Bradley Stephens began his career with a bang; one of his first commissions was an interior design commission for anchorman Anderson Cooper’s penthouse. Since opening his own Manhattan firm in 2003, Stephens has contributed fifteen years of newsworthy interiors from seaside Maine hotels to sophisticated high-rises on Central Park West. Now, the Pratt grad is giving ASPIRE DESIGN AND readers a deeper look into his process, jumping out of planes, and why he can’t stand the term “design trend.” Shapes and shades Stephens turns to usually reflect his clients’ personalities. In this bathroom, an unorthodox geometric chandelier gives the room an industrial emphasis.
Andrew Joseph – What’s your wakeup ritual?
Bradley Stephens – Coffee. Walk the bulldog. Jump on a spin bike. Shower. Coffee. Uber to the office. Coffee. The rest of the day is a blur! I am definitely a morning person, and a certified workaholic – so all of this happens before 8 am to get a jump on the day.
Andrew – How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Bradley – This is the great challenge of my life. I can’t help but be obsessed with our clients and their projects. It’s not easy to focus on the infinite details of my work, take care of my partner and our pup, and also take care of myself. Mornings are my time to work out and clear my head. Days are spent hopping between job sites and collaborating with my team. And weekends are for downtime in the country – shopping the neighboring villages, hanging out at the lake or hiking the hills, puttering around in the garden, and sipping cocktails with our fabulous friends.
Andrew – What modern design trend makes you cringe?
Bradley – The concept of “design trend” makes me cringe! Our firm’s mantra is ‘timeless, beautiful and functional’– so the big trend today isn’t necessarily our focus. I find inspiration in creating spaces that are informed by the unique history, personalities and aspirations of our clients – no matter ‘what’s hot and what’s not.’ One thing I do appreciate about trends is that they often put a spotlight on underappreciated colors, materials or patterns – both vintage and modern – that deserve their moment in the sun. Incorporating a neon pink centerpiece and modern lighting into an otherwise conservative sitting room is difficult, but Stevens pulls it off impeccably.
Andrew – Most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life?
Bradley – I surprised my partner, Andrew, with skydiving in Hawaii for his birthday – despite my intense fear of heights. It was exhilarating and terrifying. I won’t be doing it again anytime soon!
Andrew – How would you define your work in three words?
Bradley – Timeless. Beautiful. Functional.
Andrew – Favorite piece of clothing you own?
Bradley – Todd Snyder sweatshirts are my uniform. This job is way too difficult, so I like to be comfortable! And besides that, I ruin everything I own crawling around on construction sites. A crewneck pulled over a button-down in the winter, or a zip-up over a t-shirt in the summer, and I’m good to go. I’ve made an art form of getting away with being the most casually dressed person in the room. Our work is super high-end, but our clients never expect me to show up in a suit and tie.
Andrew – Best way to take a rest/decompress?
Bradley – I decompress on my Peloton bike, sweating to a challenging ride!
Andrew – Favorite city to recharge?
Bradley – New Preston, CT – where I escape to every weekend.
Andrew – Who is your ideal client?
Bradley – Someone who is trusting, decisive, and a little adventurous!
Andrew – What’s one thing that is always in your refrigerator?
Bradley – Ranch dressing. I’m from Texas! A polished gold table in the center of a weathered wood alcove make a bold statement in a modest kitchenette.
About Bradley Stephens | Originally from Texas, Bradley moved to New York City to study Interior Design at the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After graduating with a Masters in Interior Design, Bradley trained with some of NYC’s most prominent Architects and Designers, including the offices of Deborah Berke Partners Architects. In 2003, he launched his own interiors firm and has since built a reputation among clients, vendors and tradespeople as a talented designer with an honest, highly personal and collaborative approach to design.
In addition to his role in Stephens Design Group, Bradley is a Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Fuigo – the first 360° business management platform and shared work-space created exclusively for interior designers. Stephens Design Group designed Fuigo’s 18,000 square foot flagship location on Park Avenue in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.
Bradley splits his time between his West Chelsea apartment and country home in New Preston, CT that he shares with his partner, Andrew, and their English Bulldog, River.
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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