It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving has past, and true to my word I took the week off. Well almost…I did one quick post but more about that at a later date. What we are most excited about today is our feature on Benjamin Vandiver, a rising star in the world of design, and a true visionary. His interiors are a combination of complex yet livable textures, patterns and materials (www.benjaminvandiver.com). A skillful blending that is achieved only by a rarefied group whose talents are often seen gracing the covers of some of the most prestigious magazines. This young designer’s work has already caught the eye of well known celebrities such as Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton and the musicians from Kings of Leon.

Recently, Harpers Bazaar named this Nashville-based designer as one of the “14 Interior Designers to Follow on Instagram” along with the likes of Kelly Wearstler, Madeline Weinrib and Miles Redd. Harpers Bazaar defined Benjamin’s penchant ” for soft colors, clean shapes and spare details a minimalists dream,” but his work is that and so much more. In fact, some of his well-pinned interiors showcased across social media platforms show a range and breadth of talent, not only studies in minimalism, but also spaces that are intriguing, distinctive and livable. It’s obvious that Vandiver has an innate sense of what is too much and what is just enough. The perfect combination.

So over the past few months we have traded e-mails, and on a recent flight he graciously tackled my questions. We are so very honoured to share with you a glimpse into the world of Benjamin Vandiver. If you remember, Benjamin was the recipient of Brian Patrick Flynn’s “design crush” (Design Crushin’: : With Brian Patrick Flynn). This series will go on indefinitely as our featured designer names the person they most admire. We changed the name to “Trading Places”, but the premise remains the same. It’s my honour to share our recent interview with Nashville designer, Benjamin Vandiver (www.benjaminvandiver.com).

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Have you always dreamed of being a designer?

Always. When I was eight, I carried a briefcase – the sole contents were the house plans on the blue pages found monthly in Country Living Mag – I obsessed over layouts and exteriors. I would spend days building modern structures with Legos – I would have to buy the Lego boxes I was not into at all, just to get the right pieces and windows. Hospitals would be turned into proportionate structures of homes you might now see in the Hamptons.

Where did you grow up, and how has that influenced you as a designer?

I grew up in Madisonville, KY – a small town in the Western part of the state – my first job was a floral designer – I started when I was 15. I’m not sure if it influenced me. I think there is a definite southern quality that comes out when I finish spaces, but I think my travels as a child influenced me much more than the town I was raised.

What career trajectory have you followed up to the point of opening your design and lifestyle firm?

I played the piano professionally for many years while interning at an interior design group. One day I woke up and decided to make a quick change. I moved to Nashville and decided to follow my dreams – it’s worked out surprisingly well.

Do you have a favourite colour palette?

I like tension, so that usually ends up dictating color palettes – I typically start with neutrals, but never have enough restraint to not add at least something that doesn’t make sense. This approach has defined a certain “lived in” vibe that I didn’t set out to sell, but rather it pushed itself on me. To be specific, I never leave off black outside of the project – it’s the color of my business card.

How would you define your aesthetic?

When I told a colleague that I didn’t think, I had a specific aesthetic she laughed at me and said I was confused. I am a minimalist a few days and more-is-more the other half of the week – some say I can’t make up my mind. There are certain things that never change when I approach a space – clean lines, specific color and a lived-in finished layer. I’m working on two restaurants right now – I was hired because they wanted it to look like someone’s living room – I’d say, that’s a compliment I’ll take.

I read that you were inspired by Billy Baldwin, are there any other designers that you look toward for inspiration?

My friend Ari Heckman of ASHNYC is always inspiring me – whether it be his apartment in NY Mag, dinner or sharing hysterical family photos, he makes me laugh and has impeccable taste – I’d say that’s a perfect combo.

The perfect evening at home?

Catching up with friends in pajamas – takeout Thai and good white wine, followed by a viewing of “The First Wives Club” .

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I am an open book.

“Design” Peeve? (i.e., something that people do in design (or in their home) that drives you crazy)).

Bad light bulbs and no dimmers. Everyone and everything look better with appropriate lighting.

Who is your design crush? (or who would you “Trade Places”with for a day?).

I think Patrick Mele is a genius – his use of color and contrast does it for me – I’d hire him for my home.

Thank you, Benjamin for graciously agreeing to being a part of our series…and of course next (fingers crossed) will be Patrick Mele.

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 Photo courtesy of Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle

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 Photo courtesy of Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle

I hope you enjoyed our interview and I want to thank Benjamin for taking the time to be a part of our series. For more information including additional pictures visit benjaminvandiver.com .

Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Google+ for more design inspiration and happenings.

As always,

BE INSPIRED. BE AMAZED.

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