Mixing ‘pedigree with pedestrian

WAG reconnects with Randy Florke – Renaissance man as designer.

Randy Florke is a Renaissance man — a successful decorator, author, magazine editor and Realtor. He was even the co-star of a reality TV show pilot along with his brother for the A&E network called “My Flipp’n Brother.”

Florke was a contributing editor to Country Living for 14 years, where he had numerous decorating projects and articles featured in the magazine. 

He is also the author of two Country Living decorating books, “Restore. Recycle. Repurpose: Create a Beautiful Home” (Hearst Books, 2010); and “Your House, Your Home: Randy Florke’s Decorating Essentials” (Hearst Books, 2005), reissued as “Simple Sustainable Style: Ways to Make a House Your Home” in 2012.

He began his career working for internationally acclaimed interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux. And at the same time Florke also sold vintage country furniture from his native Iowa in a storefront in New York City. From there, he developed his own interior design practice and began selling real estate in Sullivan County through his firm, The Rural Connection.

Randy has also designed an eco-friendly, farmhouse-style, modular home for New World Home, where he is a founding partner with Mark Jupiter and Tyler Schmetterer.

When he’s not working, he’s espousing the issues of equality and civil rights. Since marrying Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney in June 2014 — and becoming the father of three adopted children — Florke has leveraged his higher profile public platform to advocate for an understanding of equality by sharing his life story and work through a lecture series with students in higher education. 

The always busy Florke took some time out to answer our questions on design and maybe the possibility of a new book:

What trends are you seeing now in interior design?

“I believe designers are using darker wall, ceiling and trim paint colors.”

In these modern times, is home as sanctuary more important  than ever?

“Yes, more people are spending more time at home because of telecommuting and with children staying or moving back home until an older age.”

What do you look for when taking on a project?

“If I can accomplish the goals of the client within the budget they have.”

Do you ever turn down a project? 

“Yes, if I can tell that the clients aren’t going to have the bandwidth to take the project to its fruition. I hate leaving a project before it is 100% complete.”

What are people asking for?

“People are asking for a home that looks stylish but doesn’t feel like ‘a golden jail.’”

If they’re going in a wrong direction, how do you steer them away?

“I hold their hand and try and sample items so they can begin to visualize themselves in the new space.”

What do you think is going to be the next big thing?

“I’ve been mixing ‘pedigree with pedestrian’ items for years and now people are asking for that mix so that their home looks less like a furniture showroom.”

Is simple still the way to go or is there room for creating more complex rooms?

“I think people are enjoying more layers than they used to. It’s not that they want their home to look cluttered, but they do want it looked lived in and loved.”

How have things changed since you wrote your first book: What things endure, what hasn’t, etc.?

“I used to do everything on a budget and now people want that comfortable look but with higher-end items that no matter what era is your style, the items will last for many years and are timeless.”

Any new books on the horizon?

“I’d love to pitch a décor book based on the history of our Cold Spring, New York home, which is called Lower Windwolde. It has had three interesting families who have owned it before us and yet its elegant style has remained the same but has been improved upon over the years.”

Where’s your favorite places to find antiques or knacks knick or what have you for houses?

“This fall I bought a large carload of items for our Florida apartment in New Milford, Connecticut, where they have a few shops and a weekend flea market.”

For more, visit theruralconnection.com.

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