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Getting Personal with Hadley Wiggins

The Expert Team
a living room filled with furniture and a fire place

Photo courtesy of Hadley Wiggins.

There are certain talents that captivate you immediately upon discovery. Hadley Wiggins is one of them. When she published her Long Island project in Architectural Digest, her work was immediately added to moodboards en masse (see: pool house spa). Her edited approach to pattern play, character-driven details and spaces bouncing with color and patina result in eclectic homes that feel distinctly personal.

We asked Hadley what’s driving her super in demand practice and how her clients inspire her layered approach.

a room with a table, chair, lamp and a painting on the wall
a dining room with a table and chairs

Photo courtesy of Hadley Wiggins.

Photo courtesy of Hadley Wiggins.

How would you describe your design philosophy?

Authentic, client inspired – eclectic and one of a kind.

Tell us how you’ve been able to help clients during The Expert consultations.

The sessions continue to “wow” me with just how productive they are. The Expert has figured out how to shepherd clients through the prep work so it’s easy. In every session, we hit-the-ground-designing with clear objectives and the context to quickly make decisions. I typically start the session by peppering the client with questions to better understand their first hand experience with the space, the light and programming needs. I enjoy facing the fresh design problems brought by the client and working together to find creative solutions - it is incredibly stimulating work. The most common experience is often centered on how color and finishes improve upon architectural challenges and budget restrictions.

What are you currently working on and what’s inspiring you?

Our current project roster spans the gamut – an NYC townhouse with traditional bones, a new construction loft and plenty of country retreats in the works. I relish the opportunities to showcase our ability to soften sterile architectural language as much as I enjoy creating eclectic assortments in period-perfect surroundings. In all cases, patina is the workhorse no matter the context!

What’s the first step you take when starting a new project?

I begin by learning about the clients themselves – their lifestyle, their family history, the objects they have collected and why they bought them. The goal is for each space to be an authentic reflection of those who inhabit it.

What colors and color combinations are you loving right now?

Bone and faded/dusty red. I love a deep, saturated palette but lately I’ve been pulled to washed out, thirsty tones.

a kitchen with a stove top oven next to a counter
a living room filled with furniture and a large window

Photo courtesy of Hadley Wiggins.

Photo courtesy of Hadley Wiggins.

How do you make the most of a budget?

Price does not, necessarily, dictate the aesthetic quality of an object or furnishing. Patina is a part of all of our projects – no matter how dense, patterned, layered or airy, minimalist, and tonal. Patinated wood, aged stone and time worn objects are the heros and this approach allows for a high/low shopping hunt. A custom $15,000 sofa will often be flanked in antique-fair sourced side tables, scored for under a hundred bucks – shelves filled with flee market pottery and grandpa's cigar boxes. Sure, there are authentic, original designs we make space for in the budget, but it’s the smalls, the accoutrement, that humanizes the space, makes it real, makes it a home – often, and these elements don’t have to cost much.

Where to save / where to splurge?

Splurge on upholstery – there is most definitely a threshold of quality and comfort I am not willing to cross. Choose a fabric that fits the reality of your life – children, dogs, etc - and spend on fabrication that will last and be truly comfortable. That means feather wrapped foam cushions, properly webbed frames, and so much more.

What is the first piece of furniture someone should buy for their space?

Could be anything. My favorite projects start with a single lamp or piece of art the client simply loves – they may not be able to articulate why and that’s just fine – and so our job is to find the thread and carry it throughout the space.

What should you always buy vintage? What vintage pieces are you eying right now?

Pottery and occasional tables. We have a huge stock of these items – you always need them. Having an outlet to resell antiques (our store, not yet reopened since the beginning of the pandemic – we’re too busy frankly!) has always been a wonderful compliment to the design business as it allows me to collect goods as I see them, for possible use in a design project, or not.

What’re you loving right now or recommending most to your clients?

A shock of color or pattern, contained to a small area within an otherwise tonal environment – i.e. wallpaper inside a wet bar or vestibule, a dark paint color in a small hallway to create a moment of compression before opening up into the next space.


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