Hot New Talent - Casual Elegance
Paul Corrie; Paul Corrie Interiors, LLC; Washington, DC
Paul Corrie, a Northern Virginia native, took a roundabout path to his design career; he went to law school. After graduating from the University of Virginia and Dickinson School of Law, he practiced law until his parents urged him to “‘Start doing what you want to do with your life and not what you think we want you to do,’” he recalls. “My mom said, ‘There’s no question you would have been a good lawyer but you’re going to be a great designer.’”
Corrie made the leap and landed a job at Theodore’s, a Washington furniture retailer, where he focused on design. The three years he spent there proved to be a valuable learning experience from both the creative and business perspectives. “The overall structure of that business was a wonderful teaching model for me and a definite influence to how I got where I am,” he says.
Corrie eventually decided to start his own firm. “I was ready to take my practice to the next level,” he says. “I know what I’m capable of accomplishing, and this was the next logical step. I started my own firm in 2004, and it continues to grow.” Earlier this year, he was tapped to participate in the 2008 Children’s Hospital DC Design House with many of the city’s top designers.
Corrie characterizes his style as “casual elegance.” He is astute at mixing traditional and modern elements to create spaces that are crisp, fresh and timeless. In a recent project in Chevy Chase, Corrie surrounded a dining table from Restoration Hardware with antique Klismos chairs and Henredon host and hostess chairs upholstered in rich velvets and linens in a masterful combination of “high and low” design. “I’m a huge proponent of linens and velvets—really rich textures,” Corrie says.
He likes to surround contemporary pieces with an eclectic mix of antiques and well-edited accessories. He helps clients select and display personal items so they look as though they've been collected over a lifetime. In the living room of the Chevy Chase home, a 19th-century French pedestal table displays an antique clock Corrie purchased at the Portobello Road antique market on a recent trip to London. On a nearby neoclassical cabinet, Corrie selected an old family photograph belonging to his client—but matted it and framed it in black so that it becomes a bold piece of art.
Such details imbue this traditional home with a fresh and modern edge. “I like my spaces to be useable and functional...not with rooms that can’t be touched or lived in,” he says. “With that said, lived-in spaces should be and can be sophisticated and elegant.”