Designer Spotlight: The Pink Door

By Emma Castleberry

As a leading interior design firm in the mid-Atlantic region, The Pink Door has made a name for itself by crafting designs with thematic color use and extensive custom design work using antique and modern styles for discriminating clientele. The Pink Door is based out of its design workshop and antique showroom in Greensboro, North Carolina, where the founder, Glenn Lavinder launched the firm in 1992 after owning another antiques business, Lavinder’s, in Chapel Hill for nearly a decade. Towards the end of that decade, Lavinder’s started to provide progressively more interior design services, leading to the inception of The Pink Door, where Glenn and his business partner and son, Cameron Lavinder, offer both antiques and interior design services.

The Lavinder’s are eager to emphasize that The Pink Door is a full-service firm. They are often involved in every part of outfitting a new construction or remodel, from design work, art services and procurement to lighting, placement and repairs. They even offer drafting and architectural services. Currently, they are experimenting in their showroom with repurposing vintage fabrics for use as pillowcases and upholstery on antique furniture, giving the showroom a playful, unique appearance.

As an interior designer, Glenn Lavinder has a unique talent for seamlessly blending a variety of cultures - Italian, French and British influences thread throughout his work—as well as the old and the new. Whether after a life-affirming visit to The Pink Door or while working with him on a design project, Glenn’s clients often comment on his impeccable taste and timeless sense of style. Regular travels to New York and Florida inform his versatile vision.

Architectural detail is the star in this atrium setting.

We had a chance to sit down and chat with these two pioneering business owners.

Dalton Bain: Tell me a little about Pink Door’s history. How did it come to be?
Glenn Lavinder: We opened in 1992 in Greensboro after having had a business in Chapel Hill for nine years. The shop is about fifty-fifty, half is interior design and half is retail. I have been doing this for 45 years. Lavinder’s, our store in Chapel Hill, was more antiques and less interior design. It morphed into the interior design side of things in that last couple of years at Lavinder’s. The interior design part was a core of the business idea for The Pink Door.

DB: Why is your firm called The Pink Door?
Glenn Lavinder: I had been offered a space in Palm Beach about 26 years ago. The space was deeply inset into the iconic Royal Poinciana Plaza, so a little hard to find. I was wondering how to get people to understand where it was and I asked the owners if I could put a pink door on it. While the place in Palm Beach never worked out, that became the idea of the business being The Pink Door. We ended up keeping the name and it stuck.

DB: How is working as a father/son team different from working with a non-family member?
Glenn Lavinder: As a father, I love working with Cam because we get to spend time together, which is a special and unusual circumstance. We have a great Pink Door family here, many of whom have been here for 15 and 20 years. Cam has grown up in the business surrounded by them. As small as our business is, we have had people with a lot of longevity in their jobs here. It all feels like family to me.
Cameron Lavinder: Working with my father has been a great all-encompassing experience for me. He is an expert on the attention to details and makes every project exciting. He has truly opened my eyes to what is possible in the interior design world.

DB: What is Glenn’s role and what is Cameron’s role?
Glenn Lavinder: Cameron isn’t really involved in the interior design business at all. He handles logistics and customer service for the business, but he is far more involved in the retail side of things: buying and selling, managing our online presence, furthering his education in the history of antiques and art. Because I operate the interior design side of the business, I do a lot of major buying for my clients and we run some of that through retail.

A perfect example of Lavinder’s eye for framing a setting with balance, layering and the symmetrical use of disparate pairs of period antiques.

DB: What is your aesthetic at The Pink Door?
Glenn Lavinder: We do interior design of many different styles and aesthetics, but generally speaking, our style is more old-school and traditional than some. We have done some contemporary and modern jobs. The difference in the firm is that we offer a lot of drafting and architectural services. The architectural part of the business allows us to be more involved than most, if the customer wants that. So, we are very involved with jobs that have new construction or renovation and that gives us a little bit of an edge.
We are also a full-service interior design business. I don’t think there is another in North Carolina. We handle everything for a job—not only design work but also art services, procuring anything from linens to table tops. Our installations are very complex, they often involve all of the lighting and placement. We also do repairs and retrofitting for clients. It goes on and on and on. We have clients who come to us starting on a third house with nothing and we suit it up like they’ve been there for years. We have ability, staff and resources to do pretty much anything and everything for clients, from polishing brass hardware on doors to making custom lampshades. It makes us a different kind of a business. It is the complete outfitting of the home.
The other thing that sets us apart is that we try to decorate with 18th, 19th, and 20th century objects and furniture. We are interested in re-usage and the instant aging of a house. We try not to incorporate manufactured goods or much furniture shopping at all. That is one part of what makes our jobs feel so different—we use so many antiques, previously owned 20th century furniture and soft goods.

DB: What do you enjoy most about your work?
Glenn Lavinder: Making each project completely different from the last project. Every project is completely about what the client wants and completely understanding their needs, lifestyle, family, and jobs. I feel like when we finish a job that the next person is entirely new. We start over again. We don’t use the same sources or colors; we do not use formulaic concepts or repetitive ideas.
Cameron Lavinder: We really enjoy being part of a team project that helps clients achieve their vision. We are passionate about lasting relationships that result in the clients vision.

DB: Tell me about a piece that you’re carrying right now that you’re very excited about.
Glenn Lavinder: One of the things we’re doing that is kind of fun is repurposing vintage fabrics on furniture. It keeps the showroom fresh. We are taking old vintage curtains and covering club chairs. We’re making pillows from old upholstery or old slip covers. It evokes a very vintage look and feel, throw-back, but it is also so fun to put these things people are discarding to use. It makes our showroom look different because people can’t get the fabric anywhere else. You can follow us on Instagram to see how we use some of these fabrics.

This expansive room in the Hamptons elevates the eye with timbered detailing. The room remains thoroughly grounded with furniture chosen for scale and comfort allowing the surrounding window and diamond motif to be reflected in the custom rug.

DB: Why did you decide to join Dalton Bain? What are you hoping to achieve as part of DB?
Cameron Lavinder: We are stepping into the 21st century with this type of business and appealing to people that are buying online instead of the way we are used to buying. We also like the reassurance of knowing that we’re in the company of other great dealers. People who come to Dalton Bain will be shopping among the same high level of quality with all the dealers.
The Pink Door is located in Greensboro, NC, at 1705 Battleground Avenue. Their retail store is the kind of place you can get lost among a variety of styles and before you know it you’ve spent hours perusing their beautiful inventory. Glenn and Cameron are often in the store and available to chat about design and all things antique. If they aren’t available you’re likely to run into Kay or Ted, each have been with the firm for more than a 15 years. Ted is their master draftsman and Kay is the “captain of the ship”, both are more than happy to help. If you decide to visit (which you absolutely should), allot plenty of time to enjoy this antique and design wonderland.

Seen here a seating area left totally serene through Lavinder’s legendary deft touch with fabrics and textures.

A hallmark of Lavinder’s work is the subtly repeated elements, lattice detail on the crown mold, cabinet doors and trellised ceiling detail in the background. The balance elements on this stunning antique console and use of single color application are signatures as well.

Classic Zuber paper and all together neutral palate are given real dimension with the addition of Marygold silk chairs

Thoroughly evocative of Lavinder’s style is this layered room filled with treasures and details to delight the eye and engage the imagination. This grand room is given particular intimacy by creating small seating groups and enveloping continuity through the use of a single fabric

This antique Italian console from Caroline Faison Antiques adds depth to the otherwise modern decor as shown in the book Entertaining in the Hamptons. Lavinder has a sure hand at mixing period pieces, contemporary art and balancing scale and proportion to make each space engaging to the eye.

The exquisite curves of this antique console repeat the architectural detailing of the covered trellised ceiling and the inset worked for the focal piece, a curved top French tall case clock.

The Pink Door team reflects its respect for period work and palate in this beautifully rendered room in Winston Salem, NC

Shop the Pink Door now.