In our Interior Designer Crush series, we sit down and chat with our interior designer crushes du jour to ask them the questions we’re dying to have answered. Today, we visit with Richard Long of Long & Long Design. He studied in Auburn University’s architecture program, then spent 11 years honing his craft under architecture and design greats Jeffrey Dungan and Louis Nequette. Now in Long & Long Design, Richard’s design partnership with Lynielle Long, the duo utilizes their architecture and interior design expertise in both residential and commercial arenas to design spaces that exude a subdued elegance, seamlessly marrying timeless Old World charm with forward-thinking modernity. We asked Richard to describe his design aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of his stunning portfolio. We hope you enjoy!
What is your design aesthetic and how do you translate that to a client’s home?
We begin by listening to the client in order to have a clear understanding of their needs. Without a preconceived aesthetic, the experience of working with a client can be spontaneous and exciting. We approach each design challenge as an opportunity to find a unique, sophisticated and simple solution by using natural materials in an honest way, and exploring those relationships between contrasting elements.
Where are your favorite local spots to source decor for a client’s home?
Are there any trends you’re loving at the moment, and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?
Unlacquered brass has been a recent trend we love in kitchens and baths, but also on door and cabinet hardware. Allowing elements such as a brass doorknob, a leather chair or a wood farm table to patina naturally is a beautiful and timeless aspect of design.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
Renovating within the context of an older, historic home can be a fun challenge, and I’ve had the pleasure of working on a few lately. The challenge being to design the renovation and addition in a way that would accommodate a modern family lifestyle, while improving — without overpowering — the existing charm and character that you see in so many historic homes that thankfully are still around.
What brings you the most professional joy?
In the beginning, the “big reveal” of the design concept is always a thrill, but I think it’s most rewarding to visit with a happy client after the project has been completed.
How does Birmingham’s design scene differ from the rest of the country?
It’s incredible — Birmingham is flooded with great talent, which makes for healthy competition and a push for excellence in everything we do.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Travel — I recently had the opportunity to visit several islands in Greece, exploring old towns and villages with such rich history, ancient architectural beauty and, of course, the food!
Who have been your industry mentors and role models and why?
I had the opportunity to work under Jeff Dungan, of Jeffrey Dungan Architects, and Louis Nequette, of Nequette Architecture & Design, for over 11 years, two very influential mentors in my life and career. Combined with my invaluable experience at Auburn University’s architecture program, I’ve had tremendous fortune in being surrounded by talented thinkers and designers.
Share one designer secret with us regular folk.
In order to declutter a kitchen, try running power to a nearby pantry cabinet — this can be a great way to hide small appliances.
What are your predictions for interior design in the next 10 to 15 years?
I would love to see more use of responsibly sourced, sustainable materials.
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Listen, collaborate, improvise, restrain and simplify.
Thank you, Richard, for sharing your insights, inspirations and impressive design portfolio. To view more of Richard’s work or to contact Long & Long Design, visit longandlongdesign.com.
See who else we’re crushing on in our interiors archives. Click here and enjoy a look around!