House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Tara Bernerd

The design consultant on ‘the exhilarating pleasure of action’

Tara Bernerd

November 29 2011
Tara Bernerd

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Monday morning I was raring to go; as much as I would love to share with you a glamorous star-studded weekend, the truth is that it was quiet – very quiet! This was slightly intentional, as it was my first weekend in London in five weeks and the thought of doing nothing was bliss. However, the reality of doing nothing was of limited appeal, and as I said, by Monday I was first at the school gates, so to speak, and chomping at the bit to get to my office. That feeling always reminds me of a quote from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged when the energetic heroine Dagny realises, “She did have time to feel something: it was the hard, exhilarating pleasure of action.” Thus started my morning.

Arriving these days at our offices is a pleasure. Having slightly morphed the business this year, now moved and appropriately rebranded as Tara Bernerd & Partners, said partners and I are now enjoying the very sophisticated scenery of downtown Belgravia. Branding in itself is a fascinating and growing factor in most businesses today; indeed, identity is key. As a business, we specialise, before design even kicks in, in providing our clients with creative direction. All said, I am a great believer in going to the best, so for our logos and stationery and so on, my port of call, or taste-master, has always been my dear friend Tyler Brûlé; and so, as we would say here, “it was a no brainer” to therefore appoint Winkreative to take on our identity. Now with all logos etc in place and a thick enough business card even for me, it’s absolutely full-on here.

Each Monday we sit as a team; it allows us all to catch up, run through each project, its status and demands, and also importantly it provides everyone with an insight into what each person has got on. This week actually being based in London is so refreshing and welcome.

Next up for me was a conference call with Tommy, a senior architect at TB&P; he had just touched down in HK and was heading to Macau for a few days at The Venetian, regarding hotel work for the group. We had a great deal to go over. Macau, which has fast become the hub of all gaming, is a must on anyone’s map, with statistics and growth going through the roof.

The rest of my day was back-to-back, going over all the relevant highlights and action list, and following up on last week when I was in Miami and New York working on projects out there. With two projects now complete at The Setai Tower, my quick but full trip to Miami Beach was invaluable. This time I stayed at The W; chapeau to Yabu Pushelberg – its cool palatial entrance is a dedication to every elaborate material and considered detail. Great art gives it a real kick and the pretty spacious rooms and suites are notable, particularly on the bathroom front.

Soho Beach House was of course on my hit list, and I took some friends to Cecconi’s. It is fantastically cool, with that warm clubby feel and an informal punch. Let’s face it: Nick Jones should be crowned the king of cool, of course alongside New York’s André Balazs and my own hotel hero Jason Pomeranc (watch that space).

Work was at quite a pace. The past few days have been about final finishes, and The Rug Company’s store was as usual a treasure trove of stylish pieces. Their collection is ever expanding, as are they, with designers’ rug designs, wall hangings – and, finally, a place where cushions are cool.

Returning to New York was heavenly: cold, brisk and fresh after the Miami heat. I was a flirt on the hotel front (it’s my hotel recce obsession) and stayed at The St Regis for uptown old-school pampering and then of course could not resist a return to the Mercer for a couple of nights (where it must be said they do great burgers – in fact room service is generally good and the buzz of the lobby always twinkles with cool, enhanced by inevitable friendly faces and the odd lovable fake rock star).

Back in London, a November Monday afternoon and despite all this, I did manage a spontaneous trip to a new site, followed by an overdue trip to Poliform. George Khachfe – Mr Poliform – has developed a product selection and showroom that are truly world class, from Varenna Kitchens to Flexiform and some spicy coloured lacquered tables. It was well worth the visit.

So suffice to say it was late-ish when I finally left the bureau and decided to walk a bit; a dark winter’s evening, me wondering why Christmas lights get earlier every year, but equally thinking how pretty they are. And so over to a dear friend’s for a glass of red wine and a good, good chat.

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