Friday Fifteen with Friends: Diana Bitting
Published: April 15th, 2016
Diana Bitting knows the Chicago design world better than anybody. Currently the Director of Brand Partnerships for Interior Define as well as Editor for Chicago Home & Garden (owned by Chicago Magazine). Bitting was formerly the Editor-In-Chief at the Modern Luxury-owned publication CS Interiors Chicago as well as Editor-at-Large for Louis Vuitton’s US City Guides. I know her as a consummate professional with an attitude toward design I completely admire. Diana likes design with “a new point of view,” is inspired by travel, welcomes change and challenge, and is not afraid to take a risk. That kind of attitude makes someone a true tastemaker and, of course, this week’s subject of our Friday 15 with Friends. Enjoy!
Name: Diana Bitting
Occupation: Director of Brand Partnerships, Interior Define, and Home & Design Editor, Chicago Magazine
Best known for: Interiors Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Throwing Epic Themed Soirees
1. Antique or modern? Both! I love layering pieces that tell a story with things that have a new point of view.
2. What has inspired or informed your interior style? Travel, hands down. For instance, I used to tend towards neutrals and then I went to India. The colors totally seduced me and now I have patterned kilim rugs and pillows everywhere, and bold art works. The colors help get me through the gray winters here. And fashion-I love the layered, bohemian chic look.
3. Which colors do you use most? I’m obsessed with Farrow and Ball’s Wimborne White. There’s something about a clean white wall that makes the stress melt away for me. I have an affinity for bold colors over pastels: lipstick reds, cobalt blues, kelly greens, etc., but in small doses. My large upholstery pieces are neutral and my rugs are natural jute.
4. Favorite materials or textures? I love a warm, high pile wool Moroccan rug juxtaposed with the coolness of midcentury brass chair. i love materials that create a little tension—a sisal rug with a Regency chrome coffee table, or a bamboo chair with a mirror-clad Art Deco desk.
5. How do you make your home double as a work space? I live in a ballroom—no joke—so I bought an antique carrara marble and iron sewing table that I placed under one of the west-facing windows to use for craft projects and as a work desk.
6. What household item could you not live without? Well, I live to entertain, and love to cook, so my dining set. It was a flea market find, and the seller had no idea it was an iconic Mastercraft design. The table base and chairs are a faux bamboo motif in brass—I’m obsessed.
7. What household items are a necessity to host a great party? Great wine, if that counts! If you pop an amazing bottle of vino, that sets the mood immediately. You can serve something casual like fish tacos and everyone will be happy.
8. Tips for hosting at home? Start preparing a few days in advance- I finally got the hang of this and now entertaining is far less stressful. I even set the table the night before sometimes!
9. Which design website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without? The World of Interiors magazine does a tremendous job each and every issue.
10. Design rule you love to break? Matchy-matchy. I love layers of colors, textures and materials instead. And anything unexpected. I think if you take your home design too seriously, people can’t relax and have fun. And with a big affectionate pup and an 18-month old at home, I can’t possibly be uptight about anything.
11. What is your favorite room in your home? The ballroom—it’s my living room/dining room/family room/den/bar and office all in one!
12. What is your most treasured possession? My engagement ring—it’s the nicest piece of jewelry I own, and the nicest gift I’ve ever received. My husband nailed it.
13. What is your favorite thing about Chicago—design-related or otherwise? The people—here, the phonies are the exception, not the rule. And I can’t stand phonies 🙂
14. To which city or country would you move for the design? I adore Copenhagen, but San Francisco is more realistic. Although I’d be moving there for the weather more than anything.
15. How would you describe your style? Eclectic vintage? Or elegant boho? I mix it up. I don’t always get it right, but at least I have fun along the way and take chances. The fashion gals I really admire aren’t afraid to be adventurous. I really like Blair Badge and Jennifer Grace.