By Janice Harris
What’s Christopher Grubb, one of the most recognizable interior and product designers, up to nowadays?
The question really should be, what isn’t he doing? As the president and founder of the Beverly Hills-based Arch-Interiors Design Group, Christopher creates modern interior and exterior designs based on his client’s desires, but with his personal touch. When he’s not designing residences and commercial properties, he’s busy working on his two signature product lines: The C.G. Collection and Autograph by Christopher Grubb, serving on the Editorial Advisory Board for Kitchen & Bath Business, participating in a variety of radio and television segments, and presenting as an in-demand lecturer nationwide and in Canada. He was recently recognized as one of the 50 innovators in Kitchen + Bath Design, and named the Best Interior Design Firm by Build.com in England.
Over the past year, House Tipster and Christopher Grubb have forged a special partnership. As you’ve probably seen in our trade show coverage, Christopher brings a refreshing combination of industry knowledge and charm to the table during interviews with some of the biggest names and most relevant product representatives in the market today. He’s incredibly passionate about sharing unique product and design movements, as well as introducing top designers and influencers with you.
We spent some time chatting with Christopher Grubb about his work and influence in the industry, and he left us with some inspiring takeaways.
House Tipster: What motivated you to become a designer?
C.G.: I was the kid that knew, from the start, that I wanted to work with design and architecture. I’d draw buildings, play with blocks and Legos: anything that gave me the space to create. Up through college, I continued making renderings-- everything from floor plans to cityscapes. I knew I was going to be a designer; I just needed the experience. Five years after graduating from design school, I took a leap and started my business, Arch-Interiors Design Group.
House Tipster: Do your designs fit a specific stylistic category? Can you dive into what makes your designs different?
C.G.: One of the reasons I’m so passionate about design is because I get to know the client and then create something for them that’s truly theirs, whether that be traditional, transitional or contemporary. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that residential projects have been leaning more contemporary. However, my designs are always different because, well, they really are! I follow my client’s lead with each project. I don’t necessarily have a signature look because I design around what my client wants.
House Tipster: Talk about Arch-Interiors. What types of clients to do you work with? What are your favorite kinds of projects to tackle?
C.G.: I started Arch-Interiors in 1994, and was fortunate to be successful early on. We work on interiors and exterior designs for homes and commercial spaces. Our clients come to us from across the country and internationally, and a majority of them come to us from referrals, which I’m very proud of!
Regarding what types of projects I like; I like them all! My favorite projects happen when I create a true partnership with my clients, who are depending on my professionalism and experience to create something that is unique to them and something they truly love.
House Tipster: You're considered an influencer in the field. What perspective do you bring?
C.G.: Since I do both commercial and residential design, I’m able to spot a lot of unique product that can cross over into both styles. I also think that my activity speaking at shows and conferences allows me to see what’s new and innovative on the market. I include these elements in my designs, which manifests as a fresh, unique perspective. I find that I’m often ahead of trends that start years later!
House Tipster: Can you speak to your two collections: Autograph by Christopher Grubb and The C.G. Collection?
C.G.: Every time I work on a design project, I create one-of-a-kind, unique pieces of furniture, and I love doing this. With these two collections, I’m making these same pieces I’ve always wanted to do and many, many more, but I’m bringing them to a broader audience.
Autograph by Christopher Grubb was formed to create stylish, unique, and quality luxury products. I work with clients and manufacturers to create everything from bath fixtures to tile and lighting.
The C.G. Collection includes a full and varied line of modern bathroom furniture, including vanities, mirrors, and medicine cabinets. The C.G. Collection brings designs that are price friendly and represent affordable luxury.
House Tipster: Out of all of your accomplishments, is there a project, client, or design that stands out?
C.G.: It sounds cliche, but every project is special in its own way. I love working with clients and creating designs specific to what they’re looking for. Each project is different. Each client is different. And the best part of my job is seeing the satisfaction on my client’s face when everything’s said and done. My prize, no matter the size of the project, is that they love what we created together.
House Tipster: You’re known for high-end luxury design, but you’re often called upon by media outlets to talk about affordable tips for homeowners. What’s your advice for someone looking to design on a budget?
C.G.: Start with the family room or entry hall, because these are spaces someone can affordably design with something new and fresh.
One way to do this is to begin with a new area rug and then accent your favorite color in the rug with pillows, be it solid or patterned. If you’re daring, try an accent paint color on the walls. If you go this route, I always encourage painting two walls in a room, so you truly feel the color when you walk in. Then, add in other accessories (such as ceramic or glass) that further accentuate your new scheme. Slipcovers on chairs are another way to add some style to your design intention, but with a softer commitment than fully upholstered pieces.
What I love about this method of design is that if you want to make a change in 3-4 years, you can just select a different color scheme from the area rug to redo the space-- to the point where your friends walk in and say “you completely redecorated the room” when it was only some small yet dynamic touches.
House Tipster: You talk about colors and finishes a lot in your interviews with brand representatives at trade shows. What do YOU see as big trends to look out for in 2018?
C.G.: I hear a lot of buzz and see new trends at trade shows every year. This year, white and gold have really expanded from plumbing fixtures a year ago into furniture, bathroom vanities, and hardware. In terms of color, I’ve seen a lot of variations of green, including a darker, almost Hunter green color. I’ve also heard from insiders that white-finished floors are making a comeback.
Of course, cobalt accents are still big and black is also “in” right now, especially in the kitchen.
House Tipster: Along the same lines, is there any trend that you're completely "over?"
C.G.: I’m not over the “white kitchen,” per se, but I’m excited to see that clients are interested in introducing wood tones in the kitchen and bathroom. Something else I’m doing is paneling appliances to match the cabinetry instead of using stainless steel. This simple addition gives the room a cleaner look and actually makes it feel larger.
It’s also nice to see the industrial chic look becoming more polished. I really love this look!
House Tipster: You’ve been working with House Tipster a lot over the past few months. What’s your favorite part of working with the HT team?
C.G.: I appreciate the incredible passion the House Tipster team has regarding design and how they want to bring it to their followers. That passion has energized me and has allowed me to bring many perspectives from the design community to your viewers through interviews.
Some of the interviews were actually the first ones these professionals have ever done with media. They were completely exclusive! This is all done so that viewers will learn more about the design industry and ultimately find something that they can bring into their design projects or further their knowledge of the interior design business. It’s a win-win for everyone!
House Tipster: What's next on the Christopher Grubb docket? What can we look forward to this year from you?
C.G.: I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to expand on new products for both the CG Collection and Autograph by Christopher Grubb. Also, I’m continuously working on a variety of projects with the end-goal of creating the spaces my clients love--which reinforces the reason I went into this profession in the first place.
We look forward to seeing and hearing from Christopher Grubb throughout 2018 and beyond.
To learn more about Christopher Grubb, Arch-Interiors Design Group, Autograph by Christopher Grubb, The C.G. Collection, and his new product launches, head to ChristopherGrubbDesign.com.
Christopher, as always, thank you for your invaluable perspective.