Interview with Stephen Knollenberg : design elements


Interview with Stephen Knollenberg

categories Designer, Interviews    

“When everything that is placed in a room shares some connection—a common thread—something happens. There is a sweet spot where composition, balance, color and form come together.”

Stephen Knollenberg

Stephen Knollenberg established an interior design firm in his own name in 2002. Some years later he has been named to Architectural Digest list of top 100 interior designers and architects in the world. Whether contemporary or traditional his interiors are serene, classic and timeless. They draw me in to look at the subtle layers of detail…

image courtesy: Stephen Knollenberg & Architectural Digest via extra interios

How would you categorize your own personal style?

Edited…..clean……..with a mix of the old and the new.  I look to design not just ‘rooms’, but environments.  In them, I’d like people to feel inspired, but comfortable.  I’m definitely tuned in to how a space feels and not just to the way that it looks.  The eye sees and then the brain elicits emotions.

What are the early influences that led you towards design?

I grew up in a rather clever mid-century house and my mother liked early American antiques.  I think these disparate elements had a great influence on me.  It challenged and broadened my tastes.

What does a designer need in order to be successful?

That depends upon how you define success. I recently read that John Fowler, of the British decorating firm Colefax and Fowler, was terrible in business but obviously a very talented man.  More and more, I see that talent alone is not a guarantee of overall success.  If you combine it with a certain amount of business acumen however, great things can happen.

Finish this sentence:  Creating a room is like………

……….Creating a great dish.  It’s a little of this and a little of that until it’s perfect.  Funny, I have very little patience in the kitchen, but I care a lot about how the table looks……

image courtesy: Stephen Knollenberg & Architectural Digest via extra interios

What is your idea of what the perfect home should feel like?

Balanced and serene.

Which design project have you been most proud of?

There isn’t just one.  I’m most pleased when a client tells me they love living in a space I’ve created for them.

What inspires you?

Beauty.  It tugs at the soul a little bit for me.  It can be the woods or the water, a textile or a work of art………or the wonderful lines of a building or a chair.

What is your current state of mind?

Grateful.  I have learned in my life, metaphorically, to go with the river and not against it.  If you allow it to, it generally takes you exactly where you need to go.

What books are you currently reading?

Phillips de Pury has recently sent me their bounty of auction catalogs.  Many trees had to die for them, but they are wonderful to read through.

image courtesy: Stephen Knollenberg & Architectural Digest via extra interios

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

My weekend home near Lake Michigan.  It’s been a labor of love for more than ten years and it grounds and inspires me every time I walk in the door.

What do you like to spend money on?

Things……..I love beautiful things (to keep or to sell).  I also love to travel to find beautiful things………!

What was the last piece you bought for your home?

A contemporary sculpture by German artist, Wolfram Niessen.  It was done in the 1970’s and is made of bronze and a slab of clear acrylic.  It’s quite heavy and powerful but virtually see-through ……….an interesting mix of elements.

What do you find fascinating?

What makes certain art and antiques become collectible and valuable.  That two works of art from the same artist can escalate in value very differently I also find interesting.  An artist’s work, like fashion, suddenly becomes desirable: Why?

Your favorite quotation…….

Optimism takes the chance of losing; pessimism loses the chance of gaining.

What does success mean to you?

Accomplishing your goals and feeling good about the journey.


33 Kommentare zu “Interview with Stephen Knollenberg”

  1. Stephie am 17.02.2011 um 10:14 Uhr 

    Yet another great interview Maria! I love love love that pool and Stephen’s favourite quotation – something I am going to try to take on board more often. Thankyou for sharing, Stephie x

  2. Emilia am 17.02.2011 um 10:21 Uhr 

    LOVE, LOVE, LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE your blog! Just found you and feel so inspired. My day looks brighter. May all your days are full with light and inspiration. Kisses from Italy

  3. Krystal/Village am 17.02.2011 um 11:54 Uhr 

    he is impressive, i love his designs! and theory :)

  4. Tina am 17.02.2011 um 15:40 Uhr 

    Hi sweet friend!
    I´ve said it before and I´m about to say it again; I love these interviews, presenting all these successful and talanted people. I always find something to bring along with me and that is sooo valuable!
    Also big thanks for having a visit, reading my little interview at the Blogstress Network. Your words were so kind and I feel blessed to always have you around:)!
    Sending All my Love!

  5. maureen lynne am 17.02.2011 um 15:53 Uhr 

    clean and edited, how he describes his design style…and it’ss very nice…it’s so fresh and inspiring…

  6. George am 17.02.2011 um 16:13 Uhr 

    Thanks for another very interesting interview. I really like his designs as shown in your photos.

  7. Nikki am 17.02.2011 um 17:16 Uhr 

    Thank you so much for voting for my shop on the Lovelies! Your blog is great!

  8. Sylke am 17.02.2011 um 17:39 Uhr 

    Yes, I move in!

    Cu Sylke

  9. Trendwelt am 17.02.2011 um 17:39 Uhr 

    Hallo liebe Maria!

    Tolles Inteview wie immer! Freue mich auf weitere :-)
    Alles Liebe
    von Bine

  10. Ann am 17.02.2011 um 17:56 Uhr 

    I couldn’t find your email but wanted to thank you for stopping by and commenting. What a beautiful blog you have. I have book marked it and look forward to reading it. Thank you! Ann

  11. Atelier Turner am 17.02.2011 um 18:16 Uhr 

    Stephen Knollenberg and I seem to be cut from the same cloth…his design theory and responses to the questions are exactly what I believe and feel about spaces and design. I enjoyed reading this interview.

  12. hotelsdesignmonde am 17.02.2011 um 18:16 Uhr 

    interesting interview! :-)

  13. Delishhh am 17.02.2011 um 18:44 Uhr 

    OMG i love that backyard – i would never leave, just sleep out there :)

  14. Donna Frasca am 17.02.2011 um 19:54 Uhr 

    It’s nice to get comments from Germany. Thanks for visiting my color blog here in United States (North Carolina).


  15. Kay @ The Church Cook am 17.02.2011 um 22:04 Uhr 

    So inspiring! Love the balanced and clean look! Great interview!

  16. Ingrid am 17.02.2011 um 22:06 Uhr 

    Another great interview from you my dear! So interesting to read..I loved the swimming pool, would love to have one of those…

    Hugs, Ingrid

  17. Dawn {The Alternative Wife} am 17.02.2011 um 22:47 Uhr 

    Gorgeous! Balanced and serene. That’s my idea of a perfect home too :)

  18. Jody Brettkelly am 18.02.2011 um 00:59 Uhr 

    Hi nice to meet you and thanks so much for stopping by. I love your blog and this interview. He seems to capture a true beachy feel yet spare and very clean – very freeing!

  19. traci zeller designs am 18.02.2011 um 01:04 Uhr 

    Wonderful interview!! I’m dying over that pool!

  20. Stacey am 18.02.2011 um 02:30 Uhr 

    I’m really loving this interview series. This is another great feature of a talented designer. Gorgeous pics! XX

  21. quintessence am 18.02.2011 um 05:45 Uhr 

    Wonderful interview! Love his clean classic aesthetic – very easy to live with !!

  22. Splendid Willow am 18.02.2011 um 07:01 Uhr 

    Stephen I would love to meet! Any designer who says that he is more tuned in to how a space feels than how it looks gets a star in my book!

    He seems like a very content man who gives rooms a good vibe. That is a skill.

    Great interview Maria! And I read every single one – word by word!

    Warm hugs,


  23. dina am 18.02.2011 um 08:46 Uhr 

    Uauuuuu!Me acabo de quedar más que impresionada con las imágenes de tu blog y eso que no entiendo nada de lo que pone!!jeje

  24. tinajo am 18.02.2011 um 10:45 Uhr 

    I enjoyed reading this, thank you! :-)

  25. Barbara@HausDesign am 18.02.2011 um 13:08 Uhr 

    A great designer that I had not heard of so thanks for tuning me into him! Schoene Gruesse!

  26. Sandra am 18.02.2011 um 16:37 Uhr 

    Wow, was würde ich jetzt darum geben an diesem Pool liegen zu können. Ist ja gigantisch.
    Vielen Dank für ein paar Träumereien. ;-)
    LG Sandra

  27. Tamara, Bella Boho am 18.02.2011 um 18:35 Uhr 

    Hi Maria,

    Thank you for stopping by my blog. Your site is fantastic, looking forward to following you!

  28. ahhhlala am 18.02.2011 um 19:33 Uhr 

    Ohhhh, what an amazing swiming pool!!!
    Nice weekend

  29. Cez am 18.02.2011 um 20:12 Uhr 

    so great and inspiring interview!!!! this guy is amazing…tks for sharing….the new color on your blog is just great!!!! Have a sweet weekend my dear!!! xoxo

  30. Tereza am 18.02.2011 um 20:24 Uhr 

    Great interview, I love Steve Knollenberg’s work and this house is fantastic, I posted it a few months ago, it’s really beautiful.
    Love this post, as always.

  31. florence am 18.02.2011 um 21:56 Uhr 

    por favor, esta piscina es un sueño!!!
    Buen finde :)

  32. Roxi am 18.02.2011 um 23:07 Uhr 

    hola María!!! hermosas fotografías, una casa increible, sobre todo el sector de la pileta. las palmeras parece que reodearan toda la casa, hermoso!! gracias por tu visita. cariños.

  33. Stine am 20.02.2011 um 20:58 Uhr 

    Thanks for leaving a nice comment:) I love your blog, very nice pictures!

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