Why Playfulness and Practicality Rule for this L.A. Designer

An interior space designed by Amy Sklar. Photo by Darcy Hemley.

“I love the thrill of the hunt!” exclaims Los Angeles-based designer Amy Sklar when asked about shopping for her clients. The designer, who started her career with Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners, will even show you the Invaluable app on her phone. “Honestly, I try to get antique or vintage pieces into almost every project,” she adds. Sklar credits her interest in historic design to growing up in houses of all styles, from a mid-century modern beauty in Maryland to a century-old clapboard on Long Island.

Interior spaces designed by Amy Sklar. Left: Photo by Amy Bartlam. Right: Photo by Ray Kachatorian.

But it’s not just antiques and vintage pieces that flow through her interiors, there’s a definite thread of playfulness and practicality. Sklar’s rooms feel friendly and livable, and emphasize natural light. She recently completed a project with architect Barbara Bestor, and is currently working on a home in Pasadena, California for a couple in the beauty industry and a remodel for a Hollywood writer in Silver Lake. Here, Sklar gives our editors some insight into her process, loves, and favorite finds.

Charles and Ray Eames 670 lounge chair and 671 ottoman, sold for $4,000 via Wright (September 10, 2015).

Auctions are always exciting and everyone has a good story to tell. What’s yours?

AS: I once scored an Eames lounger for $1,000 for a client! They retail for over $4,000, and are often well into the $3,000 range at most auction sites. There was a moment of panic that it might show up and be a knockoff, but it was authentic. The price was incredible. I’ve been searching for a deal like that ever since. It’s like my own holy grail!

It’s always hard to pick a favorite piece, but what’s been one of your best recent discoveries?

AS: I would say it’s the beautiful antique French dressing table with a hand-painted design, tri-fold mirror, drop leaves and a trestle base that I got from a dealer in Topeka, Kansas. It was a fraction of what I would have paid in Los Angeles, even with shipping costs!

Interior spaces designed by Amy Sklar. Photos by Amy Bartlam.

Are you seeing any trends, either coming or going?

AS: I think that mid-century modern has had a good, long resurgence, but I’m seeing a move towards simpler, more classical antiques—at least, that’s what I’m into!  I love a good, simple, Federal-style sideboard or a Bachelor’s chest, the lines are so simple and elegant, and the finishes are stunning. I think those kinds of pieces go with almost any kind of decor. As far as new trends go, Memphis design is back, but I wouldn’t go overboard with it. It’s a lot of  ‘look.’ If you want to embrace that vibe, I’d suggest you maybe just get an accent piece or two.

You grew up with an appreciation for old houses, but how did that translate to a love of period furnishings?

AS: Antiques and vintage pieces have soul, which is essential to making any interior feel unique and special. I always try and find things that you couldn’t just buy off the shelf somewhere. The goal is always to give my clients a space that is unique to them, so searching for the art, objects and furnishings that help achieve that is a huge part of my work.

Amy Sklar’s leopard cub ceramic sculpture.

When you’re shopping for clients, you must come across objects for yourself. What always catches your eye?

AS: I’m a sucker for 1960s Italian ceramic animal sculptures—horses, leopards, and etcetera. There is something sweet and whimsical about them, and they’re always a conversation starter. I recently found a little leopard cub and am on the hunt for its sibling. It’s so much fun to try and find matching pieces across the globe!

About Amy Sklar

Amy Sklar is a Los Angeles-based interior designer. Prior to starting her own practice, Amy worked at Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners, winner of the AIA Architecture Firm award in 2006. As one of the first members of the firm’s thriving interior design studio, she gained tremendous experience as lead designer on a variety of high-end residential and commercial projects.

With an eclectic style and effortless merging of modern and classic aesthetics, Amy has fostered a deep understanding of a wide range of architectural and interior styles. As the mother of two small children, she realizes that interiors must also be functional, livable, and above all, comfortable. Working with care, humor and understanding, Amy strives to realize her client’s visions in a way that is fun, creative and collaborative.