Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Billy Ceglia

Since launching his illustrious design firm close to two decades ago, Billy Ceglia has been designing spaces up and down the Eastern Seaboard. From full-home transformations to tailor-made space solutions, Billy adds his own panache to his glamorous client’s interiors, without jumping the shark. Billy has also been featured in a multifarious of major publications such as Architectural Digest, Veranda and Forbes. Introducing this week’s sophisticated Designer Friday, Billy Ceglia.

For the 2019 Kips Bay Showhouse, Billy Ceglia designed the passageway within this Palm Beach home. The bold use of green provided a playful atmosphere upon entry, this space features faux porcelain tiles from Ceramic Matrix and Kravet fabric can be found in the drapery.

Andrew Joseph: You’re the newest Crayola color. What color are you and why?
Billy Ceglia: The standard joke is that my favorite color is “plain,” since I don’t love to use patterns, lots of mixed up colors or overly wrought, superfluous details in my work. So, I’d be happy to be “Plain.”

Andrew: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Billy: The return to good taste, I’m getting tired of the “decorating in the dark” look, where nothing actually matches in color, pattern, scale or quality, and shock for the sake of shock.

Pictured above is a living area Billy designed for a family home in Naples, FL. The splashes of aqua blue and cream create a coastal vibe that’ll make any given city slicker retreat to the ocean side.

Andrew: If you could live in any home in a movie or television series, what would it be?
Billy: Like every good gay designer, I’d want to live in Mame Dennis’ Beekman Place apartment – I’d take any incarnation of it, but I prefer the all-blue scheme right before she went broke in the stock market crash.

Andrew: What’s a guilty pleasure you have?
Billy: It’s so bad…. After a really bad day, going to McDonald’s and having a two-cheeseburger meal with a diet coke is like therapy for me, it erases all the stress of the day.

Andrew: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
Billy: Prostitute, it’s basically the same thing…… tell me what you want to make you feel good, and leave the money on the dresser…. Or in the case of the designer, on the kitchen island.

This space is a perfect example of what work-from-homers desire. Billy designed this space for a home in Westchester County that strikes the perfect balance between natural and professional for this sophisticated office.

Andrew: What’s your favorite cocktail?
Billy: A Negroni – it’s just like me, a little bitter, a little sweet, you don’t love it at first, but it grows on you, and it’s so damn good.

Andrew: What’s the weirdest thing a client has ever asked you?
Billy: I’ve designed a fully outfitted sex toy closet for one client, with spots for everything…. But maybe being asked to buy a breast pump was really the strangest thing, because apparently, I “know everything.” (I bought it, and marked it up!)

Andrew: Style (or design) icon?
Billy: Billy Baldwin and Angelo Donghia, both took American style to a whole new level that is still influencing design today.

Soft hues of lavender and grey gracefully touch this bedroom that Billy created. The room includes various textures and hues that are anchored by the golden hardware placed sporadically yet thoughtfully.

Andrew: What’s your biggest fear in life?
Billy: Being hit by a taxi while crossing Third Avenue, I’ve seen it happen at least ten times, it’s not pretty, and you know nobody would grab all my memo samples out of the street for me…

Andrew: Favorite piece of clothing you own?
Billy: Well, I am a clothes horse, and have just about every pieces of clothing I’ve owned since I was 18, but I’d have to say, my favorite piece of clothing is a vintage Ralph Lauren Serape sweater I stole from one of my dearest friends, it’s gorgeous and cozy and reminds me of her and has so many memories attached to it. It would be the one thing I’d save if my house were on fire.

About The Designer | Billy Ceglia is known for interiors that transcend period and time, creating classic environments that are perfect for modern living. His distinctively hip, modern, and witty flair endears him to his clients, who come to him for rooms that are infused with glamour and elegance without being stuffy or overdone. A self-avowed tabletop aficionado and collector of many things, Billy is a graduate of NYSID and began his career with Ralph Lauren before opening his eponymous design firm in 1999. Based in Connecticut, Billy’s projects can be found across the country and have been featured in publications such as Traditional Home, Architectural Digest, Veranda and Luxe, among others.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here.

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