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Inside The World Of Interior Design With Randy Trainor

Today’s interview is with the intelligent and savvy interior designer, Randy Trainor. Living in Franconia, New Hampshire, Randy is a nationally known interior designer, who has traveled all over the country to manage projects ranging from new construction to renovation to furniture selection.


As an established member of the American Society of Interior Design (ASID) and regularly featured in countless magazines, Randy has made quite the name for herself over the last twenty-five years. Her specialities include construction, remodeling, and eco-friendly design solutions for residential and clubhouse interiors. Her ski lodges and lake homes have won much attention from second home owners in New Hampshire. Each space she designs is timeless and trendy with unique elements including custom furnishings and window treatments.

Without further ado, please welcome the talented Randy Trainor!

Q: Could you describe how you bring your eco-friendly perspective into your designs?

Randy: Many people aren’t aware that there are some great furnishings and fabrics available that are eco-friendly. I always ask clients how important green design is to them and then gauge my design selections based on their answer. At this point, eco-friendly designs still aren't a huge priority for many of my clients, however, green decisions benefits everyone whether they realize it or not. The most obvious benefit is the cleaner indoor air that promotes health and well-being, especially for children, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems.

Ski Country Entryway Closet DesignImage Source: CRT Interiors

Q: In your experience, what is the number one priority for people hiring an interior designer?

Randy: Actually, there are two. The first is that they don’t know how to put it all together and are afraid to make a mistake. The second is that they are busy people and just don’t have the time to do it for themselves.

Q: Who are some interior designers you find inspiration from?

Randy: Definitely Mary Douglas Drysdale and Alessandra Branca. Mary is more traditional, but she has a way of making everything so bright and cheery. I love how she uses architectural trim to add depth and character to a room. She is also a master of subtlety that makes the whole so rich. One time Mary and I did a show house together, her room was right next to mine, and while the walls appeared white from a distance, there was a very subtle stencil near the top of the wall. She stenciled the floors with a very traditional pattern, and then she had a very wide embroidered border sewn on the leading edge of the draperies. Beautiful!

Alessandra Branca has a more gritty style that is very comfortable and rooted in classical design. While I was studying architectural history in college and traveling throughout Europe, I loved the classical symmetry of the architect Palladio and the orderliness of the Greek key design. These are the types of things Alessandra incorporates into her rooms. Her design isn’t quite as formal as Mary’s, and it has a more lived in look to it. I actually “stole” Alessandra’s use of a small hexagonal marble tile floor in white with a Greek key border in black mosaics for a bathroom floor in my home. I love it!

randy-trainor-kitchen-view-interiorImage Source: CRT Interiors

Thomas Pheasant is another favorite. I like the clean lines of his designs, though they are still rooted in classical design. His work never looks austere because of the richness and quality of the materials he uses. The subtle design details in his collection also add to the richness but aren’t fussy at all.

Q: How is designing in New Hampshire unique?

Randy: New Hampshire has so many diverse regions geographically. We have the Seacoast, so a coastal-type look is prevalent there, we have the Lakes Region where the look is more of a cabin design and an Adirondack type style, and then we have the White Mountains where skiing and hiking are huge and the look tends to be more of a Colorado mountain type motif. Also, sprinkled in between those areas is what I would characterize as a typical home that can range from traditional to contemporary, depending on the client’s taste.

ski-country-dining-roomImage Source: CRT Interiors

Q: What is your go-to color combination that will work in any room?

Randy: I tend to use a creamy white on the walls and a semi-gloss white on the woodwork. It provides a great neutral backdrop for any furnishings or colors while still adding a little life and spark to the room.

Q: How does your education in art history play a role in your career as an interior designer?

Randy: The study of art history and architectural history provides such a great background to draw from as I work with my clients today. Sometimes with my work I directly reference items from the past and at other times I combine motifs to create something unique for my clients. It is always great to be able to show clients how designs, colors, or shapes have been juxtaposed previously. Having the historical knowledge allows me to do that.

As an art history major, I was required to take many courses in studio art. In studio art, I had to learn the color wheel, and I use that knowledge every single day in my work. I’m sure there are many other unconscious ways in which I use my education.

interior-hampton-bathtub-designImage Source: CRT Interiors

Thank you to Randy! She has a strong wisdom and understanding for the design industry. It was really interesting hearing her responses on how she uses art history and who she finds most inspiring - I also like how she brings eco-sensibility to her projects in ways that help her clients even if they are not aware of all of the benefits.

To learn more about Randy Trainor and see her portfolio, visit her website and follow her on Houzz.

There are more designer interviews to come!