Inside the Mind of Our Mad Traveler

April 18, 2014

We love to travel the world for design inspiration and one-of-a-kinds, so it probably won’t shock you that Neal Beckstedt, the master behind our room vignette at this year’s Design on a Dime, wove our favorite activity into his overall theme. “Mad Traveler” to be precise is what he’s calling it, but please don’t be mistaken, there is nothing but adventure and an open invitation oozing from his incredible creation.

Our connection with Neal runs deeper than aesthetic. He’s also homegrown from Ohio just like us. And true to our affinity for handcrafted artisans, he’s been making furniture since he received an electric band-saw for his 10th birthday.

Now running his own Manhattan studio offering architectural, interior decoration and product-design services, we couldn’t think of a better person to tell our story at the Housing Works 10th Anniversary charity event beginning April 24. It is the city’s premier interior design event and we couldn’t be more thrilled to receive an invite to support such a fabulous cause!


We just looked at the rendering of our room and we are SO excited. Can you take us on a virtual preview?

It’s inviting, it’s comfortable and a bit whimsical. There are layers of different textures—leather, glass, a vintage rug on the floor and lots of antique-inspired trunks. It’s what you would expect to see in the home of a world traveler. There are also some black crows that have landed in different spots, which is a little Edgar Allen Poe-ish and dark, but still fun. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice we’ve attached messages to their feet.


Appropriately so…you used a lot of vintage-looking luggage in your design. What’s in your personal travel trunk?

Things that are flexible and multi-purpose and make for easy transitions. My approach to travel is much like my approach to design. I take my client’s life into consideration and their interests recognizing that this may change over time, so I allow for editing I guess you could say. I do that when I travel too…I look at my itinerary and pack options that allow me to change my wardrobe along the way.


Which begs the question: how do you get started on a design project with your clients?

Design keeps evolving for me. Clients influence you…you get inspired and motivated in many different ways. I test things out in my own space. It’s about the little edits, like bringing in new chairs to see how it changes the space.


You have an architectural background, so you clearly aren’t intimidated by blank spaces.

With clients it really begins with a conversation. So many clients already have a Pinterest board or something they love on Houzz and there is always something that they are already thinking about to get things going. You start to see a thread between it all. If they don’t have that connectivity already in place, I ask about favorite places like hotels and rooms. I also look at how they dress—is it a mix of patterns or certain colors or do they like a little shine? The whole idea of how they present themselves ties to their design style.


You are quite the jetsetter, what’s your favorite destination?

Being a designer, Paris and London are definitely favorites. And, or course coming home to Ohio.


This week, Neal is a guest pinner on our Pinterest page. Follow us to repin his interiors and designs from our collections that inspired him to create our “Mad Traveler” theme at Design on a Dime.

Look for pictures of the actual room on Monday, April 28, right here on the greenhaus.

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