5 Questions with PROjECT Interiors

We spoke with Aimee Wertepny and Lauren Warnock of PROjECT Interiors on capturing their client’s vision, and which fun, new spaces homeowners are asking them to design.

10 Minute Read


You design dream spaces that seem to be perfectly geared toward your clients. What is your process of bringing your client’s vision to life?

AW: At PROjECT., we believe that a home/space should tell the story of its occupants. To hit that high level of reflective design, it all starts with learning about our clients—taking the time to listen and learn about what’s important to them. We ask a lot ofquestions, and review their personal inspo saves (magazine tear outs, Pinterest boards, phone pics, etc.). We call this the ‘dating phase’ of the design process, when we are first getting to know each other—things like what colors make you feel happy or calm, or the family dynamics, or if there are heirlooms or special art that we need to integrate into the design concept. From there we phase into the interior architecture plan and finishes selection.

Tile is a really important part of the hard finishes selection for walls and floors. PROjECT.’s M.O. is to take the road less traveled and upend people’s expectations for design. For us, tile is a medium for expression as much as it is a necessary functional component. Tile can totally serve as art if used creatively. For example, we recently completed a posh vacation home on Marco Island in Florida where there was an opportunity to make the backsplash over the range the focal point of the kitchen. We picked Ann Sacks’ MADE Modern Ribbed Moon tile. It’s a beautiful halfmoon-shaped tile with ribbed embellishments on the face. We played around with pattern placement so it hints at fish scales, and customized a sandy color. The glazing further accentuates the pattern, and the rust edges add dimension. One of the great things about working with Ann Sacks is that their non-engineered tile can be customized, meaning we can create colors, glazes and cuts that are made specifically for our individual clients.

When designing a “whole home” what are some less common spaces that are occasionally neglected in the design process that you think more homeowners should pay more attention to?

AW: Powder rooms, mudrooms, laundry rooms… These are spaces that we use every day—and they should be curated to tackle all of our utilitarian needs and look chic. For mudrooms, we keep coming back to Ann Sacks’ Hacienda Pickets hand-molded concrete tile. It’s actually an outdoor tile but we’ve been using it inside for mudrooms because it’s both durable and easy on the eyes. It’s cool because you can continue the tile right out the door and have it spill onto the exterior stairs or patio for continuity. It’s heavy grout lines are great for traction, too. We’ve been mixing and matching two of the Hacienda Pickets finishes: one that’s smooth and another version that’s textured.

Oooh, speaking of less common spaces… Makeup stations are having a moment. In addition to the dual vanity, PROjECT. likes to build out a bodacious and beautiful station for the glam up. In the bathroom or closet, or off of the hallway in a space that’s been carved out just for her, a glam station is another opportunity for us to get up close and personal with hard finishes.

What is your favorite space to design and how do you make sure your signature style is incorporated into that space?

LW: Powder rooms are a huge opportunity to make a fun, bold statement. Depending on the design approach, we can come at it like a jewelry box with layers of sparkle or infuse a little personality and humor. We just completed a powder room that gives a moody library vibe with these layers of bookcases. For another recently completed powder room, we came in with some sexy speakeasy inspo and camouflaged the door. You don’t need a big footprint to mix materials and use tiles in unique ways.

At PROjECT, we’re always on the lookout for opportunities to do something unexpected, so selecting materials that have texture, interest and character is a big part of how we bring our grit-and-glam aesthetic. I’m currently working on a pretty powder room where we are tiling two-thirds of the way up the wall and then wallpaper-ing from where it ends up and over the ceiling. And we have another one in the works where we’ve picked these smokey, antiqued mirror tiles for the walls that we’ll be floating a cool mirror and a modern, custom-designed marble vanity in front of. Making a privacy screen out of tiles to tuck the toilet behind, or creating a ledge in tile behind the vanity for your soap pump or a tall customized electrified lamp. There are so many ways to think outside the box when it comes to incorporating tile into a main floor bath. Because the powder room sees a lot of foot traffic from guests, it should be a showoff statement!

Are there any materials and/or tile you find yourself using again and again?

LW: A simple porcelain tile is something that we use again and again because it can mimic concrete or terrazzo, creating a simple backdrop that lets other design elements pop. From Ann Sacks, I dig the Anika porcelain tile. Subtle yet sophisticated, no two blocks are the same. With this tile we can get creative with custom cuts, contrasting grouts or metal inserts. I also really like the Savoy mosaic collection from Ann Sacks. Again, it’s super versatile. The Savoy comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and finishes, including many that are metallic. We just used a small scale version in bronze to wrap an Proscenium archway that frames a stage in a cocktail lounge. And, last but not least, I have to give a shout out to the faithful penny round. We recently carried a penny round pattern from a bathroom floor up the walls 16 inches for a little hug. Also, because penny rounds are netted and small, you can really get creative with the patterns.

AW: We also can’t get enough of Kelly Wearstler’s Liaison collection for Ann Sacks. It’s this graphic, geometric, playful marble tile that we’ve used for bathroom floors, entryways, and stair risers. The contrast and symmetry is so good.

What is a tile collection of ours you haven’t used yet that you are dying to try?

AW: There’s this limestone tile from Ann Sacks called Trattino. It comes in four great patterns, but I’m really drawn to the Tapis. It has this beautiful, micro-engraved impression pattern that looks like a tribal etching in a cave to me. I’m dying to do an entire room in the matte black. It’s quiet but it’s not safe—and it feels very artisanal.

LW: Ditto on the Trattino! We literally just decided to incorporate it into the primary bath for a home we are working on in Jackson Hole. The bathroom boasts a wall of windows that overlooks the mountains and Snake River, so for the backdrop we wanted to keep things simple. Thus, the walls are being covered in a clean, waterproof plaster. But there’s this one floating feature wall that will get wrapped with the Trattino limestone in the Tapis pattern in black. I can’t wait to see how the morning light hits the engravings!

October 23, 2021

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