Monday, January 12, 2015

Renowned Interior Designer Paul Vincent Wiseman & The Wiseman Group: Inner Spaces

Chosen as one of the years top ten design books by, Inner Spaces: Paul Vincent Wiseman and The Wiseman Group is indeed  a favorite in my library as well. Inner Spaces was published this October, 2014 by  Gibbs Smith, written by Brian D. Coleman, and includes forewords by the esteemed architect Frank Gehry and industry critic Paul Goldberger. Matthew Millman's fine photography brings the featured homes to life in this book.

Paul Vincent Wiseman

I was privileged to have a conversation with Paul recently and learned a great deal about the man himself whom I have come to admire greatly; as well as the incredible success of The Wiseman Group founded by this talented man at the young age of twenty seven in 1980. He has a wonderful sense of humor and each home in this book feels completely authentic, comfortable and curated just for the homeowner. Please enjoy!

In this Victorian Russian Hill update, as well as his other projects, Paul employs the use of  wabi-sabi: the Japanese art of finding  beauty in imperfection, in antiques, and the transient nature of all things.

1) Paul, thank you so much for taking the time to comment for this feature. What first inspired you to take the career path of an Interior Designer?

I was always drawing and building houses as a kid. When I was in college, a childhood friend (whose home is in the book) 
 said to me, ‘Why are you studying political science? All you ever do is talk about art and history. Why don't you do something with art history and architecture?" With that, Wiseman says, “everything just started falling into place.”
The highly regarded and widely recognized Wiseman Group, now in business thirty five years, is not known for a "look". That is because Paul and his staff listen to their clients needs and want their homes to reflect that. Paul lost much of his hearing at a young age and he believes that not only sharpened his other senses; it causes him to listen very closely and consciously.

Astute collectors, this couple's living room contains paintings by Alex Katz, de Kooning, and David Park. There are antique Asian ceramics as well as a contemporary sculpture by Henry Moore on the mantlepiece.

One of Paul's favorite rooms to decorate  in a home is the library because he feels it truly reflects the client's personality and interests.  

Details on a vanity and a stunning view.

2) Your travels at a young age must have been so inspiring. How did that affect your design aesthetic?

In connecting the dots. I turned 18 in Athens, 21 in Tasmania, and 25 in Paris. Three weeks in Bhutan, where the architecture and the monks' dwellings first used feng shui. The Grand Canyon is perfection. My travels have been a profound experience and continue to be.

The owners of this Spanish-Mediterranean Villa in San Francisco asked Paul to combine traditional architecture with their iconic contemporary art collection.

A small vintage fixture found in Paris inspired the lighting created for the entry and home. It is carried over into the kitchen, with three of these pendants hanging over the island.

Open galleries include art by Takashi Murakami, Anish Kapoor and others.  The art collection is often rotated

3) How does art and sculpture complete your vision in design. What does that mean to you?

We have been very fortunate to work with clients who have great art collections.  Art is very personal. In a lecture I gave at Carlton Hobbs upon the release of my book the first image I show is of the Lascaux, France cave dwellings. Man's first efforts at interior design, show paintings of the hunt, altars, sacred objects, and rooms for retreat and comfort.

The focal points of this dining room include a stunning view as well as this shimmering Gerhard Richter painting.

The Living Room includes many custom designed pieces by TWG with works of art by Richard Prince and Sigmar Polke

4) Did you have mentors or others in the design world you deeply admire?

Many, including Frank Gehry of course, the late Ricardo Legorreta, Renzo Mongiardino in my early years, for his detail, and John Saladino who is a great influence and friend. I am going sailing with Frank this weekend and to a production at the Disney Concert Hall he designed.

This sophisticated high-rise in Chicago is home to an accomplished pianist who wanted space for his beloved Steinway and his art collection.

Four custom rugs, all unique yet related with a cloud-like feel pull the varied art and elements together. A Noguchi twisted floor lamp mimics skyscrapers in the distance.

The dining room chandelier consists of custom lighting pendants with quotes from Michelangelo. They illuminate the area without blocking the panoramic views of Lake Michigan below.

5) You give a lot of credit to your extremely talented team and the artisans who work with you. 

I liken myself to the conductor of a symphony or the editor in chief of a magazine. What we provide does not happen quickly; however it is well worth the wait. I tell my clients that they are the patron energy of our time to these artists and artisans.

Paul at his home in Marin County

Although Paul has designed homes for many icons of industry, many of whom entertain lavishly, his and his partner, Richard Neil Snyder's own home in Marin County is designed for relaxation.

6) Paul, what advice do you have for the beginning designer?

Travel, travel, travel. Become knowledgeable about the history of the field of Interior Design. 

7) When you have the time, what do you enjoy doing for relaxation?

Gardening, the grounds are beautiful, the house was built in 1912, and I have  converted a lot of the plantings to succulents.

Cooking. Marin County is the mothership of organic food and I go every week to the Farmer's Market at the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center.

Reading. We are bibliophiles and have 10,000 books between us. My partner is a law professor and historian.

8) What are your favorite vacation spots?

I've traveled a great deal over the years and do not as much anymore except for our clients. For personal travel, I love Hawaii and the Aman Hotels are my favorites anywhere, especially Java, Bali, and Bhutan !

As with all of his design projects, in Paul and Richard's home, as much thought has gone into the integration of the exterior architecture and gardens as the interiors.

Your personal philosophy, aesthetic?

Gratitude, live in gratitude and it radiates out from you.

At the front entrance of a home Paul designed on Hawaii's Big Island.

The Lascaux Caves in France, an image that Paul references to describe the deep personal connection we have to our interior spaces.

The Wiseman Group with Paul and his talented team of designers, including principals James Hunter, Brenda Mickel, and Mauricio Munoz at their San Francisco office.

You have seen examples from only a few of the many stellar homes around the world featured in Inner Spaces. This is a book to enjoy for many years to come and may be purchased at Amazon or your local book seller.

Be sure to visit The Wiseman Group's website at 

My thanks go out to Paul Vincent Wiseman, to Gibbs Smith and to Andrew Joseph PR.

Thank you to my Family, Friends, and Followers who support The Arts

Please sign up for email notifications to receive my latest features.

The Arts by Karena


designchic said...

We are such fans of his work and love that he can design for the most traditional gentleman's library to a contemporary Chicago high rise with ease. Can't wait to get his book!

Mary Ann Pickett said...

This was such an excellent post into Paul Wiseman's aesthetic. I want his book!

Burlap Luxe said...

Oh Karena,
What beauty and the views from many rooms are breathtaking.
I love #7 when asked what do you do in your spare time, the kitchen is wonderfully laid out to get the job of cooking done, and those marble walls are fabulous.

Thank you for expressing your wants in my knits/crochets.
I am going to get pieces completes and then list, in grey's, naturals, and oatmills.
It's very relaxing for me to take time to work with wools.

See you and your beauty soon.

I would love to work in this group of designers

Teresa Hatfield ~ Splendid Sass said...

OH MY GOSH, I love his work! He use of wood, texture, and art are stunning!
Thank you for sharing, Karen!

missgiven said...

Wow! I love his advise. Love the grounds and need to know more about that Amber looking round coffee table. It must be amazing to design for art collectors.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

What absolutely love spaces my dear one. Those outdoor spaces are just as meticulously and lovingly designed as the inside. Sounds like a person.....we need to be just as beautiful on the inside as we are outside. BEAUTIFUL CHOICES! And....I though I am no longer posting, my blog will remain up, intact and I will not delete it. I will still be visiting blogs to keep my presence. THANK YOU for the support. Have a super day! Anita

Kristen @ Pursuing Vintage said...

What beauty! And the photography is amazing, too (that Chicago high-rise! I want that chandelier!). I love how each space is unique, and you can tell he incorporates his clients' aesthetic into each design.
Thanks for sharing!

La Contessa said...

I met him and heard him speak at the SAN FRANCISCO FALL ANTIQUE SHOW!He lives in a town close to where I grew up now!I have stumbled upon his SISTER IN LAW in our love of plants at my local nursery.I do believe he is right!The more you travel the more you grow and your sense of style will be there!

Tamera Beardsley said...

What a truly beautiful article my dear Karena! I am in awe of his talents and artistic vision in creating individual homes! I am in the most awe of his personal residence and how perfectly it integrates in to the stunning views of the property!

Thank you for sharing his artistry and aesthetic visions!

Taylor Greenwalt said...

Beautiful work...his book looks great!

Jennifer said...

Each room is more beautiful than the one before!! That vanity and view have me going back for a second look. I think I have to have his book. Thanks for this wonderful review!!

peggybraswell said...

stunning + love his

Mark D. Ruffner said...

Dear Karena,

I keep going back to the image of the vanity. I like the brilliant way the mirror and chairback complement each other. This looks like a very fine book!

debra @ 5th and state said...

looks like a lovely book karena from this great team led by a visionary world traveler

you know what's really fun? getting your email, that you pegged me correctly and even thought of me
much luv

Thistle Cove Farm said...

What a kind and gracious gentleman! It would be a pleasure to work for and with him.

Lisa Mende Design said...

Great post! Can't wait to see his book. brilliant designer!

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

Paul Vincent Wiseman's rooms are truly a work of art!...

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

Gorgeous images!
Love so many of his rooms -- especially the equine theme room.

Thanks for inviting me to come over, Karen.


My Notting Hill said...

So much to love here - I want that stone fireplace in the library!

Pura Vida said...

Hi love-such an interesting and handsome man and the photos are wonderful, but I fell in love when he said his motto was to live in gratitude

Fashion-isha said...

The architecture is amazing!

The enchanted home said...

So fabulous!! What a talented man. I remember many years ago I went on a privet house tour and one of the homes he had done and it was so beautiful and cohesive, I left being very impressed.
I love how travel has so influenced what he does and how he decorates, think his advise to travel as much as possible is spot on. Love that listened early on to his inner voice......clearly it was the right choice!
Have a wonderful Sunday, Karena!!

Woodside Park said...

What a breathtaking portfolio!! Each room grows more stunning the longer I look. From the artwork to the table vignettes, truly the best of the best.

I very much enjoyed this feature, Karena.

Cheers from DC,

Aurè said...

hello there,Ciao...such great post...such great Blog of Yours...cheers!
greetings from Italy

Stacy CUrran said...

He has a truly impressive range - masterful in every style. i really enjoyed this post!

Mise said...

I'm vastly envious of the lovely French window in the bathroom, and I admire the swooping curves that break up the straight lines throughout. A luxury that's very liveable in.

Unknown said...

Hello Karena, I thoroughly enjoyed the images and designs in your post. Wonderful interview of this talented, and very gracious, designer. We were in San Francisco earlier this month and it's wonderful to have a peak into some of these magnificent homes. The views! Inspiring post! Thanks for your kind comments on Stylemindchic Lifestyle today! xx, Heather

Windlost said...

Hello Karena, what an amazing portfolio and style. I will seek out his lovely book. He sounds so interesting and also well-travelled. I don't know how he finds time to read! xo Terri

Anonymous said...

Your Blog Are Amazing Members Only 75 Pardon My French Black Satin Bomber Jacket

Emma Jason said...

I am glad that i came to see this, really loved it. Thank you for sharing it. I have bookmarked your page, excited to see more of it! Men Black Aviator Shearling Jacket

Javi Varsity Jacket said...

Make an iconic appearance and get ready to steal the limelight gracefully wearing Javi Varsity Jacket at fair price from

cristinajohn said...

thanks for this wonderful article it was nice and amazing. Celebrity Movie Jacket

Blog Archive