Domino‘s EIC Gives Us The Decor Lowdown

MichelleAdamsPhoto: Courtesy of Brittany Ambridge/Domino.
The anticipation. The memories. That familiar adoration. Clicking back to the just-relaunched Domino site was like welcoming back a beloved friend from her four-year excursion to Shuttered-Shelter-Mag Island. Now, reunited — and it feels so good. There was that same charm and appeal that had connected us before. But, like with anything that matures with time, she's better, bolder, and best of all, shoppable (!!).
Yes, friends, the mag that brought decor down to earth and taught everyone, from the minimalist to the maximalist, to aspire has returned. And, at the helm, no other than kickass Lonny cofounder and former Domino assistant Michelle Adams. Seeing that she personally experienced the mag's evolution from the beginning, we had to catch up with the youngest editor-in-chief in Condé Nast history to talk shopping, decor tips, and the most honest, straight-up career advice, ever.

You must be aware of the buzz surrounding Domino's comeback. How does it feel to come back and lead a mag beloved by so many? Any pressure?
"This entire experience has been pretty surreal for me, and I'm not sure I've even yet grasped it! The passion and excitement that our readers feel about the Domino brand is shared equally by me, so to now be responsible for bringing it back to life is a tremendous honor. Of course, there's pressure — we're creating content with a fraction of the original budget and staff while diving headfirst into a new business model! But, it's the challenge that excites me, and I'm giving it my best shot."

So many readers were drawn to Lonny to fill the void that Domino left behind. Now that Domino is back, how does the vision you jump-started Lonny with compare?
"Today's Domino is the ultimate dream come true. The original Domino created the building blocks, breaking new ground by giving readers access to editors' and designers' resources on page. Lonny broke new ground by bringing that same idea online and giving readers a direct link to the brands' online retail sites.
The site we have created for this relaunch is a fine-tuned iteration of both: It makes e-commerce effortless and doesn't interrupt the reader's exploration for inspiration. We're continuing to draw back the curtain and give readers tools to bring style into their homes. As an editor, this has created a new obsession with market work! I'm always scouting for one more mirror, one more lamp, one more side table that looks just like a vintage one we feature and so on. It's important that we provide a variety of price points and styles for our readers, in our quest to be the ultimate resource for home design."

Gah! Domino is now shoppable! What's on your must-have list, and given no restrictions, what's on your dream wish list?
"Must-have: Caroline Z Hurley's linens. Dream wish list: all of Tom Borgese's paintings!"

What's your favorite site to find that one-off, must-have piece you can't find anywhere else?

What's the one thing you should ask yourself when considering a big purchase?
"Does it have timeless appeal? I tend to buy trendy of-the-moment textiles and art, while sticking to fairly timeless furniture styles. If you look back at the homes of design legends like YSL, Billy Baldwin, or Albert Hadley, they still feel timely and hip today. Invest in pieces that you'll have for the long haul.

When decorating on a budget, I'd recommend incorporating a lot of vintage pieces. They lend charm and soul to a space and can be sourced cheaply from yard sales and thrift shops or from family. To guide your purchases, find an inspiration photo to be sure you stay on track (since it can be easy to come home with an overly eclectic mix). Be sure to highlight juxtapositions. For example, a traditional sofa begs to be paired with a midcentury modern lamp; a French chest of drawers looks great with an edgy piece of art, and so on."

What are your favorite design/decor blogs? Where does your inspiration come from?
"I find myself the most inspired when I'm traveling or when I'm at a photo shoot. It's fascinating to see the way people live all over the world! When I'm at home, I love to read Refinery29 (!!), The Coveteur, Habitually Chic, Little Green Notebook, Net-A-Porter's The Edit, Nowness...the list goes on!"

lonnyPhoto: Courtesy of Brittany Ambridge/Domino.

Dead or living, who owns the dream home that'd you want to feature in Domino?
"I've always been fascinated by YSL's Paris apartment (can you imagine?!), and lately, I've really been on a Francois Halard kick, and cannot wait for his new book to be published! I'm also the world's biggest fan of architect Michele Bonan, so I'm always thrilled when I have the opportunity to photograph his work."

Lonny co-founder. Condé Nast's youngest EIC. "Grand Dame of Online Shelter" per The New York Times. Let us in on any career advice!

"Ha! That's a really sweet question for you to even ask — thank you! I suppose my advice is to decide what it is that you really want to do, and to be realistic about what that means you'd need to sacrifice. I've worked nearly every night and weekend for the past seven years, and have made many personal sacrifices to get where I am today. But, it was worth it to me. So, if you decide that you absolutely want to do something, then you should do whatever it takes to get you there.

Don't ever compare yourself to others (it's a waste of time) and don't be discouraged by criticism — try to learn what you can from it and ignore the rest. If you're interested in starting your own company, try working for a start-up first to get experience in running a business and a taste for the workload ahead of you. Try to establish a network of other entrepreneurs so that you can bounce questions off each other, and never underestimate the importance of a good bookkeeper and a good lawyer from day one."
Professionally speaking, what's the one quality you're most proud of? What's the quality you value most in a new hire?
"I'm just as kind to my interns as I am to my bosses, and I'm not afraid to work hard. When I'm hiring, I look for people who have versatile talents but who are also genuinely kind and loyal. My creative director, Robert Leleux, told me that a recruiter once said, 'You have to give people a reason to hire you, other than your talent.' It's so true."

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