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Design well-lived

Photos by Dan Bishop

January 2014

"Your environment shouldnít reflect what other people appreciate, it should reflect what you appreciate," Teresa Manns says. A favorite spot in her Wauwatosa home is the banquette at the dining room table where she can sit with her feet up Sunday mornings reading the New York Times.

Only one thing could tear Teresa Manns away from a globe-trotting design career in New York City working for the renowned Steven Gambrel ó true love. After marrying her former high school classmate whom she met at their 20-year reunion and commuting from Wauwatosa to NYC for two-plus years, Manns decided to make Milwaukee her home base at Peabodyís Interiors in Brown Deer.

JR: What can Milwaukee learn from New York design-wise and otherwise?

TM: I actually find a lot of similarities between Milwaukee and New York. The arts are really supported and encouraged. New York has a reputation of being cold and unfriendly but in fact the sense of community is very strong. I didnít really know Milwaukee, but Iím very happy here the more I get to know it. Interiors here skew a lot more traditional in style. I like to take a look inside a personís closet to see the colors, textures and shapes they gravitate toward. People donít necessarily translate those bolder fashion choices to their homes.

JR: Whatís a favorite design trend?

TM: I like the trend of people adding fireplaces in their kitchens. I love banquette style seating. Peopleís lives are so busy. Itís nice to have a sense of occasion and take an hour or two to relax and connect with each other instead of being distracted. We do that at home a lot with the kids. They know when the candles are lit itís at least an hour-long sit-down dinner.

JR: What elements are often overlooked in design?

TM: Itís really important that every space be lived in and on, and used. Nothing is unapproachable. Lifeís too short to worry about dirt and pet hair. When you are in your home everything should help you enjoy that one hour a day you get to relax. Have beautiful linen napkins that you use at dinner; a cloth napkin just elevates the experience. Have nice hand soap ó the little luxuries that arenít necessarily expensive. Light a candle when you walk in the house or cut a branch and stick it in a jar on a table. Those little steps make such a huge impact.

JR: What is your favorite city in the world?

TM: New York is my favorite city. It has everything.

JR: What inspires you?

TM: When I travel I love to visit older cities that have interesting architecture. Iím fascinated by Prague ó even the street lights have interesting architecture. I love traveling and seeing different color combinations. I find myself taking photos of this corner of this table ó not taking a picture of the grand room. I look at that marble with this marble and never would have thought of that combination. It helps me to remember at that moment I reach for that fabric that isnít the obvious choice ó just put things together until something starts to gel.



This story ran in the January 2014 issue of: