At de Gournay with Bennett Leifer
Bennett Leifer has the kind of personality that just makes you want to sit down on a couch and talk for hours. And if that couch just happens to be in the beautiful de Gournay showroom – even better! After mining Bennett’s top picks for our Interior Dialogue series, I realized that there was so much more to talk about with this visionary interior designer. Which is why we decided to go for round two, where we met up to talk shop, inspiration, process, and most importantly when it comes to designing interiors for people to feel at home in; what makes him smile which as it turns out, is a lot of things!
I first met Bennett at the Kips Bay Show House in 2015, where like a moth to flame, I was immediately drawn to a small installation under the stairwell that was covered in the most fabulous gold de Gournay wallpaper I had ever seen. I began talking to the gorgeous young fellow about the installation, and lo and behold, he just so happened to be the designer! From there we continued to gush about all our favorite things (ornate wallpaper included), which is when I realized that Bennett, like myself, was an old soul when it came to his tastes. This means that he truly appreciates luxury for the craft and beauty that goes into it – not just the price tag, or whatever is fashionable at the time.
Following his career since the Kips Bay Show has been full of surprises and more drool-worthy moments, as every piece he works with has that distinct air of being chosen for all the right reasons. As a young designer, he has already honed his style to near perfection, which is part of what makes him the perfect fit for people looking for classic, elegant interiors, with a touch of contemporary chic.
But what I loved the most about my conversation with Bennett is his excitement and enthusiasm for everything that he does. Standing in front of what has been dubbed “Bennett’s Panel” in the showroom, he beams, saying “how does this not make you happy? It’s gold, and it’s saturated, and so elegant!” And his adoration of this print is almost as infectious as the bright, cheery palm leaf pattern! But it’s Bennett’s discerning eye that brings together this excitement for bold and exciting patterns, while never compromising on the integrity of craft. It’s also why he’s had such a love affair with de Gournay throughout his career – there simply is no other wallpaper that comes close to the fine details and whimsical handpainted patterns. Bennett and de Gournay truly are a match made in interior design heaven!
Check out our Interior Monologue video as we explore the de Gournay showroom, look through Bennett’s favorite panels, and discuss the fascinating techniques that makes the collection so uniquely special, and one of Bennett’s go-to shops for all of his projects. We had a blast filming it! Thank you Bennett and de Gournay.