Franklin-based interior designer Elizabeth Fields, owner of Elizabeth Fields Design, shares where she finds inspiration, 2018 home décor trends and some of her favorite local spots.
By Rachel Schostak
Photography by Amy Ben-Ezra
1. Tell us about your professional background. I started in fashion right out school, so textiles are near to my heart. I created my own major at Michigan State University, earning a bachelor degree in Communications and Fine Arts and Design. Anyone who works with me quickly learns I don’t accept “off the shelf” in anything — customization and detailing is central to my design approach.
2. Can you share how you got started with fashion and interior design? From a young age, I was lucky to be exposed to wonderful examples of interesting and creative design. Particular inspiration came from work by strong architectural and design influences in our community. Over the years so many people have generously shared their interests and passions from collecting to couture. It’s all converged as part of my aesthetic mix.
3. Regarding interior design, where do you find your inspiration for houses you work on? There is a classic foundation to my work that is contemporized by the feeling and fabrications that inspire me at all the different markets I attend. My clients text me on the road, “What are you seeing? What are you buying?” They can’t wait until I get back to share what’s new.
4. 2018 home interior trends we should know about? We’re mad about cork in flooring and wall covering. It’s got a natural, tactile feel that can ground a wine cellar in warm elegance and provide that “wow” factor as an opt-art metallic print as the cover in a powder room.
5. Spring fashion trends you are most excited about? Prints. Gentle and small, or conversely bold and blazing. Denim is always our friend. And you should be looking to show off a slice of the sun for summer — golden yellow is the feature color of the season.
6. How would you describe your personal style for interiors? I’m modern classic. To me, that represents a remix of traditional thinking for today’s living. I like strong sculptural lines in my upholstery to establish the basic framework to a room. Then I layer in a mix of luxury solids, tech weaves, digitally-enhanced accent prints for depth, and always thick, comfortable rugs — think camouflage embroidery, pleated Alpaca and handwoven linen.
7. How do you turn your clients’ dream ideas into reality? I listen and listen and listen. I dig into what is truly important in my clients’ lives: how they want to live, what they need in terms of form and family-friendly function and in respect of their budget. You need a great mud room in Michigan. You want comfortable places to watch TV and hang out. You need a great working kitchen and laundry. It’s nice to enjoy a beautiful dining room. So every project is balanced in the push and pull. Let me also say, I am also so fortunate to have an amazing team in our studio. Jackie and Stacy rule the world — they are my left and right! It takes two wings to fly a plane.
8. Can you share a favorite or recent project you’ve worked on that you are really proud of? We completed a new family house in Rochester Hills that feels like “their” home to the client — proud and joyful to share with family and friends. How much more successful can you get? Our goal was to enhance a semi-custom luxury build with the personality that comes from years of layering interesting finds and unexpected textures. We detailed the dining room in a glass bead wallpaper so that it literally glows at night when they have a special occasion like their first Christmas. They have two small girls living at home who are on the cusp of their pre-teen years. We wanted to give them sweet rooms, sophisticated to stretch into the next several years. And the theater room looks like an art deco movie palace with electric reclining loungers with built-in USB connections — it’s the details in every project the allows you to discover the design process.
9. Any other recent houses you want to share? What made them special? We worked on a project in Bloomfield with a loving couple that wanted to build a joyful home to celebrate their new marriage. They love to entertain, wanted a great kitchen that sparkled with personality, but also wanted a private haven for their master suite comparable to (or even better than!) any luxury hotel. We’re working on a project now in the Chicago suburbs that sits on a jaw-dropping site on Lake Michigan — more to come next year!
10. Who inspires you in the business world? My father is an icon. He’s tough as nails in the law, but first and foremost he is civic-minded and knows how to bring people together to get things done.
11. Your go-to for interior design inspiration? My genius brother who works on our sourcing team is the master of Pinterest — we share “Pinspiration” boards for every project kickoff. That being said, I need to see it, feel it, touch it to make decisions. Our showroom partners both here and Chicago are instrumental in my design process. Tennant & Associates at the Michigan Design Center is a fave — we’ve known the team since forever. Pollack, Holly Hunt, Sandra Jordan and Phillip Jeffries are among my go-to sources. Scott Group Studio from Grand Rapids is a virtuoso resource based here in in Michigan for 100 percent custom luxury rugs — think silk, wool and lurex. I also adore anything from Romo fabrics, particularly the impressionist prints in the Black Collection from Jessica Zoob.
12. Your go-to for fashion style inspiration? I like the LA vibe. It’s a mix of classic and casual, luxe and down low. I am also inspired by the fresh vision of my kids and their friends.
13. Which brands do you buy for your clients? Can you share a bit about your process? My buy is built around the calendar and needs of my clients. It’s instinctual, but it’s also based on how we live today.
14. What do you love most about our community? We have a tradition of supporting the new and interesting in design and the arts. From Mary Chase Stratton at Pewabic Pottery to the Studio Tours at Cranbrook, there is always something new to discover if you open mind and your heart.
15. Must stop “spots” – what are your go-to places for a quick coffee, lunch and dinner? I’m on the go from early to late. So I love Starbucks and they love me — I get my Lizzy “special” every morning, and it’s heavenly. Dinner is my go-to, and nobody does it better than Samir and Sami Eid at Phoenicia and Forest Grill.
On to your personal style…
16. How would you describe your personal style? Coco Chanel said, “A girl should be classy and fabulous.” I’m keeping it classic and fabulous.
17. Your must-have items for spring season? A floral print, a bucket bag and clean denim.
18. You are never fully dressed without____ A plan for the day and a twinkle in your eye. Good skin care doesn’t hurt.
19. Do you have a style icon? I am inspired by my girl friends who each have their individual style and sensibility. They look great at the beach or out on the town. They also bring that home in a shared joy for entertaining and celebrating our friendship and families. You know, in the end fashion is not style. Style is a way of living, not something you put on or take off.
20. Favorite quote or words to live by? “Love is the thing, you know!”