret Russell picked up the phone to call me to tell me that she wanted to select me as one of the Top 5 designers to watch- I nearly dropped the phone.

I feel honoured and know what a special and unique being selected by Elle Decor is. To be honest, my life hasn’t been the same since. I have received a great group of wonderful new clients and I couldn’t be happier.



Interiors by Grant K. Gibson


Iván Meade – What is next for Grant K. Gibson Interior Design?

Grant K. Gibson – Well, I am always playing with the idea of a line of fabric and furniture and I have actually started a book. All of which might take me years to complete. I am in no rush and I am not going anywhere!


I invite you to check out Grant’s website and enjoy more of his work at: