I wouldn’t call myself jealous but there are times the green-eyed monster pops up. I don’t understand how the Kardashians are famous (jealous). I am annoyed by how handsome Chatum Tanning appears to be in magazines – I pray it’s just lighting and air brushing (royally jealous). However, when it comes to talented people, like Beth Dotolo, I just have to give her my proper respect because girlfriend is working it!
One half of the design firm Pulp Design Studios , Beth along with her design partner, Carolina V. Gentry have been designing beautiful homes across the United States with their signature modern design aesthetic with a dose of the unexpected. The duo have recently expanded their design prowess to retail with the opening of Pulp Home.
I sat down with Beth to discuss the launch of Pulp Home and her picked her brain on a few other topics…..
1) Congratulations on opening Pulp Home! With a successful commercial and residential business in Seattle and Dallas steeped in custom design, why open a retail store? What drove you and your business partner to this decision?
Thank you, Courtney! Carolina and I have actually been designing custom items for our design projects in residential and hospitality for our entire careers. And, now, we are launching our own line of home goods, both licensed goods with established companies and some we are having manufactured on our own. With a launch in 2013 of our own line, we thought it was only natural to have an online hub to house our goods! Plus, offering all those stylish goodies that have been curated from our designs was an answer to all the requests we get from fans of our work who have seen our interiors online.
2) So what can people expect to find at Pulp Home? What are the three things in the store now that you wished you had for yourself? Are there any favorite pieces that found themselves into the store mix after appearing in client homes?
We are offering items in three different categories… Of course, our Pulp Home original goods. But, we’re also offering items curated from our design projects and a new made-to-order concept. ‘Custom by Pulp’ allows customers to have furniture and pillows that we’ve designed previously tailored and customized just for them and their needs.
My very favorite item in our shop is our first Pulp Home original piece… our Starburst Pull. It’s available for pre-order now, and can update the look of a piece of furniture in an instant. We’ve been putting it on client’s pieces for a while now and when they arrive in the shop I plan to get my hands on some for my home, once and for all.
3) Now that you are in Seattle opening up the West Coast branch of Pulp Design, has the Pacific Northwest informed your design choice? If so, how?
The one thing I’ve found from living in the Pacific Northwest is that people here are incredibly practical. At Pulp we pride ourselves in designing with purpose. We design for a lifestyle, we design with specific budgets in mind, and we design to create a space that people can actually use… and, use well. I think that coming to Seattle has been a natural fit for our design philosophy and, if anything, I think we can elevate the lives and style of Seattleites by educating them on the value of great design.
4) A common theme that keeps reappearing among readers is designing a space when you have a toddler, which I know you do. Any tips for how to have a stylish space that is toddler-tested and designer approved?
Let’s be honest… toddlers are like gremlins. They’re destructive little monsters, aren’t they? Mine is anyways. Here’s what I think: You should design for durability and clean-ability whether you have a toddler or not. In the spaces that you live in and use, nothing should be too precious that you’re afraid to make a mess. Besides, a glass of red wine can be a lot more dangerous than spilled milk. Homes are for living in and they should be designed that way regardless of age.
[Editor's Note: Beth practices what she preaches since her son Maxton is seen below building forts with the family's Verner Panton S Chairs, Philippe Starck Ghost chairs, and a luxe, but washable, Peacock Alley throw.]
5) You are an accomplished designer and now retailer, so what would be the one piece of advice you would tell an aspiring interior designer who is just starting out in their career?
Educate yourself! Design mistakes can be costly. If you aren’t aware of things like fabric durability, correct heights and measurements, building codes, and materials… one little mistake can cost you and your client a lot of money. Arm yourself with knowledge and if you don’t have a formal education in interior design then research, research, research!
6) I always end all my interviews with a variation of this question……life (business or personal) is about not being afraid to take chances, such as you have done with Pulp Home, essentially to be out loud and open with your dreams and wants. So tell me, what does it mean to you to be fearless and live your professional life “out loud”?
To me vulnerability is the biggest form of fearlessness you can have. While it’s ok to be afraid of failure, you’ve got to let yourself be vulnerable and open enough to take a risk, share it with others, and do your best to be successful while others are watching. We’ve created a great little community here on the world-wide web and it’s wonderful to have a platform to share new adventures. When you open yourself up to sharing and invite others in there is always a risk, but it’s with that risk that you have a community that will rise up with you and support you when you jump off that cliff.
Now do you understand why I can’t be jealous of this lady? She lets her son build forts with awesome furniture and she isn’t afraid to fail for the sake of learning…..honestly Beth is my not-so-secret designer crush de jour! Be sure to follow Beth and her design partner Carolina at their blog Hello Splendor .
Thank you Beth for sharing with us your new retail venture! And on a side note, if you need someone to *cough* test those pulls *cough*…call me… *cough*