Heidi Holzer...Faux Painter and Designer
A few months back we had the pleasure of meeting Heidi Holzer, faux painter and designer. We took the opportunity to chit chat with her about her background and inspirations. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with her and know you will too. Read on…
LD: Heidi, the LDD team and I enjoyed meeting with you when you personally visited the LDD HQ to share your product and brand with us. What an education you offered! I know our followers would love to hear more of your vast knowledge. First, what brought you into the world of faux painting and design? Was this a childhood dream? Did you stumble into this creative field by accident?
HH: Thank you Lisa, it was a pleasure presenting our techniques to you and your team. I come from an artistic family. My aunt was a talented painter who also practiced some incredible art forms like Scherenschnitte, which is cutting a delicate scene from black paper, freehand, and applying it to a contrast ivory background. My mother was also very talented in needlework and ceramic making. She had an incredible sense of color that she applied to both of those art forms. So, I was drawn to creative work that I could physically do with my hands. It started with jewelry making and then lapidary work (the art of grinding and polishing stones). I taught myself to solder silver and then gold and to cut and polish stones like malachite, turquoise, and agate to use in my jewelry designs. In between that career and my current one, I bought and merchandised clothing as well as managed fine ladies’ clothing stores. I produced a line of slacks too! I befriended a decorative artist who was doing a faux marble in one of my stores. I was becoming disenchanted with the changes in the retail industry, when the decorative artist asked me to come into his business as a partner, knowing that I had both the business background and the ability to work with my hands. I took a chance as I knew nothing about the mediums, but he taught me the basics. Two years later, we went our separate ways as we had different visions for the direction of the business.
LD: With all that experience, what is your educational background?
HH: My first major in college was Dramatic Arts. An accident in a movement class that left me in a neck brace for a year made me reassess that option, so I continued my education in liberal arts until I moved from Michigan to New York.
LD: What year was Heidi Holzer Design established?
LD: Please share how you and your company came to be one of the most sought after faux artist firms in the country? You are not a one woman show. How does a team of artists execute a consistent finish as we always see from Heidi Holzer Design…especially your ombre and stria walls?
HH: I believe that it is the professionalism and the true appreciation that we carry with us that makes us want to do the best that we can for the client, both aesthetically and practically. My entire staff takes great pride in the work that we do. Many of us have been working together for so long that it is easy to know what we have to do to successfully complete a finish. This means an awareness of the other people you are working with, good communication, and mutual cooperation to produce a seamless and beautiful result.
LD: Design offers many trends. What are you seeing as some of today’s most popular finishes? Do you see these as classics or dated?
HH: That is a very thoughtful question and one that I have pondered lately. I have seen so many wallpaper designs as of late that I believe they will become dated in a way that the 60’s and 70’s papers have become. I see a tendency toward sheen and light refraction in finishes. I believe this works well with the rugs using silk and “art” silks and also fabrics that are being incorporated into upholstery and window treatments. Our finishes are an integral part of the background, so they need to coordinate with the other materials being used in a room. I believe that many of these finishes are classics, in part because some of them have been around for hundreds of years (a true test!). I also believe they are classics because they are not so bold that one would tire of them, but still work in a room when other elements in the room change.
LD: It is very difficult for me to choose a favorite finish from your offerings. I do have to say I am a huge fan of the travertine walls. Do you have a favorite?
HH: It is very hard for me as well. I have the travertine in my studio common area, but the venetian plaster with different knife work throughout my home and office. It’s sexy and tactile.
LD: Very serious question (wink, wink). Stilettos? Sneakers? Work boots? What is your personal fashion style?
HH: Stilettos for the theatre and dancing, work boots for the garden, motorcycle boots with fine Italian leather for motorcycling!
LD: Look around your office. Share with us one item we’d be surprised to find in your office?
LD: All successful people have a passion for what they do, after all it’s the passion that makes us successful. As some point there was a spark that ignited that passion. What was it for you?
HH: It was my first job on my own painting these huge columns in a 5th Avenue NY loft apartment. I realized how much I could transform a space; and that somehow I had the inherent ability to understand how these mediums worked. I could manipulate them to create something of beauty.
LD: Is there anyone who has influenced your work, your style, and/or your point of view?
HH: I have a client that is such a free spirit and so unafraid. She influenced me to think differently. The London designer, Kit Kemp, also influenced me to incorporate unexpected and personal touches into my own home. My dear friend and assistant, Maria Sanders, often gives me a different, wonderful outlook. Gustav Klimt, Antonin Gaudi, the 1940’s, Potsdam, Whistler’s Pecock Room in Washington DC…
LD: Would you share both your biggest accomplishment and our greatest challenge/project to date?
HH: My biggest accomplishment and challenge simultaneously was working on Tommy Hilfiger’s apartment at the Plaza in NYC. At first it was difficult to gain an appointment with his designer, Cindy Rinfret. I was flatly turned down for review after many calls with the response, “If she were interested she would have called you back.”, to which I answered, “You are wrong, she doesn’t know, we are the perfect fit.” I finally got an appointment. Then the meeting with Cindy! She was completely enamored with the our faux travertine blocks and brought us in to do that technique and many others. We were given the task to create the appearance of old permanence to a newly renovated space. Having the space promised to us on two different occasions, we braved the labyrinth that lies beneath the Plaza and the single service elevator that services the entire building with my crew of 8, TWICE, only to find we couldn’t start. I took over the prep work necessary to meet our deadline. Cindy and Tommy were wonderful to work with and the results have been published in Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar, People, and a book of New York spaces.
LD: Personal life…who are you? Family? Hobbies? Can we have a glimpse of who Heidi is?
HH: I am the fifth of six immigrant children raised in a suburb of Detroit. Our mother raised us without gender roles to participate in many different things, a necessity as my father passed away shortly after we arrived in the U.S. My dream was to move to New York, which I did when I was a young adult. I moved to Connecticut around 20 years ago, and I love it here. For the past 17 years I’ve shared my life with a wonderful man. We share a love of dancing, music, theatre, cooking, riding motorcycles, and nurturing each other, our family and friends.
LD: What was the last book you read?
HH: All the Light We Cannot See
LD: I find quotes very inspiring…they are tacked up all over my studios. Do you have a favorite quote?
HH: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Nelson Mandela
LD: Lastly, it appears you are ‘living a dream’. Your passion and love for your work is easy to see. If you could have a second career, what would it be?
HH: Floral designer or jewelry designer…
LD: Thanks so much, Heidi, for letting us get to know you. Your answers were so interesting with some fun surprises too (giggle!)