Friday, July 24, 2009

And Beige: The New Neutral in Home Furnishings

“...a wrap-around porch and a wide entrance hall that runs through the center of the house and out the back to a long narrow lap pool with a black tiled interior.” - Daren Miller

It is clearly obvious upon entering through the doors of And Beige that Daren Miller, co-owner and style maker, has some background in visual merchandising, to say the least. The showroom is perpetually evolving and all the while a laboratory for interior inspiration.

Daren started his career as a mens trimmer at Nordstroms before climbing the visual ladder to, store visual manager, window designer, until finally reaching the storied zenith of Eastern regions visual design manager of one of the archetypes of department stores, Nordstorm.

Luckily (for future clients of And Beige), Daren started to conspire to open a shop of his own. He started by collecting sources and scouting out locations that would host his anticipated business endeavor. Smartly, he chose to launch his business in the now exceedingly popular and swiftly growing U-Street neighborhood of DC.

Daren made the time to sit down and chat with me about some of his ideas. He was a gracious and inspiring host, and I am now even more enamored of his spirit, passion, and energy than I had been before. Thank you Daren.

Scott: Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20.... years?
Daren: Over the next 5 to 10 years I would love to see AB grow into a larger store/ business. Meaning more space and possibly another location (outside of DC) to show more product and to offer a more lavish experience. In 20 years I would like to be retired and see the world.

Well said, Daren!

S: Describe your dream project.
D: To create my own dream home (top to bottom). I also love projects when you click with your client. The relationship and partnership are so important in any design or creative project. It’s a team effort! I’ve also always had a love for hospitality design. I have a fascination with hotel lobby’s, restaurants, etc. Public spaces where people come together for short periods of time intrigue me.

S: Describe your dream home.
D: Nothing too big! I’ve always dreamed of a house with a wrap-around porch and a wide entrance hall that runs through the center of the house and out the back to a long narrow lap pool with black tiled interior. I love symmetry and believe tat the center hall of the home would create a natural balance. I love both modern and traditional style architecture so I guess it would be a mix. The interior would be comfortable and eclectic with a mix of styles and things I love. The over all color palettes kept neutral with layers of textures. I do love dark/black floors (wood and stone). A dog or two is a must so it would have to be pet friendly.

S: In your opinion, name a few design staples that every home should have.
D: Candles and fresh flowers are a must have - preferably tall tappers. I also think a comfortable place to entertain is a must. This can be a living room or family room, dining and open kitchen concept. I think a space to share with family and friends is a ust in today’s world.

S: What do you think about trends?
D: I’ve never been too much of a trend follower. Trends tend not to have longevity and I personally like a timeless and classic look in design.

S: In interior design what do you adore / abhor?
D: I enjoy the over all process of design. Creating an over all look that clicks with my client’s personality and evokes emotion. What I don’t care for is anything that is over designed.

S: What are some of your favorite sources?
D: I, of course, love all the lines that I carry at AB - such as Sylvan SF, Julian Chichester, CR Currin, Oly Studio, and Hickory Chair. A few that I love and don’t carry include Hudson Furniture, Jean De Merry, Newell Design Studio, Karl Kemp Antiques, Richard Shipario, Randall Tysinger Antiques, and 1st Dibs are always fun places to explore. Auctions and estate sales can sometimes welcome an unexpected surprise.

S: What are some of your design magazines?
D: World of Interiors is my favorite publications both for inspiration and the overall styling of the magazine. I also enjoy Elle Decor, British House and Garden, Shelter, and Elle Decoration - UK.

S: Do you follow any design blogs?
D: I’ve recently been exploring - such as local K Street Kate and Julie B. Besides yours do you recommend any?
S: Well, mine is really the only that you need worry about (joke), but you may also be interested in:

-A Bloomsbury Life
-Habitually Chic
-The Adventures of Tartanscot
-Style Redux
-Architect Design
....and many, many others **see my Blog Call

S: What designers do you admire?
D: Vincente Wolf, John Saladino, Eileen Gray, Jean-Michel Frank, Di Ugo Pace, Mariette Himes Gomez, and Halston.

S: What / Who do you refer to for inspiration?
D: If it’s a project I’m workign on with a client I refer to them for my inspiration and direction. Over all I own many design books that I frequently look through and I have my favorite magazines to stay abreast of current information. I also get inspiration from museums and old movies.

What a delight! Visit And Beige you are guaranteed not only a inspiring experience, but also a newly found addiction. Once you get a taste of AB you’re certain to crave more!


  1. Scott-An excellent interview. Making beige sound interesting to me is no easy task! I do see snippets of color snuck in here and there. I promise to check this out. Thanks for the mention of Style Redux. He needs some more exposure to the brilliance of the blogosphere.

  2. Your blog is truly inspiring! Well done.

  3. Beth- you should visit soon, I'm sure you'll like it.

  4. Underneath.... your blog is FAR more inspiring! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. good heavens! - thanks for the 'shout-out'

    great interview . . . need to hop over and check out his site.

  6. Congrats on the WP mention, Scott. This is a great interview. I'm always intrigued as to how people pick their business names. Did he mention?

  7. Very nice interview and lovely blog! This is my first time, but I'll be back.


  8. Scott-Congrats on the WP mention. You are hot my friend.

  9. excellent interview!!! well done. i love andbeige and think daren is the nicest guy in the world. enjoyed learning more about him and where he came from.

  10. Eek! I just realized that I hadn't responded to a few of your lovely comments. I couldn't be more apologetic!

    S.C.- Thanks! You know, I'm really a horrible interviewer, I don't think that I even asked him! Seems like one of the most obvious questions! Oh jeez..

    C.- Thanks for stopping by and for leaving such a swell comment. I hope to see you again soon! : )

    S.R.2- Thanks : ) I never tire of having my ego stroked!

    Thommy- I couldn't agree with you more! Daren is wildly talented, impeccably chic, and an incredibly nice guy too!

  11. Scott, Thank you so much! My goodness, that means a lot to me to have a compliment from the likes of YOU, one of the chic-est gentlemen I've virtually met! xxx

  12. L.B.G.- Awe, yet again you make me blush...