Designer Friday: Alan Tanksley

New York designer Alan Tanksley’s colorful and storied personality can only be matched by his storied spaces and colorist sensibilities. Alan’s interiors reenvision luxury; luxury not as a remote idea, but as a quality and forethought in which a space is is imbued. His preternatural sense of texture and tone, along with his famous sense of humor, make for a truly enjoyable Designer Friday.


Mountain home by Alan Tanksley. It was designed using Germanic architecture as inspiration. The result is a sprawling, snowy manor.


Locally sourced wood and stone ensure that even small spaces lend themselves to the mountain modern aesthetic.


Tanksley custom-designed the project’s billiards table to impeccably complement this room.


Andrew Joseph – What’s your wakeup ritual?
Alan Tanksley – On occasion, I will wake up, make a pot of press coffee (1/2 caf / 1/2 decaf), consume most of it while checking emails, news, etc., then return to bed for as long as I can get away with before starting my day.

Andrew – Vintage or new?
Alan – Both, of course. The point of using vintage and/or antiques furniture, lighting, accessories, etc. isn’t to recreate the period in which they were produced, nor is it to satisfy a trend of any sort. There are wonderful, well-designed items being made today as well as those produced in earlier times. The challenge is to identify which pieces work together to create an interesting environment that sets a mood and establishes a visual dialogue that engages those who inhabit that space.

Andrew – What are three things you can’t live without?
Alan – My Phone (of course), great bed and bedding, and live performances (plays, musicals, music, spoken word, etc.)

Andrew – Favorite bad movie?
Alan – “The Temp” with Faye Dunaway. After a fight for control over a firm of some importance, it boils down to a fight-to-the-death inside a smelting facility (apropos of nothing mentioned in the story,) culminating with the evil foe plunging from a catwalk into a cauldron of molten iron.

Andrew – What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
Alan – My new office. After 12 years in a spectacular space I worried that nothing else would satisfy me. After months of planning and construction we’re now ensconced in a gorgeous new place that reflects and inspires a new chapter in both my career and life itself.

Andrew – Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
Alan – Be curious, ask questions, listen enthusiastically, and remain teachable always.

Andrew – Last piece of content you consumed that made you cry?
Alan – A performance of “A Chorus Line” presented by Encores celebrating the 75th anniversary of City Center, NYC. That said, I can get choked up at the most inane moments. I can be overly sentimental at times…

Andrew – Your affirmation for today?
Alan – Forgiveness, Acceptance, and Gratitude (my personal acronym, F.A.G.)

Modern yet appropriate prints above the master bed pop against a warm shiplap wall.
Tanksley’s eye for eclectic elegance shows in his unconventional choice of seating in the kitchen.


About Alan Tanksley | 
Alan Tanksley is one of America’s leading practitioners of residential design, detailed interior space planning, and custom furniture and fixture design. Past working relationships with such leading architects as Maya Lin, James Dayton, Robert Orr and Harry Elson haven given the firm abilities to realize a wide range of architectural renovations for each project.

Alan’s work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Interior Design, House & Garden, Art & Antiques and Metropolitan Home in addition to Elle Decor. Most recently, Alan Tanksley, Inc. was appointed to design the Model Apartment in the historic Woolworth Building in Manhattan.

Alan is actively involved in Housing Works’ Design on a Dime and Bailey House charities.


About Andrew Joseph | Andrew Joseph’s passion for design and rich journalistic history led to the launch of his boutique PR firm in 2012. Prior to enjoying the successes of Andrew Joseph PR, Andrew honed his editorial skills at Vanity Fair and Allure. This experience, as well as the strong network of contacts developed over the years in public relations, brings a valuable edge to his new role as contributing editor. Let the musing begin.

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