with Richard Wrightman and Simone White
For this special feature, we spoke with dynamic couple and dear friends of mine, furniture designer Richard Wrightman and musician Simone White. Through stunning images taken by the couple themselves, we receive a glimpse into their home and work lives, which happily coexist for them. As Simone says, “work and life are one creation.”
Below, our conversation with the couple about how they inspire each other’s art, an authentically timeless wardrobe, and holiday traditions with their pup, Hugo.
We hope you enjoy.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions together? What is Hugo’s role?
Simone: Every day is a holiday with Hugo! I like to bring seasonal things into the house. I made a wreath from our willow tree in the spring. I love having the tree for Christmas/Yule, and bringing nature and lights into the home in the darkest season. Hanging ornaments like wishes, setting intentions for the year, giving thanks for past years and memories. Each new year's day we've spent together we've gone on a long walk.
In LA it was up into the hills above Echo Park. Last year it was to Fort Tilden beach in Brooklyn. Hugo ran like the wind and Richard and I walked barefoot in the icy waves. I think that's the beginning of a holiday tradition for us: a long walk, seeking out nature.
Richard: This will be our third Christmas together and I feel that we are still discovering our traditions together as a couple. Christmas for me has always been about being home. I love nothing more than being home with Simone and especially our meals together. I love going with her to the farmers market, Eataly, or Marlow & Daughters. We both share an interest in the ancient traditions: their words and symbology that have created the season that we all love.
Both of you are so talented in your crafts. As a couple, how do you inspire each other and cross-pollinate?
S: Richard might say something that I'll write down in my notebook. I have lots of bits and pieces that sometimes turn into songs, I collect lines, rhythmic things that people say. He inspires me in many ways generally. His knowledge of history and design, and how things are manufactured.
R: I’ve learned so much from Simone. We have so many shared interests. The healing arts are one, eating healthily and medicinal herbs and remedies. The exploration of new ideas is another, whether that be the arts, film, philosophy or politics.
Between beautiful furniture and the sound of music, one can only imagine how serene and special your home is. How do you balance work and life—or are you happy for them to coexist?
S: I think work and life are one creation. I don't separate them. Even when I work jobs that have nothing to do with my artistic work I still feel like it's part of the inspiring art of life.
R: In the evenings I feel like I leave one studio and come home to another. Simone will be rehearsing a song, making a video, or working on one of her father’s light fixtures. There’s always something to see.
How do you define “home”? What do you feel is most important about the spaces we create?
S: I've moved around a lot my whole life and I feel that home is something I carry with me. But I also need to make whatever space I'm living in something special and harmonious: one's environment and objects have such a profound effect on how you feel. Richard and I were lucky to have a similar aesthetic, although I'm more on the bohemian artist side whereas he's quite posh.
When I first moved in I said I need a chair with a hard seat, for my back and also for playing guitar. I found a simple shabby chic chair until the perfect chair could be found. We were having lunch and he looked so sad. I said, “Baby, what's wrong?” I thought something terrible had happened. It turned out to be the chair! It was making him upset to see this ugly piece in our house. The next day he went to an antique shop and brought home a 200-year-old walnut burl chair of the British Regency. It's quite special and, as Richard says, it should probably be in a museum.
Richard had to get used to my particularities about music. Most of the time I don't want to listen to music. I find it distracting: melodies and lyrics get stuck in my head. He tried many times putting on different music playlists while we were having dinner until finally I said to him, “It's like I was showing you a bunch of poorly designed chairs while you were trying to relax and eat!”
R: I love old houses where one can feel like they’ve entered another world as soon as one walks through the door. I like an interior that references the classical but is layered with other places and time. I love the play of color between objects and rooms, especially the view from one room to the next.
How does your personal style reflect who you are as artists?
S: I like timeless clothes, natural materials. Flowing or fitted, I like things to be comfortable. I won't sacrifice my ability to breathe or walk for anything. Authentic, honest. I think my music reflects that. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
I think Richard's personal style is definitely reflected in his work: the military campaign, things fitting perfectly together, straps and belts and flaps and buttons. I'm always noticing some odd and beautiful detail on his clothes.
R: I started following someone on Instagram who dresses in the period of a 19th century gentleman. I understood the inclination. Simone asked, “If you feel this way, why don’t you dress that way?”
“It’s because there are things I like in the modern,” I said. I can’t be tied to one particular era. I try to imbue an elegance into what I wear, but I cannot be constrained to just the early 19th century. A romantic at heart, I try to flourish a timelessness in what I wear.
What fabrics, patterns, or colors help you brace yourselves—physically, emotionally, mentally—for the winter landscape?
S: I love wool, different textures and weights of linen, crisp cotton, cashmere. I love fall and winter, and being able to layer. Scarves and hats and coats. When I was in LA I loved the days when I could start layering. Here in New York, it's of course more extreme, and bulky. There's also now the new addition of masks. It's interesting choosing colors and patterns to put over your face. Sometimes it surprises me what looks good on my face, or with an outfit.
R: I moved to New York from Los Angeles 30 years ago for a number of reasons; wanting to live in a city rich in history was one, and a place of four seasons was another. I love coats, sweaters, boots, and scarves in the winter as much as I love shorts and sandals in the summer.
Simone—have you ever created a piece, or played one differently, while sitting on one of Richard’s chairs? And, Richard—have you ever worked on a design with Simone’s music in the background, a soundtrack to your creation?
S: I need a plain hard chair to sit on to play guitar. Also no arm rests, and my feet must be flat on the floor. I'm waiting for Richard to design one for me. It will be called the Simone chair and it will be timeless, simple and elegant, delicate but strong, and with a nice hard seat!
R: While I love Simone’s music, I find that she inspires me in so many other ways. When I hear her sing from the next room or from the floor below, I’m reminded of what Simone’s mother used to sing her when she was young, “Why, you’re like the radio!” The chair that I have in mind for her will be a simple Alpine or Chalet chair.
Richard Wrightman is wearing our Men's Cashmere Blazer.
Simone White is wearing our Mitchley Long in Camel and our custom cashmere skirt.