Bathroom Diaries: Molly Van Amburgh
Valentine's Day is around the corner, and we think we have a crush on this bathroom designed by Molly Van Amburgh. Her style is classically luxe, with a dash of funk, and we can't get enough. We chatted with Molly to get the lowdown on this dreamy space, plus a little background on her career, design inspo and her love for collecting art.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from, where do you live now, and how long have you been in design?
I am from Fort Worth, Texas and currently live in Dallas! Professionally, I have been in interior design since graduating from Parsons in 2012. However, starting as an assistant during the summer in high school, interior design is the only job I have ever had and has been a passion for as long as I can remember! While in college in Austin, I worked with a designer, Shannon Dowell, who owns a store called Wendow Fine Living, and I always had design internships in the summer.
Where did you start your career before going out on your own?
After I graduated from Parsons in NYC, I was a freelance designer at ASHNYC in Brooklyn. I was unsure if I wanted to stay in New York or go back to Texas, so I began applying to firms in both New York and Dallas. I interviewed with Emily Summers while she was on a work trip to New York, and soon after moved to Dallas to start as an assistant at Emily Summers Design Associates.
Photographed by Jen Morley Burner
You have had your own firm for five years (congratulations!) What is one thing that has been instrumental to your success? What advice do you have for someone looking to get into interior decorating?
Thank you! It has been an adventure. I am a “yes” person and what I mean by that is whether it is an invitation to an event, a project inquiry, or even a random ask from a client, I try to make anything work! You never know what will come if you do not go for it 100% of the time! Advice: you have got to LOVE design. Interior decorating is more than just a job, it is a passion where it comes naturally to you or it doesn't, sorry! I tell anyone for that matter that I think everyone should love what they do, because why spend all of that time working if you don't enjoy it?! Get your toes wet by working for a decorator before jumping all in because there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than people think! ;)
What suggestions do you have for anyone looking to improve a space in their home? Any quick fixes that you love?
Paint and door/cabinet hardware can make a world of difference. Hardware is like jewelry for the home. I also love an architectural element, such as built ins with lighting in the shelving or art lights above.
What are your greatest sources of design inspiration? What are your current brand crushes or favorite Instagram accounts to follow?
I take pictures everywhere I go, so my inspiration definitely comes from my own experiences. Thanks to weddings and an anniversary trip, we have several destinations in our travel lineup for 2020 including Carmel, Jamaica, and Provence. Favorite instagram accounts to follow: @arielokin, @notallbeige, @palomacontrerasdesign, @alyssakapitointeriors, @meredithellis, @_ig_art, @stephen_karlisch_photo. I also love the interior design inspiration that come from two of my clients who have become good friends! @bagather @maryahafner
How do you make sure you’re enjoying the stay on the daily?
I love art. Art is personal to every client. My husband and I #enjoythestay by placing art in our home that we equally love!
We love how serene and light-filled this bathroom is! What was your vision for the space? What was the first thing you picked out?
We started with the tile, which is actually porcelain made to look like calacatta marble by Walker Zanger. The client had just come back from a trip to Europe, so they were influenced by European bathrooms being modern with traditional accents. They wanted the european marble look, but this is not necessarily their “forever home”, so I was sensitive to their bank account and only showed them porcelain options. Without a budget, we would have wallpapered or tiled the walls completely.
Photographed by Jen Morley Burner. Molly used grey piped towels with Mercer embroidery in grey thread.
How does your design process differ for a bathroom (relative to other rooms?)
I approach most rooms in a similar manner. I like to think about that specific space and how it is used. In this case, it was a pretty open bathroom so the overall effect of the tile was most important.
Ok, time for a quick fire round:
Favorite coffee table book: That is always changing. Currently coveting the new Lisa Fine coffee table book my mother-in-law gifted me for Christmas!
If you were going to design a power room of your dreams, how would you do it?
That is a LOADED question. Whenever I do a powder room in my own house, it will probably be the hardest room for me to do because powder rooms are my FAVORITE! However, today I will go with…
Wallpaper: Aux Abris Stripes: Parade
Paint: Yellow accent color pulled from the wallpaper on the trim. I can always count on farrow and ball, so possibly F&B dayroom yellow.
Mirror: Something sweet, ideally vintage but this mirror from Horchow would work!
Lighting: I have always had a crush on Urban Electric. The Oliver light would be great.
Art: Some sort of contemporary charcoal or pencil drawing of a floral to balance the bold colors in the wallpaper. I recently saw a piece by Joseph Havel in an auction similar to this.
Accessory: A crisp and simple arrangement of white anemones.
Towels: Weezie of course! Pictured here are hand towels with green piping and River embroidery in green thread.