Robert Stilin

Curriculum Vitae Q&A with designer Robert Stilin. With over 25 years of experience running his own design firm, Stilin’s interiors exude a casual, comfortable elegance that he expertly tailors to the specific needs and taste of each client.

Astrological sign?

Favorite Color?
My favorite color is Navy. I don’t find black to be a favorite color, but I guess I like it.

Morning, Noon, or Night?
Night. I became a morning person after I became a father. So I am a morning person for the second half of my life. But I also am a night person too. Which is complicated when you’re trying to get sleep.

Uptown, Midtown, or Downtown?
Definitely downtown.

Oscars, Tonys, or Grammys?
I guess Oscars.

Met, MOMA, or Movies?
MoMa. Met is the least choice for me. I love movies, but I don’t go as much as I used to because it’s too easy to watch movies at home. I really like art, I don’t know if MoMA is my favorite art museum, but I like it.

Football, Baseball, or Basketball?
Basketball. I don’t really have a team, I don’t follow it. I have an affinity for The Knicks just because it’s New York. And when my son was younger, he was super into basketball and we used to go to games all the time. And it’s just sort of New York. Also the Bucks because I’m from Wisconsin.

Green Tea, Black Tea, or Herbal Tea?
I think herbal.

Red, White, or Rosé?
Well, that’s interesting because I really do like white wine, but I feel like I’m allergic to it so I stopped drinking it. So I guess red.

Spicy, Salty, or Sweet?
I like salty and sweet and I like spicy, but I’ve developed a sensitivity to spicy.

Sandwich, Soup, or Salad?
I’m gluten intolerant, but if I want to have real bread I will eat it. Soup.

Black, White, or Color?
Well, I’m navy. Navy is my main color, navy and gray are my two main colors for clothes.

Is your closet messy or neat?
I would say in between. I like to keep it neat, I have a housekeeper that comes every single day and she likes to organize it, so she cleans up after me. What I say to my clients and say to people about the way that I personally live and the way that I want to create lifestyles for my clients, is that they can be as neat as they want and that’s fine. But I feel like I want to create environments that look good when they’re lived in. So if you have stuff around, it’s fine, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. I aspire to perfection. But I’m not perfect. Being a Libra, people immediately think being a Libra is balanced but I don’t feel like Libra’s are balanced, I feel like we’re seeking balance. So I’m drawn toward balance. I’m drawn toward perfection, but I also know there’s no such thing.

What’s your favorite room?
Well, in this apartment, my favorite place is this chair right here. And I guess my bedroom. At my house in the Hamptons, it’s my bedroom and my kitchen. I’m five minutes driving to the ocean. I also tend to have a favorite chair. I have a favorite chair in my house, too. In my dining room there’s a sofa and there’s chairs surrounding the dining table. So it’s kind of like, living, dining, kitchen, gathering space. I have a chair that I like to sit and have coffee in the morning or read, or I have another chair in the living room next to my fireplace.

What do you collect?
I collect a lot of art, photography and drawings, paintings, sculptures, kind of everything. I collect objects, which also could be anything from fancy ceramics to a found industrial piece of anything in between. Rocks, horns, skulls, crosses. Which I was raised Catholic. So I guess it’s slightly religious in a way. But not religious religious. I’m a spiritual person, not an organized religion person.

Dream dinner guest?
That gives me so much stress. I would love to have dinner with my parents. I would love to have dinner with my parents and my grandparents. All of them, that would be fun. When I was growing up, we had family dinners all the time. There’s a lot of nostalgia in me and my family for all that, I was raised in a very European immigrant kind of family-ish way, we had Sunday dinners, all that kind of stuff. Yeah, that would be nice too. People who are interesting, I have no obsession with Judy Garland, but I just watched that movie and it would be interesting to have met her. She was clearly an interesting, peculiar person. It could be interesting to have dinner with anybody.

Sunday ritual?
I don’t think it’s one day a week, it’s every day. I mean, I could answer that either. I can say both because I do highly value the morning. I really like the process and the soulfulness of starting the day and getting a rhythm going and I have a routine. I have a routine that I sort of have and I like that. I usually wake up at like between 6 and 6:30. I have a trainer every day at 7 to eight. I come home. I make my coffee. I sit for a little while. First I have my apple cider vinegar, which is disgusting and I hate it but it works. And then I have a shake. And I read, answer emails, I text, make phone calls. I really like to have that time to just awaken and sort of start to day and set yourself up for success. I think I ease into it as opposed to just rushing to do all that stuff and get into the office and sit at my desk and have everybody come at me because that’s kind of what happens in my office. Everybody wants answers because they have questions because we’re working on these projects.

Favorite flower?
My favorite flower is probably peonies or hydrangeas. I do really like roses, I love English roses that open up and get really big. I like very natural flowers. I like them very simple and to look like you picked them out of your own garden.

Cheat meal?
I just eat whatever I want, whenever I want to. If I was going to cheat, I would just have dessert. I’d just say, fuck it. Chocolate layer cake and ice cream or hot fudge and maybe have coconut cake. Probably twenty five years ago, I was still married to my ex wife and we had those very regimented diets where we basically ate grilled chicken and broccoli every single day of the week. And we were allowed one cheat day, the entire day we could cheat. I don’t even know what we would eat during the day, but our big cheat was when we would go to Denny’s at 10:30pm and they made this chocolate layer cake that had like six scoops of ice cream on it and caramel sauce and hot fudge and whipped cream. It was so good. I don’t really enjoy that kind of stuff anymore.

What do you do in your zone to be present and stay in the moment?
I just filter out a lot of stuff. I’m incredibly lucky to be alive. The past is great, but we’re alive now and the time is now. I want to live my life and I feel thankful, and grateful, and fortunate to have had the life that I’ve had and the experiences and the opportunities that I have. And I feel like life is for living. No matter what the setbacks are, the challenges or whatever, I’m excited about life and I’m a forward thinking person. I’m optimistic and try to see the positive things.