Modern luxury interior design with a classic and timeless style.
Aaron B Duke grew up in Garland, Texas; a lonely, middle child who sought refuge in his imagination. In his mind’s eye, Aaron created a world of luxury, with room’s designed by Ralph Lauren, and meals were served in the French Room at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. His father was a fire marshal and his mother a school teacher, but what they gave him was a very pure sense of tradition: etiquette, education, intelligence, and a tireless work ethic. In college, Aaron followed his first artistic love: dance, but always kept one foot in the world of design by working at Neiman Marcus. To him, it was an iconic institution where he learned to connect with clients while serving them and satisfying their tastes with a tailor-made luxury experience. As a dancer, he had to rely on his individual skills, but also learn how to work cohesively with other performers. He learned to workshop ideas and see if they lived or died on their feet. Finally, Aaron found his way to ForestPerkins, working on hospitality projects around the world and then Ike Isenhour, where he worked on numerous high-end residential projects in Dallas, NYC, Monaco, Italy. Aaron moved to Los Angeles in 2011, where he worked at Rose Tarlow Design focusing on high- end residential projects for celebrities and business executives, before starting is own firm. His favorite part of design is the connection with a client and he prides himself on anticipating needs. “Often times, I feel as though I experience the home design before my clients. Countless hours are spent identifying the finest finishes and fabrics, exquisite furniture, and perfect lighting. I hand-pick a dream team of architects, landscape designers, and crafts people who are as committed to excellence as I am. As the process evolves, I love seeing and feeling the enthusiasm a client exudes once they experience what were once sketches and drawings being brought to life in the design, craftsmanship, and execution of their home.” Currently, Aaron B Duke’s studio in Bel Air covers all elements of interior and architectural practice. His team facilitates a multifaceted approach ensuring an initial concept can be developed, detailed, and executed. Whether you envision an urban loft with gallery-white walls and modern styling, the re-imagining of a historic estate, or the custom interior of a private jet, each design is created with integrity and aesthetically compliments the architecture and the way of life for his clientele.
- What’s your go-to classic color choice?
- I prefer Farrow and Ball's String #8 tinted by 75%. It creates a beautiful and warm off-white that is best for classic and timeless interiors, and it allows for a bevy of possibilities when designing any home.
- Is there a hotel that’s most inspired your work while traveling?
- The Jefferson Hotel, in Washington DC. The Jefferson has presided over the corner of 16th and M Streets since 1923. Rich in historical details, The Jefferson is both European and Washingtonian in style, with tributes to Thomas Jefferson and his beloved Monticello throughout. New discoveries unfold at every turn: private nooks, original Thomas Jefferson-signed documents, a Book Room filled with historic leather-bound volumes on Jefferson’s favorite subjects, and signed editions from contemporary authors who have been among the distinguished guests of this boutique downtown Washington, DC hotel.
- Which pieces of technology do you use to document design inspiration?
- I prefer to use Pinterest. It allows me the opportunity to collect inspiration from architecture, design, fashion, movies, history, travel, and everything inspiring to the luxury lifestyle.
- Where do you go to spot new style?
- I am fortunate to live in Los Angeles. Style is all around me. I am a constant observer of everything around me. We are a global city. It has afforded me the opportunity to learn of traditions and cultures from around the world and to integrate those into my designs.
- Do you have a favorite restaurant (for the design and the food, of course)?
- The Polo Bar in New York City by Ralph Lauren. For me, it is more than a restaurant. It is what I specialize in - aspirational living for a client's lifestyle. I spend a great deal of time learning about my clients and how they live, work, travel, entertain, and relax. We design spaces that tell a visual story for them from the moment someone arrives at your home, paying close attention to the details that accentuate and elevate their lives. The Polo Bar offers a casual yet refined setting for food and drink for friends and guests. From the Henry Koehler polo match–inspired mural on the exterior to the saddle leather and equestrian art inside, the restaurant pays homage to the distinguished sporting lifestyle. The Polo Bar’s American cuisine is inspired by Ralph Lauren’s personal favorites. Seasonal dishes range from a crispy kale salad and crabcakes to a corned beef sandwich, steaks and the signature Polo Bar Burger. The star of the dessert list is Ralph’s Coffee Ice Cream, homemade with Ralph’s custom coffee blend. The Polo Bar waitstaff is outfitted in custom Ralph Lauren grey flannel trousers, leather wingtips and silk repp ties.
- What’s your favorite small museum in the world?
- Well, there are many fine museums around the world. Currently, Los Angeles is seeing a rennaisance in the visual and performing arts. The Hammer Museum champions the art and artists who challenge us to see the world in a new light, to experience the unexpected, to ignite our imaginations, and inspire change by provide significant insight into some of the most pressing cultural, political, and social questions of our time. We share the unique and invaluable perspectives that artists have on the world around us. The Hammer Museum offers free admission and free public programs; the Hammer is open for all and FREE FOR GOOD.
- How do you usually start your weekend?
- I am very ritualistic. My weekends start with feeding and walking my two rescue dogs, Jinx and Joe. Then, a cup of coffee. Each morning, I do a twenty-minute mindfulness meditation and follow that with a yoga class.
- Who or what is your biggest design influence?
- Who: Ralph Lauren, Anna Wintour, Oprah Winfrey, Rose Tarlow, Michael Taylor, Angelo Donghia, Kalef Alaton, Vincente Wolf, John Saladino, Ike Isenhour, and Jerry Robertson. What: Everything! I am visually taking in information constantly.
- How do you keep it all together?
- I only surround myself with the best! I have a wonderful team that supports me in the office and on a job site. It is all about scheduling, communication, excellence, quality, and craftsmanship. We work with some of the best vendors, tradespeople, contractors, and artisans in the industry. On a personal level, mindful meditation and my daily yoga practice keep me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually centered. I have the love and support of a wonderful partner at home.
- Design a garden: groomed or freestyle?
- Well, I do love a well manicured English country garden. Considering we are in a drought in Southern California, I have embraced a more organic approach - that can still beautify a home.