Christopher Peacock began his design career in London working for Terence Conran, so it’s no surprise he would go on to do great things. After a move to America and positions at the Boston Design Center and New York City’s Architects and Designers building, he launched his own firm, specializing in meticulously crafted cabinetry and kitchen and bath design, in 1992. Since then, his approach, rooted in an old school philosophy that combines a Made in America commitment with the techniques he learned from his family growing up in Britain, has inspired a legion of loyal followers and led to ventures beyond his tradition milieu (paint!).
We caught up with Christopher in between trips to discuss everything from his thoughts on color to his ideal dinner party guest to his latest design for the 2019 Kips Bay Showhouse, exhibited in New York City earlier this month.
Describe your design philosophy in a sentence.
Understated, elegant and beautifully crafted.
How important is it to make your cabinetry an extension of both the space you’re designing for and the experience you want someone to have within that space?
Hugely so. A room should not shock when you enter it, unless that’s the desired effect. For me, whether it’s a kitchen, dressing room, or a library, the room should feel like a natural progression of its surroundings and the adjacent spaces and architecture. Functionally it has to work and suit the people using it. Everyone has their own way of doing things, so it’s important to understand the lifestyle and habits of the client.
How does your approach differ depending on the room (ie dressing rooms vs kitchens)?
It’s the same to be honest—basic rules still apply: Proportion. Scale. Color. Personal use. Once we have that under control, we are able to design well.
To what extent do restaurants or other public/commercial dining spaces inform your kitchen designs (ie the English prep school dining hall you reference in the Refectory collection)?
Everything influences me. I’m always snapping detail pictures and I find travelling to be the greatest source of inspiration. It’s amazing how these details creep into my designs sometimes years later. Certainly, my British childhood had a great effect on my sense of scale and proportion, and growing up in the English countryside surrounded me with centuries-old design and materials.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
Traveling the world and the home I grew up in.
What else informs how you approach a new project?
My gut, to be honest. I always get a feeling about the space and what to do, and I trust it. I’ve been designing for more than 35 years, so experience also plays a huge part in it.
If you could design cabinetry for any person or place, real or fictional, past or present, who or what would it be and why?
Winston Churchill. He was a unique individual who went against conventional wisdom and appreciated the finer things in life. A politician, an accomplished artist and a dedicated family man. I like to think we could talk for hours and that he would be fully engaged in the process of design. The perfect client.
What are three adjectives you want people to use when they view your work?
Elegant, hand crafted and bespoke.
How important is color in your work?
Very important, but it’s not always necessary in large amounts. Texture and the mix of materials interests me as well.
Describe your vision for the 2019 Kips Bay Showhouse.
Masculine, and handsome, but also practical and useable.
For more inspiring insights from The Urban Electric Co. partners, check out more of our Eye on Design profiles.