Life & Style
Incorporating Equestrian Design into Modern Interiors
THE WELL-KNOWN DESIGNER VANCE BURKE TALKS ABOUT INCORPORATING AN EQUESTRIAN FEEL INTO MODERN INTERIORS.
Q: How do you approach adding "equestrian" into modern interior design?
Why start telling the story in the middle or near the end? In my experience, horse people are all-in right from the beginning.
I would literally start from the ground up with reclaimed-wood floors or a rough-cut stone-something that has an earthy, organic integrity. I would juxtapose slick modern walls with a high-contrast, dressage-inspired color story-perhaps saddle leather, off-white linen with dark navy or black accents, or lacquered walls.
When we do get to the accessories, my mantra in modern design is fewer, bigger, better. This is where we would continue the story with the artwork selected - a Deborah Butterfield sculpture, maybe a Susan Rothenberg drawing, minimalist black and white photography, or even the Zen of a Tang dynasty horse.
Q: Is there anything unique about equestrian clients?
We all live in a bubble, most of us one of our own making. But perhaps the group most excelling at this condition is the horse world. I always find it to be a fun project when the client is really passionate about something, and I'm more than happy to jump aboard and be the conductor of their fantasy train.
I understand that their horses are sometimes more family than their family. They live with the horses, travel with them. But it's always perplexing to me when the spaces, architectural details, finishes, and fixtures in the barn are nicer than in the main house.
Q: Do you encounter equestrian-fashion trends in interior design?
Fashion typically leads the way, especially when it comes to color stories. Think of the 1980s equestrian style. Dark, heavy, jewel-tone colors spring to mind-burgundy and emerald, and patterns in paisley and plaid.
But fashion, like decorating, is about robbing the past to create the future, or combining the past with the present to be both modern and classic, simultaneously. This, I think, is something that Hermès does very well. Is that a cape or a horse blanket?