Beautiful, functional, balanced: 20 questions with Andrea Gibson


Photo: Christian Hommel Photo: Christian Hommel

Occupation: Founder of Gibson Design Group

Resides in: Earlysville

Best known for: Not dictating style or colors but listening to what the client wants. It will be their space, not mine. I did what I wanted with my space so I don’t need to impose my personal taste on the client.

1. Antique or modern? Often a combination of both, but the client’s wishes and aesthetics dictate the style.

2. City or country? Again, client decides. What is important to me is the scale and proportion of pieces and how they blend and complement each other. The style is not as important.

3. Which colors do you use most? I typically like neutrals on large pieces with splashes of color. It is much more expensive to reupholster a large piece of furniture than replace toss cushions or accent pieces. I also love monochromatic palates.

4. Which materials or textures do you frequently use? When I work with families with children, I like to use outdoor fabrics since they are pretty bomb-proof and now come in wonderful textures and colors. I like a broad mix of textures in a room to provide interest often in the same color palate.

5. What is your favorite interior design-related word? Balance.

6. Does your home look like the one you grew up in? Not at all. We had maroon wool mohair sofas at first that itched like crazy and then my mother discovered Danish modern and everything matched—coffee table, end tables, lamps.

7. Does a room need a view? Not if there are interesting people in it, then they are the focus and view. It also helps to have it beautifully and functionally furnished.

8. Favorite designer or architect? Robert A.M. Stern, without a close second.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine do you peruse religiously? Veranda, Architectural Digest, Traditional Home, Elle Decor.

10. Design-wise, what should a homeowner never scrimp on? Good upholstery.

11. Design rule you like to break? Mixing metals in a bath or kitchen.

12. What is your favorite room in the house? A porch or master bedroom.

13. What is your most treasured possession? A Pace onyx coffee table that I bought when I was a young designer. I lived in a third floor walk-up apartment and it took three men to haul it up the stairs.

14. What do you wish you could do without? Extravagant food tastes.

15. What are you afraid to DIY? Almost any construction project. I have a lot of respect for the trades who do their job well.

16. Have you ever had a change of heart about an object or a style? There was a time that I didn’t like Biedermeier, but then was working on a wonderful client’s home in Seattle and she had had a very old designer previously who did a library in all Biedermeier and it was splendid.

17. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be? William Randolph Hearst’s “castle.”

18. On what movie set would you like to live? Something’s Gotta Give.

19. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be? A classic Greek Klismos chair.

20. What is your first design memory? I had storybook dolls when I was young and made furniture for them out of balsa wood and cardboard; it wasn’t the finest of craftsmanship, but I loved making it and arranging it in rooms.

Posted In:     Living


Previous Post

Contempo casual: A modern house in the woods makes living easy

Next Post

List opportunity: At restaurants, know what’s on offer, but take a chance too

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to

Leave a Reply

Notify of