By Lara Becker
Custom design for a high-end space requires exceptional talent, a keen eye for detail, and an extensive history in the field. Christopher J. Grubb, President and Founder of Arch-Interiors Design Group in Beverly Hills, California, has all three and more. Grubb has accrued more than 25 years of experience in the industry, and established Arch-Interiors in 1994. It’s important to him to create rooms that are distinctive yet timeless. Highlights of his career, according to Grubb, have included the refurbishment of a commercial space for Maxxam Enterprises in Los Angeles with a whiskey bar, and a California Contemporary Spanish home that he remodeled twice. Read on to hear more about this industry giant and his luxury spaces that are transforming Beverly Hills.
What inspired you to start out in this industry?
From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be around architecture and design. My grandfather worked as a general contractor and my father was a construction estimator, so I’ve been surrounded by construction my entire life. Additionally, my grandmother owned a giftware store which was in our family for over 100 years. I helped her with merchandising and window displays, learning a sense of aesthetics and scale.
While still at University, in my senior year I started to get design projects, but ultimately knew I needed more experience, so I put a pause on truly establishing my own business. After 3 years in Los Angeles, an opportunity presented itself from someone who had many companies, and what I thought was an in-house design opportunity turned into a start-your-own business catalyst. It was really the perfect jumping point to start and grow my own firm. Those relationships resulted in an amazing 4,000-percent growth in the first 17 months that my company was in business.
What sets your designs apart?
First of all, I have phenomenal long-term resources that allow me to create completely custom furniture and lighting. My clients want something unique and different; they’re not interested in what’s “trending.” They want something you won’t find on the market, which as an artist is tremendously rewarding. Manufacturers I work with remark that my designs are notably unique, and there’s nothing similar seen on the marketplace. I also have a real passion for using unique materials in an unexpected way — everything from wood veneers to natural stone and mosaics.
What does your design process look like, and where are you in that process?
I’m involved from moment one: actively participating in the concept, space planning, and the design presentation through on-site supervision of construction which make sure our vision is fulfilled. At the onset of seeing a space, I can visualize what I want the space to look like. I share that with my team of designers and encourage their active participation. I’m committed to supporting their creativity. After all, there are a multitude of challenges on a project, but being creative is why we all went into the design field! My philosophy during the concept phase with my team is: Show me what I asked for, show me what the client asked for, and show me your ideas. As long as we respect the client’s wishes, I’m open to ideas. Ultimately, it’s about the client, not about us.
Are there certain materials that have become a part of your signature style?
As I mentioned, I love natural stone and mosaics. I also prefer to blend a variety of metal finishes. Another thing that sets my designs apart is that I don’t believe that materials belong in a certain category. For example, some designers think that natural stone isn’t suitable in a commercial project. I disagree. I don’t hesitate to mix materials that are traditionally meant for residential, commercial, or healthcare, into another type of project if the material works.
What are the staples you think every home space should have?
Every home — and every space in every home — should have as much natural light as possible. I love incorporating oversized windows, with privacy capabilities, of course. Natural light is truly a key element when designing for wellness — and all designs should really focus on wellness. Just as with materials in general, I love the use of something “unexpected.” Whether it’s a piece of furniture that the client is passionate about, or maybe a unique piece of art, if it makes the client’s eyes light up when they walk in the room, that’s what really matters. Every home should be composed of elements that the client doesn’t just like, but loves.
What is the goal for where you want your brand to go?
The mission is to create interior and product designs that are distinctive, compelling, experiential, and of superb quality. The goal is always to provide a sense of individuality … to give our clients a project that is as unique as they are. Simultaneously with products, the vision is not just to design products for the high-end market, but also the affordable luxury consumer market.